Eased CanCon Requirements Will Allow Corus to Lean Into Unscripted Content, Says Exec

The CRTC easing the rules will enable the media company to only put five percent of their annual revenue into scripted drama and comedy shows

BY Megan LaPierrePublished May 16, 2024

Earlier this week, the news broke that the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had granted mass media company Corus Entertainment permission to decrease spending on programs of national interest for its English-speaking stations from 8.5 to five percent of its revenue amid "dire" financial circumstances. 

Many were disappointed to hear of the expected reduction in CanCon programming — however, Corus Executive Vice President Troy Reeb has now provided more information to City News about how the eased requirements will affect the nature of the company's output.

Namely, Reeb said that spending less money on scripted drama and comedy shows would enable Corus to lean into unscripted entertainment like reality shows, lifestyle content and news. The $35 million that the company is no longer spending on the CRTC's required "programs of national interest" will now be able to be invested in Canadian content for properties including Global Television, W Network, YTV and History, according to Reeb.

The exec describes content like HGTV's tropical restoration series Island of Bryan and History Channel treasure-hunting doc Deadman's Curse as the kind of programming Corus "can get a better return on." Reeb explained, "These are all programs that can be done in the unscripted space at a lower price point than scripted comedies, dramas and kids shows, and reach just as many — or in many cases more — audiences than scripted Canadian programs do."

While Reeb wouldn't say exactly which Corus shows would be affected by the changes in funding, he cited the legal drama Family Law and now-defunct Jason Priestly cop show Private Eyes as examples in the typically "financially challenged" scripted genres.

"The last thing anyone wants to see is a reduction in the amount of Canadian content being produced," the executive said. "But the solution to that is to not force struggling Canadian companies to create content that audiences don't want to see."

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