Saturday, March 20, 2010

CTV Looks Backwards in Paralympics Coverage

After CTV responded to viewer concerns and stepped up to the plate with both television coverage and online live streaming to make the Olympics an excellent experience, and after Brian Williams had introduced a promo piece on the Paralympics, I had muted yet high hopes that for once, we'd get to watch the Paralympics live on TV, or at least have live streaming of all events like we had with the Olympics. Then I thought perhaps those streams wouldn’t be direct from the television stations (CTV, Sportsnet, and TSN) as they had been during the Olympics, but at least be direct-to-internet ones. Ha!

CTV responded to the complaints and comments about the Paralympics coverage by giving BC, and only BC, viewers the chance to watch the Paralympics Opening Ceremonies live (and in doing so mimicking Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s fine politics of division). Then in a bold step, they recently announced they’d broadcast live to the whole country the Closing Ceremonies. But as for showing any event live, tough. Only the cable stations showed live events, only alternating between the two stations, not simultaneously with different events, not every day, not on all their local iterations, and only sledge hockey. As for online streams, CTV relied on paralympicsport.tv and felt it unnecessary – despite much Canuckian unhappiness – to do for the Paralympics what they had done for the Olympics.

I know they were shocked at the millions and millions of hits they had on their Olympics site as people flocked there to watch the various events live, but I would’ve thought that would put a spark in their eyes about what they could do for the Paralympics, not send them scurrying back into their usual-modus-operandi-of-showing-American-reruns-rather-than-a-Canadian-live-event. I would’ve thought that they would grasp this opportunity and leap past their competitors into the exciting world of live Internet broadcast. I would’ve thought they’d have the vision of a first world country showing the globe that it’s a good thing to include all people of all abilities everywhere by broadcasting on the Internet all the events live. Ha. Their old-age conservative mindset took hold again instead.

They responded to complaints by whining about how they did more than previous host broadcasters of Paralympics (or the CBC) as if it was terribly brave and hard to do more. We all know even a daily highlights package was more, previous coverage being so pitiful. Worse, they had no clue, despite going on and on about it during the Olympics, that the national spirit of unity, of one Canada, infected every Canadian to the point that they wanted to include their fellow Canadians with disabilities in the party, to see all elite athletes shine as the Olympians had, to shine live and proud.

Well, CTV had other ideas. Phhttt to the idea of those with disabilities being as exciting to watch as the Olympians. Piffle to the idea of giving Canadians choice as to which event they could watch live as they had been able to do during the Olympics. Phui to the idea of even showing highlights on the main broadcast network, which would garner a much bigger audience for the Paralympics. And a big raspberry to uniting Canada.

I shall not be surprised if they once again diss the Junos, scheduling it around some foreign US program, showing it live to some Canadians, not to others. And if once again they hide the Grey Cup on TSN, a paid-cable channel, instead of, with bright forward-looking eyes, broadcast it live, at the same time, on the Internet to all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

7 comments:

ivision4u said...

Could not agree with you more. Regardless of how much more coverage of the Paralympics their has been in reference to what there has been in the past, there simply needs to be better distribution of that content. CTV needs to recognition that their is an audience that wants that content and they want it live as well as achieved, whether that be on-line or on the TV. I have been keeping an active blog and a virtual 3D Olympics at http://blog.virtualwhistler.com and if you visit it you will notice that I have been overly positive. I love these Olympic and Paralympic games but I am rather frustrated to say the least. I WANT TO SEE MORE PARALYMPIC GAMES. I am lucky because I live in Whistler and get to see the odd event live, but these games are quite captivating and I am saddened to put it mildly that I can not see more of the games!!!!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. Here's what I e-mailed to CTV, TSN, & Sportsnet West:

I am very disappointed with the lack of full coverage of the 2010 Paralympic Games. I know that ParalympicSportTV exists but there are many, many people who do not have computer and/or internet access.

I watched many hours of the Olympics and believe that you wasted a lot of time and money money with various hosts "chatting" to each other, etc. Forget this and give us more real sports coverage. You could have cut out all those filler times and shown all of the Paralympics, giving them the same coverage as the Olympics.

I believe that many, many people - myself included - find the Paralympic Games and Athletes even MORE interesting and exciting than the Olympics/Olympians.

Please, get up-to-date. Equal access means equal coverage on your networks.

Thank-you.

As well, this also applies to all Women's sports!

talk talk talk / Shireen said...

Anon, Good letter! When I was watching the Closing Ceremony last night, I started thinking how far ahead Canadians are to both their leadership and the media. So far in fact that while we Canadians enthusiastically supported the Paralympics and before that the Olympics, the media were caught off guard, so off guard that they couldn't even comprehend the level of interest and desire to watch the various Paralympic events. They couldn't understand why they'd have to adjust their schedule of American repeats or even put their feeds back up online. What a lost opportunity.

talk talk talk / Shireen said...

ivision4u, I was envious of those living in the area because they could see events live and be immersed in the whole thing. I was quite frustrated at how difficult it was to see the events I wanted to because it wasn't on TV, specifically the main broadcast network of CTV. The few times I found the highlights package, I was amazed at how bad it was. Long periods of silence, no experienced sports host to guide viewers, like CBC had. Total fail!

I'd probably be overpositive too! :D

CQ said...

I missed the start of the next day's afternoon airing of the Paralympics Opening Ceremonies as it started on a half-hour rather than as annmounced for the top of the hour. Then there were virtually no same day televised recaps from CTV either.

Later today TV provision consumers will probably get to spend extra dollars for CTV's mandatory carriage of stuff like their TalkTV/MTV licence.

talk talk talk / Shireen said...

CQ, Good to hear from you! I had watched it live (on cable) fortunately because they changed the time of the afternoon taped airing at the last minute, and I'd have been like you, missed some of it.

I couldn't believe that the highlights package yesterday included none of the events that had happened Sunday, including Brian McKeever's third gold medal. I'm going to have to go to paralympicsport.tv and see if I can get the archive going for that race.

Yeah. CTV and Rogers are both a drain on our pockets and don't provide us with the Canadian programming they're supposed to. I wish CRTC would discipline them, yank their licenses until they behave.

Torrance said...

Hi My name is Torrance. I agree with what you wrote. It's the same for London 2012 paralympics on CTV. The lack of coverage is ridiculous!! That is why a petition has been started at http://tinyurl.com/csh8879. Come Join Our cause on facebook as well: https://www.facebook.com/ProvideFullCoverageForTheParalympics.