Schitt's Creek

CBC hires new exec in bid to give linear properties life online

Former Secret Location head of strategy Chris Harris has joined the Canadian pubcaster as EP of digital and scripted.
October 20, 2015

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is putting an increased focus into its digital properties, and it’s hired Chris Harris as its new executive producer, digital and scripted to help boost those properties.

Harris, who officially joined the team at the Canadian pubcaster Oct. 19 (having previously worked for the corporation from 1999 to 2006) will report to Paul McGrath, director of digital content. Previously, Harris headed up strategy and business development at the interactive studio Secret Location, which created a number of digital and transmedia projects including an immersive orchestral performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, and PBS’s recent 360-degree documentary on the Ebola crisis.

Harris is tasked with creating content that can run on linear broadcast but also extend to multiple platforms online. Though there are no plans yet for SVOD or OTT services (like those launched by HBO and NBCUniversal) or online originals, Harris told StreamDaily the team is working on online content that will be used as companion pieces to the broadcaster’s new linear dramas and comedies such as The Romeo Section, This Life and Schitt’s Creek (pictured).

“People already have a relationship with the shows and the characters that they see on TV,” he said“For me, it’s all about extending that experience — how can you extend a show’s life beyond just 30 minutes or an hour a week? How can you give it that 24-hour, 365-day longevity?”

Harris said the team will focus on content that can live across multiple platforms such as Facebook and YouTube (as well as the CBC’s own website).

“The goal is really to go where our viewers are going,” he said. “The goal isn’t to create silos of content, but to create content that brings them from one location to another and another.”

Recently, CBC launched a new MCN as part of a multi-year agreement with the U.S. MCN Fullscreen. More than 2,000 content creators, including all of Fullscreen’s Canadian talent, have joined the network (named the CBC|Fullscreen Creator Network). Harris said some of his work may extend to the MCN, but that will not be his primary focus.

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