Thursday, 12 June 2008

Explaining a reversal of opinion

Even though the story is quickly becoming yesterday's news, I want to get this off my my chest. At the beginning of the week, I excoriated Ms. Claman for living high off the taxpayer dollar.

On Tuesday I recanted that position. On Wednesday, I linked to Ms. Claman's Daughter's blog that explains their side of the story.

Today I received the following thanks:
Madeleine Morris said...

Wow. I want to say that I'm really stunned by your honesty and your integrity. It's a very rare thing to run across people who can change their minds and I really, really can't thank you enough for your sense of fairness.



Well Madeleine, that comment was thanks enough in and of itself. The reason I let my post stand, showing my original thoughts, and then the fact I recanted was due to my feelings that, in this case, my words were egregiously harmful. Normally, I probably would have just deleted the post (my readership is low enough, it wouldn't have mattered much). But in this case, such an abrupt about face needed an explanation.

What changed me was Ken's comment that $500 a week was a bargain. I was going to retort, isn't it $500 each time its played? And then I started to research it. And kept coming up with $500 per game (or episode of HNIC). I found after much Googling the number of regular season games HNIC broadcasts (87), did the math, and arrived at $43,500 per year in royalties (excluding play-offs).

Now, I had bought the CBC talking point of "responsibility to the taxpayer" hook, line and sinker. So when I did the math, a very wrong note sounded. The CBC was falling on its sword over $43,500? Crap, that's barely a decent annual living. Here I thought Ms. Claman was living high on the hog on the basis of one song. If she is, she's a damned frugal spender!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a big fan of royalty arrangements. But I'm not going to pick on someone earning that little.

And then I read Madeleine's post and everything fell into place. Scott Moore was playing us for suckers. And I was a willing sucker. And I like to think I'm a big enough man to admit when I was rooked.

So to Madeleine and her mother, my heart felt apologies.

To Scott Moore. You're an unmitigated asshole. Your ass should be fired, you don't deserve to suckle at the taxpayers teat anymore in your cushy public sector job. You lied through your teeth on interviews on CBC radio. Your voice exuded honesty and sincerity, and I believed you. Now I know you for the man you are. A shyster in a suit who's integrity is checked at the door. A snake, a liar and a cheat. And I'm not taking that back.


Matthew said...

Was it not the point of CBC and Scott Moore that Ms. Claman wanted much MORE than $500 per week. If she sold to CTV for several million, if I recall, isn�t it likely that was the sum that she was demanding of the CBC? That�s how I understood Mr. Moore�s argument.
And indeed, it would have been unconscionable for the public broadcaster to pay 1-3 million for that song; especially after all the other good programming they�ve cut at the CBC.
Further, if you�re excluding the play-offs in your income calculation you�re excluding roughly another $21,000 in income (based on CBC broadcasting 7 series�s total at an average of 6 games each). Sure $21,000 is still not a huge sum but it�s almost 50% more than what you were giving Ms. Claman credit for.
Finally, none of this should be construed as a denial of Ms. Claman�s right to make a profit from her artistic work � good for her for doing so. But I think you�re completely wrong about the position of CBC and Scott Moore. I think it was quite responsible not to pay Ms. Claman a million dollars or more of public money for the rights to the song in question, which is quite clearly the amount she felt she deserved for it. I don�t see how the CBC was lying.

Catelli said...

Well someone is lying, and based on what the previous contract was, I totally believe the Claman's claim:

Last week, after more than a year of CBC bullying, threatening and endless changing of positions, we offered the CBC the following deal: forget the lawsuit - just pay our legal fees (which we incurred because of CBC's breach of usage as agreed in the license deal) and let's keep the same licensing deal as before. That's it...same as before. $500 per episode of HNIC. They did not accept.

When CTV showed up to negotiate in good faith, that's when the big numbers started happening. And remember this is a buy-out of all rights, not a licensing deal, so its a one-time payment as opposed to guaranteed yearly revenue. So that skews the value of the deal.

(I knew I was leaving out playoffs, but it got complicated trying top figure out which games CBC was broadcasting, etc., and left them out as the numbers really are small potatoes).

Especially compared with the $100 million per season the CBC pays for HNIC broadcasting rights, and that Sports Broadcasting ad revenue accounts for 40 per cent of the CBC’s returns (40% of 1.3 billion is $520 mill in revenue).

Maybe the value of the theme song is in fact negligible and contributes nothing to the bottom line other than as cost to production. But still, when you're making $520 million, $3 million as a one-time payment for exclusive rights looks kinda small (half of one percent of one years revenue).

I know HNIC is only part of the $520 million in ad revenue, but I'll bet you its over 90% of it.