Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Update - CTV Buys the Hockey Night in Canada Theme

CBC drops the ball, and CTV picks it right up. Given, the CBC is not a dedicated sports network like TSN and RDS (owned by CTV), but I thought it had hockey wrapped up. Apparently taking care of hockey fans is not Canadian enough to warrant a little splurging. Too bad.

By the by - can I point out how much I love this paragraph, found at the end of the article linked above: "CTV, together with TSN and RDS, boast the most powerful and prestigious sports programming lineup in the country featuring the NHL and Stanley Cup Playoffs, NFL games and the Super Bowl, every CFL game including the Grey Cup, International Hockey including the World Juniors, NBA, Blue Jays Baseball, all four golf Majors, all four tennis Grand Slam events, Season of Champions Curling, NASCAR and F1, and this month's NBA Finals and UEFA EURO® 2008." A little self love?

Okay, back to the matter at hand. The CBC is very quickly losing its hold on the hockey market, and I for one am pretty dissapointed by that. TSN already has (as read above) the IIHF and World Juniors, not to mention (at least) the hockey events at the 2010 Olympics. Now, the question becomes, who gives a shit? Well, TSN is a premium channel, while CBC is basic cable which everyone has access to, as it is funded by your tax money. This is important for the large group of people who don't want to splash extra money for a couple of sports channels.

Why does this matter? Well, I go back to my earlier post - CBC's mandate, I will re-copy it.

"
  • be predominantly and distinctively Canadian,
  • reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences, while serving the special needs of those regions,
  • actively contribute to the flow and exchange of cultural expression,
  • contribute to shared national consciousness and identity,"
I'll say it again - hockey falls into all these catagories. And by not buying up the HNiC song, the CBC is displaying it's lack of interest in maintaining the station's relations (haha rhyme) with hockey fans. Hockey fans, believe it or not, make up a large portion of Canadian society. By alienating this group of the population, the CBC is just further boasting their absolute ignorance Canadian wants and interests. So rather than using my tax money for something I want to watch, my tax dollars are being spent on shit like Little Mosque on the Prairie (for the sake of diversity? Bollocks! It's a horrible show!).

The CBC has, of course made some really good mini-series (Trudeau anyone? Canada-Russia 72?) and did well to lock up Ron and Don, but they seem to be in the process of washing their hands of the Canadian sports-following population. Normally, I would say good riddance, beyond Coach's Corner (and other Ron&Don moments) there's not much advantage to watching hockey on CBC other than the Canadiana of it. But then it comes back to - why are you wasting my tax dollars on something I don't want to watch, when I have to pay extra to watch what I do want to watch?

I say the CBC becomes an opt-outable fee. They've made the mini-series I want to watch, the only other reason I watch CBC is The Simpsons at 5 and hockey. I can watch The Simpsons on pretty much every other channel, and hockey's found a new home, so I say to you, CBC, you can fuck right off.

6 comments:

Mike Woods said...

The CBC screwed up throughout the negotiation process but, in fairness, made a last-ditch effort to buy the song. It just came down to how much taxpayers' money was to be wasted on a little jingle. It became clear that the composer wasn't going to sell it to the CBC at a reasonable price due to some animosity.
In an age of PVRs, I don't remember the last time I listened to the song anyway.
CBC's best talent has been jumping ship to TSN for some time. First Chris Cuthbert, then Brian Williams, now this little ditty.
Little Mosque got picked up by FOX, so it can't be THAT bad.

Philippe M. Frowd said...

First of all, congratulations to TSN for creating the longest sentence ever recorded in writing. For this alone they should proudly lead the way in showing hockey to the people, in addition to such riveting sports events as the winter Olympics and NASCAR races...

The problem is that the CBC's funding and mandate are very flimsy. It's funded out of general taxation straight from the government like some southern European state TV propaganda channel, and not very much either. Perhaps the CBC need one or two more American shows in prime time, and more INTERESTING professional sports instead of curling and other Saskatchewan-based activities. This would take at least a quadrupling of their budget...TV licencing maybe? Unfortunately that would never work in Canada

Andrew Bucholtz said...

I think the CBC had a lot more to lose by keeping the theme at the price Claman was asking than letting it go. It makes sense for TSN to buy it: it helps them sell their Wednesday night doubleheader as the true Hockey Night in Canada, and it's a significant marketing and prestige boost. That said, I highly doubt the CBC's going to lose too much hockey viewership over this: most of the people who currently watch HNIC on Saturday will watch that on Saturday regardless of the theme song, especially as TSN doesn't usually run hockey coverage against it. Besides, if CBC does shell out the $2.5-3 million for a theme song (and might still have the lawsuit in play as well), the populace is appeased for the moment, but they'll quickly forget all about it, making it a pretty big waste of money from a marketing perspective (not a cultural one). This works from a marketing standpoint for TSN because it's new: with the CBC, it would be the same-old, same-old. This way, they can also try and unify the American Idol and hockey crowds with their contest (and $100,000 for a theme looks cheap now!). In an ideal world, sure, it would be nice for the CBC to keep the theme, but as I see it, it's not just a case of being unwilling to spend: it's a case where the theme is legitimately worth far more to CTV/TSN than it is to CBC. I'd prefer the CBC spend $100,000 on a theme instead of $2.5 million and use the rest of my taxes to work on enhancing their sports content.

Amrit Ahluwalia said...

It's not just about the theme though - it comes down to a basic confusion of priorities from the CBC. And their lack of funding sport-related content just shows that they couldn't care less about the sports-watching community.

Hell, they just bought the rights to air Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune - whoopee!

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