Tou.tv, not quite tout

3600 secondes d'extase is all over Tou.tv. Marc Labrèche will show his face anywhere.

In case you hadn’t noticed from coverage by La Presse, Canoe, Rue Frontenac, Branchez-Vous, MSN, Radio-Canada and, like, every other news media in Quebec, Radio-Canada last week launched tou.tv, a video portal with content from Radio-Canada but also some other television networks like Télé-Québec, TV5, ARTV, TFO and others, including some European francophone channels. (The inevitable comparisons to Hulu followed quickly, even though Canadians can’t use Hulu and therefore don’t have much basis for comparison).

Notably absent from that list are V, the former TQS network that already puts all its content online on its own website, and anything owned by Quebecor, including TVA. Quebecor’s strategy is to leverage its video content to improve the bottom line for its Videotron cable service. So the only way to get TVA shows on demand is to use Videotron’s Illico video-on-demand service (which has most TVA content for free).

Still, even if it was just Radio-Canada stuff, it would be pretty cool. I’d finally get a chance to see two of my favourite shows – Tout le monde en parle and Infoman – on demand (I usually miss the initial airings of both).

Oh but wait, neither show is part of Tou.tv’s vast repertoire.

How can that be? They’re both Radio-Canada series. And because they’re both about the news, you’d think they’d have a short shelf life. Wouldn’t you want them to get maximum exposure in a short period of time? Are people going to buy DVDs of these shows in three years? (Well, maybe…)

Despite being on Facebook and Twitter, Tou.tv hasn’t been communicating very well with users. Its first response on Twitter came a week after it launched, in which it reassured me (don’t I feel special) that it’s just getting started. I can understand that, though there’s still a lot of viewer inquiries and stuff that’s not being responded to, making it seem like it’s being ignored.

There’s also technical problems, like videos freezing halfway through, or (as I experienced) not being able to resume after a long pause. But I can understand that too, assuming they eventually fix it.

So what’s up with TLMEP and Infoman? I sought out to inquire. I sent messages to Radio-Canada (for both shows), and to the production houses behind those shows: Avanti Ciné Video and Les productions Jacques K Primeau (TLMEP) and Zone 3 (Infoman). The only response I got was from Radio-Canada’s Marie Tetreault, who said that they couldn’t include these programs because of rights issues. (One of those annoying problems that even forced them to temporarily pull their own launch video).

“Il n’est pas prévu d’offrir la version intégrale en différé de Tout le monde en parle” was the final word.

So those hoping that these shows would soon be added to Tou.tv, don’t hold your breath. They’ll have the entire series of Et Dieu créa … Laflaque!, Virginie, Tout sur moi, and the RBO Bye-Byes, but two of its biggest shows won’t be added because Radio-Canada doesn’t want to go through whatever trouble is necessary to secure the appropriate rights.

I could understand if this was a 20-year-old TV show, conceived long before the Internet existed, and which has some rights holders who can’t be reached or something, but surely RadCan can come to some arrangement with its own shows to clear online on-demand rights for new episodes.

Right?

UPDATE (Feb. 16): La Presse explores producers’ worries about Tou.tv eating into their revenue.

7 thoughts on “Tou.tv, not quite tout

  1. Nicolas

    J’ai eu le problème de vidéo qui gèle et je l’ai réglé en réduisant la qualité de la vidéo. Leurs affaires sont toute présetté HD, si tu baisse d’une coche (les tites barres en bas à droite) ça va mieux. En tout cas avec ma connexion ça marche.

    Reply
  2. Frank H

    That guy thinks I drive too slow. He honked when he was behind me a couple weeks ago then came flying around at the next stop sign to get a good look at me. I just busted out laughing. I wonder if he gets that a lot.

    Reply
  3. Bobby

    We hope we can see infoman on Tou.tv soon, we love him.

    As for why Infoman isn’t on tou.tv? choose one: Stupidity, laziness, evil intentions, greed.

    Reply
  4. S.

    You say : “two of its biggest shows won’t be added because Radio-Canada doesn’t want to go through whatever trouble is necessary to secure the appropriate rights.”

    The way you state things, insinuates that the folks at Radio-Canada are either lazy or uncaring. I assure you, it is neither.

    It simply boils down to two things : CONTROL and MONEY.

    If a show doesn’t make its way online, either its because :

    – the broadcaster and the producer can’t agree on financial terms (revenue share, advances)
    – the broadcaster simply can’t AFFORD to put the show online. Putting a show like TLMEP online involves paying EACH AND EVERY GUEST THAT APPEARS ON THE SHOW. (don’t forget, this is a public broadcaster we’re talking about, one that is extremely strapped for cash… remember last year’s massive cuts?)
    – the producer simply doesn’t want to see his product online for a whole bunch of reasons. (Online kills potential DVD sales, being a biggie)

    It’s easy to boil things down like Bobby just did. Calling people lazy, stupid or evil. It is also unfair and grossly misinformed.

    – Signed, an ex-SRCer.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      The producers never answered my questions, so I don’t know why online rights haven’t been granted. It could be money, or it could be control, as you said. What bothers me is that Radio-Canada either seems uninterested or is unable to secure online rights from now on. They can get the rights for shows from other networks, but not to the most popular one on its own network.

      As for DVD sales, first of all, TLMEP and Infoman are based primarily on the news, which makes them incredibly dated and gives them a short shelf life. Maybe some people would be interested in DVDs for the purposes of nostalgia, but it certainly doesn’t have the kind of replay value as Virginie or C.A. Second, there are ways around it, like making the online rights time-limited. Keep it online for a week and then put it in a vault. Then people like me who want to watch it but aren’t free Sunday nights and/or can’t be bothered to set the VCR can watch it after the fact.

      I don’t think Radio-Canada is lazy, I just think it’s silly that these shows are the ones that online rights can’t be secured for, especially considering how successful they would probably be online.

      (Also: TLMEP pays its guests?)

      Reply
  5. nicole leduc

    Bonjour
    ..pourquoi il y as pas de traduction francaise a Tout.tv.
    Je comprends rien en anglais ou chinois..
    merci!!
    nicole

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Tou.tv: Menace to society? – Fagstein

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