Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Future of Victoria TV Stations

At the moment we have two TV stations in Victoria, CHEK and CTV Vancouver Island.   Neither station is doing much at all to promote themselves or be innovative in any way.   All they do is run a couple of newscasts each day.    Meanwhile they have studio space that is underused.  I know that broadcast television is in trouble, so why no try something different?

Why are they not doing anything?   As one recently retired broadcaster put it, they are each waiting for the one to go under and be the only fish in the pond that is drying up.

Globally we have more and more TV channels all of them looking for content.   There is a demand out there for professionally done television programming.   At the same we have serious government tax credits for TV productions and various film and television funds to pay for the programs.    The biggest barrier to most TV production is all the equipment needed to make the program - the cameras. the studio and the editing equipment.   Both CHEK and CTV VI have all this infrastructure so they are well ahead of all the other TV production companies.

CTV VI suffers from being the local office of a large corporation that does not need the competition from all the local studios, but on the other hand the local studios are underused assets.   CTV does own 22 local stations which means a large number of studios with equipment that is not being used for more than a few hours of the day.   I think they are not using the facilities to the degree they could be, but I am also certain given the nature of the conservative nature of the Canadian business community is likely not realistic to expect anything innovative from them.

CHEK has the chance to do something a bit different because it is independent.   CHEK does produce a couple of their own programs such as Flavours of the West Coast, YUM TV!, and the latest program Aboriginal Adventures.  But these are only a small number of what could be a lot more.

So what could be else could be done?   Ideally programming that would be of interest to specialty channels.   A good example of what could done is Gold Trails and Ghost Towns that was produced by CHBC in Kelowna.   A total of 130 episodes were made.

Here are some ideas:

  • A program about sailing
  • Something done with the Navy to focus on life on board a ship
  • At Royal Roads the business program each year has teams that need to come up with a business idea for very little money and develop it in one month
  • Take Wes Borg and make a comedy program with him
  • Have an improv competition

Whatever ideas have to fit with the facilities the station has and within the confines of the funding sources and the tax breaks, but if you start with that there many possible ideas out there.   If the TV stations do not think outside the box and maximize the use of the existing assets, the TV stations are not likely to survive another decade.
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