CBC vs $

From the CBC blog:

Richard Stursberg (on financing Canadian shows vs. American simulcasts):

The CBC, as Bob pointed out, is the only broadcaster where deep prime time is actually available for Canadian shows. Having said that, the economics of this is brutal. To give you a very straight-up example, if I want to buy an hour of high-end dramatic programming right now, I can buy an American program that would cost $3 million to $4 million an hour to make, for $200,000. At $200,000, I can put it on TV and make $425,000 in revenue. A parallel Canadian program, even if I’m not even in the same ballpark–despite the fact that whether we like it or not, we will be judged by the same production standards as American programming–is going to cost me, say, $1 million to $1.5 million to $2 million an hour. What can I recover by way of revenue? Maybe $120,000 to $150,000, because of the relative performance of the programs. Big problem.

Posted by vinny9 on October 11, 2006 with category tags of

5 comments
And why can't Canadian-produced shows be re-sold into the US market? That would even things out. Of course, that means that you have to produce shows that are as good as (or better) then US shows. Have all the Canadian producers given up on this goal???
   comment by dustin (#1) on October 11, 2006

I think it's the access to programming funding that makes the difference. 1 to 2 million per hour appears to be available for Canadian programs vs 3 to 4 million per hour for US programs. I don't want to say that you can't do quality programming at that price but it's going to limit what you can and can't do. Certainly a sitcom seems to be within striking range. But the CSI or Lost style shows are just not do able here and those are the mega-dramas that the US just eats up.
   comment by vinny9 (#33) on October 11, 2006

CSI is co-owned and co=produced by Canadian company Alliance Atlantis (shout out to the Yaffes). I'm sure they made a killing on that investment.
   comment by dustin (#1) on October 12, 2006

Good point. But, sadly, if you had a business plan that started with the CBC and then planned to export the show to the US, I think you might have a hard time finding the big bucks you'd need vs starting with a show that is made for the US and travels outward from there.
   comment by vinny9 (#33) on October 12, 2006

The phrase go big or go home comes to mind. Canadian TV or business for that matter will never be able to put on a show that American businesses or TV can put on. Plain and simple $$$ Americans can afford to throw stupid amounts of money at something to make it great unlike Canadians who are cheap cheap cheap. Americans live and die by this saying "Go Big or Go Home" and until Canadians can afford to embrace that same moto well just stick to Canada.
   comment by blee on November 1, 2006

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