24-Oct

With Tax Breaks for Talk TV, Will More Networks Get in the Game?

Talk shows have long been the domain of large networks but a new move by the government might change all that.

The government recently announced a decision to reverse tax exclusion that prevents certain types of broadcast shows—including talk shows—from receiving tax credits to alleviate production costs.

The step is seen by many in the broadcast industry as a positive one. It reverses a controversial reinterpretation of the CRTC's new rules, which resulted in several independently produced popular daytime programs losing their tax credits. The government will start by administering backdated tax breaks to independent production companies starting February 16th, 2016—so cash-strapped studios will feel immediate relief.

But the government's decision is being touted not as a life-raft for flailing programs, but as a serious engine for job growth—and it begs the question: with more money in talk TV, will smaller networks start creating new programming?

With a leg up against large-scale daytime shows, it may just be the boost small networks need in order to compete against Canada's national broadcasters, who have been, until now, the major players in daytime talk TV. Networks may also be incentivized to bring the kind of targeted niche programming – that's recently been the dominion on podcasts and web series—back to broadcast. With the possibility of a wider range of talk TV options in the game, brands will no doubt be eyeing their opportunities to play along.