Canada is last to the party

Graphic showing Google, CBC, Bell, Netflix, Rogers and Corus Entertainment Logos
A snapshot of the Canadian television landscape…or at least a part of it

In the last few weeks the news surrounding Canadian TV was dominated by the release of Bell and Rogers new skinny packages.  I wrote about what I thought that news here.  Quick recap: I thought they missed the point.

Following up on that news, John Doyle with the Globe and Mail published a column which pretty much summed up my thoughts on the current state of Canadian television.  All of this made me think of the difference between Canada and the United States.

A quick examination of the American landscape and you can see that it’s possible to sign up for any number of streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, HBO Now, Amazon Prime and the list could go on.  My point being that America seems to understand whats going on.  If you do any research on Hulu, you’ll see it’s actually backed and owned by three major networks.

It’s strange to see an entire industry embracing the change in technology, and yet our telecom giants seem so afraid of change.  John Doyle, once again sums up the sad state of Canadian television here. For too long Bell, Rogers and Shaw have built up monopolies on the back of Canadian tax credits and loopholes.

Compared to the rest of the world, the state of Canadian television is a bit of a joke.  If you step back and take a look at the landscape as a whole, you start asking yourself where is our Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, or House of Cards?

Is this the shape of things to come?

So I’m scrolling around my twitter feed, when I come across news of Sean Parker’s interest into the online streaming environment.  Most of you know the name Sean Parker from the movie The Social Network.  He was played by Justin Timberlake.  However he is a real life guy.

Screenshot of Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker from The Social Network
Not Sean Parker


Photo of Sean Parker at Web 2.0 Summit
Actual Sean Parker

What I’m most interested in is this little bit of news.  A same day streaming service for blockbuster films.  Imagine no more having to show up an hour and a half prior to showtime for decent seats.  And then fighting the crowds for concession snacks.  What should also be interesting to you dear reader, is how many power players in Hollywood seem to be interested in this.  There seems to be a real interest in the feasibility of this and how to make it work.

However, I’m going to bring it back to Sean Parker, and why I think his involvement is a game changer for the entire industry.  This is the guy who foresaw the power of Napster, created Facebook and changed the music industry with Spotify.  Now he’s targeting his sights on the film industry.  His track record of changing the playing field when he gets involved is pretty strong.  I’m genuinely excited to see how this will change the entertainment industry.

Is there anything good on?

So I’ve recently decided to rebinge Game of Thrones.  Is rebinge a word?  I don’t know, but I’m making it one.  And it’s suddenly struck me as a good topic to write about.  Not Game of Thrones itself.  That would take an entirely different blog to address.  Rather how good a program it is to lend itself to binge watching.  The structure, the narrative, and the short seasons really help someone immerse themselves into a TV show.  So I thought I’d make an entry on some of the most bingeable series that I enjoy and why.

  1. Game of Thrones:

So as I said above I’m currently rebinging on this one.  I originally watched it on HBO week to week.  I have to say I so much enjoy watching it this way.  It’s easier to pick up on subplots which may or may not pay off down the road. Plus when something happens, its easier to reference to a previous plot point, as I only watched it a few hours ago.  I’m enjoying the show even more now the second time around and can really appreciate the love and devotion all involve have for George R.R. Martin’s epic.  If you can catch up with all five seasons before season 6 premieres on April 24th.

Also, one last thing: R + L = J

2. Breaking Bad

This is probably my favourite TV show ever.  I rank every television show I watch now to this series.  The characters, pacing, story, acting, all of it is superb.  My wife and I started to watch this together, and we rarely watch the same TV.  This one though got us hooked into binging.  When one episode ended we immediately had to start the next one to see what happened.  Even though this show started on cable, I’d consider it a template for any streaming service programing yet to come.

3. House of Cards

The first series created with binge-watching in mind.  This is Netflix’s first foray into producing their own content.  And it works marvelously.  Full disclosure, I love politics and I love bingewatching, therefore you can see my bias.  Regardless, after watching this series you can see the potential for every other television series yet to come.  Complex and thought provoking it grabs your attention and doesn’t let go.  I’ve yet to watch season four, but believe me I will.

There are some of my suggestions to get started on binging.  I’d love to see what grabs your attention and what  your recommendations are.  Post them in the comments below.


Do Bell and Rogers understand what’s going on?

A few weeks ago you may have heard about Bell and Rogers announcing to little fan fare they were offering new basic cable packages starting at $25.  More about the packages can be read here.  These packages come about due to the CRTC hearings on television.

Critics have been quite vocal of the packages as well here, here, and here.  The general consensus is that this is Bell and Rogers once again trying to game the system to their advantage.  I have to admit that I’m inclined to agree.  This new package screams of trying to save their monopolies rather than provide a real choice.  As someone who cut my cable service years ago, I don’t see anything here to entice me to return.

However I don’t really blame Bell and Rogers for this.  I blame the CRTC.  They are the ones who let the situation get this bad for Canadian consumers.  Allowing Bell and Rogers to grow their monopolies to the point that they are completely unresponsive to the Canadian consumer.  Along comes streaming services such as Netflix and they have completely changed the playing field.  Check out this video to really explain how things have changed:


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