Friday, May 25, 2007

What are they smoking?

If there is any greater indication that the Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
is irrelevant and needs to be dismantled than this latest stupidity, I don't know what else there is.

The CRTC is " independent agency responsible for regulating Canada's broadcasting and telecommunications systems". Among such necessary tasks as allocating television and radio frequencies to broadcasters, they also provide legislation which controls what Canadians can see or hear, including Canadian content legislation (i.e. broadcasters have to provide x amount of Canadian content per broadcast hour, with variances for prime time). They also regulate how many minutes of commercials that broadcasters can jam into an hour of programming. Currently, that number sits at 12.

However, as of Sept 1, 2007, that number will jump to 14 minutes of commercials during prime time (7pm to 11pm). A year later that number will jump to 15 minutes per hour throughout the day (not just prime time).

Why the increase?

Well, it's simple. Ratings are dropping for everything, and audiences are fragmenting. American Idol's finale ratings saw a shard decline from last year, with estimates as high as 23% (though FOX contends it was only a 19% decrease). Shows like "Lost", "Desperate Housewives", and "24" have seen their ratings continually decrease from one year to the next. Experts are touting competition from the Internet as the primary culprit...of course, it couldn't be that people are tired of the same crap over and over again.

So, over-the-air broadcasters in Canada requested that the CRTC allow them to add a subscriber fee to cable subscriptions. That was turned down. Instead, the CRTC decided to increase commercial time, and stated:
"The Commission considers it essential that [over-the-air] broadcasters have the flexibility to maximize advertising revenues to respond to the negative impact of audience fragmentation."

So, in the wisdom of an exceedingly irrelevant bureaucratic white elephant, in order to alleviate the loss of advertising revenue dollars in the face of audience fragmentation (re: loss of viewership), the CRTC has determined that the best solution is to INCREASE commercial time per hour!

I am no telecommunications expert, but how does that work exactly? People, who have been driven away from the idiot box in increasingly large droves, will now tune in because there are MORE commercials? The CRTC has also, apparently, never heard of the PVR...who in their right minds even WATCHES commercials anymore (ok, I will still watch commercials with sexy women in bikinis...but then again, I'm a pig).