On media convergence

Posted: February 7, 2007 in News and views

(Disclaimer: Sorry if this entry is totally incoherent – I’m not sure it makes sense or that I’m getting my point across.)

A new gameshow started a few weeks ago in Quebec called Le Banquier (The Banker), which is, apparently, our version of an American show called Deal or No Deal – which someone told me is actually a version of a Dutch show.

Now, seems, from the 15 minutes I watched that you don’t need any particular knowledge to play this game. No skills other than the ability to jump up and down and act insane on TV. Basically, it’s just a question of odds, and ogling pretty models, so meh, whatever.

You can win up to $500,000 I think. What can I say, we’re cheap in Quebec, no million dollar jackpots here.

And yes there is a point to this post. I think.

It’s the whole convergence thing that freaks me out on this. Quebecor owns a TV network (TVA which airs the show), as well as numerous newspapers the Journal de Montréal, the Journal de Québec, the Ottawa Sun, the Toronto Sun, the London Free Press, the Winnipeg Sun, the Edmonton Sun, the Calgary Sun*, the free commuter dailies in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver as well as nine local dailies in Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta). It is the largest magazine publisher in Quebec. It owns Videotron, the Quebec cable company, which also provides internet connections and phone services. It owns Archambault, one of the biggest bookstores in Quebec as well as most of the major publishers.

The host (and producer) of the show, Julie Snyder, also happens to be the wife of the guy who owns this whole passel of media outlets. Surprise surprise. I’m not sure her production company doesn’t belong to Quebecor too.

Now, on Le Banquier one evening a lady won $25,000. The next day she was in all Quebecor’s newspapers, and a bit later in all their weekly magazines, and more freakishly, on the 6:00 pm news. Not on the morning shows, not on the entertainment shows. Nope. On the “serious” news.

I have no problems with empire builidng as such, I mean more power to Pierre Peladeau and his son Pierre-Karl, who took over when his father died.

And I do realize that it’s the same everywhere, in every sector. I do, however find it distrubing that these conglomerates own all the news outlets and basically are in a position to dictate today’s news – even if it isn’t news in any way, shape or form. It somehow feels just wrong. I find it troubling how these companies basically “make” the news. What, are there no more famines? have all the wars been ended overnight and there’s no news other than how this woman won $25,000? Should we care? Why? So we can try to get on your show or watch it and help the ratings soar?

Another example. A couple of weeks ago, a radio station (98.5 FM), a TV network (TVA) and a newspaper (Le Journal de Montreal) – surprise surprise – had a survey done on Quebecers and racism. It was splashed across the news media for a week, with an “in-depth” analysis of a particular aspect of the survey each day. Thing is, was it news? I don’t happen to think so; it was fabricated because, I suppose, someone figured we hadn’t had a good kerfuffle in a long time.

Besides, a survey is so easy to fix, just ask the questions in order to get the answer you want. And there seems to be more and more of this going on and it annoys the hell out of me. I basically forego the news because, well, what’s the point really?

How much of it is news?

Rant over, and to paraphrase the immortal Evil Spock:

Jazz out.

* I can’t help thinking, seeing all these Suns how bizarre it is to name a paper the Sun. Why? As for the Free Press, that’s sort of debatable too, I guess.

  1. Evil Spock says:

    You do realize there’s a licensing fee when you use that phrase.Oh, and if Quebec wants to buy out The Needs of the Few, lets just say Evil Spock is listening.Until then, you should only get your news and entertainment from The Few.

  2. ticknart says:

    You know, I ask myself that same question every time I turn on the TV. That’s why I tend to ignore the news.

  3. Jazz says:

    Evil Spock – no licensing fee because a)I’ll plug your blog every time I use the phrase and b) you know you are my only source of news and entertainment.Jazz out. :-pTicknart – You and me both, T, you and me both.

  4. Steven Novak says:

    I hate Deal or No Deal…Though…without Howie Mandell….Hmmmm… ;)Steve~

  5. Jazz says:

    Steve – Howie Mandell? Is he on there? Is he the host? Geez, how nasty is that.

  6. Big Brother says:

    Let’s face it, Deal or No Deal is all about greed. You see it every time a contestant has to decide. In fact I think it is rather pitiful seeing all these pour greedy people being tempted into losing all th eir cash. They can’t even figure out the odds when they reach higher.As for convergence, just look at Star Academy. enough said

  7. choochoo says:

    Hey, I can jump up and down. And the insanity thing? No prob:D

  8. Jazz says:

    BB – At least on Survivor you have to actually DO something to feed the greed. Geez, I’m a poet?Choo – but would you humiliate yourself on national TV?

  9. Gledwood says:

    Actually Deal or No Deal is a Brit show … (Our last great contribution to the world..!!)I only found you by chance… hopping at random from blog to blog …I keep a blog too; I’m at gledwood2.blogspot.com. Drop by! It’s very different to yours…& you can take part in my amazing horrorscope competition …All the Best now, fromGledwood

  10. Jazz says:

    Gledwood – Oh wow, a random hit! Dunno if I ever got one of those…

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