Quebecor Media has released the list of television producers who will get $2.4 million from its non-profit Quebecor Fund.
Of course, neither the release nor the fund’s website makes clear that the fund is a CRTC requirement for cable and satellite providers (like Quebecor’s Videotron) and this money isn’t being distributed out of the kindness of Pierre-Karl Péladeau’s heart. In fact, Quebecor has been fighting to change the way television is funded, shutting down the Canadian Television Fund (now the Canadian Media Fund) and allowing Quebecor to give its money only to productions for its networks.
Then again, this behaviour is hardly uncommon in the industry. Broadcasters and distributors alike keep to CRTC minimums for Canadian content, original programming and funding, and then boast how much good they do to a public that’s unfamiliar with CRTC policy. CTV’s Save Local campaign is an example of this, as is Shaw’s response to it.
But what gets me most about this release is this: the Quebecor Fund trumpets itself as supporting “shows that offer quality content and have undeniable durability” (as well as encouraging interactivity and new technologies).
The last item on the list of funding recipients: Occupation Double.
After the Domster asked me to hold my judgment about his new show Vlog, I promised to take a look at their second episode and report back.
The second episode was pretty well identical to the first in format and style. Still, I’m noticing more things about the show worthy of improvement.
The show’s format seems to be pretty simple. Borne and Arpin stand in an all-white room with TV screens and a couch, banter among each other like a cheesy infomercial and show clips (between 5 and 15 seconds) of videos that are popular online, including:
- Corporate “viral” advertising campaigns: The first video that played for more than a few seconds was the latest video of Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, which features a young girl bombarded by images from the media presenting unrealistic ideas of the ideal female form. Ironically, it was introduced by Geneviève Borne, who while I’m sure isn’t a bimbo in real life, was clearly hired to do this show because she looks like one.
- Game shows in other countries: This week, it was other-language versions of Deal or No Deal (or Le Banquier, which amazingly enough is a TVA show). There’s also more Japanese game show videos, which look like they’re going to become a weekly feature here.
- YouTube’s top 10: Clips we’ve seen before but maybe TVA’s grandmother demographic hasn’t, like ol’ Miss U.S. Americans and the Swiss firefighters. The argument, and I suppose it makes sense, is that their target audience isn’t us web geeks but normals who aren’t browsing the YouTube or the blogs. I think that audience will be shrinking.
- Blatantly transparent cross-promotion: In this case, their “top 3” videos from Occupation Double, the reality show that precedes it (for those unfamiliar, it’s like porn, only the plots aren’t as interesting, the makeup is more caked on and the sex isn’t as graphic). As bad as it is to feature clips from your own network’s show as if they were the most popular videos on YouTube, what’s worse is that the clips are meaningless and entirely uninteresting to people like me who avoid such crap programming.
In the spirit of constructive criticism, allow me to make some additional suggestions on how to improve the show:
- Kill the silly banter and lame jokes. You’re not actors, and it comes across as fake. It’s bad enough I have to endure that on the local news, but at least they can make the excuse that it’s live TV. (For that matter, why does this show have two hosts anyway?) Dominic, you don’t have to pretend to be hip and cool, because you’re already hip and cool.
- Find some unsung heroes. Look at videos that haven’t yet become popular and give them some mainstream attention.
- Forget the Occupation Double videos. Your viewers aren’t idiots, and you’ll lose what little respect you have if you start giving special treatment to everything TVA/Canoe/Quebecor.
I wish I had some more suggestions, but you’re really going through uncharted territory here. In the U.S., ABC’s iCaught seems to focus on interviewing video creators and discussing issues related to online video. I’m not sure if that’s the way to go, but it’s an option. And it feels less weird than just profiting off other people’s creativity.
That said, my criticism’s of the show’s website still stand. It’s nice that it shows the videos you use, but it’s still far too hard to navigate. Fix that and you’ll earn more respect from me.