TQS - V télé

That’s what TQS is going to change its name to: V. Not Canal V, just V. This, after seven months of brainstorming, is the best they could come up with. The idea is that the network will have a lot of stuff starting with V, and so this links it all together.


I guess Canada has this thing about single-letter networks: E!, /A\, D and now V.

And yet, the same thing I said about “A” a year ago still applies: The name is ungoogleable, and therefore useless in a new media environment. Go ahead, put “V” into a Google News search and see what comes up. Compare that to TQS. If you think that’s a minor issue for a television network, you clearly don’t understand how the Internet works.

Even Remstar should have figured that out quickly. The website isn’t v.com or v.ca, but vtele.ca. That should have clued them in that their idea was flawed.

Besides, V is also the name of a bunch of other television networks around the world: the multinational Channel [V], Portugal’s Canal V on Cablovisao, plus all sorts of networks that call themselves VTV.

Maxime Rémillard and TQS’s PR team expect all the media will be talking about this in the morning. And he’s right, the story is everywhere. But in what is perhaps the worst timing ever, the news will be packaged (like in this Radio-Canada piece) with news that came out earlier Wednesday that TQS had violated the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ code of ethics with unfair contests on its Call-TV program.

That story is being reported at Presse Canadienne, Rue Frontenac, La Presse and Le Soleil, among others.

The decision of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, which decides on complaints against private broadcasters, is available online. In summary, it takes issue with the fairness of the contests, particularly with one that asked callers to guess names that turned out to be anything but guessable: Pancho, Hakan, Gabor, Darko, Lamar and Nanno. (I’m not sure if those were chosen to be intentionally deceptive, or because the show is shot in Austria and the crew have no idea what names are common in Quebec.) It also said the program was not being transparent enough about its rules, which is especially a problem when people are asked to pay to take part.

TQS, for its part, didn’t put up a defence of the program. Instead, it absolved itself of responsibility, claiming Call TV was an infomercial, and wanted to pass the buck to creator Mass Response.

The CBSC rightfully called this suggestion ludicrous on its face, reminding TQS that broadcasters are responsible for everything they put on air.

But the CBSC also said it could only adjudicate stuff that was broadcasted, not the stuff that went on behind the scenes. It couldn’t comment on how people were charged for their calls, or whether they might have been overcharged. That, it said, was the responsibility of the government or another government-run body.

That’s one of two big problems with this decision: It doesn’t solve the underlying problem. This isn’t an issue of inappropriate content making it to air, or a broadcaster providing biased information during a newscast. This is an unlicensed overseas gambling operation masquerading as a quiz show to deceive people out of their money one dollar at a time. The investigation must be done by Quebec’s gambling authority, not the CBSC.

The other big problem goes to the heart of the CBSC itself. It’s one of those industry-self-regulation bodies, and so it’s in its best interest not to impose serious fines. Therefore, it doesn’t impose any fines or other serious punishment for such gross violations of its codes.

Instead, despite being found in violation of its own industry’s code, the only thing TQS has been mandated to do is air a short notice twice during the next week.

And presumably make Call TV more fair. Otherwise they might get an even more strongly-worded letter.

19 thoughts on “V?

  1. Michaël

    You’re not smart eh? They changed the name two hours ago and you expect it to be the top result in Google already? Apprends à argumenter.

  2. John

    Ungoogleable? Maybe you should try Googling “A” instead of “V”… wow! Magic, you get atv.ca! Apparently Google is smarter than you.

    (And, like magic, Googling TVA in Google Canada gives different results than TVA in the United States…)

    1. Fagstein Post author

      The problem comes not so much when you Google the letter itself, but when you have more complex searches. Try doing a News search for “A”, or a blog search for “A” or a Google video search for “A”, or a Twitter search for “A”. They all fail.

    2. Josh

      I don’t know how it worked for you, John, but when I Google “A” (or “a”), atv.ca doesn’t show up on the entire first page of hits – nor does any media outlet at all.

      The first thing I get is the Wikipedia page on the letter “A”.

  3. Michael Forian

    If you even Google for “vtele”, the first result is for some Polish website. Though, a few links down you see the actual Quebec “V” result. They get an absolute FAIL for originality (was there any even present?).

    Side note: I bet they came up with this idea of rebranding themselves as “V” after one of there so-called “brainstormers” watched V For Vendetta… truly sad.

    1. genevieve

      Ah! I used to work in customer care for a company called Canpages, and once, an angry customer called us Can’t pages… I could not help but smile

      That’ s also what I did when I first read your comment. They better be good or you will be the initiator of a new trend!

  4. Craig

    Because truly, nothing says “second-rate Canadian pseudo-network” like a one-letter name. Though I’ll give them originality points for choosing a consonant instead of a vowel.

  5. B.

    Steve, the reason CBSC doesn’t lobby fines is rather simpler — it can’t. It only has the powers that the CRTC can delegate to it. And the CRTC itself has no fining powers, so that’s certainly not one of the things it can delegate to the CBSC.

    Whether or not the CRTC should be able to fine broadcasters who break rules (including, perhaps, CBSC decisions), has often been discussed, but never acted on by Parliament. Until and unless that changes, reprimands and requiring a televised apology are about all the CBSC or, for that matter, the CRTC will be able to do, apart from shortening the licence term or even the nuclear option of not renewing a licence. (See: CHOI-FM.)

  6. Tym Machine

    It seems that litterally the Remillard brothers have worked in the trash industry according to Gilles Parent, a radio-man of Quebec city.

    I don’t know if he was just kidding or what not but it doesn’t seem that far fetched.

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