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It’s time to be honest: Netflix is parasitic - The Globe and Mail
SIMON HOUPT
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Oct. 03 2014,

Most industrialized countries subsidize domestic television and film production, partly because of scale: It costs a lot of money to make shows look even half as glossy as the stuff coming out of Hollywood, and if there’s a limited audience (say, because you’ve set your miniseries in the shipyards of Gdansk because you think it’s important that your fellow Poles know about their history), you’re probably not going to make your money back. American film and TV studios have global marketing machines to get their shows in front of consumers.

As it happens, Canadians do watch plenty of homemade TV, and not just hockey: Last month’s season finale of The Amazing Race Canada on CTV was the most-watched show of that week, with more than three million viewers. (Necessary disclosure: CTV’s parent company BCE Inc. owns 15 per cent of The Globe and Mail. Unnecessary disclosure: I’ve never watched The Amazing Race Canada.) Scripted dramas and comedies are popular, too – though they certainly don’t pull in the numbers here that Big Bang Theory does. Millions still tune in to domestic news and current affairs shows. And just try telling Mike Holmes, Sarah Richardson, Debbie Travis and, frankly, Ben Mulroney that Canadians don’t watch Canadian-made TV.

If you’re fine with all that disappearing because hey, Netflix is awesome and a sexy disruptor, so be it: That’s your choice, and you’re free to make it. Plenty of people love their weekly pilgrimage to Walmart and Costco, too.

But please, at least be honest with yourself and recognize that Netflix, like the retail disruptor Walmart before it, is a parasitic enterprise. Netflix is currently pocketing an estimated $300-million a year from Canadian consumers. Its total investment in original Canadian programming so far? One season of Trailer Park Boys: 10 half-hour episodes of cheaply made TV.
Netflix  CRTC  Simon_Houpt  television  disruption  Wal-Mart  parasitic 
october 2014 by jerryking
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