MPAA president Jack Valenti, testifying before the U.S. Congress in 1982 said: "the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone... We are going to bleed and hemorrhage, unless this Congress at least protect[s] one industry whose total future depends on its protection from the savagery and ravages of this machine." We're hearing the same ramblings today against digital media, as Netflix is being called the "Albanian army" by TimeWarner CEO Jeff Bewkes. The same apocalyptic tone as in past scuffles surrounds Tech vs Media Battle #4, with analog incumbents vs digital upstarts.
The fact that Canada has spent a decade creating nothing comparable to House of Cards, Game Change and many more political dramas is a shame, but hardly surprising. We're a plucky lot -- and certainly no slackers in the world of entertainment -- but this is one realm where we're hopelessly out-gunned. There's never been (and never will be) a compelling Canadian political drama for one simple reason: Canadian politics is not interesting. "Yes sir, we'll get right on that, sir" isn't the sort of dialogue from which compelling scripts are made.
"The Corporation" proved all over again just how much we've changed in 50 years. As I drive through rural New Brunswick, I can plainly see the great hollowing out of the rural economies. You see the old people still living alone in their crumbling houses, paint peeling and the part-time people who arrive in new SUVs and summer-ize their freshly painted pastel cottages overlooking the sea.
Television as we know it is dying, but most people don't perceive yet the dramatic change that is bubbling below the surface. A stunning report released at this week's Consumer Electronic's Show, CES, points to a wholesale collapse of traditional TV viewing -- with the percentage of consumer TV viewing in a typical week plummeting from 71 per cent in 2009 to 48 per cent in 2011.