Plus de 800 000 nouveaux sites Internet sont mis en ligne chaque jour. Environ 90 % des données numériques disponibles sur le Web ont été créées durant les deux dernières années. Chaque minute, Google gère plus de 4 millions de recherches, Facebook 2,5 millions de partages, et YouTube 72 heures de vidéos.

D’où la question aussi simple que capitale pour les producteurs de contenus culturels : comment faire pour se démarquer ? Autrement dit, comment faire pour attirer l’attention des publics potentiels ?

« Le problème de base pour nous, maintenant que nous sommes en ligne, c’est de réussir à capter l’attention de quelqu’un, expliquait récemment au Devoir le directeur de Paris Match Olivier Royant. Avant, notre magazine était acheté une fois par semaine. Aujourd’hui, avec nos applications, les gens sont en contact avec nous plusieurs fois par jour. Ils cheminent avec nous et il faut pouvoir les accompagner. Mais pour les accompagner, il faut d’abord les trouver et les intéresser. »

Un directeur du New York Times a déjà résumé le problème ainsi : avant, son édition en kiosque compétitionnait avec une poignée d’autres quotidiens ; maintenant, en ligne, son site d’information se bat contre des milliers et des milliers d’autres sources de nouvelles et de divertissement, dont Angry Birds.

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In the world of “tv” programming, search is relatively straightforward. More complicated is discovery, an imperfect process of exposing oneself to the unknown in search of the indefinable – “I’ll know what I want when I see it…”

There is no bright line between search and discovery. They take place on a continuum.  At one end is a targeted hunt for a specific piece of content. At the other end is an immersion in a vast universe of exponentially growing content, hoping for a serendipitous result. The sweet spot probably falls somewhere in between, where one searches for something within certain parameters.

No doubt viewers have a wide range of motivations for watching “television” programming. My motivations fall into three main categories:

  • LEARN: Find out what is going on in the world, my country, my community
  • SHARE: Experience programs with others, both during and after viewing, e.g. around the proverbial water cooler
  • RELAX: Unplug and entertain my otherwise busy brain

However, there are many other ways I can learn, share and relax. For example, I can get a news fix, including CBC news, from numerous other sources on several platforms. I can share other types of experiences with my family and friends. As for water cooler chat, that has mostly disappeared as people watch a wide range of programs. Apart from online fan discussions, gone is our collective obsession with who shot JR or killed Laura Palmer. Finally, while flopping in front of a screen is a mindless way to sedate the brain, other activities such as exercise and mediation have much better results for the body and mind!

So to keep me engaged in “television” programming, there needs to be programming I want to watch. Whereas I was once content to watch back-to-back episode of Gilligan’s Island after school, my expectations have since increased. That starts with productions that are well-written, well-acted (if drama or comedy) and well-produced. That includes Canadian content that uniquely and authentically reflects place.

Plus the programming needs to be available to me at a reasonable price. But beyond that, I need to be able to find or “discover” new programming.

In my experience there is much that could be done to improve the viewer’s experience of the search-discovery continuum. Here are my top 6 ideas – put out there with little consideration of well-established business models or current technology. 😉

  • Navigating various clickers tests a viewer’s patience. (Consider Canada’s aging population.) A simple, universal remote control device/keyboard, would help.
  • Ditto for program guides. Let me search for programs using any terms I choose.

A fully searchable menu that is organized by genres and language rather than channels would be useful. Think of categories provided by music streaming services. Viewers don’t know and don’t care if a show is on Global or CBC or where it is on the “dial”.

  • Make more seamless a hybrid model of broadcast and on-demand programming. Maintain the broadcasting of scheduled programs worthy of mandatory distribution. All other programming, whether newly released shows or content from the back catalogue /“Long Tail” would be on demand from the same distributor upon first release, replacing the system of release “windows”. A regime of collective licensing, like that used in the music business, would provide remuneration, in addition to revenues from subscriptions and targeted advertisements.
  • Algorithms are cool, but have limitations. Viewer reviews and recommendations would also help me choose a program. In addition to written reviews, let viewers vote on programs using the aforementioned universal remote control devices. Allow for distinct categories of viewers, including critics, like Rotten Tomatoes does.
  • Words do not alone convey enough information for me to make a decision about whether to watch a program. Trailers are much more convincing and only take a minute or two. A picture tells a thousand words.
  • Flag the country of origin of a program so viewers can find programming from the country of their choice, including Canada.

Don’t you think discovery could be way more easy, fun and rewarding?

Qu’y a-t-il de bon à la télé ce soir? C’est la très populaire question autour de laquelle le CRTC conviera tous les intervenants du milieu de la télévision à une grande discussion, avec pour objectif d’améliorer la «découvrabilité» des contenus télévisuels en cette époque de multiplication des canaux.

Les 1er et 3 décembre prochains, Vancouver et Montréal tiendront respectivement deux conférences intitulées «En route vers le Sommet de la découvrabilité». L’organisateur, le CRTC, souhaite qu’elles puissent déboucher sur de nouvelles solutions pour que les consommateurs arrivent à retrouver le contenu qui les attire et que les producteurs arrivent à faire remarquer le leur.

«À la fin des années 60, il n’y avait que quelques chaînes et ce sont elles qui jouaient le rôle de curation», commence par expliquer le président du CRTC, Jean-Pierre Blais, en entrevue avec La Presse.

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What we love is music. We listen to everything, from rock to country to jazz to classical, and everything in between. We discover music in our own unique way. On road trips as a family, we take turns changing stations by hitting the “scan” button on the radio.  The driver starts, which means it’s usually me… There are three of us in the car: my son, my spouse and myself. I start. I “scan” until I find a song I like or a sound that moves me.  Then we listen to the song together. If we know it, we all sing along. If we don’t, we use a song recognition app, like Shazam, to add the song to our playlist on, for example, Google Play Music.  When the song ends, someone else in the car chooses the next song. It’s always a bit longer when my spouse chooses… go figure! Ads here, news there, traffic reports… bla bla bla… What we really love is music—local music, foreign music, in French, in English, upbeat, mellow—whatever. Music inspires us, it entertains us, and it makes us dream. Long live music!

OTTAWA – The CRTC has announced plans to hold two events leading up to its Discoverability Summit next May.

In collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), the Commission will host the first event in Vancouver on December 1st at The Chan Centre for Performing Arts from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM. As reported, ‘En route to the Discoverability Summit: Content in the Age of Abundance’ will be moderated by CBC Radio Spark host and creator Nora Young, and feature Tony Chapman, founder and CEO of Tony Chapman Reactions, as the keynote speaker.

Discussions will focus on English-language markets, the CRTC confirmed Tuesday. Attendance will be by invitation due to the limited number of seats, but will be live streamed on the CRTC’s YouTube channel.

A second ‘En route’ event, focusing on French-language markets, will take place in Montreal. Details for this event will be released shortly.

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Major summits—those meetings of minds that gather together thought-leaders to tackle existential questions in the face of looming crisis—tend to have the nasty habit of being too little, too late. That’s especially true of cultural industries, which rely on rapidly evolving technology but tend to see it as a kind of frightening arcana than as an ally. Take, for instance, a seminal meeting in 2000, when Hilary Rosen, head of the Recording Industry Association of America, convened the world’s top record-label execs, still buzzing from yet another fantastic year for the industry: they made $14.6 billion the year before. Rosen brought them together to talk about some new-fangled thing the kids called Napster. From John Seabrook’s The Song Machine:

“So I set up a computer,” Rosen recalled in the film Downloaded, “and I said, OK [Sony Music CEO] Tommy [Mottola], what’s your latest single?’ or ‘Michelle [Anthony, a top executive under Mottola], what’s your latest single?’ Literally we played ‘Stump the Napster.’ ” Every song the record men in the room could think of was available. In his 2003 book about Napster, All the Rave, Joseph Menn also described this meeting: “As the crowd grew increasingly uncomfortable, a Sony executive tried to cut the tension. ‘Are you sure suing them is enough?’ he asked. The capper came when someone suggested a hunt for the ‘NSYNC song Bye Bye Bye. The cut had been on the radio for just three days, and the CD hadn’t been released for sale yet. And there it was.”

2000 may have been the last great year for record labels. Even after the meeting, the execs had no idea what to do about Napster, so they sued it into oblivion—which, as continued piracy proves, may have not been so wise. Industry revenues have since been halved.

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November 3, 2015 – Gatineau/Montreal – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)/National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

Audiovisual content is everywhere: on television, on the Internet, on smartphones and on tablets. In this age of abundance, discoverability is key.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), in collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), will host an event in Vancouver, on December 1, 2015, to start a discussion on the discoverability of content.

The Age of Abundance

Hundreds of scripted and other television series are being developed in Canada, in the U.S. and in other countries around the world. It is estimated that over 400 scripted television series were being developed for television this year in North America alone.

In addition, a plethora of online streaming services are available worldwide.

Many viewers say they are overwhelmed with these choices and have a hard time finding the content they want. They are asking less and less “what’s on?” but “what should I watch?” And in this era, the traditional ways of discovering content need to evolve. How can viewers find the content they want to watch more easily? How do creators bring content to viewers? That’s what discoverability is about!

The Discoverability Summit

The CRTC and the NFB will host, in May 2016, the Discoverability Summit, a unique, authoritative, world-class event. The Summit will be a forum for learning and creative discussions with respect to new strategies, tools and approaches to tackle the challenge of discoverability.

En Route Events

Leading up to the Discoverability Summit, the CRTC and the NFB will kick-start the conversation on discoverability by hosting two half-day events known as En route to the Discoverability Summit: Content in the Age of Abundance. These events will gather experts from a variety of fields to generate preliminary ideas and strategies and create momentum for the Discoverability Summit. Attendance will be by invitation as there is a limited number of seats.


The first En Route event will take place in Vancouver, at The Chan Centre for Performing Arts, December 1, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Discussions will focus on English-language markets. The event will be live streamed, so make sure to subscribe to the CRTC’s YouTube channel and tune in on December 1st! Moderated by Nora Young, host and creator of Spark on CBC Radio, the Vancouver event will feature Tony Chapman, Founder and CEO of Tony Chapman Reactions as the keynote speaker.


A second En route event, focusing on French-language markets, will take place in Montreal. Stay tuned for details on this event.

For the latest news and to join the discoverability conversation:

Quick Facts

  • Discoverability is a domestic and international challenge in many cultural sectors, including but not limited to, audiovisual, music, and book publishing.
  • The CRTC and the NFB are collaborating to host two pre-events to the Discoverability Summit that will take place in 2016.
  • The first pre-event will take place in Vancouver, at The Chan Centre for Performing Arts, December 1, 2015 from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm.
  • A second pre-event will take place in Montreal. Details for this event will be announced shortly.


“We live in an era where content is everywhere. We can watch it anytime and anywhere on the device of our choice. Discoverability is paramount to ensure viewers can connect with content that is meaningful to them, and that creators can find audiences for their creative products. Discoverability is a challenge in Canada and all over the world.

We are pleased to collaborate with the NFB, an organization that has a track record of experimenting with technology, to host the Discoverability Summit as well as two preliminary events. The events in Vancouver and Montreal will bring together experts from Canada and abroad to identify the technological, cultural, social and behavioural trends that should be explored.”

– Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman and CEO, CRTC

“The CRTC’s idea to hold a forum on the issues surrounding discoverability offers a unique opportunity to reflect on the impact that digital technologies have, not only on content, but on how we reach the public and establish a genuine relationship with them.

For the NFB, it is also an opportunity, as producer and public distributor, to share our experiences and expertise on these issues. Change is here to stay, and we must act. This is what we have always done and what we will continue to do with this important initiative.”

– Claude Joli-Coeur, Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the NFB

We were cleaning up our storage room the other day and I rediscovered some of the old vinyl LPs from my youth – Dire Straits, Madonna, T’Pau, Crowded House albums, along with several Martine St-Clair LPs (what can I say, I had a crush on her as a teen!).  While looking at the albums, my wife and I discussed what to do with them.  We don’t have a record player and we now listen to from our CDs or our mobile devices.

But I figured one of the albums might be of interest to my seventeen year-old son – Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms.  Not because I wanted to make him listen to what “good music” sounds like. Rather, because he already listens to this music, which he discovered on his own.  How did this happen? What I find interesting is that his love of older bands and musical genres comes from various sources, including through his own exploration, with his friends, of different musical genres.  YouTube gives him helpful nudges every once in a while – who hasn’t listened to something because a computer application suggested that they might like something similar.    And because of that, the music he listens to doesn’t fit into a neat category.  He’s just as likely to listen to Ron Sexsmith as he is to Daniel Bélanger, or to some obscure Japanese song that must have been similar to something else he likes!

In the span of 30 years, we’ve gone from a very linear, programmed approach to discovering content where somebody, like a MuchMusic VJ guided us towards new material to one where influences can come at us from all sorts of directions.  So who will be the curator who guides us in exploring this new world.  And does that curator have to be human?

P.S. As I expected, my son was quite pleased to take possession of the Dire Straits LP.  We just need to find a record player!

Is our marketplace under siege or underdeveloped?

 Is there too much content or too little of the right content?

 Is our content trapped or is it now business without boundaries?

These are three of the questions that we will explore during my Keynote Address at the Discoverability Summit, hosted by The CRTC and the National Film Board on December 1, 2015, in Vancouver.

Forces of change are rendering a new marketplace. Traditional broadcasters and brands are starving for cash, creators, producers and new distributors for an opportunity, and many of the old players are being dis-intermediated.

Almost anyone, anywhere, can create and publish, and that is driving an explosive growth in the abundance of content. Supply far outstrips demand; audiences have shattered, media continues to fragment and the new Titans; Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, etc., are trying to bring calm, control, and curation to this chaos.

The consumer is no longer a pawn, they are fully in charge. Armed with increasingly smarter and more intuitive devices, they have their content and community, they desire, within arms reach. No longer tethered to broadcasters who once dictated choice, time, and boundary they have moved with force from sedentary viewing to streaming, from linear to multi-screen and gamification, and their palette is shifting from ‘mass to my’ content.

The ‘Command and Control’ Gatekeepers with their fixed schedules and budgets have surrendered their keys. In their place are monetization models including subscription, pay for view, ad and brand sponsored, and crowd-funded. Business to business platforms is caving under the weight of direct to consumer. Social media is replacing the need for an instant hit. Around the corner is a world of hyper-connectivity, where 20 billion ‘machines’ will be connected all with the goal of enabling lives and livelihood.

For Canadian content producers and distributors, it is our time to realize our destiny, to capitalize on the opportunity. To create content that is worth discovering.

News, sports, and water cooler discussion shows will continue to create a market for appointment viewing. Big budget, professionally produced content will continue to draw big audiences. Curated user generated content, world’s worst home videos, first dances; cute puppies will have their 15 Megs of Fame. Just in time content that enhances the human’s experiences with their machines and platforms or simply entertains as they live, work, play and even shunted around in their driverless cars. Niche markets that serve culture, ethnicity, curiosity, behaviour or deep dives into long tail passions are all valid and worth serving.

In this new world order, trust and talent, not timetables will matter most. The content that best feeds the viewer’s appetite for funny, scary, love, fear, knowledge, purpose, first to know, self-actualization, tribal, etc. will win. Why? Emotion and need fires engagement and engagement will always be the oxygen of our industry.

This industry will be no ‘skip pin the park’. Demand will never match supply as the barriers to creating content continue to collapse. Technology will do more for less, and the digital natives of Generation Y and Z will create, collaborate and mash as second nature.

Subsidization will decrease resulting in discoverability becoming the lifeblood of our respective enterprises. The creators and distributors that harness the power and potential of data to shape their stories and distribution paths will hold a trump card of immense value. Quality Algorithms that values engagement over eyeballs will emerge. Big data and powerful technology will map out each viewer’s journey and offer monetization opportunities at every touch point. Did the content inspire and motivate the viewer to consume more? Did it motivate the use of a second screen to explore or discover more, to dive deeper, to invite, share, contribute or even fund the content? Did it add to the building of a passionate community? Did the viewing experience trigger adjacent purchases?

This is our time, Canada’s time, to re-imagine, re-invent and re-act to Content in the Age of Abundance. Join in the conversation at the CRTC’s and NFB’s Discoverability Summit. Watch it live at on December 1st and use #discoverability on social media during the event.

Re-Act with me @TonyChapman and

Ne pas être préoccupé de la présence et de la visibilité des contenus des industries culturelles et créatives sur le web, c’est, pour une institution: attendre d’être obsolète ou, pour une entreprise:  être bientôt ou déjà mise hors jeu par les grands intermédiaires technologiques.

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