Monday, May 14, 2007

MySpace Targets Canada; Again, Canadians Get the Short End of the Stick

Even if you haven’t visited MySpace before, you would have had to be living under a rock for the past few years to not know what it is. Now, the creators of this widely popular social networking Website have officially launched a dedicated Canadian MySpace site at ca.myspace.com.

The site, offered in both official languages, promotes Canadian music and artists, like Billy Talent. Advertising is also targeted to Canadians; and, according to the Globe & Mail, there are pending deals with Canadian mobile carriers to deliver MySpace to cell phones.

MySpace isn’t just targeting Canada: the company, which is owned by media behemoth News Corp., plans to roll out dedicated sites with local content all over the world, and has already made moves in China, Latin America, and South America.

This is a great idea, providing users in each country and region with a bit of local flavour while we communicate and surf. However, it also poses the same issues that arise with sites like iTunes, and major U.S. TV networks: when it comes to some really cool content, those outside of the U.S. end up getting the short end of the stick.

News Corp. and NBC are offering TV programming which can be viewed via MySpace. Great! But Canadian users can’t view it due to licensing rights. Not so great. This isn’t MySpace’s fault, but it really ticks me off. Why can’t Canada step up and realize that offering such content won’t damage our own culture?

I missed an episode of Ugly Betty a few months back, and stupidly forgot to PVR it, so I logged on to ABC.com and noticed a link that read “watch Ugly Betty online.” Alright! I clicked on it, and up came a notice: “Only viewers within the United States can watch these full-length episodes.” What?? Another fav show of mine is Showcase’s Dexter. Upon trying to access the Showcase Website, the following message popped up on-screen: SORRY! We at Showtime Online express our apologies; however, these pages are intended for access only from within the United States. Argh. So not only am I unable to view the TV episodes online, but now I can’t even see the Website! On the bright side, at least they were polite about it.

I can’t comprehend why I can watch an American TV show on my television via my Canadian cable or satellite provider; yet I am unable to watch this same show online? The same issue occurs across all types of technology. I am required to have access to special Canadian channels on my Sirius satellite radio that I never tune into at the expense of U.S. channels that I might have actually listened to?

And we wonder why the piracy rates are so high in Canada!

My point: we need to move ahead in the digital content arena, or offerings like MySpace’s dedicated Canadian site will continue to turn the meaning of “targeted” into “restrictive”.

1 comment:

Gorgia said...

My space facebook, I think is all getting to be a little bit much .