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Canada’s Gaming, Music, and Television Industries


The Canadian media and cultural industries are experiencing major transitions and changes that have been pushed by the process of digitization and technological advancement in the sectors. Internationalization forces have also been witnessed in all the nations, especially in the media and cultural industries. Looking into the history of the media and cultural industries, especially the music, television, and gaming sectors, Canada has experienced various changes over the years. Although a change is inevitable, the situation has paved a way for major modifications and new approaches to managing the industries. The changes have been witnessed not only because of the local market and technological forces but also because of the need to align the local media and cultural industries with the internal trends. This paper compares and contrasts the writings of three authors, namely de Peuter (2012), Sutherland (2012), and Wagman (2013) based on their views on how the Canadian gaming, music, and television productions fit in the internationalization that is shaping the media and cultural industries.

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Internationalization and the Music, Television, and Gaming Industries in Canada

According to Sutherland (2012), music production is one of the most diverse segments of the media and cultural industries. It has evolved over the years to its current state where people can access it using advanced gadgets, other than the traditional radios. Sutherland (2012) reveals the strong interrelationship between music and the television industries. In support of the close relationship between the two industries, Mann (2014) asserts that the radio industry has continued to play an important role as a promotion platform for sound recordings since the 1950s. In the early years, the sale of sound recordings constituted a larger share of the revenues that were realized from the sound recording industry. In modern times, music is a major share of radio programming. It accounts for three-quarters of airplay. In modern times, the sound recording industry constitutes a limited and restricted segment of the overall music industry. Further, the revenue from radio to the music industry through the payment of royalties has become the larger income segment for the music industry. The returns account for $1.6 billion of the annual profits. This figure is three times more than what the sound recording segment makes. The decline of the sound recording industry is backed by statistical findings, which show that the number of albums that are sold in the Canadian market has declined over the years. The 2010 period recorded sales of 31.4 million albums as compared to 47.7 million albums that were reported in 2006. This finding is a drop of 5%. According to Ronchi (2009), the music industry encompasses more than just sound recording. It reflects the trends in the music entertainment sector where other forms of music, other than sound recording, have come to dominate the sector. In the 21st century, digitization has become a major segment of the music industry. This trend has not escaped the Canadian music industry.

Sutherland (2012) analyses the Canadian music industry and its standing in the international music industry. He draws important examples from the Canadian music industry and its success in the international market. He notes that the success of Canadian musicians such as Justin Beiber and Drake among others is a clear indication that Canadian music has come of age and that it is competitive on the global scale. Piracy is a major concern for the music industry as Sutherland (2012) confirms. Approximately, $1.26 billion worth of music downloads is made illegally. This vice is a major indication of the threat that piracy poses to the music industry, not only in Canada but also globally. Accordingly, there is a need for the music industry to devise new rules and approaches to the fight against piracy. Canada has made protracted steps towards this direction, especially with the strengthening of copyright organizations in the country (Wagman & Urquhart, 2012). Another major development that the music industry is facing is evident in the production and marketing segments that have taken up major global trends. In this case, the music production segment of the music industry has drifted towards conglomeration and domination by very few labels. For instance, the Universal Music Group and Sony are the dominant recording labels in Canada following the buyouts of smaller labels that led to the formation of major conglomerates in the sector (Sutherland, 2012). The presence of globally successful labels in the Canadian market indicates that the segment is growing in terms of prominence. It is gaining international recognition. However, despite these changes, digitization and the fight against piracy remains the biggest challenge the industry is facing.

The gaming industry is a major part of the media and cultural industry in the Canadian market. According to de Peuter (2012), the Canadian gaming market has experienced major changes over the last decade. The changes are fuelled by the internationalization of the sector. Since the emergence of gaming, the console gaming segment has dominated it under the steer of Sony’s Play Station, Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and Nintendo’s Wii. The three consoles take up more than 90% of the console market in Canada. This observation is also reflective of the global gaming trends where the three consoles dominate the industry (Nandy, 2015). The overall gaming industry constitutes five major sub-industry categories, which include console manufacturing, games production, middleware, ancillary services, and distribution (de Peuter, 2012). According to de Peuter (2012), the console-producing companies carry out most of the console and game production segments. In other words, each of the major console companies has its dedicated game production departments that make games, specifically for their consoles. However, outsourcing is also common where third-party companies are contracted to make games for console manufacturers.

In terms of the way the gaming industry compares on the international platform, it is evident that major trends in the global gaming industry are also evident in this sector. Firstly, while the consoles continue to dominate, PC gaming, mobile phones, and network gaming platforms have emerged (Mann, 2014). Mobile phones and network gaming platforms are the fastest-growing categories. Although they constitute a small share of the revenues in the industry, they are important indicators of the way the Canadian gaming industry is being influenced by globalization. According to de Peuter (2012), the Canadian gaming market is a very robust segment of the media and cultural industries where more than $2 billion in sales are being achieved annually. The gaming industry in Canada is also well known as a premier gaming production market. The Canadian game businesses are accountable for the injection of $1.7 billion into the economy (Nandy, 2015). The robustness of the gaming sector is evident due to the presence of more than 350 gaming companies where small companies that have less than 20 members of staff dominate, accounting for 75% of the gaming businesses and revenues (Gauthier, 2014). Some of the world’s largest gaming companies such as EA and Ubisoft have more than 2500 employees each. This fact signifies the robustness of the segment.

The gaming industry is male-dominated with more than 62% of the players being males while the remaining 38% are female players. The male-targeted games that feature sports, combat, and race themes constitute the largest part of the market. They account for more than 90% of the games that are sold in the Canadian market (Towse, 2002). The emergence of the PC and mobile gaming platforms will shake the market in the end. Internet gaming is also emerging as a major force. Out of these trends, major console and gaming companies such as Sony and Microsoft are increasingly moving towards synchronization of their consoles with online gaming stores where players can easily play and download games into the consoles from remote locations (Ronchi, 2009). Overall, the gaming industry in Canada is well prepared to benefit from the internationalization forces that are being felt across the world (Bustamante, 2004). The fact that the market segment is not only just a consumer but also a producer of gaming items is a clear indication that the industry is also at the forefront in setting the pace for the direction that the gaming sector is taking in the globalized 21st century.

The television industry is a major segment of the media and cultural industries. The industry has had a slow growth as compared to other cultural industry segments. However, it is experiencing major trends because of the internationalization movement of the 21st century (Cunningham, 2004). The industry contributes more than $3billion to the Canadian economy based on the 2011 statistics. This outcome is an indicator that it is a major industry. Television encompasses many other subsectors, which involve production and editing among others that happen behind the scenes, yet they are a major part of a successful television market (Ranson, 2015). According to Wagman (2012), the television sector in Canada has been dominated by the public television that is steered by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). However, internationalization has acted to the disadvantage of the Canadian television market. Many Canadians prefer American content to domestic content. This situation has led to what Wagman (2012) refers to as the “Canadian TV sucks” problem. Despite these challenges, the television sector continues to grow, with the highest growth being experienced in the private and pay-TV sectors, as opposed to the CBC-dominated broadcaster television segment (Wagman, 2012). Despite the “Canadian Sucks” problem, some of the highest watched programs in the country are home-produced. Such shows are a clear indication that not all is lost for Canadian television. Indeed, the local production makes a large chunk of the revenue that the sector gets. Pay-TV and online TV are emerging as the top contenders of the television industry transformation, which also reflects the current trends in the developed world such as the USA (Sutherland, 2012). Concisely, the television industry in Canada has not lagged in the globalization movement as evidenced by the Private Television, Pay TV, and online TV segments that are growing significantly in terms of viewership and profitability.

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From the above discussion, it is evident that the three authors, namely Sutherland (2012), de Peuter (2012), and Wagman (2012) discuss and offer important insights into three major media and cultural industries that include television, music, and gaming. The Canadian market segments for these cultural industries are experiencing major transitions and changes that are fuelled by internationalization (Hesmondhalgh, 2012). These changes have threatened the existing models of doing business in both the music and television industries. However, they have opened new opportunities and transformations that have put Canada in a better position to benefit from internationalization. The gaming industry is also facing major changes. Nevertheless, because of its robustness, it is well prepared to adapt to the global trends in the sector.


The Canadian media and cultural industries are experiencing major changes because of the internationalization movement. These trends have led to various transformations that have threatened long-established business models such as the sound recording industry in the music industry or the television-broadcasting segment. However, these changes have been welcomed in the market. Canada is well prepared to adapt to and benefit from the trends in the global arena. The gaming industry is also well prepared for internationalization as evidenced by the fact that it is not just a consumer market but also a major production segment for the global gaming market. Concisely, the media and cultural industries that focus on television, music, and gaming are well equipped to fit in the internationalization drive that is modeling the media and cultural industries.

Reference List

Bustamante, E. (2004). Cultural industries in the Digital Age: some provisional conclusions. Media, Culture & Society, 26(6), 803-820.

Cunningham, S. (2004). The creative industries after cultural policy a genealogy and some possible preferred futures. International journal of cultural studies, 7(1), 105-115.

De Peuter, G. (2012). Video Games Production. In I. Wagman, & P. Urquhart, Cultural Industries (pp. 77-93). Toronto: James Lorimer & Company.

Gauthier, L. (2014). Digital not diversity? Changing Aboriginal media policy at the National Film Board of Canada. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 1(1), 1-22.

Hesmondhalgh, D. (2012). The Cultural Industries. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

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Mann, D. (2014). Harry Alan Towers: The Transnational Career of a Cinematic Contrarian. McFarland, CA: McFarland & Company.

Nandy, S (2015). Theatre, performance, and memories in fame.” Celebrity Studies, 6(1), 118-123.

Ranson, A. (2015). The future of Quebec in sf film and television. Science Fiction Film & Television, 8(1), 1-27.

Ronchi, M. (2009). eCulture: cultural content in the digital age. Berlin: Springer Science & Business Media.

Sutherland, R. (2012). Sound Recording and Radio: Intersections and Overlaps. In I. Wagman, & P. Urquhart, Cultural Industries (pp. 33-52). Toronto: James Lorimer & Company.

Towse, R. (2002). Copyright in the cultural industries. Cheltenham, England: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Wagman, I., & Urquhart, P. (2012). Cultural Making sense of Canadian media in the digital age. Toronto: James Lorimer & Company.

Wagman, I. (2012). Internationalisation: Cultural Imperialism, Global Formats. In I. Wagman, & P. Urquhart, Cultural Industries (pp. 611-627). Toronto: James Lorimer & Company.

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