An all-Canadian movie channel, an on-demand video service and a Punjabi language network are among the proposed channels seeking to be a required part of basic cable in Canada.
The CRTC this week released a list of applicants for a “mandatory carriage” licence on cable and satellite TV. If granted the licence, these channels would join the nine networks that are currently mandated by the CRTC to be broadcast to all cable and satellite subscribers.
While most of the media attention has focused on Sun News Network’s bid to be a part of basic cable, there are, in all, 22 channels seeking a mandatory carriage licence or a renewal of one.
Among them is Starlight: The Canadian Movie Channel, which would broadcast only Canadian films, and would use revenue it collects from cable and satellite viewers to fund the production of Canadian movies. These movies, in turn, would have their debuts on the channel.
The channel has the backing of Canada’s filmmaking elite, with noted filmmakers like David Cronenberg, Denys Arcand and Atom Egoyan taking stakes in the company, and Eastern Promises producer Robert Lantos taking one of the largest stakes in the company.
(Editor’s note: In the interest of full disclosure, Starlight CEO Norm Bolen is related to a Huffington Post Canada editor, who was not involved in the reporting of this story.)
But if the licence is approved, it would be the most expensive channel Canadian cable and satellite viewers would be required to buy, adding $0.45 per month per subscriber to TV bills. That compares to $0.23 for The Weather Network and $0.10 for the legislative channel CPAC.
With that fee, the channel would earn $40 million a year, half of which it would use to make an estimated eight to 12 movies per year, according to the Fagstein media blog.
On the Starlight website, the channel’s backers argue its all-Canadian mandate would be a big boon to Canadian culture.
They note that major Canadian networks have either never had or have abandoned Canadian film programs. And they argue pay-TV channels like SuperChannel and HBO Canada are now meeting their CanCon requirements with TV series rather than movies.
They also note that “European countries require their national broadcasters to support domestic films. In Europe, the broadcasting system is seen as an important mechanism for supporting the financing and exhibition of local feature films.”
(STORY CONTINUES BELOW POLL)
A NEW STREAMING VIDEO SERVICE?
Another application for mandatory carriage comes from Maximum Television Canada, which would be an on-demand video service that would stream in English, French and other languages.
If approved, this service would be a direct competitor to both the popular Netflix video streaming service and to cable companies’ own on-demand services, such as Rogers On Demand and Shaw Direct On Demand.
The company behind it, On Purpose TV, argues its licencing as a mandatory part of cable would increase competition in the broadcast market. But with its potential to disrupt cable and satellite providers’ earnings, expect this application to face strong opposition from established media companies.
(STORY CONTINUES BELOW POLL)
CANADIAN CONTENT, PUNJABI STYLE
Among the more unique applications is one from Canadian Punjabi Network, which proposes a Punjabi-language service broadcasting across the country.
Though the channel is a third-language specialty network, it argues it should get mandatory carriage because it will feature a large amount of original, Canadian-produced content -- as much as 80 per cent during prime time.
The channel is requesting mandatory carriage only in those markets with more than 5,000 Punjabi speakers -- 11 Canadian markets in all, according to Fagstein blog.
(STORY CONTINUES BELOW POLL)
Of the remaining applicants seeking mandatory carriage, there is an application for an “interactive” news and current affairs channel called FUSION; another for EqualiTV, which describes itself as “devoted to programs dealing with disability issues”; and Natural Resources Television Channel, which broadcasts programs about mining and oil and gas extraction.
The multifaith channel Vision TV is also applying to be a part of basic cable.
The CRTC will hold a hearing on April 23, in Gatineau, Quebec on the applications.
Salvador Dali on 'What's My Line?'
It's not easy playing 20 questions with a Surrealist. The mustachioed painter manages to make yes or no answers as misleading as possible.
Andy Warhol on 'Love Boat'
In this 1985 episode hijinks ensue when a woman doesn't want Andy to spill the beans to her husband about her secret years as a Factory groupie.
Lisa Yuskavage on 'The L Word'
It went like this... [Joyce walks into the dining room, where she gawks at a very colorful, huge painting of a half-naked blonde woman, kneeling in the grass and touching herself.] Joyce: Jesus. You live with that? [Tina looks at the painting.] Tina: Yeah. It's Lisa Yuskavage. She's one of Bette's favorite painters. Joyce: What's a thing like that worth? Tina: A lot, I guess. But Bette bought it before she got famous.
Banksy on 'The Simpsons'
In 2010 Banksy made his mark on the Simpsons' opening credits, in which all of Springfield was tagged by the notorious street art bandit. He also depicted sweat shop workers painting the TV's animation, <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CFUQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.guardian.co.uk%2Fmedia%2F2010%2Foct%2F11%2Fbanksy-the-simpsons-bart&ei=ZuGsUI7pBcuP0QGmgYHADg&usg=AFQjCNHb_ltnTM8F66f_aYZYyjna3Qgruw">a jab at the show's outsourcing to Korea</a>.
Mikhail Baryshnikov on 'Sex and the City'
Turns out the insanely talented dancer and collector can act too! In 2007 Baryshnikov swept Carrie Bradshaw off her feet as Russian installation artist Aleksandr Petrovsky. Watch the two first meet in the following clip, which takes place in a reenactment of a Marina Abramovic gallery performance... of which Carrie is not impressed.
Keith Haring in 'Lunettes Noires Pour Nuits Blanches'
This pop graffiti darling was far too cool to be on American television, so he opted to parlais Francais instead. In 1990 he played himself on this French sitcom we have never seen.
Jasper Johns on 'The Simpsons'
In the episode dubbed "Mom and Pop Art," Homer becomes an outsider artist and befriends Pop Art flag master Jasper Johns. The Simpsons has established a strong lineup of artist cameos including Shepard Fairey, KAWS, Robbie Conal and others.
Andy Warhol on 'SNL'
Who is funnier than Andy Warhol? Almost everyone, actually. The artist's dark take on death, makeup and Bloomingdales is no "Dick in a Box."
Kiki Smith on 'Gossip Girl'
Smith's work was featured alongside Ryan McGinley's photographs and Richard Prince's paintings in a tour by Lily's art consultant in season 2, episode 5.
Aimee Mann on 'Portlandia'
The cult-favorite singer of "Voices Carry" made an appearance on Portlandia as herself, and as Carrie and Fred's maid. “I guess the music industry must be really suffering or something," she says... Indeed! Oh and Sarah McLachlan plays the gardener.
BONUS: Damien Hirst in 'Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London'
We know it's not a TV show!!! But, come on. Art's most obnoxious billionaire appearing in a Frankie Muniz sequel?! It's just too good. In 2004 he played the character known to IMDB as "Arty Fart Security Guard." Maybe Hirst should do more projects like these and less that slaughter butterflies by the thousand!