Monday, May 18, 2009

CTV draws long overdue attention to the plight of the local TV station

Won't you please lend a hand?

CTV is asking you to help the less fortunate - itself.

CTV is getting into the PR business by holding open houses across Canada to "help save local TV." This comes after the CRTC turned down CTV's bid to charge cable companies to carry its programming.

Toward this effort, CTV has created a Facebook site, a video encouraging you to contact your MPs to tell them how much "television" means to you, and - most shameless of all - a video testimonial from Siloam Mission about how much TV helps the homeless.

After watching the video, I have to say that those homeless people have no idea how good they have it, compared to local TV stations. Are you with me, people?

The big push to save local TV culminates with a big "save local TV" event in Winnipeg at Portage Place on Saturday, May 23 at 11 a.m. Says CTV:
"Take advantage of a special opportunity to meet and chat with our Anchors, Reporters, Managers, Staff and our Community Leaders. Learn about the threat to our local television stations and what you can do about it. At noon we will start taking groups of people on tours of our facility by escorting them through the skywalk to our third floor newsroom and studio."
But will there be ample parking and refreshments to follow?

One has to wonder how the on-air talent feels about participating in this event: it's pretty embarrassing to be, in essence, admitting that no one wants your product anymore, being the public face of a "poor me" campaign engineered out of Toronto, and - quite possibly - damaging the CTV local news brand for all time.

In fact, CTV is at the top of the local TV news heap, with an average of just over 126,000 viewers, which is down about 40,000 from last year - but still a huge number above Global and CBC combined.

The larger problem for local news is that the shows are padded with a zillion weather and sports breaks, which we can now get at a glance online without the anchors' awkward banter, lame jokes, and pleas to "stay tuned."

See you at the big event. Until then, I'm with the Ramones: "If you're not in it, you're out of it."

The Ramones - Something to Believe In

1 comment:

  1. This is all right. (As opposed to alright) As we had chatted before, I spoke with a friend of mine earlier this week who is under the CTV employ. I said pretty much the same thing that this whole, "Let's Save Local Mom and Pop TV" (Although it was at one time under the Moffats) campaign is pretty shameless given that it's just in attempt to garner a bit more revenue on the ledger for by far Canada's largest media conglomerate. Methinks if Bell Globemedia was really concerned with preserving local tv's essential place across Canada, they'd sell off their treasure chest of specialty channels to fund the coffers of local news, and no longer be party to the fragmentation which has turned into a legitimate threat to network television.

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