MuchMusic wants MuchLessMusic

It’s been awhile since MTV showed music videos because they’ve changed their strateegy to showing reality television or ‘lifestyle’ shows. And now CTV wants to do the same. They want to show less music on their popular channel, MuchMusic. They want to show more ‘lifestyle’ programs such as ‘A Date With…’ and ‘Discovered’ (formerly Disbanded) to connect with audiences again since their profits have been dropping. Obviously taking a note from MTV, this formula has proven to be succesful. However, the CRTC rejected their offer. Susan Krashinsky explains:

The media company suffered a setback in that effort on Thursday, as the federal broadcast regulator denied its application to cut in half the number of music videos it shows on its specialty channel MuchMusic.

But Brad Schwartz, the senior vice-president and general manager of the Much MTV Group, said the company will continue to push its request to cut down on the channel’s music videos from 50 per cent of its schedule to 25 per cent.

“It will, 100 per cent, be revisited” when CTV goes before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission for the licence renewals of the stations it owns in the new year, Mr. Schwartz said.

MuchMusic is suffering from the YouTube effect. While many content owners fight to keep their TV shows from being posted on the popular site illegally, music videos are freely available all over the Internet. And the record companies that own them are making it easier for users to turn off the TV and Google for Gaga instead.

Music video website is owned by two of the largest record labels – Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment – and has deals to show content from other labels such as EMI Music. The site sells advertising on the content, and makes the videos available on YouTube and other websites through a Vevo-branded embedded video player.

“We don’t even get video premieres any more. The record labels premiere all their music videos on Vevo,” Mr. Schwartz said.

However, other companies – including Rogers Communications Inc. – filed documents with the regulator objecting to CTV’s application. Like most specialty channels aside from news and mainstream sports, MuchMusic benefits from “genre protection,” which prevents other specialty channels from launching in Canada that would directly compete with existing services.

MTV Canada (which is also owned by CTV) is permitted to exist here, for example, because it focuses on lifestyle programming, which is not in direct competition with the bulk of MuchMusic’s music-focused content.

“Allowing MuchMusic to significantly broaden its nature of service in such a way that it can transition into a young adult/lifestyle service calls into question the continued relevance of the original rationale for granting genre protection and limiting direct competition,” Rogers vice-president of regulatory affairs Susan Wheeler wrote in a submission to the CRTC in June.

In its denial of CTV’s request on Thursday, the regulator agreed with this reasoning, but also suggested that the licence renewal hearing would be the proper environment to discuss the issue.

As MTV Canada reinvented themselves to show less music videos and more lifestyle shows, it has grown popular with the teen crowd. If the CRTC doesn’t let MuchMusic do the same, it will have to find a way to connect with audiences in a relevant manner Showing music videos on television will not be relevant or interesting to the teen crowd in the near future as they search on Youtube for the newest videos. However, when MTV changed their objective to showing ‘lifestyle’ shows and not music videos, fans of the network were confused, upset and didnt know what to think. But guilty pleasure took over and reality television caught on, and people didn’t mind so much anymore. MuchMusic will sooner or later get their bid because the need for music videos, I believe, is no longer on television but on the internet.

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About sunnyvisa

I'm a student at Ottawa U, studying in Communications. I was born in Quebec City to a French Canadian and Italian family. I lived 9 years in the Netherlands and then moved to Ottawa. I love to travel, spend time with my family, and have fun with friends. You can always see me with a smile on my face :)
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