En route to the Discoverability Summit:
Content in the Age of Abundance
Thursday, December 3, 2015
8:30 a.m. – 12:40 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time)
407 St-Pierre Street
Mr. Matthieu Dugal Moderator
Mr. Jean-Pierre Blais Chairman and CEO, CRTC
Mr. Claude Joli-Coeur Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson, NFB
Mr. Pascal Lechevallier Keynote Speaker
Mr. Wale Gbadamosi-Oyekanmi CEO and Creative Director, Darewin
Mr. Sylvain Lafrance Adjunct Professor, HEC Montréal
Ms. Michèle Savard Senior Vice-President, Carat
Ms. Christine Thoër Associate Professor, Department of Public and Social Communication, UQAM
Mr. Jean-François Gagnon President and Founder, LVL
Ms. Suzanne Lortie Professor, Director of the communication program, UQAM’s École des médias
TABLE OF CONTENTS
— Upon commencing on Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 9:00
Welcoming Remarks by Moderator
MODERATOR: Hello everybody and welcome to what is going to be a busy morning. I am happy to see that this summit is so popular, and that there are people here representing all perspectives.
I’m Matthieu Dugal, host of the program La Sphère on Ici Radio-Canada Première, and columnist on the TV5 Monde show “300 million de critiques”, which in particular covers cultural issues in La Francophonie.
So quickly, I would like to tell you what awaits us this morning. There will be opening remarks from the Chairman of the CRTC, Jean-Pierre Blais, and also from Claude Joli-Cœur, Chairperson of the NFB, and a speech by Pascal Lechevallier. This will be followed by a round table with experts from various fields, and we will then conclude with an extensive question period around noon to deal with the issues raised.
I would also like to say hi to the people who are following us on YouTube.
Welcome, to this summit which has clearly – has been discoverable by many people this morning.
I would like to thank the Chairman of the CRTC, Jean-Pierre Blais, and all his team for allowing me to act as moderator today for issues that are of great interest to me, both as a great consumer of culture in all its forms and as host of the program La Sphère, which has in particular been covering these issues for over four years.
Thanks also to my boss, Louis Lalande, who is here this morning and who indeed is allowing us and is trusting us to continue to discuss these issues on Ici Radio-Canada Première. Now, looking at our audience figures and the comments of our audience, I think we can say that these issues are of great interest to many people.
I want to tell you that one of the many comments that I receive when people talk to me about the program, something that I often hear from people who are… who define themselves as technology dummies or people who are not great connoisseurs of technology and thank us for being there on the program because even if they’re not geeks, they like that program because it helps us to find our bearings in a digital world that quite often eludes us.
And I think we can say that apart from digital technology, we often feel a little bit overwhelmed by the speed with which these changes are occurring and changing our relationship… in particular our relationship with culture. That’s why events like this one this morning are so important if, for example, we want the term “Canadian culture” to still exist online, in our lives, when events are happening more and more online. Because, yes, that is what’s going to happen. All I have to do is remind you that virtual reality helmets will be on the market in a few months. So yes, that’s going to put us even more online.
So let’s start with that word, discoverability, which I discovered at the same time as you, I think. I don’t know if it was the CRTC that chose that word to define this event, but they nonetheless succeeded in finding a word that is listed almost nowhere. I did do a search on Google’s Ngram Viewer, and the fact is that there is no occurrence of this word on Ngram Viewer.
And compared to that, a word like “tardigrade” [seems like a star. So I invite you to go and look for “tardigrade” later on Ngram Viewer.
Well, this is perhaps also a chasm point intended to make us understand that on the Web, what is too hard to find or is simply something we do not want to go looking for, well, it doesn’t exist.
In a recent interview, I produced, with the Quebec Minister of Culture and Communications, Hélène David said, about the cultural plan: The cultural plan is not a complicated matter. Our culture has to be online. Our institutions have to have the means to digitize their contents, the means to develop contents directly for the Web.
And that was also the wager that had been made by… I don’t know how many people here have heard about the very fine British experiment, “The Space”. It was the British Arts Council and the BBC that had created this kind of immense space in 2012 so that British institutions could exist, could create contents specifically for the Web. That experiment was intended to be temporary, but it worked so well that the “The Space” experiment is still online.
We could also speak about the success, for example, of our French cousins with the podcasts of France Culture. You know that France Culture is a radio program whose audience numbers over conventional radio are not very high, but when you add what our French friends call “podcasts”, well, France Culture is one of the radio programs in France with the highest number of listeners, for the simple reason that we are not really interested in listening to “I Deguerre” at 11 o’clock in the morning. But perhaps when we are in our car, driving over long distances, then we might want to consume something else.
All these changes are occurring in a media world which has been defined by the economy of attention, an economy where these minutes the Internet user is willing to give us often have the power of life or death over our existence, an economy where the relationship to culture is also determined in the absence of desire, or rather in the presence of a desire that must not be made to wait. We want our content when we want it, otherwise it’s all over, we go on to something else.
Speaking of desire, indeed, there is an anecdote from the world of classical music. I am a great admirer of Johann-Sebastian Bach, a composer today quite impossible to surpass even though he did very little travelling and updated his status. I’ve always loved a rather delightful anecdote about one of his rare adventures outside his native region. He almost never left it except that one time. He was 20 years old. He was already quite a well-recognized organist, and he loved to play a composer by the name of Dietrich Buxtehude. Since Buxtehude lived in the northern part of Germany, Bach took a leave of absence, some four weeks of leave, so he could visit his idol. He made the trip on foot. He travelled 500 kilometres on foot, in 1705, in Germany, to meet a fellow he admired. Instead of spending four weeks in Lübeck, he spent four months, when he returned, he was given a slight reprimand. His employers were not very happy with him.
So we can say that Buxtehude, for Bach, was a very great prescriber of culture. When a person travels 500 kilometres on foot to meet an idol, this is a true case of cultural prescription.
I do not know many people today who would do the same thing, although we could perhaps ask ourselves questions about it. But one thing is clear, and that’s that these prescribers are very important in our relationship to culture, the people who say to us, “Hey, go see that, hey, read that.” Today this is still extremely important in spite of the fact that culture is, in principle, accessible at our fingertips.
The physical locations that identify how and where to consume culture are also evolving. We can remember back in the 1960s, Glenn Gould said, first, that he disliked giving concerts so much that he was not going to give them anymore, and secondly that at some point we are going to have a concert experience that was going to be optimal. In other words, this was the editing that the composer or interpreter himself was going to do in a place that was optimal, namely our living room. Obviously, people were not yet talking at the time about increased reality, but one thing is certain: this kind of disruption of the cultural space is happening now.
Other places like libraries are also experiencing rapid change. This fall, I was reading an essay by a French author, Virgil Clark, who is a veteran of the French National Library and who was lamenting the fact that in this twilight age of libraries, libraries are no longer this place, this sacred temple of silence where the librarians are some kind of transmitters of culture. It was indeed rather funny to see how Clark was making a radical criticism of these new places, because these new places, these new libraries have their advantages as well.
And the essayist and presenter Frédéric Martel – and I am going to end here – was presenting a comparable destiny in his very fine book, Smart, it’s a French book –an investigation into what is considered to be the most beautiful bookstore in the world. In this case, it’s not a library, it’s a book store. It’s the El Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires. I do not know if you have seen any photographs of it. It’s really an extraordinary place. So, today it’s a bookstore, but when it was opened in 1919, it was an entertainment venue where people danced the tango. It’s been a recording studio, a movie theatre, before becoming a home for books. And today, it houses the offices of one of the largest networks of the Latin-American world, the Taringa network. And so the interview that Frédéric Martel did with the cofounder of this site, Hernan Botbol… Hernan showed him the library. Imagine, he is in one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world and says, “Look, all this will disappear and what you see here, at some point, will be in a museum.”
We could lament this fact, like many people, or we could perhaps say to ourselves that there might be some advantages as well. We should remember that when printing was invented, there were people who lamented the fact that this marked the end of public readings. I think that we got over that.
What is important today is that we quickly turn to addressing issues of digitization, of accessibility, of competition with other cultural forms, but also the mission that we all have, if we are lovers of culture, if we want our culture to be perpetuated, to feel a desire towards this culture that surrounds us.
And obviously, the prescribers of culture are very important in all of this. The walls will perhaps disappear, but people have never before wanted so much content, and that is the good news.
And I am going to leave the epilogue to Frédéric Martel, in his book Enquête sur les Internets [enquiry into the internets], where he says:
“Because they do not want to understand this Internet that is arriving, those who fight against the Internet reject it when they should be acting on it. Instead of giving up along with those who see the decline of civilization, we should open up to the world and become actors in turn. The Internet is not a neutral phenomenon. It is neither good nor bad in itself. That will depend on what we will do together, whether we are passive or active in the face of technologies.”
I wish you an excellent Discoverability Summit.
MODERATOR: And now I would ask you to warmly greet the man who has made it possible for us all to be here this morning, Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC.
Opening Remarks by Jean-Pierre Blais and Claude Joli-Coeur
Mr. BLAIS: Hello everyone and welcome to the second event En route to the Discoverability Summit: Content in the Age of Abundance. A similar event took place in Vancouver a couple of days ago. I hope you joined us. This is a big country when you go from Vancouver to Montreal in a few days.
So before starting, however, I would ask you to look at – it says screen here, but I think it’s rather the wall – because we have a message from our new Minister of Canadian Heritage.
(PRÉSENTATION VIDÉO/VIDEO PRESENTATION)
MINISTER JOLY: As Minister of Canadian Heritage, I know that excellent content is produced here in Canada. Through their talent, creativity and skill, our creators make us laugh, cry and experience all kinds of emotions. In this digital era, we are overwhelmed with content on multiple platforms, and our stories risk not to be heard. Being able to find this content, whether it is a book, a film, a TV show or a piece of music, is a challenge, not just here but around the world.
I am pleased to see innovators and industry leaders like you gathered to discuss the paradigm shifts that are taking place and the opportunities they afford. I can’t be with you today and participate in your discussions, but I wish you a productive session. I will follow you on Twitter and Instagram to see the ideas and images that come out of your meetings. I look forward to the Discoverability Summit in the spring and to further our discussions.
Have a great day.
Mr. BLAIS: I wish to thank the Minister for having taken the time to participate in this virtual way. I think that she really wanted to participate in person in these events. She is going to follow us, I am sure, because she is very much in touch with what’s going on. But as you know, Parliament starting sitting in Ottawa, and her responsibilities as minister are forcing her to remain in Parliament.
I would also like, before, starting… I want to recognize that we are meeting here today on the traditional territories of the First Nations. I wish to thank them and pay tribute to their elders.
So, dear friends, if you are here today, it is because through your research, your occupations and your innovative projects, you have something new to contribute to the conversation about discoverability. I thank you for your presence.
I also wish to take this opportunity to acknowledge those who are following us on webcast. You can participate in the conversation taking place right now on social media while using the hashtag “discoverability”.
Last year, as you know, we had a major gathering on the subject of the future of television, entitled “Let’s Talk TV”. During that process, I asked stakeholders if they agreed with certain assumptions that the CRTC was making about the evolution of the audiovisual landscape.
There was a significant consensus and everyone agreed that the way content is distributed and consumed in Canada and throughout the world is changing and continuing to evolve.
In the past, traditional television broadcasters acted as curators of audiovisual content. The programing schedule obliged us, the television viewers, to manage our time so as not to miss our favourite programs. Today, we can view content where and when we want. These days, we hear a lot of talk about the disappearance of the role as the intermediary of traditional broadcasters, caused by the disturbing impact of technology, combined with the way that television viewers are interacting with this technology. This is not only a matter of technology.
However, the times in which we are living are not completely free of all forms of mediation. Other forms have rather emerged, what we might call re‑mediators, in order to remediate some direction to the situation. These are, at a certain level, new intermediaries.
In passing, Matthieu, let me say that I like neologists, and I don’t know how long it will take before we see the new trademark “e-discoverability”, but it shouldn’t be long.
The emerging of these new intermediaries often takes place through video on demand services, applications or other online services. It is in this context that discoverability is particularly important.
When we talk about these new methods of consuming content, we also have to recognize the importance of broadband which, in a certain sense, allows the emerging of this new phenomenon.
In this digital age, content must be available and accessible. In the next 10 years, television viewers will continue to migrate from the traditional programing schedule to the on-demand formula. They will increasingly want to be masters of the content they are watching and will be looking for new and innovative ways to participate in the process.
This shift in consumer behaviour has already begun in Canada and elsewhere. Canadians consume more content online and on mobile devices, binge-watching their favourite shows, using different ways to find and discover the new programming from across the globe.
In this digital age, content must be available and accessible. That being said, Canadians are still watching a lot of traditional television, and nobody thinks that this is going to change in the near future. The current methods for promoting content, such as articles in newspapers and magazines, and the participation of our creators in entertainment programming, are still very valid.
The new challenge for discoverability, however, is to give our listeners more opportunities to discover content on multiple platforms. How can we make sure that they are able to discover content that interests them and is relevant? How can quality content find a place for itself in a sea of digital content and streaming services? It is your capacity to adapt that will dictate whether or not your content will succeed in the world markets. That’s your challenge.
The solution will not present itself to you if you do not work together. If you work in isolation, you are bound to fail. Collective thinking is needed to find solutions. But ultimately the outcome is in your hands.
Let’s be clear about the objectives of this discussion. This is not a regulatory hearing. Neither the pre-events nor the Summit itself are part of a regulatory proceeding leading to new regulations or new regulatory policies.
Through this approach, the CRTC wishes to bring together and mobilize the various players. We are starting a conversation in order to explore new ideas, new tools, new management models in order to improve discoverability for the benefit of Canadian television viewers and the international community.
Today, we will be focusing our discussions on the French-language markets. I say French-language markets in the plural, both in its majority and minority realities.
Last Tuesday, in Vancouver, we discussed the same issues but from the perspective of English-language markets.
The French-language market is unique in Canada, and I would say it is even avant-garde in its outlook. Online and streaming services, such as Tou.tv, the NFB, TFO and Éléphant were available before similar English-language services.
The star system is very much part of the French-language markets, and actors and program hosts are not the only people who attract crowds. People behind the camera are known and recognized as well. Directors, authors and script writers appear regularly on various sets, on television, on radio, in the newspapers and at special events.
Finally, I would like to add that we are very happy to have the collaboration of the NFB for these events. As you know, the NFB has a unique and enviable reputation in the world for producing innovative content, but also for the various means created to make this content available. For more than 75 years, the NFB has been on the leading edge of audiovisual innovation. It’s only natural that they be with us in this exploration of the future of audiovisual content.
At this point, I am going to give the floor to my colleague Claude Joli-Cœur, Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the NFB, but first, I want to say to all of you here and to those outside the room, enlighten us with your innovative ideas and experiences. Do not forget that the outcome is in your hands and that Canadians will greatly benefit from your collaboration. Thank you.
Mr. JOLI-CŒUR: Thank you Jean-Pierre.
Ladies and gentlemen, good day. I am very glad to welcome you here today.
Even if the concept of discoverability is relatively new, and we hope that this word will appear in the French dictionaries, like Le Petit Robert or Le Grand Robert or the Larousse in the very near future – we are all going to contribute to this – it remains a significant issue for consumers, the public and our industry.
So thank you, Jean-Pierre. Thanks to the CRTC for launching these meetings and discussions that are critical for our industry and for Canada, but also for the audiovisual sector of the entire world. I am very honoured to be associated as co-presenter, because these issues concern all players, both in the private sector and the public sector.
You know better than anyone that the great blossoming of digital technologies has been the starting gun for an enormous investment in methods of producing, financing and distributing content. From an economy marked by the rarity of content up until the 1980s, we now find ourselves in the age of overabundance.
To quote some well-known statistics, every minute Google manages more than four million searches; Facebook, 2.5 million shares; YouTube, 72 hours of videos every minute. This is phenomenal.
This overabundance has some perverse effects. Citizens have trouble finding their way around, or worse, are imprisoned in a filter bubble.
The question that confronts broadcasters, producers and creators is to know how to reach their target audience. How can content be presented to these audiences and how can links be created to direct them to the content that they want to see, both in Canada and abroad? We really need to explore new pathways to tackle these issues.
For the NFB, discoverability is an issue directly associated with its mandate. Why produce if ultimately our productions are drowned out and become invisible to the various communities?
Just in the documentary sector, a study carried out last year by Hot Docs, the great Canadian festival on documentaries, revealed that among the 60 percent of respondents interested in viewing documentaries online, only seven percent of them found the content they were looking for.
At the NFB, we are facing exactly the same issue because in spite of the digital shift we carried out six years ago, and the 70 million views of our films registered on our platform and on the associated sites, people are still asking us where to find our productions.
The issues surrounding the discoverability of contents are linked to technological issues, but also with the issues of access to content, hence of access to knowledge, access to the arts and access to culture. And because this change cannot be avoided, we really must act.
At this stage, we are not claiming that we have the solutions. We must move ahead together because discoverability is a national and international issue.
In the next two hours, we will talk a great deal about platforms, technologies, search engines and algorithms, but let us not forget that at the heart of the issues of discoverability there is content, content and its relevance for all the audiences we are seeking to connect with. So we have to include content in the equation, and ask ourselves how to deal with the relevance and innovative nature of the works that are produced and proposed. It is becoming increasingly imperative to produce distinctive works that the public will want to see and choose.
And this involves greater understanding of the audiences and of their viewing preferences. This also implies that we will produce differently and in other ways depending on audiences and platforms. It also implies more extensive alliances with partners to increase the impacts and the visibility of our works and productions because we have to say, it is becoming increasingly expensive to be everywhere, at the right time and on the platform chosen by the consumer.
We all have a role to play and a responsibility to assume to successfully meet the great challenge of discoverability.
Broadcasters, producers, creators, designers, programmers and thinkers, we are very happy to see you all brought together here today, since the challenges that we are facing are more than just the challenges of the audiovisual industry. They are the challenges of our society, and we are eager to hear what you have to say about these issues and these challenges.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Jean-Pierre Blais and Claude Joli-Cœur.
I now wish to introduce Pascal Lechevallier, the President of What’s Hot, a consulting firm in the new media in Paris, which he founded in 2011 to help the players in the audiovisual sector to manage the digital transformation. He regularly appears in the media to share his market expertise and keeps a popular blog on ZDNet. He holds a degree in specialized advanced studies in marketing, and a degree in in-depth management studies from the Sorbonne in Paris. He has pursued his entire career in the media, in particular at Le Monde, at Ziff-Davis France and at TF1. He has, moreover, created the very first video on demand service for a television network, namely TF1 Vision. This was done in 2005.
Please welcome Pascal Lechevallier.
Keynote speaker, Mr. Pascal Lechevallier, President of What’s Hot, Member of the Board of Nouveaux médias
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: Greetings to everyone. I thank the CRTC for having reached out to me and invited me to your summit, which is of great interest.
I am proposing to you today to talk about a subject that is extremely important and that concerns the discoverability and obviously the future of television.
My whole presentation, which is going to be relatively short since we only have about 30 minutes for it, is going to be truly devoted to the evolution of the audiovisual market and to the consequences that, precisely, discoverability involves for this market.
We are living through incredible times, so incredible that when I started working on my speech for today, it happened to be the eve of the terrorist attacks of Friday, November 13 and as soon as the events occurred, I received an enormous number of testimonies from our Canadian and Quebecois friends, even those whom I did not know personally or had only had contact with by email, and I simply want to thank you all for this solidarity, which in fact shows as well the openness to the world that the media made possible at a painful moment.
So yes, we really live in an extraordinary time when discoverability – even that term, as Matthieu mentioned just a moment ago, is not very well known – plays a fundamental role in our relationship with the media, with videos on Internet and with television, for the better, and sometimes for the worse.
The digital transformation is something we have been talking about for a very long time. It is radically changing the entire ecosystem of production, distribution and consumption of images.
Nicholas Negroponte had anticipated all of this in a book he wrote in 1995, but he was 20 years ahead of his time. In other words, for 20 years, people had been expecting this evolution of television and media that did not happen, and then in less than 10 years, we have moved from the age of rarity to the age of superabundance, which is the subject of our meeting today.
Images and videos have become – excuse me for saying so – the killer app of the Internet. This profusion of images is promoting a profound change of behaviour on the part of consumers, but also induces a veritable overhaul of the operation of the audiovisual market, which was quoted by your Minister a moment ago who called it a change of paradigm. Television no longer has the monopoly on images. All we have to do is look at these numbers to realize and observe this.
The passive television viewer that we were and that you see today, this shows video on the Internet with numbers that are both confusing and very impressive, puts us in a very particular position, which is that of the television viewer.
We have moved from a passive phase to an active phase in which we assume the power of imposing on the broadcaster, whether conventional television networks, social media or simply on demand video sites, three constraints. We want to see what we want, when we want it and where we want it, and this is true change that makes of the television viewer a veritable actor in the marketplace, which he had not been until just now.
Moreover, it suffices to look at this number to realize that linear programing, as we have known it in the past, no longer has the monopoly of the distribution of images. It must now share the screen with non-linear programs that require the implementation of new techniques of presentation and promotion that were totally unknown until recently, what is being commonly called – and excuse me again for using the term, but in France one is not necessarily using one’s imagination – the AV Guide that plays an increasingly important role, the massive quantities of data associated with the consumption of images, we will be talking about this at our round tables in a few moments, but that truly have a determining factor on this development of the marketplace.
I have shown you these figures from the United States because we also have to learn from our partners and from what is going on in the rest of the world. The United States has a great number of think tanks that regularly and continuously produce figures on the audiovisual sector. It is much harder to get these types of figures in France, and this is why throughout the presentation, you will be seeing numbers that refer to the American market, and when I am able to do so, I will also provide you with numbers for the French market.
One extremely important point is that the complexity of the tools, offered to consumers, increases as time goes by, since the number of videos made available on the Internet is obviously growing exponentially.
In a few months, in other words, tomorrow, close to 1,000 hours per minute will be uploaded to YouTube by Internet users. In this maze of images, which is truly impressive, it obviously seems indispensable for all the actors in the network to master these new multidimensional programming at the risk, yes indeed, of seeing the great media brands sink like drifting wrecks, and today we are seeing this for the first time in France. In 2015 we witnessed television networks closing, something that had never happened before.
In the words of another author who was doing a tremendous amount of work on social media, Aaron Jenkins, in 2006, the traditional media have not been replaced. What has happened is, to be exact, that the new technologies have altered the position that the usage of the television set occupies in homes, the major consequence being a reduction in the amount of time devoted to television. And here again, all the aspects of discoverability are a fundamental issue because television no longer has a monopoly on images.
We see that here in the consumption in Canada, where the average daily viewing of television reached its peak in 2012 three years ago. Since then, that average has been diminishing, even though in certain circumstances television remains the most powerful medium for communicating great events: information, sport and entertainment. This is a worldwide phenomenon that affects the English-speaking world as much as the Spanish-speaking or French-speaking world. We are witnessing a veritable revolution of communication modes.
Furthermore, and this is a fundamental point, the multiscreen and the hyper-connectivity associated with 4G and the deployment of fibre optics are changing our relationship with audiovisual media. We can see that on this graph. On the one hand, the new devices enrich our media experience, and on the other hand, the connectivity implies differentiated behaviour patterns by age groups, in particular among the youngest individuals, those born between 1980 and 2000, commonly called the millennials – I am sorry, even our department of the Economy uses the term – who favour the use of mobile screens, and in particular telephones.
Among 13 and 14-year-olds, telephones compete with the TV screen. This is a major challenge for producers, creators and broadcasters. We are truly at the dawn of an extremely important revolution.
While television takes up half the time spent on screens in a day by television viewers 13 years of age and more, younger people divide the time they spend on images between their three favourite screens, almost in equal parts. We can see this on the screen on the right. And that is the evidence that we are entering the age of the mobile, the age of the mobile that in 2015 passed through an additional step that shows that the mobile has become the end-point of all ambitions, in particular among young people. Worldwide, there are now more mobiles in use than there are people.
Furthermore, in many regions of the world, audiovisual services are being developed with mobiles. The mobile has become so important that producers are wondering whether the future will not be with video portrait, vertical, format, in a world where we have always been used to regarding videos in a panoramic mode, in television or film format.
What’s, unlike the many other evolutions of the audiovisual market in past years, we are experiencing a veritable worldwide transformation. From Netflix setting out to conquer 200 countries, to local producers who are looking for new outlets in new territories, all of the players in the marketplace are convinced that their future will be determined by international distribution of their programs. Obviously we will still have to find this content.
This is no doubt the first time in the history of the media that we are witnessing such an opening of the market. Remember that structurally, all media markets were constructed in a partitioned manner, in particular because of regulations here and elsewhere, in Europe, Africa and Asia.
Here are three important figures to consider: 59 percent of Americans today subscribe to a video-on-demand service by subscription, without going through a distributor, simply by using their Internet connection – here again an English term. This year the French will watch five billion television videos on replay, which is phenomenal, and in a few months, 2.5 million Australians have subscribed to Netflix in an extremely rapid development. So we can see that we are dealing with a market that is totally moving and changing, and that we have to understand it and obviously try to master it.
So in that world, what do we have to do to find our way through this jungle of images? This is truly the new issue of the media: making programs accessible, promoting them better, facilitating their access on all terminals and throughout the world by including them, obviously, in social networks to maximize their distribution, their exposure and their sharing. This is, in my opinion, the true issue of discoverability that we have been talking about today.
So to be able to enrich our debate, one very important point to tell ourselves, ultimately, is that the issue of discoverability is not the media, it’s not technology, it’s the consumer. And the consumer is you and I.
Pierre Lévy, is an observer of French media, said it in 1997, and in this regard, indeed, we see that there is a great deal of extremely theoretical thinking about the future of the media. Lévy’s observations are 20 years old, but the time required for market absorption has the effect that his reasoning is only today finding its full justification, but 20 years ago, in fact, people were asking themselves what he was talking about. And he was saying: “Nobody knows everything. Everybody knows something. All knowledge resides in humanity.” And this is truly the issue today that we need to share, to know how we can give access to all the content that we create, that we produce, and how to better share these contents.
We are living in a world that is being completely changed, and to understand it well and properly direct our reasoning over the next few hours, I’ve tried to identify what the factors were that indeed led to this evolution of media.
In this new age of the image, characterized by disruption and innovation, what is indeed sometimes described as the post-TV age, we have moved into the new age of television. Unlike the dinosaurs, television is not going to disappear, even though we read in many publications that television is dead. It is simply evolving and adapting to the factors that have disrupted its own market. All these factors have a common thread. They take the best of TV in order to offer the public a new experience, a new relationship to the image. The new factors, then, are six in number, as I have identified them.
First, there is the explosion of the supply of images in all forms of consumption, in particular, of on demand. The receiver becomes the transmitter. In other words, today, the Internet user, the consumer, you, me, we, are able to point online images through new tools, YouTube, Periscope, Snapchat, Vimeo. TV audiences are declining and becoming fragmented. This is the impact of the multiscreen phenomenon.
Advertising revenues are challenged. I hope that we are going to be able to talk about that.
There is the idea of GRP, which is being broken by the arrival of advertising on Internet sites.
The very recent phenomenon of ad blocking. You have seen that there is an extremely significant literature on the dangers of ad blocking, both for television networks and for Internet sites.
There is also a point that is a determining factor, namely the liquefaction of the Internet. The Internet is everywhere. We can even ask ourselves the question as to whether there is an Internet.
A short time ago, our guests arrived and the first thing they did was to connect to the Wi-Fi network of the Phi Centre and they were immediately connected somewhere, or reassured. Finally… yes, yes, reassured, I assure you. We see that the people who are following us are really there. And indeed, the evidence… a screen will be devoted to that throughout our morning session.
And then there is the engagement of the members of the public who, through their involvement, the fact that they communicate, that they talk about the programs that they like, that they see, makes it possible as well to disrupt this market, which was one-way up to now.
The actors in the disruption also are of fundamental importance for properly understanding, for properly identifying and knowing how the media are changing. As we have seen, traditional media are not necessarily powerful factors in this wave of disruption – that’s too bad – very simply because the media, anchored as they are in their market, initially tried to protect their economic model by banking on the idea that the Internet could not dislodge them, since in most countries, the regulations governing the audiovisual sector were splendid ramparts to fend off the attacks of the digital barbarians.
Alas, Maginot lines are made to be broken through, and this is exactly what has been happening for the last five years throughout the world. The operators, telcos, distributors, the inescapable Internet giants and, necessarily, the media are the actors in this marketplace.
The concentration that has been accelerating in the last 18 months is a flagrant demonstration of this. In confronting their galloping disintermediation, traditional groups are trying to reconstruct their empires through acquisitions, changes of direction, banking on young start-ups. We are truly living in a world that is completely changing, or even boiling over.
So in the face of this ongoing challenge of the evolution of media, I think that there are five very important trends to follow. We are in a world of hyper-supply where we permanently have a feeling that demand, our demand is going to trump supply. It is obviously imperative, in these conditions, that all the actors in the marketplace have real indicators and benchmarks to follow these developments.
As far as I am concerned, I have identified five trends that I would like to share with you today.
The first trend is obviously that of the non-linear use that is completely redefining our relationship with the media. Video on demand by subscription, and time-shifted television are both perfect illustrations of this trend. And on the chart that you see here, the non-linear aspect is beginning to occupy an increasingly important place.
The second trend to follow is no longer the advertising target, it’s what in France we describe as the housewife under 50 years of age, or more politely the person responsible for the purchases of the household.
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: Gentlemen, we unfortunately never have the chance to go shopping, if we believe advertising people. They are the ones who create new audiences and who have greatly contributed to the success of social media and their video initiatives. I want to recall once again that Snapshot, Periscope, Auto Plate Facebook, for example, have become veritable markets and populations to follow.
And to understand these trends well, one obviously has to participate in them. One has to use social media to measure both their importance and their power. And we know very well here today that among young people, the weight of the Internet is completely unavoidable, and obviously when we talk about the Internet, we are also talking about social media.
Another important point, that people in metropolitan France like to cite, is that innovation very often comes up against a glass ceiling. This glass ceiling is regulation. On the other side of the Atlantic, where I come from, for example, the protective regulations concerning cultural exception now show some signs of being limited. And the complex structure of regulations often appears as a brake on innovation and a true obstacle to creativity. This is a debate within the debate, but we have to be aware that this is the case and I believe that quite a few representatives of government today have incorporated this dimension.
The other important point, as I said a moment ago, is social media, mediation, communities, niche programs, smart searches, the proper use of algorithms, and personalized recommendations. Stronger than advertising, these new techniques of putting programs in people’s hands are playing a growing role in writing and production strategies.
Sharing, engagement, commenting have become the television programs of tomorrow. An effective live tweet is getting to the point of supplanting our TV program magazines, which themselves are seeing their paper distribution drop. This is a determining point, and once again, we can see it illustrated by this graph. Today, depending on the nature of the programs, the rate of engagement of the television viewers can be very significant and modify – can go so far as to modify the audience for a program.
So, as we just pointed out a moment ago, television fortunately or unfortunately is no longer at the centre of the system. On the left-hand side of the graph, the years 2000 to 2014, the channel – the television channels, the linear channels were at the centre of the system.
Today, on the right-hand side of the graph, television has become a satellite. It is the public that now occupies the central spot, searching for a user experience that is the most entertaining and personal as possible. It is therefore the engagement of the user that must be the subject of all our attention as creators, producers and broadcasters.
Tired of having to wait for months and months to know how their favourite series turns out, the public has massively adopted – and here again, I don’t know how one would say this in French – binge-watching, popularized by Netflix but something that already existed in other contexts.
This is a trend that the American networks for example, were not able to anticipate and that has made Netflix a great success. This has not really happened in France because, let me remind you, in France the pace of broadcasting American series is not at all the same as what it is in the United States.
So, obviously, faced with this world in a perpetual state of upheaval, we have to disrupt. Yes, but how? The media actors are perpetually asking themselves how they can develop their basic offerings, how they can develop their model, how to disrupt and how to intelligently break what has made them inescapable and above all very rich.
As this extremely simply diagram shows, there are six opportunities for development. This is exactly what is being done by all the world media leaders, whether we look at CBS, Disney, HBO or Canal+, all the media groups, and we can obviously mention Rogers in Canada, and also TFO if I wanted to offer more examples, and all of them, starting from a linear distribution, are in the process of taking over new distribution points on the basis of their strategic choices. This means that they want to be present on screens, or rather want to be present on managed networks, they want to be free, they want to be pay-for-view, and these new forms of operation are creating new market opportunities and constructing new relationships with the television viewers and the Internet viewers.
The real question that is being asked is obviously that of the business model. It is hard to give up a supremely profitable economic model to adopt a supremely risky one. Moving from television advertising based on extremely high rates to the sale of targeted space on mobile with programing tools is one of the major challenges to be met.
This is indeed why the models based on the consumers’ consent to pay, either by subscription or on an ad-hoc basis, video on demand for example, are being sold because here again, people are trying to reconstruct an economic model with basics over which they have control.
Internet advertising is creating a real debate, and the more the targets are refined, the more difficult it is to face significant populations, and hence the more difficult it is to have competitive rates.
So, with all these upheavals, with this abundance of content, the new borders of television are being drawn. Under the impetus of hyper-supply, of hyper-connectivity, of the development of streaming that is obviously in some way making the broadcast old hat, with the MiScreen, the multiscreen, globalization of distribution, with the fact of having technologies that make it possible to identify targets extremely quickly in order to offer them, in a completely transparent way, the content that they didn’t even have the desire to watch but that they can now finally watch because the advertising or the video arrives on their Facebook wall, offer the actors of the marketplace the possibility of developing new talents, new writing, new activities because as you can see on the right-hand side of the graph, every day there are new opportunities to exploit the programs that are arriving.
Video on demand by subscription, which is called Cloud PVR, in other words the possibility of recording one’s programs directly in reserved spaces that are no longer hard disks whose operation people do not even understand when they have them on their television set, the Internet TV applications, and also the development – I am sorry to say once again that this is what in France is called the brand content. In other words, there are major brands that are starting to produce contents like what were known as soap operas in the past, there is the arrival of people from sites like Vice, Vox, video 360, virtual reality. Mathieu was talking about this a moment ago, and the E-Games, some television networks are wondering if they will not start to broadcast gaming sessions online, this has made some Internet sites successful, as sporting or live events.
So, faced with this challenge, and to refocus before going on to the next topic, the real challenge that concerns us Francophones is to say to ourselves, what is our place in this television of the future?
Often in this debate, in this type of debate, creators, producers and broadcasters ask us – ask me: “But ultimately, what is our place in this game? Do we even have one?” So, the answer is obviously three times yes, and that is indeed the moment to set out to conquer the television of the future, each within his own means obviously, but knowing that the audiovisual world has never been so open and that this is a true opportunity that has to be seized.
So, to properly seize these opportunities for Francophone players, it is already obvious that we have to know that we are a minority. We are a minority in relation to the English-speaking world, but that is a reality that is a fact, we have to deal with it.
I believe that there are about 250 million people who speak French in the world, distributed all over the planet, and that is precisely where we have to go to put in place veritable synergies to create surprise, and entertain the Internet users of the entire world. There is no barrier because we speak French. We simply have to know how to adapt. And to adapt, I think that there are three things to do.
Understand the environment, in which we are playing today, know how to create synergies, why not the transatlantic ventures obviously between Francophones, and then especially to innovate, innovate and innovate. And this is a point that is often forgotten. We have to know how to be extremely creative, to be able to charm and convince the new audience to look at our programs.
So, precisely on the subject of programs, let’s look ahead to 2020 and ask what people will be saying to each other in the evening in front of the television. What will they be watching? Indeed, will they be watching television? Nobody knows.
I have identified, in an extremely pragmatic and concrete way, three little innovations that are beginning to occupy an increasingly important place, and that are virtually based on a principle that is discoverability, in other words that of the recommendation of intelligent searching.
The first innovation is a French player who in his innovations, in his new platforms is proposing tools which, beside the television networks, add network applications from the Internet. They can be very small networks or something a little more visible like France 24, Dailymotion, Zouzous, and the list is being put together by this operator. You can see him on the right side of the chart.
And in fact, you are accessing this content that comes from the Internet and that is constructed as television mini-networks that are ultra-thematic and that you access precisely through search tools that are intelligent and that will be able to filter based on your tastes. So, obviously, if you like programs for children, you’ll systematically go to the Zouzous.
This is perhaps the television of tomorrow, a mix of traditional media and of media that will enable us to navigate into the far reaches of the Internet in an extremely simple way.
The other major trend that we are beginning to see is – I referred to it a moment ago – disintermediation. We can see it, the major American players are in a process of creating, for fear of seeing themselves diluted in the Internet, their own offerings.
I remind you that this week, Disney announced the launch of DisneyLife, an on-demand service, dedicated to children on tablets and on mobile phones in Great Britain. This is truly a groundswell trend. All the major American media are in the process of doing this and are thereby trying to directly access the end television viewers of the major networks for major events, but when one wants to enter into thematic programing, obviously one is trying to customize the offer and to get as close as possible to the demands of the consumer.
And then, obviously, there is the arrival of a whole pile of new services that we don’t know of today, and that is where I say to myself that we are really living in incredible times because in five years, more than 20 billion machines will be sharing your videos. These videos will occupy 85 percent of worldwide Internet traffic.
So, from this viewpoint, the future belongs to us. It is up to us to feed these networks with new programs, new products, new creations. And what we must be convinced of today is that the champion channel, site or application of 2020 to which we will all be connected in the morning as we drink our coffee, does not exist. So it’s up to you to create it. It’s up to us to try to develop this new market.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Pascal Lechevallier. I would ask you to stay here because we are going to have questions – in fact we are going to have a question period.
Does anyone in the audience have a question? If so, you can come up to the microphone here. We are going to have about 15 minutes for questions. After that, there will be a break, and we are going to move on to our round table.
So please come up and ask your question.
Ms. BRIN: Colette Brin from Laval University. I am Director of the Centre for Media Studies.
I thank you for this presentation that was so rich in new – well, I learned a lot of terms that I am going to Google very shortly. I am going to – in fact, I have a question and perhaps a sub-question.
On the issue of regulation, you were saying that regulation has become a brake on innovation. In fact, in the room here, there are many people who represent public institutions in the cultural field. Public broadcasting, the Arts Council, the NFB, finally all the organizations that you perhaps know.
Do you think that there is a role for these public institutions and for the state in the future, or in your opinion, does the solution essentially have to come from the private sector?
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: Well, I am obviously less familiar with the situation on this side of the Atlantic than I am with the situation in France. Regulation is something that we are always going to have because lack of regulation opens the door to abuse that we then have to deal with and that could be then truly destructive, in particular for the media.
Today the role of government is, in my opinion, to encourage creativity and to adopt regulations, and this is a point that we clearly have to mention. To take the case of France, most of the laws date from the 1980s. In the 1980s, none of the ministers or members of the French National Assembly who contributed to the drafting of these laws knew what the Internet was.
Therefore, common sense must prevail, and this common sense must ensure that we absolutely adapt to what I have been trying to show in my talk. This means that today, it is no longer the media that decides. Those who decide are the citizens, and I simply want to take an example of an actual debate in France that concerns the chronology of the media.
Well then, there are two aspects to the management of the timing of media in France. There is the financing of the audiovisual sector, and behind that there are the uses. And we see that the pressure from the uses means that the timing of the media is aging. We have to manage to reform this timing.
So, the discussions have been going on for the last 10 years. Perhaps they will come to a conclusion soon, but we can see that the evolution and the pressure of the marketplace force the public authorities to adapt. So it’s mandatory, we have to have reflection and also consultation, the more debate we have, the easier it is.
I wish to remind you that the complexity of the European marketplace is such that we have local regulations, national regulations by country and then a European system of regulation which imposes itself on or directs the marketplace through its directives. That is why I say this whole thing is multilayered.
And obviously, in this game, governments have a role which is defining and essential. Their role is to listen, to show moderation and ultimately to publish new rules that enable local players to develop, because today there is often a phenomenon that is referred to, that regulation blocks initiative.
There you are. That has to be taken into account, managed and administered but in a spirit once again of intelligence, without confrontation.
Ms. BRIN: In fact, that is not a sub-question. It is perhaps just something that I would like to – that you referred to quickly and that I would like to hear you say more about. When you say that the Internet is becoming liquefied, what do you really mean by that?
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: Well, in fact, what do we observe today? A few years ago, in order to have an Internet connection, one had to be connected to a wall, or depend on an often very weak connection. So people weren’t able to distribute video. People could not watch TV.
Today, the Internet – and here again, I note that we are living this on a daily basis, is present everywhere thanks to fibre optics, 4G, or even 5G which is starting to appear. And therefore, the Internet is present everywhere like electricity, once again in what we call developed and modern societies. I am not talking about the most remote spots where there is neither water nor electricity, but today the Internet completely surrounds us, envelops us and we no longer ask ourselves whether or not we have a connection.
And so, and in particular for the audiovisual sector, this is also a fabulous opportunity to be distributed through the wireless Internet on a device that is not connected to anything and to go off to look for and conquer new audiences.
And this is the phenomenon that we are currently following, and this liquefaction of the Internet is fundamental because it is what allows the distribution of more and more images. Without the Internet, no image. Without great bandwidth, simply no images at all.
MODERATOR: Another question here, yes.
Mr. CHARBONNEAU: Good day, Olivier Charbonneau, Librarian at Concordia University, blogger at culturelibre.ca, and also a representative of Creative Commons Canada.
Perhaps a small comment. First, I would rather speak of the sublimation by the Internet because Wi-Fi is a gassy fabric. So I find the analogy of liquefaction to be a little less appropriate. Just a little personal comment.
Mr. CHARBONNEAU: My question concerns free content on Internet. The predominant paradigm of free content is precisely what you were saying, that the creator becomes the broadcaster. So I put my videos online and all that.
But perhaps a question that will interest most people are involved in government institutions with a link to culture, especially with regard to financing. What do you think of the case where the state funds a creation of culture and also has free distribution?
So you understand my connection with Creative Commons when I am asking a question because it is a phenomenon that I have increasingly observed through the questions that I receive from colleagues throughout Canada in my role as a member of Creative Commons. We exchange favours. The state finances creation. The universities finance 0writing by professors and this content is then collected by the Internet, which leads to a different form of competition to traditional content.
So my question is rather poorly expressed, but I would like it if you could explore this theme of funded content, content that is freely distributed and is thus distinguished from the content generated by users.
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: So, to continue on this point, typically in France, a large part of audiovisual activity is funded through systems of assistance, for example, all the assistance funding supplied and delivered by the CNC [National Centre of Cinematography]. So we are very much in the same order of things. And as for me, I distinguish two phases.
There is in fact a phase of funding and of active participation of governments, whether they are national, regional or local. Today, for example, many regions of France participate in the funding of films that are made in that particular region. There are systems of tax incentives. We recently saw a debate with Luc Besson, he wanted to make films in France but in English, and in order for him to benefit from the tax credit, it was necessary to amend the legislation.
So we clearly see that governments and the state are central to the system of assistance for the creation of programs.
But on the other side, there is the exploitation of these contents, and for my part, I do not connect the two. Governments and the state may participate in funding creation, and so much the better, but behind them, there are also the producers, the distributors who find modes of exploitation more suited to the work that has been created.
So, that might be sales, that might be rentals. That might be Creative Commons which allows people to exploit contents free of charge. For me, the economic model is not tied to the mode of funding.
Obviously, the more one goes towards private financing, the more there is going to be a need for a significant return on investment, and then, obviously, there is immediately going to be an orientation towards pay models. Free distribution on the Internet through modes of shared licencing is one of the modes of exploitation that I regard as completely valid and worthwhile.
The real question in this system is – and this gave rise to an enormous number of debates – what is a fair remuneration for creators and authors? And here I am not sure that we have had the answer to this question because on anything that is given free of charge, there is essentially no direct return.
So that’s where government assistance is important. In fact, the remuneration you receive as author and creator comes to you through funding and exploitation is based on sharing where there is little or no expected return.
MODERATOR: Perhaps a question here, Madam.
Ms. DROUIN: Yes. I am Solange Drouin, Vice-President of Public Affairs and Director of l’ADISQ [Quebec association of the records, theatre and video industry]. So I am coming more from the music community.
I do not want – I do not want to add too much to what you have said, but in the music sector, the kind of things you have been saying, we have heard them since – we have been hearing them in our sector, I mean we have been hearing them for years.
And I am not saying that we have found solutions. I mean, I think that we have perhaps been delayed, but I would like to hear you perhaps say a little bit more about the famous innovations you are talking about. Because, thinking about it, for us in our sector, innovation is not so much in terms of content, because the content is something people on the Internet have, there are many videos, also musical videos that people share. We should not forget that, and what people really want is – and here again, is to listen to songs, and to listen to music.
The content themselves have not changed that much. When you talk about innovation in terms of content, people are listening to music, people are listening to television series, well, they start, they end, and all that. And so innovation is not so much where it has to go. In any case, in our sector, it’s more a question of innovation in terms of marketing.
So of all these intermediaries you are talking about, these intermediaries that have been added to our value chain and that take money and go to the bank, laugh all the way to the bank as we say, so that’s innovation then in terms of marketing and then going to get the revenues where they are because there are revenues in all of this. One says yes, there are revenues and the revenues are not necessarily directed towards the people who create the content but there are revenues and one has to go and find them where they are, these revenues.
There are many discussions in Europe precisely on the taxation of these famous Internet giants. People are trying to find solutions to all that.
So I – in terms of innovation, I would like to know what you – what you are saying, innovation of what, innovation of marketing, of content itself or —
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: So, for the audiovisual sector – thank you for your question. The difference between the audiovisual as such, video and music, is that to be a great – a great musical artist, all one need is a guitar, a fine voice and then one can suddenly conquer the world.
In terms of audiovisual content, it’s more complicated. One has to write – one has to write a work. One has to produce it. One has to film it and we can see that the innovations associated with the image are much more numerous today than those associated with music. AC3 or whatever, MPEG2 or MPEG3, finally all the terms that are associated with musical formats are things that the user does not care about at all. On the other hand, image is an extremely important involvement. In five years, we have moved from images whose definition was totally rotten from SD to 4K.
So we see that image has a component of innovation that is very important. When we talk about virtual reality, we are talking about innovation because virtual reality allows me to film in 360 degrees the debates we are having today, which would not have been possible three years ago, but that could bring a new experience to the user.
So there is this innovation part that is associated with the evolution of technology and that is really very full of meaning for everything that concerns the image, and we have many examples.
For example, there is 4K that is in the process of revolutionizing the whole world of production. Ask the people who handle the control rooms in the television networks, it’s a real puzzle and yet one has to be able to find the right response. So that is the technological innovation part.
And then after, there is something that I think is fundamental for images, namely the way of changing the writing. Just a moment ago I was giving you two examples – finally, one example, verticality. The daughter of Rupert Murdoch has just created a subsidiary which is called Vertical where she is going to start producing portrait content because people look at their mobile phone vertically. And there are people who are starting to work on fiction projects in portrait mode.
Another example that is indeed very important, for which Canada is the second-largest producer in the world, is what are called Web series. In other words, these are short series that last from three to fifteen minutes and that have 10 episodes. Well, five years ago, nobody would have put down one Canadian dollar or one euro to produce this type of program.
Five years ago, the major American studios would refuse to work for a corporation like Netflix, in other words produce 10 episodes of 50 minutes because they were in the logic – you know them – of 8, 11, 24 episodes per season sold to the major networks on the basis of a pilot. Today, that has completely changed.
So we see that innovation in writing, in production is going to enter the world of images, and that is what all the players in the marketplace must ask themselves about.
Today, making a series does not necessarily mean making a series of 24 times 42 minutes. It is perhaps 10 times 3 minutes, and it is up to the producer to absorb this and to experience this new world that is in the process of being discovered and to be able to propose this type of program to broadcasters, to new broadcasters whom we perhaps do not yet know at this time.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much.
Well, we are little behind on our program but still we are going to – we are going to take a little break of about half an hour. We are going to set the table for the round table and we’ll come back very shortly.
So, thank you very much Pascal Lechevallier.
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: Thank you, thank you.
MODERATOR: We’ll see each other back in half an hour.
— The session stopped
— The session resumed
MODERATOR: On my right Sylvain Lafrance, the former Executive Vice-President of French-Language Services at Radio-Canada. If you are doing any binge-watching on Tou.TV, it’s because of him among others.
MODERATOR: He now directs the Pôle Médias HEC Montréal, an information searching and transfer platform in the media universe.
Christine Thoër, a professor in the Social and Public Communications Department of UQAM and Director of ComSanté, a centre for research on communication and health. She is working on uses of the Internet by young people in regard to connected viewing and obviously health.
Jean-François Gagnon, who founded LVL in 2003 and has led the business from its inception to the position it currently holds as world leader in the market of advanced television. He is considered an authority on both media market technologies and digital entertainment.
On my left is Wale Gbadamosi-Oyekanmi. I knew that I was not going to be able to handle that.
MODERATOR: You will excuse me, yes?
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: You are forgiven.
MODERATOR: Wale is the CEO and Creative Director at Darewin, and not Darwin. This is a fine play on words. This is a communications agency specializing in entertainment. It was founded in 2011. It designs attractive digital and mobile strategies to truly enrich entertainment experiences. Darewin works in particular with Netflix, among other clients.
Suzanne Lortie, who is facing me here. Suzanne Lortie is a professor at UQAM. She runs the Program of Communication, Cultural Production Strategies and Media Strategies of the School of Media. She is also director of production and producer responsible for television since 1992, and also a consultant on new media strategies.
So I end these introductions with Michèle Savard. Michèle Savard is Senior Vice-President of Carat, an advertising agency, where she is responsible for the strategy and collaborates with advertisers to create many new communications campaigns. One client of the agency in particular is Danone, I believe.
Ms. SAVARD: Yes.
MODERATOR: Yes. She has more than 25 years of experience in the field of media advertising strategies.
Roundtable discussion: The Discoverability of Content in the Age of Abundance
So, before sitting down at the table with everyone, I am going to ask the participants to go ahead quickly with what they want to deliver to us today.
I’m going to start with Sylvain Lafrance and we’ll then go around the table. In one minute, can you say what motivated you to come here and what appeals to you in the term “discoverability”. We are going to go quickly around the table before going into the questions deeper.
So, Sylvain Lafrance, I’ll leave it to you to break the ice.
Mr. LAFRANCE: OK. I was not expecting it, but I would say that in general terms, discoverability is what I was hoping for, namely to broaden a little the debate because I find people are currently talking a lot about hardware issues and technical questions, and all that.
So basically, for me, I find in discoverability a much broader concept. It calls up issues of public policy, regulation, funding of subjects. It interprets – it relates to a package of things and even relates to the world of education because media literacy is becoming important. We cannot understand how the information comes to us, and that’s a very serious situation.
So for me, the issue of discoverability is an issue of access to knowledge, of access to information, of access to culture, and because of that the concept is extremely broad.
MODERATOR: Before going any further, there is somebody who stole my pen during the break. So, I don’t know if there is a pen not far away. I have just discoverabilitised a pen in the studio.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much Sylvain Lafrance.
We are going to start – we are going to go with you, Jean-François. What fires you up? What calls out to you in this word discoverability?
Mr. GAGNON: Actually, what interests me more is to bridge to this morning’s presentation, yes, there is an extraordinary quantity of video content that is being consumed, but this is not associated with any industry as such. Not all the videos that are being consumed are – in fact originate from a professional activity.
MODERATOR: That’s the least we can say.
Mr. GAGNON: My concern is more with a value chain in fact. It’s really – there is an opportunity to put in place a value chain or, a very high level chain, regardless of what it in fact is. That requires a buyer, that requires a person who is going to do – an actor in the system who is going to do the promotion, then who is going to favour in fact – who is going to favour the – is not just – an executive who is going to favour putting in place a fair approach.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Jean-François.
Suzanne, what have you come here to deliver to us today?
Ms. LORTIE: I do not know if I have something in particular to deliver.
MODERATOR: Yes I think you do
Ms. LORTIE: I teach young people, 20 years old. I teach funding models that are obsolete and that are in distribution. I teach an understanding of a universe of production, dissemination and comprehension that is undergoing a profound transformation.
In fact, what we want to know is where we are going to be in five years and in ten years, but above all, the question is are we able to listen to the new users? I often say to my students who think that they know everything and that they are familiar with everything, I say to them: “Rent a teenager. I can lend you mine if you like, and observe them for a few days, a few weeks and a few months.” And they are perhaps likely to learn something.
MODERATOR: Thank you.
I am continuing with you, Michèle. As representative of the advertising industry, what is the discoverability theme that appeals to you?
Ms. SAVARD: In advertising, I am really working in the area of planning and media buying, so I am trying to understand the behaviour of the consumer on the media platforms or especially the point of contact with the consumer. So our work with our clients, who are advertisers, is to find out where these consumers are.
This means finding the videos that they consume, the content that they consume – not just the video, the music, the whole of content that is consumed, to attach my client to those videos, so that this is profitable for the advertiser. And if there is no content in existence, well I have to see how I can create some or find some, then determine which platforms I am able to use to push it further towards my target.
MODERATOR: Thank you.
Wale, you are going to pronounce your family name for us. That way, I will be able to master it properly by the end of the meeting.
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: Are you ready?
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: In fact, you don’t have to pronounce the G. If you do not pronounce the G, it’s very easy. It’s pronounced Gbadamosi-Oyekanmi. It’s as simple as discoverability.
MODERATOR: That shows me all the work I still have to do as a host.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Wale. But now, you work in a very particular field. You work with clients who are new, Netflix for example. In what way does discoverability form part of your – of your duties?
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: In fact, discoverability is an interesting word. It’s the way of renaming the work that we have been doing for four years. It is a box that is growing very quickly. We’ve gone from one to fifty in four years. We have become French, then international at the European level. So that finally requalifies the work that we do and that we have first called social TV.
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: And which we could in fact rename discoverability agency, because our issue is to believe fundamentally that all the stories, when they are to be told, all the public stories public have to be found.
And our work is in fact to assist producers, broadcasters and operators in the ecosystem of content, to find their audience on the right platforms, in the right place, at the right time, and to reach them with messages that are relevant for them.
So this is fundamentally the trade that we are engaged in, and it is a great pleasure for me to be able to talk with you about this topic.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Wale.
We’ll conclude with you, Christine Thoër. You work with students, like Suzanne. So what are the challenges of access to content that these students, these young people are facing?
Ms. Thoër: The biggest challenge is for the profs, to see that the students don’t access the content during class.
Ms. THOËR: For me, regarding the question you were asking everybody about how they position themselves in relation to discoverability, I am interested in those who discover. So how do they discover? What practices do they put in place? What meaning does that have for them? How can that become part of their everyday life and what do they get out of it?
So in fact, that will really be the position of the users, because we are a team of researchers at the Faculty of Communications, and it’s been three – well, a three-year project where precisely we were trying to monitor the young people in their strategy for discovering content. And it is the results of this research that I am going to share with you in fact today. So this is the perspective of the user.
MODERATOR: Thank you very, Christine.
I remind the people who might be listening to us on YouTube, that if you have questions for the panellists here, you can send them in by clicking on the word discoverability, and you’ll also be able to write this word for the very first time in your life. There is always a first time. So feel free to get in touch with us on Twitter.
I’d like to start with a current event that I witnessed this week. I was able to attend the launch – and I think that we are going to have more and more of these in the future – of an agency for YouTubers. This is an ad agency – well, a production agency, excuse me, a television production agency in Montreal. It was Attraction Images that launched Slingshot this week. So 13 YouTubers – excuse me 1.7 million subscribers that these people have. There are TV networks that would dream of having audience numbers like the ones that these young YouTubers have.
Suzanne, you mentioned this, among other things. So I would like perhaps to start with you.
We know that this is a culture that is often looked down upon by certain media. Criticisms are made of the way in which the content is delivered. People criticize the advertising that is incorporated into it, perhaps not always in a very subtle way.
What do you think these people, who are extremely popular, can learn from the traditional media? Because they are popular. They are in a process of changing the whole way in which we make media at the present time.
Ms. LORTIE: In fact, they are in the process of inventing their own grammar. That does not mean that they are going to undo existing grammar elsewhere, but what is certain in any case is that there is this emergence of a new grammar, of a new syntax, and also of a new way of designing what I would call networking models because that goes – that goes much farther than the grammar of manufacturing contents. It’s the grammar of the relationship with an audience in fact that is particularly challenged.
These are things that are emerging from the – from the Web of normal people in fact. We are not even talking about the one percent or the half percent who make – who make fortunes. We are talking about seeing that there is a real nursery of talent there. And indeed, Attraction is not the only enterprise to have founded a studio. Québécor now has a studio as well, which is called Goji.
MODERATOR: Goji, yes.
Ms. LORTIE: This is a model that has existed for years in Europe, that exists in California, and I think it was worthwhile to devote – I am thinking that it’s a very well thought-out calculation on their part to go and install production cells like this in Quebec because I think that comes from the fact that the talents were not being well served by the production structures that existed elsewhere.
MODERATOR: But when you talk about grammar for example, about the relationship to the audience, is that what you mean by that?
Ms. LORTIE: Oh my God, that’s a question – that is to say this is a relationship that is at one same time linear but also stocked. It has become de-linearized. There is proximity; there is a language, the age, the formula, the duration and the contents that are being proposed. That started with Outboxin. That continues with the Snackable, the Hows, and excuse me once again for using English terms, I am sorry but that’s going in all directions.
So I – this is not only about sharing music. We are in a universe of unscripted content, but also sometimes in universes of scripted content with humour, and so on and so forth. So that’s really going in all directions.
MODERATOR: People who are extremely well known, one we received at La Sphère, a few months ago, was Cynthia Dulude. Cynthia Dulude, I think that the 20-year-olds, maybe the 30-year-olds and older do not know her so much, but —
Ms. LORTIE: But last year she was —
MODERATOR: Four hundred thousand (400,000) subscribers on —
Ms. LORTIE: Yes, on the European market of the women’s magazine called Lifestyle. Since we are in France, people are going to call that Lifestyle. She was considered as among the 20 biggest influencers in fact.
MODERATOR: The question, I talked about a moment ago. The question of cultural prescribers is very important. People talk a lot about algorithms, which are this kind of bubble of filters, in fact that contributes to the bubble of filters that we – that surrounds us.
And yet, Jean-François Gagnon, you are particularly interested in that question, the question of influencers. We know that at the present time the cultural content, if we do not have – if we do not have the right person who tells us go and listen to that, that can make the difference between a content that is going to work well and a content that is going to get lost in spite of the fact that we have good algorithms, no?
Mr. GAGNON: Yes, that being said, in fact what is interesting is to look at the evolution of the majority of services that offer video content.
We are looking at Netflix in fact. Well, let’s take Netflix because everybody knows Netflix. Netflix has been in existence for 10 years, and during the five – the five years following the establishment of Netflix, Netflix had a prize of a million dollars in fact, that was granted, that was available for – in fact to different teams or to the team that could show that with an algorithm, one could influence by more than 10 percent in fact the number of contents viewed.
That never happened. In fact, honestly, the difference that they were able to achieve in tangible results in five years was 0.4 percent of difference – as I was sharing with you a moment ago, the idea that there was another group – a parallel group that had been put in place that in fact placed more emphasis on social media, and then on the aspect – the sharing of a personal recommendation.
So, someone who knows someone who recommends content, and in that case in fact there were increases of up to 15 percent.
So honestly, there —
MODERATOR: It’s extraordinary, I mean, you are in the – in the thousands of a percentage point in relation to the algorithm.
Mr. GAGNON: Recommending content is not like recommending a car to be bought. You are talking about a very hot topic. So the individual or – the individual and the way the recommendation is made has a great deal of influence. So the algorithm, the regulator, yes, it’s necessary. But it’s not sufficient because the role of the curator in —
MODERATOR: Yes, we can say that, yes.
Mr. GAGNON: — that becomes increasingly important. Indeed, the majority of content distribution services online have an approach that is increasingly associated with what one might – the analogy I would make is to the importance of the program director, then the roles of the promotion people, then the marketing people, this is in fact a factor that is becoming more and more. It’s important. It’s a significant factor.
MODERATOR: You want to respond – you want to respond to that, Suzanne.
Ms. LORTIE: In fact I am going to continue with this and make a parallel with what Jean-François has just said. In fact, it is the MCNs – the multichannel networks that have in fact found their relevance precisely because they grouped people together by content. They acted in fact as prescribers and curators.
MODERATOR: Hmm, yes, so explain to us a little bit what exactly this is because after all the multichannel networks are fairly new on YouTube.
Ms. LORTIE: Well in fact, multichannel networks are the replication of the model of traditional broadcasters, but on YouTube. This was originally an advertising department model that was transformed into a grouping of services, a grouping of expert services that precisely concerned curatorship, but above all the optimization of advertising revenues, doing cross-promotions. And now we have come to the stage after that, in other words the integration of the brand content to be able to have advertisers upstream and no longer rely exclusively on advertising revenue that comes from the platform but to be able as well to monetize these upstream contents, which are again a brand.
Ms. LORTIE: That’s essentially it
MODERATOR: This is also a way that has been rather criticized by certain YouTubers, right?
Ms. LORTIE: Yes.
MODERATOR: Not everyone is a supporter of this kind of marketing philosophy.
Ms. LORTIE: Not only that, but there are also MCSs that have been relatively dishonest with the YouTubers. There are these two sides to the question.
MODERATOR: Hmm, yes.
Ms. LORTIE: But this also raises the whole question of the transparency of these contents, since this question is going to be asked about content on Instagram and on Snapshot, and so on, so on all the social platforms in fact where there is UGC, user-generated content, where there are brands that are integrated.
MODERATOR: Yes, Jean-François, you want to continue with this topic?
Mr. GAGNON: Well yes, I know that the focus is, after all, discoverability, hence in fact an industry concept then a commercial concept of system, but there is a more production-oriented aspect, then in fact there is the whole phenomenon of the YouTubers in terms of the models that work, it’s a bit like the evolution of a television format that they are shopping for. So we are talking about production costs that are very, very low, about a central individual then its – why is this working well at this time is because the production cost is very low, but the reach is very large, then with a monetization model, the CPM, even very, very, very low this is after all an operation that, without being profitable, limits – limits losses.
Mr. GAGNON: Since industrially, that’s the problem. These MCN companies – there is not in fact a MCN that has the objective of making its business profitable, its – objective is to create value, then take a place in the marketplace, then increase —
Ms. LORTIE: And resell.
Mr. GAGNON: — the scope as much as possible.
Ms. LORTIE: And resell, they are in fact in a – in a logic of – Venture capital in fact.
Mr. GAGNON: That’s what is – yes, absolutely, that’s one of the more – that creates in fact a – an immense vacuum in terms of legacy models. In fact there are one or more people here who – not just here, but everywhere that have in fact responsibilities to – and even the accountability to maintain and in fact generate a profitability in their organizations, while they are competing like the organizations that in fact where the focus is not really there. These are the same audience shares, these are the revenues that are being displaced, and that is, that creates —
Ms. LORTIE: And the —
Mr. GAGNON: — that creates certain —
Ms. LORTIE: — where I find that there is really something that is extraordinarily interesting in this phenomenon – to return to the subject of the discussion – is that these YouTubers no longer regard television as an end in itself. They no longer consider the objective – they – for most of them, their objective is not to make the leap and find a place within a traditional broadcasting network.
Mr. GAGNON: Hmm.
Ms. LORTIE: They are happy within this ecosystem, which does not mean that they do not want the possibility of convergence and deployment elsewhere. It’s just a question of objectives, in fact.
MODERATOR: But do the – you were talking about algorithms, we have spoken about – we have spoken about influencers, but do the – do the search engines not still have an influence on – on the way in which people find content, and thus access this content?
Christine Thoër, I would like to hear what you have to say about this.
Ms. THOËR: The young people that we met, who are between 12 and 25 years of age, told us that they use them and that essentially they search more – well – contents, it doesn’t go by brands, by networks because – and in fact they tell us that what they watch as content online is content that comes from television. So television is not dead, there is – television is going to be looked at differently and a part of that are videos, in particular the videos of the YouTubers. So when the people watching are younger, the videos of YouTubers and videos generally occupy a large – they make up the major part of what is watched by 12 to 14-year-olds, for example.
And when – to find these contents, well, they go to YouTube, they go and subscribe to certain networks; they are going to watch everything that comes out, so they are going to use the engine —
MODERATOR: But at the same time, the search engine is not – is not – in fact it’s not with that that the person is going to find, because the person already knows what he or she is looking for, and the search engine is just one element that will help the person go towards —
Ms. THOËR: The person does not know —
LE MODERATOR: — that person.
Ms. THOËR: — always what he or she is looking for in advance. The person knows, for example, that they like a specific series, but then they are not able to define the series – so people tried to get them to define it, “Well, what are the genres that you watch?” The concept of genre, concept of category, these are programs, videos, two large categories, and everything goes into them. After – in fact they are going to enter something that they have seen, that they have liked, and then I am proposing something that brings things together and this is what the search engines propose to them.
MODERATOR: Yes, so this is what the algorithms do.
Ms. THOËR: Exactly, and —
MODERATOR: The famous – the scrolling
Ms. THOËR: Absolutely.
MODERATOR: — selection going down the side – of the videos that people are watching.
Ms. THOËR: And they were in the habit of doing this with continuous music, so they have moved this – they have moved this practice over to television content, finally to audiovisual content in fact.
And from this fact then, mediation is going to be: “I like something, I am looking for something. I liked this or that actor.” Or again: “What is the most popular? I want to watch the prime-time content.” So there is also this – this element, what is popular, which is still interesting to watch.
MODERATOR: Yes. Thank you.
Ms. THOËR: So they are going to —
Mr. LAFRANCE: But —
MODERATOR: Yes, Sylvain.
Mr. LAFRANCE: — I have the impression that people are looking at the search engine as if – people are talking about the search engine as if it was only a curator for getting to audiovisual content. The search engine is in itself a medium because you can sit down also, young people can sit down for 45 minutes, they are excited about this or that, and they are searching and rather than watching a documentary, they are often going to search for 45 minutes, they are going to feed themselves with things —
Mr. LAFRANCE: — of which the credibility is sometimes doubtful or not, that depends. And that’s indeed what – what the problem is, but we can’t look at a search engine as just the road towards the consumption of traditional media. We have to see it as a medium in itself.
And that’s why in my opinion, we are starting to see real questions raised about how we should organize that universe of access to knowledge, that universe of access to information, because there really is – things are not running too smoothly in the way the page is received. For example, we have to – I am convinced of this – we have to greatly increase media literacy so that young people will understand how a search engine works. How are they editorialized? How are they marketed? What do they send you? And then when they enclose you in their bubble of filters, what does that mean?
They would have to – understanding that is as important as being able to write, because access to knowledge goes through that.
That’s what leads me to believe that the search engine is a medium in itself.
MODERATOR: Yes. But when you created Tou.TV, you obviously wanted to develop new contents for that. We were not – we know that – I myself recall having heard a great deal – there were ads – indeed that is still the case, of cross-promotion, radio, television, Internet, the three of them promoting —
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes.
MODERATOR: — if you will allow me —
Mr. LAFRANCE: Certainly.
MODERATOR: — the expression – the phrase – among themselves.
MODERATOR: But how can we think that content could be – is – is identified, is indexed so that it can be found? Someone who is looking for it is not necessarily going to come across it, that is also a bit the challenge of the media —
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes. In the case —
MODERATOR: — today, no?
Mr. LAFRANCE: — it’s interesting because we often talk about cross-promotion, and there are a lot of people who are with us in Tou.TV who are here in the room today, but I remember that we had ultimately – we had managed to amalgamate radio, television, all that on Radio-Canada, we flooded the city. People – people could not miss it. They discovered Tou.TV on all the highway billboards, on TV, on radio, on the Internet, there was Tou.TV everywhere…
Mr. LAFRANCE: And as a result, that virtually became a spontaneous brand. In one month people were stunned at the celebrity of Tou.TV, the fact that it came along at the right time, by chance or by the work of genius, one never knows, but perhaps a little of both, but still —
Ms. SAVARD: Well, it satisfied a need.
Mr. LAFRANCE: — but the fact remains that we really had the force of a cross-promotion, a communication that was very, very strong, so that it was virtually instantaneous.
Mr. LAFRANCE: And that came at the right time. In addition, there is the fact that at a particular time we landed on fertile ground. But when we started to draw Tou.TV on a board, to say – because at that time there wasn’t very much on-demand television. We said: “Yes, that’s going to be bizarre, a board like that, you click on the face of Christine and you are going to see the program”, but that was virtually instantaneous.
But that was – that was also a question of discoverability because we had made it known very quickly, and that brought us our programs – not only our programs, because we were in partnership with Télé-Québec, with TV5, with other people, with programs of public broadcasters, we made them more available. So that was a very big effort.
That also shows to what extent the role of the public broadcasters like Radio-Canada, Télé-Québec, TV5, NFB, all the public broadcasters, is to make content available. And here there are three things that we put into discoverability.
In the first place, is something available technically, in terms of rights, in terms of financing? One has to have all that.
Secondly, is that discoverable if people want to find it, if they look for it?
MODERATOR: It has to be referenced. It’s all very well to have the same – the best content in the world, there are contents that are not even —
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes.
MODERATOR: There is Canadian content that people can’t even find.
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes.
MODERATOR: You go to Google —
Mr. LAFRANCE: But there is – there is another —
MODERATOR: You have to really want it to go looking for it —
Mr. LAFRANCE: — on the second discoverable part —
MODERATOR: — this content.
Mr. LAFRANCE: — there is a new logic of marketing, well all that. And the third part is – are you able to go find it technically, and then watch it. If I click, is it going to appear, is that going to work technologically?
So I would say that there is a first stage which is to make something available, which means major issues of rights, major issues of financing, major issues of regulation. Secondly, is the thing in fact discoverable? And thirdly, are you able to watch it?
And if we have these three things, generally it works out. And Tou.TV is a bit like that, illico today is that. The simplicity, for example, of illico.TV is – is that, you know, you click and it works.
Mr. LAFRANCE: So we made it quite simple compared to what there was five years ago.
So every time you succeed in making something very, very simple, very simple to use and simple to discover, you have a great success.
MODERATOR: Yes, that’s it, it has to be simple. It has to be —
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes.
MODERATOR: — that the interface works well —
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes, yes.
MODERATOR: — immediately, then that it —
Mr. LAFRANCE: “User friendly”.
MODERATOR: — suitable, – yes, that’s it, it has to be suitable for tablets and mobiles.
I would like to hear from you at this point, Wale. You are working in France with big clients indeed. How are you succeeding in making content attractive, discoverable, and watchable by people who had not necessarily thought of going there?
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: Well for us the real issue is the creation of brands. We think that in an ecosystem where an enormous quantity of content is being produced every day, every second and in all languages, the issue is to have brands emerge. And we are working not just on making the brand well known – as you mentioned in regard to Tou.TV, this is of capital importance – but to know in fact what is the utility of this brand for me the consumer, to do what I can to recognize the best brand.
I may be familiar with a series. It’s not because I am familiar with this series that I necessarily want to watch it. Ultimately, I want to watch it if I find it interesting…
So the issue goes beyond the question of making a brand well known, it’s a question of giving this brand a genuine usefulness for the consumer —
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: — and it’s – it’s this scope that we are working on. The way we are working is to create an emotional tie. The emotional tie is what ensures that once the consumer has discovered the program to consume, that he will recommend it to others.
Let’s say this – it seems – in other words, it seems that one of the fundamental issues in the cultural industry, as far as contents are concerned, is recommendation. In other words, I want to watch a film because my neighbour, my friend, my colleague has maybe said: “How come you haven’t seen it? You should watch it.”
And we think that this – this pattern that is transmitted a great deal by digital media, by social media, in the overall communication time of a – of a producer or broadcaster, this is the aspect on which the least amount of work is done. In other words, I am ensuring that everybody knows that my program is being broadcast or put on a platform, but am I really working fundamentally on the fact that those who consume this content are passing it on in the background?
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: I think that we have to ask ourselves a question. This is one of the elements, ultimately, on which the least work is done, so I think that fundamentally – and I think that you are all firmly convinced of this – that this plays a very important part in terms of transformation.
Ms. SAVARD: Hmm.
MODERATOR: I see you’re reacting. What’s your opinion?
Ms. SAVARD: Well, very much —
MODERATOR: — Michèle.
Ms. SAVARD: — this was the comment, that once the viewer, the consumer has seen the content, how am I going to make sure that he is going to share with his circle the fact that he liked it —
Ms. SAVARD: — or did not like it? His comments, this aspect of ambassador of the brand—
Ms. SAVARD: — that he becomes afterwards. What are the tools that we can give to consumers precisely so that they will be able to become ambassadors of our brand?
Ms. SAVARD: Some tools are natural. There is a part of the population that is very active on social media, and these people naturally become ambassadors. There are others where this is not so much the case. How are we going to give them tools? And I think that one of the great successes of Obama’s first campaign, I think, was that he gave consumers the means, the tools to share.
If I become an ambassador, when are you going to make my job simpler by saying to me, “Go ahead, go, share”, that’s easy.
MODERATOR: So to make Internet users ambassadors —
Ms. SAVARD: Yes indeed.
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: That’s not – I think —
MODERATOR: — content.
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: It’s not just the Internet users, the issue is to give a reason —
Ms. SAVARD: Hmm.
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: — to give a real reason so I will have a desire to talk about it. For what reason and what am I going to say in my talk, how are we going to simplify the capacity of each individual for transmission?
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: If we succeed in resolving this issue, in fact, we ultimately succeed in generating discoverability among people who are close to each other, in fact.
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: What is rather interesting is that in the case of digital content, it is their availability which is in the long term. In other words, for the television audience, there is a broadcast over the traditional airways and then there are relay platforms, so that digital consumption can be discovered today or in 30 years. And the idea of having people who know each other closely and who are making discovering on an ongoing basis, this is what makes it possible in a – in a “low trend” perspective to have audiences that are in fact enormous, and this is also what has made MCN a success, is that I can watch my video this week, or I can watch it next week.
Mr. LAFRANCE: On this issue of engagement, it’s interesting because I agree we really have to engage – and we see, for example, OSN (Orbit Satellite Network) which is trying to engage its audience.
For me, there is an example that I find extraordinary, that is the Montreal Canadians.
Ms. SAVARD: Hmm.
Mr. LAFRANCE: For those who have never been to see a game, go watch a game but arrive 15 minutes before, sit yourself down, the two little guys with the flag and all that. The emotion is everywhere even before the players arrive, then they arrive like gladiators, you have the impression that it is going to be terrific. And the game is not even started and you are completely engaged.
Ms. SAVARD: Yes.
Mr. LAFRANCE: You just have to have a desire to go to – go to the Canadians application and to see how good it is and then you are engaged. And when Carey Price hurt himself, everyone felt the hurt.
Mr. LAFRANCE: I find they have a way of engaging —
Ms. SAVARD: Yes.
Mr. LAFRANCE: — engaging people emotionally that goes far beyond the sport’s outcome; that really acts on the emotions. They really play on the emotions, and it’s extraordinary how that generates engagement. For me, they are the ones who perhaps succeed the best in what I have seen recently in getting citizens engaged.
MODERATOR: Yes, the emotion is very important ultimately. And what you are telling us – that’s indeed a little what Jean-François put on the table in saying – in making a connection with this study which is incredible.
As for the algorithms, although people have done their best to refine them, they generate very little increases in engagement, but when somebody says to us, “Hey, you have to go listen to this because it’s good.” The best example, I think, is a – let’s say a good friend sends us an email with a link in it, he doesn’t even need to – he doesn’t even have to include it because we are going to click on the link and open it, that’s it.
Mr. GAGNON: I have plenty of examples of reactions like that. First, one, the example of the Canadians is very good because it’s a good demonstration of engagement. In fact you have – a mastery of what we may call “transmedia”, so it’s not something that is fundamentally too – in fact, the term transmedia has a negative connotation in the area of television production, but it’s more a principle of marketing in the first place and above all, it’s – really defines an approach that has enormous value, but it requires enormous means also. It’s another – it’s another point.
MODERATOR: But transmedia has – can have major impacts. We only have to think of George Lucas who had the – the rights to the action figures when he launched his first film because —
Mr. GAGNON: Yes.
MODERATOR: — not all the studios wanted to go there. I think that retrospectively, he is very happy to have had that, then it was transmedia that had not —
Mr. GAGNON: But —
MODERATOR: — was not being called that as such.
Mr. GAGNON: You see, this fact is interesting because here we see a return to monetization; we come back to the revenue model. It is not distribution that ensures that there will be revenue generated by merchandising, it’s a one-time. Like there is – in fact, the content has a certain influence. There is a market, and this mass can be monetized with other ways of doing things.
So honestly I think that this is something else, people are talking a lot about consumption, consumption, consumption, about increasing video consumption, but what value does all that have? Because fundamentally there you have another – you have another – it’s not – matching is no longer done as it used to be.
Then there is another very tricky factor, because I am just old enough to be able to appreciate it. It’s that one is in fact asking screening services, and then YouTubers, to generate a very, very large audience. But generating a very, very large audience with IP means is very expensive.
And the value that one gives to cost per impression (CPM) is very small, while television does that very well. Television is able to go and find very, very, very large audiences at a very low cost.
Mr. GAGNON: That means that this is a factor with which – I don’t know who said that to me today, but we must not fall into a panic mode. We have to be able to understand thoroughly the subtlety of the media, how it is marketed. Then yes, the television magazine can be an extremely worthwhile environment in terms of “one-to-one” and then of customized content, but fundamentally, for the event-driven aspect, for something that is going to be consumed by very large masses of individuals, this is a good – this is a good environment.
MODERATOR: Yes, that’s all very interesting.
Pascal, I see you stamping your feet —
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: Yes.
MODERATOR: — do you want to respond to that?
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: Yes, I would like to make two comments. My first comment is on the YouTubers and this new generation of – of media stakeholders. In France in fact, this is an emerging phenomenon, that all these people are in the process of being bought up by the television networks, which of course sell CPMs at a very high price, but less and less, in any case with audiences that are sharply declining, so the CPMs are tending to depreciate, not very fast, but it’s still a phenomenon.
And all the major networks, whether M6, TF1 recently or the Canal+ Group have bought up or are in the process of buying up major YouTubers who are put into some sorts of – excuse me for using the term, but these are stables in which the networks put 10 YouTubers, and then there is one of them that will emerge. And indeed this YouTuber who is going to emerge is going to make television, and then film, so that ultimately history repeats itself.
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: My second point, following all that you have said, is very, very important, and that is neutrality. In fact, as we all know, the Internet is not neutral, in particular when people are doing promotion or going off to discover content.
And today, there is a phenomenon that is extremely alarming or, in any case interesting, and that is that the major brands – and here I am not going to mention them by name so that I won’t have the misfortune of being shot down when I leave here – but there is a point that is very, very important, and that is that today major brands have understood the influence that the print media have on the Internet even among young people, and are doing what we called at the time “editorial advertising”.
And I am coming back to the theme of “brown content”. So there are sites that publish information about, for example, television series as if these were articles with the trailer, the teaser, because today the social media are very, very familiar with the teaser —
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: — and people find themselves with this article that they are going to share with their friends. So people say, “Hey, look at this, it’s super, look at the article, it’s terrific.” The person is talking about the teaser for the new series that is coming out. In fact, it’s not even a teaser. It’s not even an editorial comment; it’s advertising that has been made palatable. And then the young people who are nonetheless very receptive to anything that is not in the buzz, they don’t know how to sort it out.
And from there, one constructs a virality, but a virality that might prove to be very dangerous and that has a very strong commercial purpose.
And then people say, “What are we going to discover, it is only disguised advertising?” So that raises genuine topics of discussion on this neutrality, which can be very dangerous. So when it’s for a television series, that’s okay, that’s cool, but if there is nonetheless an aspect —
MODERATOR: In any case, I think that there are journalists who are tricked into rewriting news of – the fellow Rafi, and then think that this is genuine news, that has already happened.
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: Exactly.
Mr. LAFRANCE: And that is, in my opinion, an issue that is truly, truly major. In particular, for example, I was just talking about the question of public policies and all that. When I try to project that on these generations who are essentially operating on a mouth-to-mouth basis, it’s marvellous. You have talked about dangerous virality. There are indeed viralities that are dangerous, and we have seen plenty of them, what recently happened in France is an example. Sometimes things have been turned upside down; we have also seen this in Canada.
And today, the curatorship that has been done by journalists is often done by search engines, so we don’t know much about the editorial competencies involved, let’s call them like that, and that scares me a bit because that has to be a purging.
What I am saying is that this is keeping me from sleeping at night in the short term because I think that everything is being done in a – over a rather long period of time, but I think that we cannot really make an economy based on true social, collective and political thinking on what these tools are, on what this means in terms of public policy, what pressure that exercises on education institutions, what pressure on regulations —
MODERATOR: You are talking about algorithms?
Mr. LAFRANCE: — the pressure on financing, all these tools.
Mr. LAFRANCE: And the whole question of discoverability —
Mr. LAFRANCE: — has impacts on the organization of our society, and that is nonetheless for that politics exists, it’s to organize our society and you —
Mr. LAFRANCE: — you were quoting Véronique Martel in saying, “We are the ones who are going to organize this world; it’s not in the process of organizing us.” We will have to do something about this some —
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: A very interesting point on the political part. Let me remind you once again that – we are referring to France, all the television networks that are obliged to broadcast officially to the CSA television programs three weeks in advance of their being placed online.
Obviously, the Internet eludes this absolute logic, in other words, people are able to put anything they want online at any time, under cover of —
MODERATOR: There is a period of three weeks on the Internet, it is —
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: Exactly.
MODERATOR: — a passport to non-virality.
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: We are in a moment – we are in a period of three milliseconds. And in particular, in the field of information where young people are so – unfortunately, given all the recent events that have occurred, very permeable and so we can see completely crazy things happening, and for the moment governments can start thinking about the situation, but I think they will be dead and buried before they have been able to finish because for the time being, the Internet is going much faster than they are.
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: And we cannot ask for censorship, simply vision, visibility, and today nobody, nobody can explain how the algorithms operate on this or that search engine or algorithms of recommendation, and there is nothing, and just that, that can scare because —
MODERATOR: Yes, but in any case it’s their – it’s their panacea.
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: Exactly.
MODERATOR: Facebook will never reveal that, anymore than – anymore than Google.
But you know that in the digital plane it is currently being studied by your – that has been filed by your minister Axelle Lemaire, people are going to have the right to ask for the algorithms from the governments that are responsible for the decisions —
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes.
MODERATOR: — that have affected us. So it’s rather interesting to see that – in any case, there is a –there is a step that is being taken —
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: We will just have to have the email addresses of the right people.
MODERATOR: What was that?
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: We just have to have the email address of these people because —
MODERATOR: Yes, because in any case, the right to have access to the algorithm is already something —
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes.
MODERATOR: — something worthwhile. But that —
Mr. LAFRANCE: The European Commission is also thinking about the capacity to set quotas on foreign search engines to say, “You have to produce European content or Italian or French content.” So for the time being, that all seems improbable, but I think that these are true, true questions.
Just a moment ago I was startled; I was happy when we had the question about regulation because you looked like you were going to say that regulation was the enemy of the good, but you very quickly corrected yourself. But me, I think that —
Mr. LAFRANCE: — we absolutely have to think about this. We cannot deal with the economy of these questions that are extremely important questions of society.
When we see today the debates on society that are happening, the great social debates that we are having today that are not the same as they were 30 years ago, we can see that we need to talk. We need to live together. We need to find a way of living together. We need for curatorship. We have a need for all that, and then we cannot let all that completely go off madly.
So, we need to have a true political reflection —
Mr. LAFRANCE: — on this question.
MODERATOR: Yes, yes, the political question is eminently important. We can just quickly —
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: We can just —
MODERATOR: Rapidly, Pascal, and after that we are going to go on to —
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: We can just give a piece of advice to the politicians, that is to use the Internet that is supremely important.
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes.
MODERATOR: What did you say?
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: Use the Internet. In other words, today there are many reflections being carried out in a very theoretical way —
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: — and that in fact, the exercise, practice, understanding, discussion with young people, whether or not in panels, but that allow us to take this step back, to understand how social media works. I mean, today this debate is starting to open up. It must not be confined to a public and political regulatory space that is cut off from this reality.
And today, very sincerely, let us listen to the politicians speaking about them and discovering the Internet second hands, through what people are telling them about the Internet.
MODERATOR: Yes, that’s true, and the change of generations is perhaps going to happen —
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: Let’s hope.
MODERATOR: We are going to find ourselves very soon with native sons and daughters who are going to – who are going to be in charge.
Christine Thoër, I would like to hear what you have to say about that. You wanted to —
Ms. THOËR: Yes, I wanted to —
MODERATOR: — you wanted to respond —
Ms. THOËR: — to say something about the fact that we are speaking of young people as if they did not know anything at all about what is behind the search engines. It’s true, of course, that the engines are complicated, but it reassures me to see that you are saying that they are not very transparent, but that the young are not naïve in dealing with the search engines. They have very ambivalent positions regarding search engines.
Ms. THOËR: They realize that there are connections with their previous navigation, and that – often they even appreciate these links, saying to themselves – there was a young person who said to us, “At one point I deleted all my cookies, and well, I had the impression that I had deleted a part of my history.” So it’s —
Ms. THOËR: We feel that there are things that – that they appreciate, but at the same time, there is content that is – that is pushed on them, since they do not really find them interesting or useful.
And if we look, for example, at Netflix, they are going to play with the mechanism. So they are going to provide information. They are going to take the time to provide information on their preferences in Netflix so that content will be proposed to them. But after they have gone to a buddy’s account, they all have accounts that they share, then they will see that they all have the same preferences – the same things that are being proposed to them, so they clearly see that this is also a way to show this, so as not to conceal the fact that there is this much content behind their choices. So people put this to you as if it was recommendations, but in fact it’s just a way to conceal the poverty of the offer.
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes. At the same time, there was a report recently – I do not recall whether it was a report of the Media Fund or of CIRANO [Centre for Interuniversity Research and Analysis on Organizations], but it said that the situation was not as clear as that. Your youth spend a lot of time at university, they study in communications —
Ms. THOËR: No, they are 12 —
Mr. LAFRANCE: — and what that said —
Ms. THOËR: — they are 12 to 25 years of age. They are —
Mr. LAFRANCE: — It’s that the general knowledge of the famous filter bubble, there are many people – I think it’s a figure of 50 percent who are not even aware of it, who do not seem to realize that there would be something like a filter bubble —
MODERATOR: But that is also the task of the school to do that.
Mr. LAFRANCE: But of course.
MODERATOR: I think that it is going to be necessary to adapt the education systems to that because —
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes, absolutely.
MODERATOR: — at some point people will have to learn what an algorithm is, rather soon, the filter bubble rather soon, how search engines operate also.
Mr. GAGNON: But before that can be taught it has to be understood—
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes.
Mr. GAGNON: And fundamentally, people have to accept the fact that there is a transition.
Mr. GAGNON: And it is not true that we can go from a model A to a model B with just a wave of a magic wand.
Mr. GAGNON: It doesn’t work like that.
Mr. GAGNON: And as adults, it’s hard for us to adopt the mindset that we don’t know everything. I have kids too. So we have to manage a transition, and the schools will have to manage a transition as well.
Ms. SAVARD: And the parents also.
Mr. GAGNON: And fundamentally we have to focus on having children who are going to be quick on their feet and who are going to be able to make enlightened decisions because that’s the only thing we can really, really do.
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: The question has been asked in France about the role of the Internet in education. And so the way the question was asked was to say that teachers must teach Internet, must teach children to use the Internet with all its limitations and its depths. Who is going to train them? The children.
MODERATOR: Christine Thoër, your raised your hand, yes.
Ms. THOËR: It’s also interesting that we are very reticent about using the system of recommendation for other goods and services, but for audiovisual contents we are very open. That shows to what extent the public wants to be – us, they say to us, “Send us things, recommend things to us.” They subscribe because they have to sift through all these contents and that – there are friends that enable them to do this. And friends, social media, in particular for young people, it’s extremely connected, but there is also the fact that the search engines propose things and it’s one way to find them, and to discover new things.
So it’s quite interesting that in this field, it’s not – while if we do a search on work, and then the same item is proposed to you x number of times, it’s extremely tiresome, but, no, it’s really not at all the same point of view one has in respect of audiovisual content.
Ms. SAVARD: And at the same time, we have to consider that the Facebooks and the Googles, the YouTubes – Google, YouTube of this world are going to push content that’s profitable for them. So that even where the interests of young people are concerned, they are going to push content, they are going to push content that is going to be paying, less content that may be interesting for the young person than content for pay behind the scenes.
Ms. THOËR: That’s for sure.
Ms. SAVARD: It’s the financial model all the time, all the time.
MODERATOR: Yes, Suzanne.
Ms. LORTIE: I just want to say that for my teenager, Google is first and foremost a spellchecker —
Ms. LORTIE: — and not a search engine.
Ms. SAVARD: Just for the —
Ms. LORTIE: No, no, but it’s because even that is different.
Ms. LORTIE: That is to say that we are in a process of – and here I agree – yes, we are in a universe of brands and so we are increasingly in a universe of applications. And we see that with Apple TV. Netflix is first and foremost an application as well where the ergonomics, the way of paying, the way of accessing is simple, is simple, is transparent. There are very few points of friction.
MODERATOR: Yes, it’s a closed system as well. In other words, there is a – it’s a —-
Ms. LORTIE: It’s a closed ecosystem.
MODERATOR: It’s a little – it’s a closed ecosystem.
Ms. LORTIE: It’s a walled garden, in fact.
MODERATOR: It’s the opposite of the Internet —
Ms. LORTIE: On the other hand, it’s a walled garden that has many, many gardeners who have been doing an enormous amount of work on the semantic Web, who are doing an enormous amount of work on their – not just algorithms, but who are working on the meanings of words that they have used to tattoo their programs. Because we have spoken a – because it was for that that we in the preliminary discussions, I thought it was necessary to make a difference between live content and delayed content, in other words, the stock. What has been accumulated for years, what can be generated as production —
MODERATOR: The famous catalogue.
Ms. LORTIE: The catalogues, the productions that are no longer in the “here and now”. And that counteracts this kind of effect of best sellers and novelties and blockbuster stuff like that, at some point one has a stock that one is not in the process of valuing and where – and for which the search engines are not suitable, for one, but also the data that had been used to tattoo these files are not suitable.
Ms. LORTIE: In other words, there is not just the thesauruses and the traditional way of naming things, there is what is called “folksonomy”, in other words, the semantic universe that is developed by users and by the people who are watching these things, who are consuming them and who are going to recommend them.
The other thing I would like to add then is that in this universe which is digital, there is the Internet and the applications, and, in my opinion, these are two ecosystems that are different, because you can easily remain very happy within a universe of applications —
Ms. LORTIE: — and very happy within a Web universe and to use it in two different ways. The rise of Twitch for example, which is – because we have not spoken about competition. There are not just our products that we make, but there all the other things that can be consumable as cultural products that are not recognized as media products, I should say, rather than cultural products.
To come back to what you were saying, I do not think that the Internet is faster than television. I think that the users are faster than television. It’s not the Internet, it’s the users.
In the case of the attacks in November, the images that were shown on television, they were all images of attacks that were filmed by people who were there and they were all in vertical format. So we have to get used to this model where television must open up to live content —
Ms. LORTIE: — to users. This is not wishful thinking, that’s not true. I mean, that’s reality. There are several ecosystems. My point is to say that we don’t have to put everything in the same package. The contents are not all the same, and the strategies of discoverability vary from one type of content to another.
Ms. LORTIE: This is not a big soup or a big pizza in which we find everything, that’s not true. What we see among young people and teenagers is that they have different strategies. Myself, I am surprised to see to what extent the students I teach, who are 20 years of age, are starting again to buy CDs.
AS for myself, I buy vinyl. Vinyl is already out for them. For them, what is vintage, it’s the CD. That’s it.
MODERATOR: And there is the cassette that is starting to make a comeback as well.
Ms. LORTIE: Yes, but the cassette, I tried to slip it in between vinyl and the CD but that didn’t work. They remain —
Mr. LAFRANCE: Things fire in all directions, there was an excellent expression of Zuckerberg that I will try to quote a bit, the creator of Facebook, I am going to quote him approximately in French, but he said: “At the time, basically it was simple, there was a receiver, a transmitter, it was like a bowling game” he said, “You have a ball, and you have pins. You aim, you strike so many, it’s easy. Today it’s like a pinball machine; you throw a ball into it. The ball can roll for 25 minutes. It can fall. It can have an influence, bring you 12 million points. You no longer know where it is going to strike.”
And it’s a bit like that today, what is happening with virality and all that. So it’s – I completely agree with you that it is – that we are in an immensely complex universe, but I think we have to get back to basics. What is the role of the media?
And here we are in a group that was initiated by the CRTC and the NFB, so we have to ask ourselves what is the role of the media in Canada? What must we do there to try to organize a little better to make sure that we are closer to our objectives? For example, to ensure that our communication needs as a society is met.
But we must not mix everything together, I agree with that. We must not mix together everything that is happening on the Internet, but there are things that we have to watch because Canadians have to continue to share things, they have to continue to have a common reading of a certain reality, prepare for it and live together, all that. There is after all a role for the media that is not fundamentally changing in our society. We can’t say, “We shall see what happens.”
And I completely agree with you that must – to go from A to B, we still have a long road to travel. We should have a few people who are starting to prepare B just in case, you know.
Mr. GAGNON: Yes. Well, in fact I just want to continue in this – it’s a good in –a “segue”, a connection, and that will have a connection also with, Michèle, what you were saying. It’s a service of recommendation, for example, the majority of broadcasters in Canada, other than the algorithm, they have parameters. The parameter of “ownership” is one of these. Then there is another factor that affects many people, in a space of discovery, it’s the commercial enterprise. Their focus is commercial. The concept of discoverability is not a concern, it’s their – these are private enterprises answerable to their shareholders, enterprises that are traded on the stock exchange —
Ms. SAVARD: Humm.
Ms. GAGNON: — it’s commercial performance. That’s my comment.
I have another comment as well. It is that when we listen only to the voice of the consumer that introduces distortions into the system.
I want to name for you some enterprises that offer – that has listened to the voice of the consumer. We have Telus, and also Cogeco, that offer Netflix on their cable sites. It’s available. They have introduced a universal search function where people can search for contents just about everywhere. These are two companies that are not integrated vertically. They are not in the content segment.
It’s – then in fact, I think in fact that raises rather interesting questions precisely about to what point it has to be that the voice of the – at the level where we as Canadians are comfortable to see that we have services that are made available to consumers by regulated business that bring in – that just answer to a – to the law of the marketplace, and then these services operate very, very well. So the consumption of content through Netflix that is coming from those environments is – in fact, I imagine that it is important for content consumption.
MODERATOR: Yes. But at the same time, we find ourselves with major actors. You mentioned Netflix, Netflix which has enormous successes, and is launching – has launched into the production of series, now film. And we find ourselves with people who, at the end of this distribution chain, have contents that are magnificent, that are of great quality. And we are struggling with – here, obviously we are a small society. We do not have the markets like the ones in the United States. We speak in French, so the possibility of exporting, it is – it is smaller.
Do you think we can succeed in creating interesting content? How can we succeed in positioning ourselves in relation to these things?
And Sylvain Lafrance, I see that you have been thinking about something for quite a while —
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes, yes, because —
MODERATOR: — think about these questions.
Mr. LAFRANCE: — In fact there is an immense paradox. When people ask me, “Are things going well in the world of the media?” well, from the point of view of the citizen, there is more content than there has ever been historically. The citizen can watch what he wants to watch, on the mobile he wants, on the bus, anywhere. There is extraordinary content. I watch a series from anywhere in the world, it’s marvellous. Seen from the citizen’s point of view, the world of media is doing very well.
Mr. GAGNON: And it’s free.
Mr. LAFRANCE: It’s certain that that’s – yes.
MODERATOR: Bandwidth cost a lot.
Mr. LAFRANCE: That conceals a little problem. That conceals a little problem, which is that producers of content, primarily Canadian content, and Quebec content even more, because it’s a much smaller market – since that’s how it is, it’s starting to bring down revenues a bit. You see that the – you know, the cost of a fiction – in 10 years in Quebec the cost of one hour of fiction – Louis Lalande and the people from the TVA are here, they could tell us – has fallen by approximately 50 percent an hour. So that is the cost of our fiction. And this is at a time when we should be competitive on the international scene with big things.
Now there are Quebec producers who have solutions. They are going into international coproduction, and all that, that’s going well.
But the fact remains that this raises a problem. The problem is that our system is in the process of becoming weaker everywhere. The advertising market is declining. So the citizen is being extraordinarily well served, but he is in danger of seeing less and less on his television or on – or in his mobile or elsewhere, and that, that conceals a real problem.
And as far as Canadian content is concerned, I think that there is a problem. The entrepreneurial spirit can resolve some of this, but it cannot resolve everything because we are in fact a small market of 10 million people, and even if we export, we will perhaps not have the investment money needed to go and compete on the international market.
But I am happy in this regard that one thing is happening in the world of television in Quebec. At the present time, there is a great consolidation of producers. And the consolidation of the producers is perhaps going to enable them to capitalize and then to project themselves a little better abroad. We were, in my opinion, too Balkanized. But that remains a big, big, big problem. We are in a world of media that is working very well from the citizen’s point of view, but that is collapsing when seen from the point of view of the business model.
Mr. GAGNON: Yes indeed. In fact, the idea is that it’s all well and good that we have consolidated the production aspect, but we are producing for whom? That’s another factor, and then what are the rules? That has the effect that it in fact probably reinforces the need to define or to put in place new broadcasters or distributors…
Unfortunately, I do not have many examples here, but we – at Fox, there is really a very interesting phenomenon from which we could probably draw inspiration. The revenue model is really linked to the exploitation of a central brand, which is Fox. We were talking about DisneyLife just now, it’s a system that is very well designed. This is a plug for —
MODERATOR: That was subtle, that was very well brought in, yes.
Mr. GAGNON: But that’s a bit the idea, is that the role of the cable operator in an environment of broadcasting apps, of “app casting”, that – it is central, in fact, especially in a strategy, in fact of support for production, it takes a – it takes companies that are able to do the aggregation with a eye for “curatorship”.
Mr. GAGNON: So to have a concern for the dollar invested to develop high quality programing that is going to be able to reach its market. And that, that’s probably in fact a trade that we have abandoned a bit. You know, it’s a consequence, in fact, of a model that is very – without saying favourable, but a model that did define many ways of doing things, that – where promotion was perhaps less important.
Mr. LAFRANCE: Hmm.
Mr. GAGNON: I want to come back to the Fox thing. At the end of the day, the president, last week, in fact, it was really – his position that he adopted, which is that if there is a player among all the actors who can really demonstrate the value of the contents very well, that is the person who is doing the aggregation that makes financing possible.
MODERATOR: But that being said, these contents must be of high quality.
Mr. GAGNON: Yes.
MODERATOR: We were saying a moment ago that this has to compete with the Netflixes of this world. Obviously, there are the YouTubers who, themselves, produce at very low cost and succeed, at any rate in certain cases, to have a model that works because they have many clicks. But in any case, for the moment it’s not yet – it’s not yet well established here. We have what, three, four years of delay compared to the United States.
The regulatory framework, because there is money there, but when we spend for that, when we spend for our gizmos, there is a lot of money that is spent on that. And yet one would say that people no longer want to pay so much for content. This is indeed the great tragedy of l’ADISQ, people want to have music, but Google Play Music enables them to have everything at the end of their telephone without paying. At a certain point it will nonetheless be necessary to go and find the money where it is.
I myself, I recall that I was at VOX in another life, I produced a program that was the first television program made for – radio program made for television. We had cameras, Canon 5D, 7D. It was in Quebec City, in 2010. And the reason why we were able to do that was because there was – the CRTC indeed – in the licence of VOX that is now MAtv, well they were obliged to pay for local content and for access content. They did not do that out of love for us, the cheque that I received from PKP was not because they thought I was good; it was because they were obliged. That means that – no, but it’s true. I mean, at a certain point —
MODERATOR: — when you do not have a regulatory framework it’s because, at a certain point, that’s it; that is how it works. I see you laughing there, but —
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes, yes, no —
MODERATOR: At some point we are going to have to —
Mr. LAFRANCE: No, I am not going to kid around about PKP, but the —
Mr. LAFRANCE: I am not going there, but – but there is one thing that is true —
MODERATOR: Have you already received cheques from PKP? Shot, I am revealing things.
Mr. LAFRANCE: But there is one thing that is true, it’s that – there is one thing that is very true, that is that there is like a confusion, because when people say to me, “People do not want to pay for content,” I don’t know if you have a family that has two teenagers, but then you pay for the Wi-Fi, you pay for cable, you pay for four cellphones, you pay for all that, and then after all that, if people say that you are not willing to pay for content, that’s because they have the impression that they are paying for content. They are not paying to have – for the pleasure of having cable on their wall. They are paying – they think that they are paying for content. And there is a confusion that in fact occurs.
So money is not something at the present time, that is somewhat directed towards content. So yes, naturally, it takes fairly big resources to install a whole cable system of satellites and all that.
But it’s true that there is confusion. When people say to me, “People don’t want to pay”, I say to myself, “Well, they are paying a lot or they are paying a lot, a lot, you know.”
Ms. SAVARD: But the young people are not aware.
Mr. LAFRANCE: What did you say?
Ms. SAVARD: Young people are not conscious…
Mr. LAFRANCE: No, people are not conscious of that.
Ms. SAVARD: No.
Mr. LAFRANCE: And in fact perhaps there is a problem, it’s that the creators and in particular the televised series, in the world of music, everywhere at this time, there is a problem. It’s that this is a thing that is growing weaker everywhere.
MODERATOR: Yes, but how do we —
Mr. LAFRANCE: We do not realize that we have, for example, in Quebec, many historical series less than before. It’s sure that our television is being weakened from year to year. It is being weakened just a little bit. We have fewer historical series. We have fewer large scale series. We have fewer episodes every year. We have fewer original series every year. How far is our system going to be weakened? I don’t know, but one day it’s going to be very, very weak.
MODERATOR: No, but it’s the same thing in music. You speak to musicians who no longer receive practically any royalties, who are – look, Pharrell Williams in 2014, Happy, it was listened to 43 million times on Pandora, and his cheque was for $3,500. I mean, we cannot continue with a model like that
Mr. GAGNON: Yes, no.
MODERATOR: No, but I mean at some point there is a question of regulation there.
Mr. LAFRANCE: It’s not a model.
MODERATOR: It’s not a model.
Mr. GAGNON: The other point in fact about the quantity of money available versus, in fact, the quality of the content, there is like a layer between the two that is kind of hidden, it’s – it’s the number of points of access, it’s the number of channels. I mean, what good does it do to us to have an envelope x, if it is reduced, but fundamentally, why is it reduced? The environment is not performing as well.
If it’s not performing as well, what are we going to do? Well, a manager in the private sector, in fact, will just reduce the point of contention as much as possible, then it’s really the number of places where the content is accessible, and who has the – it’s a question of privilege also, of —
Mr. GAGNON: — public funding. It’s not – it’s often another thing that we must not forget. And again, I think that it’s a thing because it’s a practical measure, because by reducing the number of points of access, well that’s normally going to have an impact on the quality of the production that is done. That seems rather simple to me.
Mr. LAFRANCE: One thing that I would like to mention also, in this whole question of discoverability is the role of the public services, broadcast, of radio – always Radio-Canada, the NFB, Télé-Québec, all those, it’s a great asset we have to own the public service.
In passing, let me say that it’s not a North American model to have so many public services. It’s more of a European model. But it’s a great asset, because in terms of discoverability, in terms, for example, of making our own histories known, particularly in Quebec, we have, in terms of discoverability, we have at least an advantage over English-speaking Canada, and that is the attraction of Quebec series for their own audience. That’s phenomenal. That’s not – one will say – you know, we will be wasting time on the why. One thing that is certain is that in-English-speaking Canada, there is an enormous competition from American series, but the fact remains that that helps us in our service of discoverability.
Quebec television, one may think, is going to continue – continues indeed. Unité 9, that is what, a million something, the series —
Ms. SAVARD: La Voix, 2 million.
Mr. LAFRANCE: So these are enormous audiences, and in that we have an enormous advantage that is going to continue to be there for a long time. And I would say that the public services are an asset because they can, more than ever, be the great advocates of our own content, of our own stories.
The existence of a fund like the Media Fund could help the people in the private sector to do the same thing. In my opinion, that is an extremely important thing. That’s why I am saying that behind the question of discoverability, there are major problems that are those of funding, of public policy, and all that.
MODERATOR: Does the supply come before the demand? Pascal Lechevallier?
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: Well today, in the world in which we live, television broadcasts, in fact the programmers are the ones who, while drawing inspiration, while having panels, while having extremely refined and powerful tools, which the public also knows nothing about, have the means to – to anticipate the demand of the company in all cases.
What is happening today – and I said so a moment ago, is that the television networks – and we saw the graph, are facing a problem of erosion of audiences, and perhaps they are reacting in a too superficial way by telling themselves, “Demand is exceeding the offer we are constructing.” And it’s for that that they are going off in a new direction and buying all the YouTubers.
Wale will be able to tell us more about this, about the techniques that he is putting in place for the television networks to bring back to the central screen for series launches, new television viewers or in any case fans of a certain number of people and thematic structures.
And from that viewpoint, networks do not necessarily really understand what is going on, and think that demand is overcoming supply, but it’s why I said a moment ago that television is not dead. We are evolving to a place where there is more sharing. So there is a rebalancing that is occurring thanks to the television viewers where in fact demand is more visible than it was before when we were really on a single pipe. So there are more exchanges, but the supply remains very, very important.
And if I come back to the real distinction today, the power of television on the major live events, on the sports events, on major entertainment that require very significant means in terms of production, today we see that television is nonetheless still packaged —
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: — and it is still programmed.
MODERATOR: Yes, and that said, from the moment, for example, in the major leagues Bernie Ecclestone is going to decide to leave his television contracts to go and do his own thing —
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: If you are talking about the —
MODERATOR: — that’s the end. The Montreal Canadians, the NHL is the same thing.
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: Of course.
MODERATOR: In France —
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: Of course.
MODERATOR: If people move out from the major networks and its Canal+ – and Canal+ has been extremely affected by that. If these major events are moved out, it’s the end of the major networks. That’s not for tomorrow – that’s perhaps the day after tomorrow that we are going to – that we are going to get to —
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: Well, it’s interesting; it’s the end today —
MODERATOR: — that world.
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: — we had just learned, for example, that the English Premier League has been bought by a new operator in France that has a very small television network, but thus has virtually no audience or television viewers, including the Altice Group, Patrick Drahi, and for 100 million euros per year, they have bought the League for three years when it was Canal+ that had it before, with Canal+ distribution of networks of subscribers.
And the real question is to say to ourselves he bought it, but to do what with it? To whom is he going to distribute it? If he thinks that he is going to create an Internet network and then he is going to have five million subscribers to amortize his 100 million euros a year, he is mistaken.
So new doors are being opened, and as Jean-François said a moment ago, the problem with the economic model becomes increasingly important and crucial because we can’t be sure that the shareholders will systematically validate that.
So we are in a type of redistribution where demand enormously influences supply at this time. Is that going to continue? We don’t know, because if we were ahead of the game, we would already be running big networks and we would have already laid out the future. No, we are observers of the phenomenon.
Nor can we anticipate the behaviour of young people. We can observe this behaviour, but it may happen at some point in the future – just as they rediscover the CD or some of them rediscover vinyl, suddenly young people will come back to the conventional broadcast television because they have less time in their life and they want to have stuff that is ready to eat, as they have done for food. They don’t have the time to run their errands, so they buy boxes. Well, television is a bit like that. On television, people put everything in a box for you, you press a button, and it comes to you all by itself.
On the Internet, after all, one has to go and surf, search, so they spend a lot of time on the Internet.
Ms. LORTIE: No, it’s – it’s – excuse me for contradicting you, but it’s because they, the young people, no longer do that. I completely agree with your – with a possible return on young people to television eventually. I don’t believe that very much, but I think that it is still possible. But what is probable? It is something else.
This being, no, they are not into research, they are into consumption – they are in a universe where contents are being pushed towards them. They are – we are no longer in a universe of pull, in any case, not in our market here in Quebec.
Mr. GAGNON: I would hesitate to generalize, in fact, about this generation, because honestly it’s a generation that is still in its candy store. There are no constraints. There are no rules, it’s easy. Everything is available to them all the time. They are active. There are no constraints, with the result that there are no models, with the result that one cannot organize —
MODERATOR: But what you are saying —
Mr. GAGNON: — what people are receiving —
MODERATOR: — is the candy store —
Mr. GAGNON: It’s generational.
MODERATOR: — the candy store will not be open long?
Mr. GAGNON: No.
MODERATOR: There is not any– it’s the closing of the candy store?
Mr. GAGNON: It’s because at some point one has to leave the candy store. If you eat too much candy, you get sick.
Mr. GAGNON: Then it’s not very healthy either.
Ms. SAVARD: I just want to – say a word or two about young people. Young people have rarely – not all the time – consumed television, the 18 to 24- year-olds have always been – I’ve been in media for more than 25 years– they were not on the television. They were not on the radio. They were not on the newspapers. They were not there. They went out. They went to school. They were – they consumed music that the – there were a few radio stations that specialized in music for young people. There were not that many.
Today, what we have to see is that they have access to an enormous amount of content. We have the possibility to speak to them, and we have means to speak to them as advertisers, as advertising people.
That is what we have to see. It’s long term, when they are going to enter into a model that I call “adult”, the house, the suburbs, the children, the two cars —
Ms. LORTIE: Are they going to be turning to the TV set?
Ms. SAVARD: — the daycare centre.
Ms. LORTIE: That’s the question we are asking ourselves.
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: On that we agree.
Ms. LORTIE: It’s possible, but is it probable?
MODERATOR: Yes, yes.
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: On that – on that point, I think it would be interesting to look at the communication strategies of the SDOD services that fundamentally concern mobile terminals, namely mobiles, tablets and computers, and if fundamentally as well they have many – I don’t have to tell you – children. In fact the generations of children who have grown up consuming their content outside of the television terminal will become a priori adults who will continue in couples or families to consume their content based on models that will not be televised.
So for me it’s —
Ms. SAVARD: Non-linear.
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: — non-linear. So the habits that children are acquiring today fundamentally are going to last for another 15 years, and when they reach the age to form couples and to set up households, I do not think that fundamentally they will want to spend 300, 400, 500, 600 euros to have an HD experience. In any case, they will be marginal.
MODERATOR: And indeed, we are raising the whole question of mobility because, at the present time, young people, they are almost all – I myself have already seen an infant, of about a year and half of two years old, on a paper magazine, because he wanted to do that.
There is already the reflex of the tablet. Are people going to go back to traditional television when they have known the mobile?
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: Yes, there are people who —
MODERATOR: I am not sure of that.
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: — many into consumption on mobile or on a computer, it’s the possibility of these platforms of removing the advertising.
There are like levels of “ad-blocking” that are —
Ms. SAVARD: Yes.
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: — that are very high.
Ms. SAVARD: We have also found that.
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: Those are models that do not advertise, which also display a rejection of advertising, which I found today, are also an obstacle in relation to what can be found —
MODERATOR: Yes. You want to react to ad blocking?
Ms. LORTIE: Well, in fact ad blocking – the proportions of ad blocking are much higher on computers than on mobility because in mobility, the advertising placement strategies are more intelligent and more ergonomically acceptable in fact.
Ms. SAVARD: Are still smaller also.
Ms. LORTIE: That’s it, and so less intrusive. Okay.
On the other hand, what I meant is that mobility brings in a change as well in the nature of the data that are retransmitted. It’s that the possibility of refinement in the way data is described and the statistical quantification change.
They are bringing in the concept of mobility, especially with the tactile screens.
MODERATOR: There is gamification. There is more gamification.
Ms. LORTIE: Yes, and there is a space- time. There is, even at the limit, a possibility of predicting intentions by the intensity of acts in the way in which the telephone, for example, can capture the nature of an act, in other words, is the act performed quickly, calmly, slowly and so on and so forth.
Which means that with the passage to mobility, there is potential enrichment of the data that are used for tattooing – once again, the digital tattooing of projects and works; not just that, that are used to better understand the audience one is addressing.
So, one has to be able to capture the economic value of these nuances that the mobile introduces and that the television screen and the simple ODT reader does not introduce.
I don’t know if you agree with me about that but in any case Netflix understood that. It has understood a big part of it.
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: As for me, what really gets me down is the knowledge of the consumer. Audience measurement, in any case in Europe, is so to speak archaic. It is archaic.
Our knowledge of our audiences is very archaic. It is – we know very little about our audiences.
So if we want to help our – the audiences to discover contents, we have to understand them better.
What digital technology, computers, mobiles, tablets offer is leading-edge knowledge, to the second, of where I’m consuming, of what I am consuming, of where I stopped, etc., etc.
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: So, ultimately the more information we have about our audiences, the more we will be able to offer them content. If we don’t do this, we will not be addressing their consumption.
So, this issue of, ultimately, digitization of content enables us – it’s a form of opportunity to better know, and hence to better serve and better enable the emergence of the brands we produce.
MODERATOR: Yes, Suzanne and then Sylvain.
Ms. LORTIE: And as far as I am concerned, I think that what is interesting in all of that is that we are in a process of moving from – with curatorship, we are in a process of moving from a zero prescriber model, which is very traditional broadcast to saying, “Go there; go to that destination.”
We are in a process of moving to curatorship models that are much more in the concierge style. A concierge approach, in other words, perceiving words, perceiving attitudes, understanding what people want in terms of flow and not just in terms of the destination they are going to.
And that becomes interesting.
MODERATOR: Indeed, there is the whole strength of Songza, which has been bought by —
Ms. LORTIE: Exactly.
MODERATOR: — by Google Play Music.
Ms. LORTIE: There you are.
MODERATOR: And has indeed been incorporated into the DNA of Google Play Music which was launched free of charge yesterday.
Ms. LORTIE: That’s it. But there again, this means that we have to adapt to search strategies because we will not necessarily be searching for projects by height or by subject, etc., but by ambiance, by “I am in the mood to do such and such a thing. Please recommend something…”
Ms. LORTIE: It’s a bit in that spirit. I am with friends or I am tired or…
I was speaking to Jérôme Hellio very recently, who is on Tou.TV, who was in fact talking about how – how one can translate “orange juice” and “sun” in a recommendation engine so that this is transformed into a recommendation for a cultural project. And that becomes interesting.
MODERATOR: As in “I feel like orange juice”?
Ms. LORTIE: As in I – completely. “I feel like orange juice and the sun is shining.” Recommend something to me.
MODERATOR: That, that’s going to be a debate for the semantic Web, right?
Ms. LORTIE: And you can remove Justin Bieber. You are not obliged. You know, you can operate in a negative way.
MODERATOR: Yes, Christine?
Ms. THOËR: But that’s true. That is in fact what young people are saying to us, when they tell us, “I want a series for laundry time; I want a series for when I am eating.”
Ms. LORTIE: Yes.
Ms. THOËR: A series for something.
Ms. SAVARD: While I study.
Ms. THOËR: So, it’s organized that way.
Ms. LORTIE: Yes, while I am studying, exactly, so that it does not bother me.
Ms. THOËR: Yes.
Ms. LORTIE: “I am waiting for the bus.”
Ms. THOËR: “When I come home and have company.”
Ms. LORTIE: And those who do programming are starting to understand that as well, are starting to understand the pace, the way that —
MODERATOR: Yes, yes, we are very predictable, are we not, when people study us in the long-term.
Ms. LORTIE: Yes, absolutely.
MODERATOR: Our movements and all that. There is the period – the periodicity that comes in there.
Ms. LORTIE: And that in-depth knowledge entirely corresponds to Sylvain’s concerns about a need to manage, at a certain point, the way in which data are used. Yes, it’s a concept of portability, loyalty, transparency.
Mr. LAFRANCE: Me, I was just going to say a moment ago, because Jean-François said there was no model.
I want to come back to that for a moment to say, I think that it’s worse than that. I think that there are models, but we are not into them.
There are models but we are not into them. In other words, Netflix is a model. Facebook is – Facebook, they have even succeeded in getting us to believe that they were not an enterprise, that they were a medium. I am on Facebook as if I were on cable.
Facebook is an enterprise.
MODERATOR: Well, the models like “instant articles” are becoming the media.
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes, yes, there are models that are developing above us at the present time, and there are thus models that exist. But we are not into them.
So the question of discoverability, if we simply don’t move, that means those who decide about curatorship, those who decide about all that in the long term, they will be people from elsewhere, and enterprises that sometimes do it for commercial reasons, sometimes with assets that we hope are just information technology assets but sometimes with political assets as well. All kinds of things can happen in that situation.
And we thus really have to think about a society, about how we can make models on which we are going to have an influence in order to create a society that makes sense. Because ultimately, the role of the media would be, after all, to create a social cohesion that makes sense. The media should serve this purpose after all.
So, we have to think about all that.
MODERATOR: Well, it’s the strength of —
Mr. LAFRANCE: It’s fundamental.
MODERATOR: It’s the strength of Facebook. It’s sharing, I mean everything that revolves around sharing on Facebook.
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes.
MODERATOR: And the conversation.
Mr. LAFRANCE: And the conversation. And at the same time, this is a model that eludes us a great deal, even the algorithms of Facebook.
MODERATOR: Yes, but the model is still adopted by many media.
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes.
MODERATOR: That’s what we are trying to do.
Group discussion/Question and Answer period
Listen, I would like to ask the people in the room, if you have questions, we are going to continue our discussion but if you have questions, please feel free to ask them because we would like you to participate.
So, we have a question here. Madam, could you please come to the microphone?
Ms. PLAMONDON: Hello. Josée Plamondon.
Thank you, Suzanne, for having spoken about – referred to indexing content a little. This is what strikes me here, obviously, I have been working in the field of data for a very long time, even before there was the Internet. My speciality is the interoperability of data sets, hence the visibility of data on the Web.
I recently published a post on the Web. Cultural contents – and many other contents indeed, but cultural contents are absent from the Web and are invisible; digital is not Web.
In other words, most of the search and discovery activities are conducted by machines. There are humans, yes, but the majority are machines and these are not only search engines. There are many APIs. There are applications for harvesting data.
So I think it is important to have a better knowledge of data, in order to understand that all cultural industries are sitting on enormous assets that are underexploited. In other words, we have to have many promotion campaigns. We have to count on virality.
All of that, it’s all fine and good but when we have invested so much to produce contents and we send them out for promotion, we engage in an ad hoc activity and we let everything fall back into the depths of our databases and catalogues, and we lose an enormous amount of money.
In other words, all these information assets become invisible. They are sometimes – yes, there are catalogues but they are poorly documented, and then people don’t know the data, they don’t know what metadata are. People don’t know what a metadata standard is. So we are not able to understand and even use metadata to carry out traceability to protect intellectual property, to promote contents, to mix metadata, taxonomy, in other words, naming with functionomics, in other words, what our audiences use as terminology.
So, we have to be able to see how they call things, what they are looking for. We also have to be able to connect data about our data.
So all that dynamic, and I am simplifying a lot, but that is the great power of the major platforms of the Web.
As I said, if we do not adopt a culture of data, we are going to be dependent on the algorithms of others. And when we are in a cultural minority, well it’s very difficult.
Especially when the major platforms are generally American, we obviously see the problems that this brings us. But if we already manage to make better use of what we have, if we also manage to understand that, yes, it’s good to be distributed on YouTube but it is YouTube that retains the data on the interactions with the audiences.
And that’s it; that’s the – data, they are the driver of that economy.
He who controls, who understand data is able to respond and to place content more quickly than the others.
So, what are we going to do?
MODERATOR: Yes, fundamentally, what you are saying is that at the present time the industries, the actors of the digital sphere that are in the field – in any case, that touch on the cultural field, also have a problem of digital literacy?
Ms. PLAMONDON: Yes, and I would say that – I shall not go back over the history but I can say that it goes way back. It goes back to the time when we confused information and information technology.
So, everybody has equipped themselves with major information technology initiatives. I don’t want to – I have nothing against information technologists. I work with them, and I need them because I am now working a great deal in the semantic Web.
But if we only see the information technologies, we do not see what these technologies are working on, and it is understandable that an information technologist does not have the training. He is not a librarian.
Well. Obviously, my basic training is as a librarian, but in fact I am a specialist in the information sciences. That is what is lacking.
We should perhaps get the librarians out of the libraries and bring them into businesses because in fact these catalogues are your catalogues. The catalogues of data producers are really an asset. They are an asset because, yes, there is an abundance of contents but where there is an abundance of contents, the winner is he who makes the request.
The request is me. The destination is no longer your sites. I am not going to go around to five sites to know what is going on in the way of shows or films in Montreal. I expect to make a request and to see somewhere the choices and the choice that is the most relevant.
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes, in fact, yes.
Ms. PLAMONDON: And for that, one has to be equipped.
MODERATOR: Do you want to respond to that Sylvain?
Mr. LAFRANCE: I would simply say – what she is talking about, that exists as well in the material world. That exists in the world of materialized things. That exists in the material world.
We had a conference recently. There was a lady there from the Louvre, who was one of the collection managers of the Louvre, who was talking about her problem of discoverability.
So we said to ourselves, oh, that exists in the material world. She said that people come to the Louvre. In the first place, they want to see the Mona Lisa, they are in ha hurry to do so. Secondly, perhaps the Venus de Milo; But after that, it’s basically time to go and do lunch.
And that’s the big problem of the discoverability of the Louvre collection; in other words, that – discoverability has everybody’s attention.
And that is a bit what is going to happen in the dematerialized world. In other words, all the search engines are going to send us to watch the same series, the same thing, the same stuff because it’s popular, it’s new, it’s this, it’s that.
Ms. SAVARD: It’s profitable.
Mr. LAFRANCE: It existed to some extent – I found that very interesting to learn that this problem existed in the material world. And at the Louvre it’s an enormous problem because today you come in to see the Mona Lisa, and you find yourself in an big room. And people say, well, she is very, very small.
Mr. LAFRANCE: And that’s because the room is too big.
It’s because they don’t have any choice, the room has to be very big. The Mona Lisa would be much more beautiful in a room appropriate to her size.
I simply wanted to tell a joke, an interesting anecdote.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Sylvain.
Is there anyone else who would like to add something? No?
Ms. DROUIN: Me again, sorry. Solange Drouin of l’ADISQ.
I very much like what Ms. Plamondon was saying. Indeed, I am going to read your books, your publications.
I very much like what she says, but at the same time, we have to be modest about the goldmine we are sitting on. Because, obviously, in the music industry, myself, I know it’s clear that we have catalogues, that we have enormous catalogues of music, fortunately, we have succeeded in building this in 35 years of regulatory context, of a policy that favoured the flourishing of that catalogue.
But at the same time, the services that are being developed, if they do not have the Quebec catalogue, they are going to develop themselves.
I mean that in our sector, there are three great “majors” in our industry, Universal, Sony and Warner, they have the catalogues of these three multinationals, the catalogue, whether one is or is not on Songza or on Rdio or on any other site, they are going to provide their service in the same way. And as for us, our catalogue, we have to be modest about it.
But for me, I say to myself that our catalogue has a value to the extent that it can be played, in the first place, because it’s all very well to be in the databases, but if you never get anything out of them in terms of a list, what you are going to have is zero/zero.
So we have to have an “incentive” because we have spoken to Mr. Rdio, we have spoken to Mr. – to name it, Mr. Spotify – well Rdio; any case, he is dead, Spotify.
And they, if they do not have any obligation to show our content, they are not going to do it. They are not going to do it. Like my friends —
MODERATOR: But that is a bit what Sylvain was saying to us a moment ago, the response is a team.
Ms. DROUIN: Completely.
For example, with our friends – I do not want to talk about the radio stations because we are not talking about them here, but if the radio stations – the radio stations, here, did not have quotas of 65 percent of French-language local music, well, they would not play that music because they are in any case asking to reduce their quotas to 35 percent.
So, there has to be an “incentive” for the services that have access to the Canadian public to play that content.
And we know technologically, it’s possible to ask them to do that if the material is properly indexed. Because we can think that we can ask – we have asked people in those services, if they indexed in your – in the charts that you have to fill out regarding a song, to check off the provenance of the song, it is Quebecois, it is Canadian, it is Francophone. For the time being they are not doing it, in any case, as far as provenance is concerned. But we could ask those services, when they offer a service to a Canadian or Quebecois, that every 60 or 100 streams, well, that there be a Canadian song, a Quebecois song.
But first they have to classify it properly. In the first place, they have to want to do so. And above all there has to be a regulatory context, unfortunately, that obliges them to do so because if there isn’t one, they will not do it.
Ms. DROUIN: Unfortunately, that is the experience I have had in the 23 years I have been at l’ADISQ. If one does not ask the distributors to do something unfortunately, it is rare that they will do it, even if it can be a paying proposition for them.
MODERATOR: I saw you wanting to express an opinion, Suzanne, on the question of indexing. You think that it is fundamental, that there is a possibility that culture is something that can be found and discovered online?
Ms. LORTIE: Well, it’s clear, accessing culture has to go this route, and again that takes – it’s because the radio model, Songza and Rdio is so flagrant, in fact, because in addition we are a super small market.
And in addition, these services have a problem of payola to add to the mix. Because we are people who have understood the strategy, and then it’s like the principle – what somewhat undermines the travel recommendation blogs, etc. In other words, there are doctored comments.
What we need, at a certain point, is an indexing system that is objective and clear. If we refer only to the recommendations by peers and by users, it’s obvious that there will be fraud. It’s obvious that there is exaggeration. It’s obvious that there is overbuying.
Ms. LORTIE: This means that we can’t rely exclusively on these models.
Ms. LORTIE: That means that at a certain point, yes, we need to have the box that is checked off. That’s clear.
MODERATOR: Yes, Christine?
Ms. THOËR: What I also meant is that we, when we ask them about Quebecois or Canadian content, they did not know how to respond. And as far as Quebecois content was concerned, they said that, in the first place, they could not find any. So this just reflects what people say.
Secondly, they are not – they do not do promotion. So they did not see the Canadian or Quebec content going past. Not just that when they looked for this material, they did not find it, but in addition, they don’t promote.
But there was a third problem for the young people. They said that the contents were not that attractive. Ultimately, that they did not relate to them. In particular, the young guys said, for example, about the series where we address the entertainment content, and I repeat their words:
“The Quebec series are for my hysterical aunt. So, as far as I am concerned, I don’t really relate that much to it.”
As for the girls, they did watch some of the contents of the series with their mothers. Some of them – well, there were some of them who also said that they were watching the programs and that they were going to watch online what they had missed.
But apart from that, they watch an enormous amount of content online. So, in fact, the young people were not necessarily watching the traditional media as before.
What about the situation where they increasingly watch – hours, three to four hours a day. Even at the end, when you were publishing them, they were young people who had an education but spent 40 hours watching content. So, this was certainly problematic. In their courses, they also watch content.
But will they want to return to Quebec content when they have, throughout the good part of their youth, spent time watching content that is not Quebec content? I find that this is perhaps —
MODERATOR: Yes, it’s also about education, and that starts early.
Ms. THOËR: It’s part of education. Identity is something that is acquired through content.
MODERATOR: Exactly, yes.
Ms. THOËR: And if that, if that is not put in place, it is not obvious that people are going to go back to it.
MODERATOR: Yes, in fact, that question is very interesting, the question of construction.
Ms. SAVARD: I just want to make a little comment on radio.
For me, the Songzas of this world are not about listening to music, they are not about radio.
Radio, the basic role of radio is – a part of it is the discoverability of music but it’s not just that. For a consumer, I’m a radio consumer.
Ms. SAVARD: It’s talking, it’s listening, its information, and it’s a connection with an announcer, especially in Quebec where we have announcers who are our stars whom we put on the airways.
The result is that when I listen to Songza, it’s for an entirely other reason that when I am going to listen to my radio…
MODERATOR: Yes, in fact.
Ms. SAVARD: That means that it’s just a matter of making a few little nuances.
MODERATOR: Yes, thank you. Sylvain?
Mr. LAFRANCE: We had mentioned several times that we are a small market, and that this is more difficult. Now I am going to assume a bit the role of spokesperson because we are working for Radio-Canada, we work with many Francophones throughout Canada.
If we think that Quebec is a small market, imagine how the Acadians feel. Imagine the Franco-Manitobans, who have a lot of trouble seeing themselves in the media and who also have issues that are very specific to their situation.
Because it’s important if they want to continue to see themselves, precisely so that the young people will identify with Acadian culture in 10 years, well they have to see themselves somewhere so they will see Acadian models.
And for Franco-Ontarians, it’s the same thing.
So then, there really is an issue, I want to emphasize it, for the Francophone community in Canada that is an extremely important issue for them and that is probably going to require solutions that are rather specific to them since these are markets that are even smaller and hence even more fragile.
MODERATOR: But at the same time, there is a paradox that is incredible because we have opportunities to create content like never before, in a living room.
The YouTubers are a fine example.
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes.
MODERATOR: And paradoxically we again have this problem of people who do not see themselves in the media, who do not recognize themselves in the media.
This is after all an incredible paradox.
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes, but it’s interesting because merit in this case is both good news and bad news for the Francophone communities.
Would Radio Radio have moved up so quickly – and there are people from l’ADISQ who could tell us – have moved up so fast if there had not been the support from all the media to make them known? Then they became stars, Radio Radio. Then they came with their real personality, their real Canadian culture and we like them like that. And it’s ultimately for that that we love them.
Would they have come up so fast in the old system, in the analogue world? I don’t know.
The Cowboys fringants were on the French markets long before becoming stars here.
Digital technology is also good news in the digital world. It enables people to make themselves known in very remote markets. And, for example, it enables much smaller markets to occupy a very large place.
But running parallel to that, well, there is an enormous wave of content that comes to us from elsewhere and that makes things more complicated.
We have a question here, Claude Joli-Coeur, yes?
Mr. JOLI-COEUR: Yes, in 2009, when we started to make our shift to digital at the NFB, we had a problem of discoverability. We had thousands of films, nobody wanted to see them.
So we took a risk, we digitized our collection. We created platforms ceaselessly. We created applications. We went onto all the tablets, the telephones. We just launched an application for – the new Apple TV application. We are launching content channels.
In partnership with Téléfilm Canada, we are going to launch a network to help the emerging talents to be discovered.
So we’ve taken a lot of risks. We’ve created interactive studios where we do – we took the risk to create production for a market that did not exist, for a form that did not exist.
And, well, six years down the road and we are still facing this problem of discoverability.
There are heads of public institutions here who have gathered in this room. It’s rare to see the Canada Council, Téléfilm, Radio-Canada, SODEC, the NFB all together at once.
What risk will you suggest we take collectively, as public institutions, so it will be possible to – since we have the means to take risks as public institutions?
And I am sure there are choices to be made, but what would you suggest we do to —
MODERATOR: That’s all very interesting. Yes Sylvain, do you want to respond for starters?
Mr. LAFRANCE: Yes, there is surely a first thing to do. In the world of media in Canada and then in the world of private media, one of the things that has become predominant in the last two or three years, is something that I would call improbable partnerships.
There are people who were always thought to be enemies who suddenly sit down together to broadcast hockey, the Olympics or to create Shomi in the west of the country, and all that. So there have been improbable partnerships.
I think I would love to see as many improbable partnerships in the public sector as in the private sector, because right now the private sector is moving faster than the public sector.
There are quite a few public networks in French Canada when we add them up, with TFO, with Télé-Québec, with all that, with the NFB that makes content with everybody.
So, first, launch into improbable partnerships.
Second, indeed, on the question of discoverability, there are countries today that are looking into launching national search engines, centered on national content. Is that going to work or not? Is that a good idea or not?
But I think that the public services would have an important role to play. Myself, I think that the public services, when they have to sit down together to invent what public services are in the digital age and in the age of discoverability, in my opinion, there will have to be a very broad strategy among the different public services. I am convinced of that. It’s even more important than it was in the analogue universe.
MODERATOR: Partnership among public services. Yes, that rings some bells.
Ms. LORTIE: AS for me, I —
MODERATOR: What risks can public agencies take?
Ms. LORTIE: Well in fact, I would just like to emphasize the fundamental risk that the Canada Council for the Arts has taken, doing a complete overhaul of all its funding programs, and admitting into its DNA the fact that all productions can now be hybrid.
And I think that is putting things back on track.
I congratulate Simon Brault. In any case, it’s for that reason that I say that I am still teaching obsolete financing models because we are impatiently awaiting the new programs.
MEMBER OF THE AUDIENCE: That’s coming, tomorrow.
Ms. LORTIE: That’s coming tomorrow? That’s super.
So there are initiatives like that.
At the same time, I think that the NFB has taken an absolutely extraordinary new direction in marketing in terms of apps, to find themselves on the first page of the App Store. Me, I think that should be emphasized as well. It’s not as if the NFB didn’t do anything.
Really there is benchmarking to do unless demand that the public institutions come together. There is very certainly benchmarking to be done – well, in any case, comparisons. But there are good practices to be transferred from a public institution to another.
MODERATOR: Well, there are already some good things happening.
We are going to go to a question, here, from Twitter and after that, we’ll take the question here. OK?
SOCIAL MEDIA: In fact, we would just like to know a little bit more about the opinion of the people at the table on the role of social media in the phenomenon of discoverability.
MODERATOR: OK, we are going to start with someone who happily has his hands on it.
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: And two feet.
MODERATOR: And two feet, yes.
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: A terrific targeting tool.
Social media, is indeed a fundamental characteristic, is the personalized definition of the profile, the possibility of analyzing those who have spoken about such programs in the past, of reaching all the mobile platforms or tablets of that person, as many times as we want and with the messages we want. It’s the most personalized possible way.
And I think that in terms of targeting, you can reach eight million people in Quebec if you want, with different messages depending on their tastes.
I think that today there is not a targeting tool that is more powerful than that one.
I think in fact that it is a terrific opportunity to have people discovers things that interest them.
I think that the issue of communication today is to offer content that has a meaning for the individual. This question of rejecting advertising, this issue also arises from the fact that people are hammering away at messages that are uninteresting, that do not bring us any value.
Data is extensive; we have little time to spend. When we spend time watching content on television, we want something that is relevant for us. Everything else is a waste of time.
So social media makes it possible, in fact when they are well used, for producers to ultimately offer content and to offer broadcasters the possibility of reaching people in a relevant and precise way, and at less cost – because the cost, instead of reaching 100 to affect – instead of blanketing or listening to 100 individuals to reach the four that are relevant, we can go directly and reach those four individuals and follow them though time.
For me, this is ultimately a terrific communication and targeting tool at that level.
Ms. SAVARD: Well, that also makes it possible to optimize very quickly. We can know who is interested and who is not interested. If we are also capable of pushing content with sponsored posts, we can see who responds, who interacts in their behaviour, in the words that are used.
This means that this is a tool —
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: And afterwards, a second element that goes beyond having reached this person with the relevant content, his capacity to do this work over time.
Once you have defined what this person likes, the type of content —
Ms. SAVARD: His friends.
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: — his friends, you can also work on training in the long term. There is work that is put together – on these tools in any case.
Do you want to add something about social media?
Mr. LAFRANCE: Well, I just want to say that naturally this is one of the great things. But I was just going to make a joke and say that we are going to conduct an experiment along the way. The magazine Gestion de HEC [HEC management] is coming out on the stands this afternoon. It is a media special tweet it and let’s see if it works.
Mr. LAFRANCE: A special completely devoted to media.
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: And how much do you pay for it?
Mr. LAFRANCE: It’s free, it’s a sharing economy.
MODERATOR: Sylvain Lafrance knows how to do product placement, that’s for sure.
We had a question here at the microphone, yes?
Mr. HELLIO: Good day. My name is Jérôme Hellio.
Listen, Sylvain, I hadn’t heard what you were going to say before I decided to ask my question, but it was about improbable partnership.
In fact, it’s just a thought and I don’t know if it’s going to hold up but we have to continue to be utopian if we want to move things ahead a little bit.
Do you think that we could move into a mode of co-petition rather than into a mode of competition? In other words, if we want to face – so it’s another mode of access; there is no model. There is a legal framework, etc.
But do you think that there is the possibility of coming together, of creating something, a thing that does not yet exist to face the Netflixes, the Amazons and the Googles of this world?
Because when we are talking about discoverability, we are talking about eight million Quebecois. We are talking about our stories, which are powerful ones. We are talking about our tradition of telling stories to each another, and I think that that tradition has to continue, especially going through young people.
I also believe that if we succeed in coming together, then we will have the Radio-Canadas, the Québécors, the Vs, the Bells. At some point, we are going to bring ourselves all together and then say, OK, as a group, we are capable of having a strike force that will stand out.
And I am convinced that if a gimmick like that ultimately comes into existence, a structure regardless of its form, at that point, first of all, it will be better indexed, first of all, it will be better known, first of all, and it can be better seen. The means of marketing are more powerful.
In short, everything that goes with it. So, that does not exist today because we are all looking at things through our boards of directors and our business numbers.
But is it possible to think of a thing like that in Quebec?
Mr. LAFRANCE: The answer is yes because there are indeed quite a few examples from the last two or three years that are interesting. Tou.TV, where you worked, was already a partnership with the public service networks.
Shomi is a very fine example. Rogers and Shaw, who are, not necessarily always friends. The broadcasting of the Olympics, the broadcasting of professional sports. I think that many people have been saying to themselves that it’s better to get together to strike hard. We are already a little bit in the race.
And myself, I have already seen quite a lot, and I think that this is increasingly what is going to happen.
There is the story of consolidation in the independent production industry that resembles that a bit as well. There are fewer players. They are getting bigger and bigger because to be able to penetrate the international market, one has to have production houses that are bigger and more solid.
So we are seeing this more and more. Things are starting to change. And then that is happening a bit in the public service sector as well. In my opinion, there has to be more. Because we don’t have any choice as competition occurs at the international level.
Another question over here, yes. Perhaps Jean-François, yes? Jean-François, you were going to add something to that?
Mr. GAGNON: I more or less agree with that position in a —
Mr. LAFRANCE: I’m glad we disagree.
Mr. GAGNON: Indeed yes.
Number one, consolidation, I think that first and foremost this is a measure for managing risk. It’s not in fact – it does not have a federation of influence as its objective, in fact, to really put in place a model that will really be extended going forward. First comment.
The second point is to have – to group together institutions that maybe have a problem of their reason for existence. I am not sure that this is of very much use, but I think that it’s a question about the stage we are at. The concept of co-petition is interesting, but starting from the point where you bring something to the table, clearly.
Mr. LAFRANCE: As for me I think that when there is consolidation, if there are big houses like Zone 3 as an attraction, —
Mr. LAFRANCE: I think that when we consolidate, we create enterprises that develop a great know-how, that develop a capacity for action, a capacity to export, that develop catalogues that we can export to the international market.
And I think that when we arrive on the foreign markets, we are going to be stronger if we are consolidated.
As for myself, I have said for a long time that the independent production industry in the field that television must consolidate, and the main reason why it must consolidate is that today, we have to penetrate the international market. Without that, our market, as we have so often said, is too small for us to remain a market where there are 140 television production houses. That can’t go on.
Mr. GAGNON: Look, in fact, I buy your idea that you are not looking to consolidate for the past, you are looking to consolidate for the future. That is where —
MODERATOR: Yes, exactly.
In any case, we have someone on Twitter who is talking to us about the famous co-petition that Jérôme was talking to us about, saying that in February, the NFB is going to launch a network with Téléfilm Canada to make emerging talents known. In any case, we have there an example of co-petition.
We are going to take a question here, yes?
Mr. BRAULT: Thank you. Simon Brault from the Canada Council.
It’s not a question. In the first place, I think that we are having a terrific conversation.
I just want to say that there is really one sentence that I am taking to heart from all this business. It’s rather surprising because it’s not a sentence that is very – that not seem so revolutionary, but it seems to me it is very important. It is what Pascal Lechevallier said: “The politicians must use the Internet, if they don’t their politics is going to be disconnected.”
Having spent 30 years in the arts community, and I can tell you something, it’s that even today, I would say that the majority of leaders who run the Canada Council, the theatres, etc. do not use the Internet. And I see that all the time.
What I, myself, mean is that I am at the Canada Council; I ask it of my staff, separately. And the concept of risk is very different when one is in an analogue, controlled universe, especially over the last 10 years that we have just experienced in Ottawa, than when one is on the Internet.
When one is on the Internet, one does not exist if one does not take risks. And this kind of habit of risk is an immense problem we have because everybody is surrounded by people who are extremely competent at telling us not to do this or not to that because it’s too risky.
And for my part, I think that improbable partnerships and in fact all these kinds of concepts will only work on the condition that there is courage in leadership in Canada, including in the artistic and cultural sector and at the political level.
At the present time, it is very interesting to see that the people who – including the Minister of Heritage, these people have the same age as my children. They are 36 years old. They don’t think otherwise.
And now every day in Ottawa I see how everything is being overthrown. They want to do something and they are being told that that would take three years. But no, that’s for tomorrow.
So, all this effervescence is interesting, and what I think that is the most important is that we move out our respective spheres, that we let the people talk who are tremendously informed about information technology, because again I think the big problem we have in the arts community, in any case, is a problem of the inability to grasp digital thought, not the technology, but digital thought.
MODERATOR: Yes, very interesting. Thank you, Simon.
Well, listen, we are going to go around the table one last time. We started with your presentations about what you wanted to tell us. Following this hour and a half of discussions, I would like each of you to quickly end, in order, by telling us what you would like us to take away. A thought about what you would like us to think about at the conclusion of this day.
I am going to start with you, Pascal. Honour, where, honour is due. You were the one who started our day.
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: I think this morning has shown us that everything is possible. Once again, what we have to do is to talk to each other, to set objectives for ourselves.
It’s been repeated several times; benchmark what is going on around us.
And to come back also a little to how this day started off; I would say that in the Francophone world, there are a lot of things we can do. I think that, again, on the other side of the Atlantic there is enormous potential. This potential is reciprocal.
We are meeting today but I think that there are really connections to be made and that this is the time to make them, because our little friends across from us are going very, very fast and speed is sometimes the enemy of thought.
So, let’s get to work, and the future will belong to us.
MODERATOR: Thank you Pascal.
Mr. LECHEVALLIER: Thank you.
Ms. THOËR: Myself, obviously, I am preaching a bit to the converted but that’s not where I want to go. I think that we must not forget the user because we are putting all kinds of systems in place. We are creating transmedia strategies. We are going to go towards more advertising editorials. We are going to — what does the user make of all this. How is the user going to use it? Does that meet his expectations? What does he recognize? The engines, how does he experience them? And so on and so forth.
So I think it’s also important to take reception into account.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Christine.
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: I am going in the same direction. I have really – in talking about most of the stories that are being told, people don’t really give a damn, in short. It’s reality.
For about 90 percent of what is being produced worldwide, people don’t give a damn.
So the idea is how to make sense of it all and how to find the audience that is going to be really interested in the story on which we are going to spend a month, two months or sometimes five years of our lives. How are we going to find this major audience – because close to 90 percent of people out there don’t care.
MODERATOR: It’s almost scary.
Mr. GBADAMOSI-OYEKANMI: And I think that is reality. I am being very honest. I think that this is reality.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Wale.
Ms. SAVARD: Perhaps a point on collaboration. Yes, everyone working together, the question is, are people ready to share the information? What we still do not have at the present time, is that we all have little databases here and there. And perhaps one day, by putting all our data together for a small market like Quebec, we would manage to draw conclusions, and then insights that would perhaps help us.
Because for the time being; we all have our little databases.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much Michèle.
Ms. LORTIE: As far as I am concerned, I agree completely with Wale, but I would say that even if only 10 percent remains available to me, I think that this 10 percent is really worthwhile.
And I would say that we always have to have – it’s an example that I sometimes use from architecture. It’s all very well to design sidewalks and to have people take paved roads, what is absolutely certain is that if the road is not good, somebody who will take off across the grass.
And it is the grass road that should inspire us, not the road that has been originally laid out because we wanted to make a good plan.
MODERATOR: That’s a fine metaphor that, yes, indeed.
Mr. GAGNON: In fact, I would like to conclude on a point that was not considered much in connection with Pascal’s presentation this morning.
It’s that, number one, all this consumption of videos, in fact, it greatly favours access to the network, to the network that is everywhere, all the time.
So to the extent in fact that we are trying to redefine a better model in the long run, we certainly have to consider the actors who are in charge of the operation and then the implementation of this layer of the industry, that’s fundamental.
So we did not talk about that much today, but there is a role for these people to play, which goes far beyond the role they are playing today.
Mr. LAFRANCE: For my part, I am very optimistic about the future of the media. I think that, sometimes I meet young people who tell me, “Yes, but is there a future?” There is an extraordinary future in the world of media. They are going to have to be more entrepreneurial than before. That’s important.
And I find that there is one thing we should not lose sight of, and that is that the role of media in a society is to create social cohesion.
And never before in the history of humanity, because the planet is smaller than ever, never has there been so great a need to create social cohesion. And we cannot spare having a genuine political debate in the noblest sense of the role of media in our society and on what we mean by responsibility…
MODERATOR: Thank you very much Sylvain Lafrance.
Closing remarks by Jean-Pierre Blais and Claude Joli-Coeur
And then our two organizers, in fact, today, who started the day off, Claude Joli-Coeur and Jean-Pierre Blais, we are going to give you the final word.
I don’t know who wants to start; Claude?
Mr. JOLI-COEUR: Yes.
MODERATOR: We are going to start with you. Now we sit down?
Mr. JOLI-COEUR: Yes.
MODERATOR: Yes, perfect.
Mr. JOLI-COEUR: So thank you ladies and gentlemen.
All this has been very, very, very enlightening. We have had access to information on the current state of things from Pascal Lechevallier, which were extremely interesting. The importance of data is fundamental.
We have had perspectives on issues on which we have a lot to think about. We have avenues to pursue to think about and find solutions.
I love what Simon Brault reminded us of, that one does not exist unless one takes risks. That is something that has to challenge us all.
We are really at the beginning of a process of transformation, and then in the past, people said to themselves, well, we are going to make some adjustments, and then we are going to be fine for a time.
But now, we know that we are in a process of continual transformation. It’s continual renovation. That will not stop. We will not find a single solution because then immediately, we will have to find another.
So what is fabulous is to see the commitment of such a large group. It’s extremely encouraging. We all want to be part of the solution, to find avenues to bet on when it comes to discoverability.
We really have to bet money on the complementarity of the public and private sectors. So you can count on me. As for myself, I am going to – at the NFB, we are going to take risks. We are really going to want to try everything and we are counting on this grouping of government organizations and of businesses, regardless of their size. The important thing is that we are able to work together and then are able to work on avenues for achieving our goals.
So, thank you very much. Thank you for these extremely enriching debates, and I am really eager to see how things are going to turn out.
Mr. BLAIS: Thank you very much, Claude, and thanks to all the people who are here today and have followed us today and for sharing the ideas and experience that you all have.
More particularly, I would like to thank our moderator, Matthieu Dugal, our keynote speaker, Pascal Lechevallier, and all the experts who have been here with us today.
You know, for my part, I would say that I found the discussions very stimulating, and I think we are leaving with new ideas that will make us reflect.
I know that some people will not be satisfied, of course, that’s understandable. We are only at the beginning of a – we are beginning to reflect and a work together to confront the challenges of discoverability.
I therefore invite you to visit our site discoverability.ca, where you can sign up to receive updates. We are going to post highlights and videos about what has been said today and also about the discussions we had in Vancouver, in addition to our discussions today, here in Montreal.
Also, we invite you to visit the Community page of this Web site, where you can post articles, publications of blogs or simply a thought in order to enrich the discussion about discoverability.
In the meantime, follow us on Twitter for the most recent news, and continue the discussion on social media by using the hashtag “discoverability”. I well understand that you are all now becoming ambassadors of discoverability.
And finally, I would like to give you a scoop about the main event. Everybody knows that it’s going to take place in Toronto in May, but the precise dates will be May 10 and 11, 2016 in Toronto.
We hope that this will be an event that is directional, exceptional and international in scope where we will explore in more detail the ideas raised here today and in Vancouver last Monday.
The CRTC with the NFB, we are taking risks, I believe in the sense that Simon mentioned a moment ago, and so we exist. However, we want to go beyond the simple realization that the challenge exists in order to find solutions. This will be a forum for learning, yes, and for creative discussions where we will consider new strategies, new approaches and also new tools.
Stay tuned to learn more about who will be among us, the presenters, the participants.
Thank you again and good afternoon.
— End of recording