Sunday, May 24, 2009

CTV's save local TV campaign reaches (ahem) zenith

Which way to the donuts?

CTV's "Save Local TV" campaign hit Portage Place yesterday.

Of course, the big event was about the CRTC turning down CTV's bid to charge cable companies to carry its programming.

Whether that means that local TV is in danger is a matter of opinion, but CTV reporters nonetheless filed live remotes from the event, with barely a whiff of balance or "journalism" to be seen. CTV did go for a dash of balance on its website:

"But not everyone is convinced local TV is in need of extra help.

"Cable giant, Shaw Communications, bought full page ads in the Globe and Mail, and in local newspapers across the country.

"They are calling the broadcaster's request for fee for carriage an unfair tax.

"Ken Stein a senior VP at Shaw says the request for carriage fee is backwards.

"Our view is that they should be paying us!" he told CTV News."

Interesting way to frame the debate in the first sentence, and equally interesting use of exclamation mark in the last.

Regardless of where you sit on this issue, it's got to be uber embarrassing to be CTV's on-air talent covering this sad event, which throws out the CTV brand with the bathwater by admitting that no one - viewers or advertisers - wants it anymore.

To support its effort, CTV created a Facebook site, a video encouraging you to contact your MPs to tell them how much "television" means to you, and - my favorite - a video testimonial from Siloam Mission about how much TV helps the homeless. Sheesh.

This whole campaign leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It reminds me of that one employee who's about to get fired launching a "help save employees" campaign in a last-ditch attempt to keep his job: too desperate, too late.

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