CANADA'S VIDEO REVOLUTION: PAY-TV, HOME VIDEO, AND BEYOND
Volume 11 Number 5.
The text is a reflection and outgrowth of the interest in electronic media and their applications within society. The first eight chapters each conclude with suggested policy orientations for a particular cultural industry. In the first two chapters, there is a discussion of the fundamental changes that technology has brought to cultural industries and their potential impact on the home environment. Technology is conceptualized as a linking force between them.
Chapter three reviews the current state of knowledge in broadcasting, cable, and pay-TV in the United States. Chapter four assesses how prepared Canadian producers are to take advantage of the vastly increased need for programming in the United States and presumably in Canada. The chapter concludes by suggesting that Canadians were geared up for the domestic market and not for the international market. In chapter five, the role of the CRTC is reviewed through a discussion of broadcasting decisions over the previous decade. The author concluded that the CRTC did not realize the magnitude or the opportunity available to stimulate the development of high-quality Canadian programming. Chapter six reflects upon the new era of cable, pay-TV, and direct broadcast satellites. The author concludes that Canadian programming will have to get better if it is to attract Canadian audiences.
Chapter seven deals with the development of videocassette recorders, videodiscs, and other television hardware such as large screens and stereo television. This development is seen as complementary to the traditional delivery systems and is viewed as accommodating people in a more flexible mode in the home environment. Chapter eight introduces interactive media to the home in such forms as computers, videotex, electronic games, and on-line information systems. As the author indicates, there has been an early growth cycle in audiovisual media, and this has prompted interactive media. However, we are unaware of the far-reaching social/cultural impact as far as the development of a new information society is concerned. Policy for the new interactive media and the audiovisual media has a similar theme: how to stimulate the development of Canadian content in software that can achieve a share of the domestic and international markets.
The final chapter discusses the major policy themes stemming from the impact of new communications technologies on Canada's cultural industries. It summarizes a number of policy proposals for different levels within the Canadian government. It is argued that while each sector of the economy has .been involved in the discussion of the expropriation of federal investment funds, cultural industries and communications deserve a special place within a hierarchy of government policy circles.
The text is written in a pseudo-academic style and has been arranged in an orderly fashion for the reader. It contains a series of chapter notes discussing and putting into perspective the comments of the author. As previously stated, the chapters are organized toward a discussion of policy formation in the Canadian television and communications fields. The text contains a number of statistical charts that are reasonably up to date.
The author, Peter Lyman, is the managing director of the Nordicity Group Ltd., and is an author of several studies on economic, cultural, and communications policy. This text, in a series from the Canadian Institute for Economic Policy, is of the same high standard as this illustrious body puts out on a regular basis. It is recommended for senior secondary and college students interested in the development and the implications of the information society within Canada.
Ian Ferguson, Alberta Culture, Edmonton, AB.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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