The CRTCâ€™s Market-driven De-regulation of Canadian television
AbstractOver the past twenty years, the Canadian television landscape has come to increasingly resemble the market-driven television of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, to name only the other major English-language industries. Sports, reality TV, and sci-fi drama dominate, and the public elements of the system are increasingly under siege. How did this happen? A look back over the decisions of the past two decades makes it apparent that Canadaâ€™s regulatory agency the CRTC has repeatedly enabled the system we now see. These changes are the direct result of NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Deal, signed in 1994), which drastically altered the cultural industries in Canada and led to an entrepreneurial approach to television. Since then, there has been a concerted shift toward an export-oriented industry, provoking a new emphasis on the global trade of cultural products (Edwardson 2008). In effect, even before the impact of the Internet, as the cable dial expanded, and sponsorship was diluted, production costs were pushed down and new, cheaper formats were created. At the same time, ownership became more consolidated and the telecommunication industry merged with the broadcast industry hoping to cash in on the promises of digital and wireless technologies. The CRTC enabled these shifts with the stated intention of increasing Canadian televisionâ€™s competitiveness at an international level (CRTC 1999).
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