Over the last year, Rogers and Shaw, the two largest cable TV suppliers in Canada, have lost a total of 200,000 subscribers. That has enormous repercussions for TV producers, including animation studios.
YTV is one of the major outlets for Canadian TV animation. It is part of the basic cable package, which means that everyone who has cable TV in Canada automatically receives YTV. YTV receives money for each cable TV subscriber, and it has lost the fee from 200,000 people in the last year. In addition, it earns money from advertising and its ratings must have suffered by some amount, as some of those 200,000 people must have watched YTV.
Teletoon is part of a cable bundle, but surely some of those 200,000 people were paying for Teletoon. As Teletoon also sells advertising, the smaller audience has cost Teletoon income on two fronts.
The cable companies are rapidly diversifying away from TV. Rogers and Shaw have partnered in Shomi, a Netflix-like service that makes content available on demand. Rogers has now partnered with Vice, which will produce content for them. The money quote that justifies the deal is that there is a “dramatic shift in Canada’s media landscape which sees young people
increasingly consuming news and entertainment from their mobile and
Bell Media is creating its own streaming service.
What are the repercussions for Canadian animation? It means that broadcasters such as YTV, Teletoon, and Family Channel will have less money to spend on new programming. Either they will buy less or buy the same amount but provide less money for each. Either way, the TV market for Canadian animation is going to get tougher. The future is online and the cable companies know it. The animation studios that grasp this are the ones most likely to survive.