As a Canadian, I am lucky. I’m close enough to America to get American channels, and Canadian channels have deals to air American shows as well, so 98% of the time, I get TV shows at the same time the Americans do. I am so thankful every day for this.
But I do feel so bad for other people in the world. Some countries don’t air TV shows at the same time. Some countries don’t air shows for weeks or months afterwards (good luck avoiding spoilers). Some countries never get them. And I know that American TV may not be very popular in really foreign countries where English isn’t the first language, so having network deals may be a waste of time, but there are some fans who would watch if they could. I knew of people who would get up at 3am to livestream an American show that was airing 8pm our time. Their dedication is real, but there are limited options for them, and all of them are technically illegal.
American networks block things. They alienate fans who don’t live in America. And then they wonder why ratings aren’t going up…it’s because people take to watching things illegally online because it’s all they can do.
And what’s worse is that when episodes finally do air in far away places, like in the UK for example, the episodes are sometimes edited so swear words and more graphic scenes are either cut short or cut out altogether. People are paying for edited things and they can’t control it, as there are only a few providers with American channels, the biggest one being Sky.
Though I just explained how lucky I am as a Canadian, I’m not entirely free from these restrictions. The official websites for the American channels won’t let me watch any videos, and prices for shipping on any merchandise is sky high. Normally, I don’t care too much as I don’t frequent these sites, but sometimes I need to. Agents Of SHIELD used to post sneak peeks and BTS videos on the ABC site and on ABC’s YouTube channel and then tweet about it, and I wouldn’t be able to watch, though I and their other thousands of other foreign followers would see that videos do exist. We can get so close, just never close enough. I gave up angrily tweeting back a reply of “WHY DON’T YOU LOVE CANADA???!!!!???” a long time ago because it’s clear they just don’t care.
That being said, it’s not just American channels that limit. I’m really ragging on America here as they’re the biggest producer of the shows. But other countries block too. Not a single American I know has a clue what Mr. D is (though it’s not a hugely popular show…) and when the Brits air Sherlock and Doctor Who, I don’t think North America gets it on time either. It’s a shame.
And as a cherry on the cake, there’s all this talk about the TV industry dying and online platforms like Netflix taking over. Let me tell you, that’s somehow even worse for non-Americans because even these revolutionary platforms like Netflix are limited. Canadian Netflix is pretty bad, so I often have to go stream elsewhere.
I know it’s all business deals and contracts and money but I dream of a world where none of that exists and I can just watch TV in peace. Is that too much to ask?
P.S. If for some reason you’ve read this exact post before on the internet, I actually wrote it for a blogging course I took two years ago in university, so it’s all my own words, I’m just reposting it on my real blog!