Friday, July 14, 2006

Publish Day - Ink Blog - Television wasteland

So I wake up the morning after, and it's still freaky-cool that I was on national TV last night. How ironic, then, that the piece I published in today's London Free Press is all about media. Here's the scoop...

The big media news in Canada this week was a $1.7 billion buyout offer of CHUM Ltd. by Bell-Globemedia. This continues the consolidation of Canada's boadcast media industry, and promises to further dilute a medium that's already been reduced to a mere shadow of its former self. Broadcast excellence has become the new Canadian media oxymoron.

London's sole broadcast television station, now known as A Channel - a name which will likely change yet again in the months to come - is/was part of CHUM, and its future is now in doubt. Maybe it'll be sold off by its new owners. Maybe it'll be turned into a media training lab for Weather Channel wannabes. Whatever...a whole lot of people are about to lose their jobs thanks to shareholder-driven decisions made by complete strangers in faraway places. In the process, television just got worse in our country.

So I published this in today's paper:
Media buyout bad news in London
Published Friday, July 14, 2006
The London Free Press

Competition is always a good thing. It forces players to fight harder to raise the level of their game.

Canada’s media landscape became a much less competitive place yesterday. Bell Globemedia’s proposed $1.7 billion takeover of CHUM Ltd. will further reduce the number of unique voices on Canada’s airwaves.

We’re now down to two major private broadcasters in Canada. CHUM had always been a leading edge, slightly irreverent voice. Soon, that voice will be silenced.

Yesterday’s announcement was followed almost immediately by news of 281 job losses across Canada. London’s A Channel will lose 32 employees as automation renders their production-related roles obsolete. Management claims these changes will enhance the quality of local coverage, but you’re forgiven for believing that viewers, employees or local markets aren’t the execs' top priority.

What ultimately matters to the conglomerates that consummate these mega-deals is shareholder value. Maximize profits, squeeze costs to the bone and hope no one notices.

Competition, diversity of opinion and broadcast excellence seem to be forgotten in the process.

Your turn: Is television turning into a vast wasteland? What's driving it? Do deals like this help or hinder? Tell us what you really feel about TV today.


Anonymous said...

American tv is definitely a wasteland of ignorant sitcoms and reality shows...we also have freaks like Geraldo Rivera posing as journalists. Do I seem opinionated? :)

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I just discovered A Channel since we moved, so what you are telling me is I shouldn't have any major hope for them.

I have stopped watching broadcast news almost all together. I occasionally flip to CNN just to see what the headlines are but by no means take their spin on the story as the golden truth or watch them longer than a few minutes.

I have a number of online sources out there that let me explore the same news stories but provide links to other news sites with different spins. Effectively allowing me to come to my own conclusion even if it means I maybe wrong.

Anyways, Michele, she says hello.



Anonymous said...

Television has been a wasteland for quite a while now. I pretty much limit my TV time to TVO, PBS and CBC newsworld. I'll watch documentaries, news programs and some good Brit mysteries and comedies. As far as I'm concerned, everything else is crap.

And yeah, the fact that there is very little competition in the media is a real concern. I don't see it getting any better. And what are governments doing about it? Absolutely nothing. That is why blogs are so appealing. The opportunity for self-expression is amazing, and the authors of these blogs are not beholden to any advertising company or large conglomerate. For time being, anyway. I think we should be concerned about large media corporations trying to muscle their way in so they can control the web, too.

Big congrats, btw, Carmi on getting in CBC news. I missed it last night, and can't seem to find where I can see it online. Do you know the specific link I should go to?

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Newton Minnow had it right. There's a lot of garbage on TV and it seems that when shows aim for the lowest common denomonator, they get the biggest payoff.

There are also great shows out there, and many of them stuggle to find an audience and survive. Scrubs, Veronics Mars and the Office is out there, everybody! We don't have to watch a vapid, mantis-like heiress whore around making fun of middle America every week!

David Edward said...

tv - waste land - that would be a YES.
I dont own one, and rarely watch it elsewhere.

Unique Designs from Zazzle said...

When we go fishing, we "chum" the waters to create a frenzy

Young Lady said...

Hey Carmi!!
Just peeking in before I go away again on holidays. I saw YOU on tv. I just stood there and yelled at the tv, "Hey!! I know that guy!!" I just thought I would let you know that even on holidays I was thinking of you. Chat to you in a week!