World Media 2006: Canada

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 31 March 2006 12:00AM

The creative industries are flourishing in Canada and its ad agencies are challenging their US counterparts. Meanwhile, its biggest media owner wants a relaxation of the ownership rules.

Since 2001, Canada has put in the best economic performance of the G8 countries. It now has a GDP in excess of $1 trillion (the UK, in comparison, weighs in at $1.78 trillion, the US at $11.75 trillion) and its profile has moved closer to that of its fellow G8 members, with less dependence on agriculture and more on the service sector.

Its creative industries in particular are flourishing and its ad agencies are continuing to come out of the shadow traditionally cast by their US counterparts. Canadian agencies have started to excel at Cannes, while creative hotshops, notably Taxi, are even taking the fight to Madison Avenue and pitching for US accounts.

That said, Canada's status generally continues to be defined by its relationship with its superpower neighbour to the south and the two share the largest mutual trading relationship of any two countries in the world. However, that does not necessarily mean everything is sweetness and light.

The current US regime was rather peeved that Canada refused even to lend moral support to its adventure in Iraq. Canadian politicians compounded the situation during their recent general election campaigns by criticising the US's environmental track record. That situation has not made it any easier to resolve ongoing trade disputes, particularly the punitive US tariffs on lumber.

But Canada effectively has trade barriers of its own and one of the most contentious operates in the media sector. Historically, Canadian media legislation has bent over backwards to assuage cultural sensitivities in what is an ethically diverse and federally governed country.

Canada's dominant media owner, CanWest, has lobbied for years to get the quota system for home-produced TV programming relaxed. CanWest argues that, in an age when younger consumers have access to video streaming via broadband, internet quotas are not only redundant but will actually penalise indigenous Canadian media owners in the long term.

CanWest would also like more scope for mergers and acquisitions in its home market (recently it has had to focus its expansion strategy overseas).

But the company is already dominant and Canadian voters are known to be implacably opposed to further media consolidation. It remains to be seen what line the new Canadian government will take on this one.

ADVERTISING EXPENDITURE USdollars million at current prices. All years based on US$1= C$1.3. *Estimated Total TV Newspapers Magazines Radio 1994 4,166 1,361 1,840 297 569 1995 4,303 1,422 1,905 287 575 1996 4,518 1,523 1,965 288 609 1997 4,996 1,616 2,258 314 658 1998 5,447 1,777 2,415 347 715 1999 5,637 1,834 2,471 353 742 2000 5,825 1,742 2,613 395 780 2001 5,725 1,650 2,544 416 815 2002 5,872 1,690 2,558 429 839 2003 6,334 1,951 2,590 469 912 2004 6,763 2,142 2,641 497 958 2005 7,057 2,218 2,689 509 996 2006* 7,330 2,294 2,737 524 1,036 2007* 7,608 2,368 2,784 539 1,082 2008* 7,902 2,443 2,831 559 1,137 Total Outdoor Online Cinema 1994 4,166 93 6 0 1995 4,303 109 6 0 1996 4,518 127 6 0 1997 4,996 136 6 8 1998 5,447 168 6 19 1999 5,637 187 7 43 2000 5,825 202 8 85 2001 5,725 216 9 75 2002 5,872 210 11 135 2003 6,334 218 12 182 2004 6,763 233 12 280 2005 7,057 248 13 384 2006* 7,330 264 14 461 2007* 7,608 282 15 538 2008* 7,902 302 16 615 Adspend notes 1) Excludes agency commission. 2) Excludes production costs. 3) Includes classified advertising. 4) After discounts. 5) Magazines exclude trade titles. FACTFILE Highest circulating titles - Newspaper: Toronto Star (regional daily, 3.3 million copies) - Business magazine: Canadian Business (fortnightly, 92,000 copies) - Consumer magazine: TV Times (weekly, 1.6 million copies) Top TV shows - Most watched TV programme (2004): Canadian Idol - Best new TV format: You Bet Your Ass - gameshow Major measurement tools - Circulation: Canadian Newspaper Association; PMB - Readership: CARD, CMDC - TV viewing: BBM Main media owners - Newspapers: Hollinger Canadian, Quebecor - Magazines: Rogers Media, Transcontinental Media - Television: CBC (public), CanWest

THE LOWDOWN

Media topic du jour: Should the new government cut CanWest even more slack?

Reigning media guru and why: John Cassaday, the chief executive of Corus Entertainment, which owns radio, cable and satellite assets.

Media mogul to be seen dining with: Ivan Fecan, the chief executive of Bell Globe Media, who oversees Canada's major television network, its top internet portals and its most respected paper.

Car to drive: The Mercedes is back, especially in black.

Phone to carry: BlackBerry.

Whatever you do don't say: President Bush is misunderstood.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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