The Anime Channel is dead
So, I was looking over CRTC broadcast decisions as some background for the Disney XD news post, and I noticed something that appears to have gone above everyone’s head. In the CRTC’s January 30, 2007 decision that approved the creation of Corus Entertainment’s The Anime Channel, there is this subsection in the “Issuance of the license” which states the following:
the applicant has informed the Commission in writing that it is prepared to commence operations. The undertaking must be operational at the earliest possible date and in any event no later than 36 months from the date of this decision, unless a request for an extension of time is approved by the Commission before 30 January 2010. In order to ensure that such a request is processed in a timely manner, it should be submitted at least 60 days before that date.
Corus has never shown an inclination towards launching the channel past the initial application, and as far as I know, never requested the CRTC to extend their setup period. Which, in turn means their broadcast license should be void. Which means The Anime Channel was stillborn.
Coincidentally, or not, this was around the same time period in which Corus Entertainment’s main children’s channel, YTV removed Naruto, and Bleach – the only two remaining older youth targeted anime series on the channel – from the broadcast schedule entirely.
While I was always conflicted about the possibilities of an anime channel. I always felt the channel would target a niche, and only attract the niche. However, it being stillborn, with Corus not even attempting to keep the license shows the state of Japanese animation in this country.
Where do we go from here?
YTV has become a channel that tries to serve its CRTC guidelines as a youth’s broadcaster (though it’s supposed to serve children up to 17 – Ask a seventeen year old if anything on YTV is aimed at them – you can even ask me) but it is now a family oriented channel. While that has worked for ratings, and creating a cohesive channel lineup to sell to advertisers (it’s easier to get Pampers to buy 5 commercial spots a day when the entire lineup can have parents watching) it has obviously created a large backlash within the anime community as to get family friendly, YTV had to remove any non-family friendly programming. Teenage aimed animation was one of the things to get the axe.
It’s the power of the dollar vs. ratings. Naruto could’ve been pulling in huge ratings at 9PM on Friday nights, but the channel would still cancel it because advertisers don’t care. I distinctly remember diaper commercials, and car commercials being aired in Bionix. Those are two things that the target audience of teenagers, and young adults probably wouldn’t be able to buy. It’s not relevant to them. So I can imagine advertising rates during those hours weren’t exactly expensive. Though, that is a failure on Corus Entertainment’s part. Cartoon Network treats its older youth, and young adult block, [adult swim] as a separate network entirely to advertisers so that you don’t see the likes of baby diapers being advertised in this hour.
As for Teletoon, frankly, after the events of the 90s, the channel has very much been anime anorexic, dropping most of its anime programming, and frankly has such a large commitment of programming from Nicktoons, Cartoon Network, The Hub, and original productions to air any anime. They simply don’t have the time to air it. As for Family, well most of us know that the channel’s history is 6AM/7AM broadcasts without advertisements. Clearly a sign of confidence for the future.