Temas de Capa

The Business of Ethnic Entertainment & Media

We live in a city that is a melting pot of many ethnic backgrounds and this sector is getting bigger each day, especially with many immigrants that will not stay in the United States. Many will make their way north to Canada and settle in the larger cities.

Once a new immigrant has landed and starts to settle into some form of a routine and make Canada their home, work and saving their money to buy a home and provide a better life for their families. One thing that is most common is that when an immigrant wants some connection to their past country or culture, most people will turn to music and entertainment to remind them of home. The entertainment dollar in the ethnic communities is one that has many new media groups fighting for that dollar.

The ethnic economy can sometimes also go beyond the small-business world of restaurants and salons to apply to major industries such as clothing manufactures, construction enterprises, and more where the financial success is being displayed. Excess funds within the ethnic community is starting to make its way into the media and entertainment sector. Estimating roughly, 40 per cent of labour force participation takes place outside the mainstream economy in North America. The ethnic economies are having an increasingly dramatic impact.
Ethnic economies are particularly important to cities such as Metro Vancouver and Toronto, where the populations are more than 45 percent foreign born. These cities have dozens of Indians, Chinese, Portuguese, Italian and other ethnic enclaves, which often form the basis of ethnic economies. As these groups start to flourish, the excess available to spend on entertainment, whether it’s concerts, magazines, CD’s and more is becoming a big market place.
Since 2004, Ethnic Channels have been bringing international programming to Canadian viewers, licensing content from Portugal, Italy, Greece and various other countries, and distributing 26 digital channels through Rogers Cable, Bell TV, Telus, Shaw and MTS.

You would think that becoming an ethnic broadcaster in Canada would be a no-brainer. By 2031, one in three Canadians will belong to a visible minority group, and one in four will be foreign-born, according to Statistics Canada. There are 32 ethnic communities in Canada with populations of more than 1000,000, and 10 with more than a million.

Canadian regulators have not made things easy for the industry’s third-language providers- those who cater to viewers whose first language is neither English nor French. Ethnic Channels must comply with CRTC guidelines, producing its own Canadian content and recording every minute of programming as mandated by the regulator. Foreign competitors, meanwhile, can offer their content to viewers without following the same rules.

Channels success in the traditional TV market is now usurped by the Internet. Fifteen years ago, immigrants to Canada had limited access to newspapers or television from their home country, unless a visiting relative arrived with a newspaper or a VHS box set. Immigrants were hungry for any content and would watch ethnic TV no matter what was on. But with the Web has come instant access to media from around the globe. Internet TV is classified as a new media initiative by the CRTC and is largely unregulated, meaning that many people are simply downloading content online for free.

Large brand name companies have started to embrace the ethnic media and what it has to offer today and for the near future. You are seeing the likes of Toyota, Lexus, Royal Bank of Canada and others sign on to advertise products and promote their brands.

The business of ethnic media in this city and country may just be one of the many new frontiers for entrepreneurship and one amazing way to reach many people from all diverse backgrounds.

When you have many of the name brands advertising and sponsoring programming and promoting entertainment from other countries, you know that the message is getting through.
The business of ethnic entertainment and media is just in its first act.

Vincent Black

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