HBO Comes to Canada!

Some of our readers may be wondering why this blog covers Canadian TV industry news once in a while. There’s two reasons for it, the first being that there aren’t that many blogs that really cover it (especially from an anime fan’s perspective) and second, many of the VAs appear on Canadian productions. So it’s good to get a picture of the Canadian TV Landscape. Onto today’s headline! Many Canadians wonder why American TV Channels aren’t in Canada. The CRTC has mandated certain Canadian Content Laws, as well as a policy banning foreign companies from owning or operating channels north of the border. That’s not to say that Canada is shut out completely from foreign channels – CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox all air up here, as well as a few specialty channels (and they are not just from the US either). However, over the years Canadians have gotten a little jealous when word breaks loose of great US-only shows that some plan trips to go watch, or go to great lengths to “acquire” them. In recent years, some Canadian channels, along with a few syndicated ones, have brought these shows to Canada (albeit later than they started). One channel whose TV shows have been a constant craving for Canada, was HBO. A few years ago, Corus’s Movie Central/The Movie Network landed on the scene, and gradually added some (but not all) of HBO’s programming to their schedule. Canadians were a little happier, but they still craved all the series and specials that still didn’t air up North. Earlier today, Corus (YTV’s Parent Company) announced that they planned to launch HBO Canada on October 30th, and cable subscribers who already subscribe to Movie Central/The Movie Network will receive the channel at no extra charge. No doubt, we will cover this within the first few days and tell you all about it! With this new deal, the full slate of HBO programming will make it to air day and date with the United States’ HBO, but there is one catch – 25% of all programming must be Canadian. But, it’s a small price to pay for the entire programming lineup, no? Playback Online says that this will deal a big blow to Super Channel, but we wouldn’t count them out just yet. Anime fans of the older generation are better off watching Super Channel over Movie Central simply because of the series they carry. Super Channel also has more international programming than Movie Central/The Movie Network and many independent movies that the VAs have acted in air on the network. Super Channel has only been around for just about a year, and it takes a while for a network to really make it’s presence in a market. In any case, we’re excited for this and we look forward to seeing what HBO Canada will bring!

3 Responses to “HBO Comes to Canada!”

  1. Anh Khoi Do Says:

    I don’t understand people in Canada who “pretend” that they’re true patriots while most of the things that they watch on TV are American stuff.

    If you ask me that question: do I follow in the news what’s going on on the USA’s cultural spectrum? Why should I care about what’s done in the USA? I’m not an American.

    I’m a Canadian and in my book, my national culture comes first. Not second, by the way, and American shows (or movies) don’t need my help to get money. Am I proud of the TV shows that we do in Canada? That I am! Do I promote close-mindedness? No, but I just selectively watch American TV series on DVD if they interest me (and few American TV series do).

    I just don’t understand what’s in it to celebrate about HBO’s arrival in Canada. After all, all you have to do is to wait for the DVD release of a show made by HBO. Geez, some Canadians feel a cultural complex of inferiority towards Americans or what? I may sound odd, but if we, Canadians, don’t encourage our own culture, how can we hope that our TV and movie industry get, one day, the budget that we wish?

  2. sailordees Says:

    Hello Anh:

    First of all, I don’t claim to be a true patriot when it comes to Canadian television. Granted, I do support Canadian programming, but no country is perfect and I don’t support everything that comes out of here. For example, I think that the Canadian ripoffs of Are you smarter than a fifth grader, and so you think you can dance are a complete joke. Canadian Idol too, to a lesser extent but that show markets their stars a little differently. And, I absolutely hate watching the Barbie movies, and they are entirely dubbed up here by Canadians. Thankfully, I haven’t had to sit through too many of them because the voice actors that this site is focused on haven’t done all of them. Yes, national culture does come first but Canada is a hotbed of multiculturalism and most “patriotic” Canadians that I do know don’t mind keeping up with other cultures at the same pace as they keep up with their own.

    Also, have you followed this site since it’s birth? I’m guessing you haven’t. But we come pretty close to being “patriotic” – at least in your sense of the word. Sailor Moon was dubbed in Canada by a lot of actors who themselves are Canadian, and this site is LARGELY devoted to tracking their appearances in other productions. And most have made it big with some appearances in US productions. For example, the voice of Sailor Mercury, Karen Bernstein, moved to Texas, formed her own documentary production company and nearly got nominated for an Oscar. She is accepted just as much as an American as she is a Canadian. Or I could tell you about Robert Tinkler who is now a familiar voice on shows like American Dad. It’s your choice whether you should care or not, but I can’t post articles just for one audience in mind. Just because some readers may not care what’s done in the USA, doesn’t mean I should withhold stories for others.

    Now, why celebrate?

    Granted, TV shows in the USA generate a lot more attention in Canada than Canadian shows do most times. HBO had a lot of critically acclaimed series (like the Sopranos) but unfortunately if a Canadian wanted to watch it on television, it was not a possibility (until Movie Central picked up the series, longafter the initial hype had cooled considerably). There are many other shows on specialty networks that don’t make it to Canada, or if they do, they air late on television. And you also can’t forget that DVDs in Canada cost a lot more than they do in the United States. I posted a lengthy article on this last summer comparing the prices and distribution of anime in both countries. Cartoon Network many years ago had a lineup of anime that most Canadians would have loved to see on YTV. It was a sad day when fans could not enjoy TV shows that were dubbed up here in Canada on Canadian television, and our neighbors to the south could “have it all”. Maybe it is a “cultural complex of inferiority” but I think that in this case it’s justified. I try to post something for everyone and I am sure we have plenty of other readers who enjoy HBO programming, and since there aren’t many blogs that really report on the Canadian TV industry, this is my outlet to at least bring some of the big news to our readers. And I think the arrival of HBO is worth celebrating because now Canadians no longer have to wait for a DVD or later premieres (that is if they choose to go that route), and that this paves the way for other networks from the US to make their way up here. Keep in mind that the CRTC still mandates Canadian Content. So while the channel is not here in entirety, at least some Canadians from both sides are satisfied.

    And to answer your question again about why you should care what’s done in the USA, you’re not an American… There are plenty of issues that come to mind. But then that delves into the realm of politics, and this blog is most certainly not the outlet for that.

    If you’re going to comment again, at least go through this site and know what it’s about before assuming that we’re here to be patriotic. I’ll also have you know that two of our staff members are Americans. While it’s not the “base country” of Sailor Moon, this site would not be as dynamic without them since they bring a unique perspective to the table. We all work together , beyond our borders to bring fans the news that they wouldn’t see anywhere else.

  3. sailordees Says:

    And also, the Canadian TV and Film industry is booming. Have you not heard of our shows being shown all over the world (like Corner Gas, Flashpoint, and Little Mosque on the Prairie)? It may not seem like it to you, but I would argue that we are almost at the same budgets as American Productions are at. Flashpoint reportedly costs 2 million dollars an episode to make. If that isn’t a “budget” to you, I don’t know what is.

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