CBC Proposes Going Ad-Free... For A Price
November 29, 2016 at 6:55 AM (PT)
The CBC has proposed that it move to an ad-free, federally-financed model similar to the BBC, but told the Canadian federal government that it would need about C$400 million in additional funds to do so.
The proposal, "Strategy 2020," would require C$318 million to replace television advertising revenue (the radio networks are ad-free after a three-year experiment with commercials on two networks that ended in AUGUST), including C$253 million to replace lost revenue and C$105 million to produce Canadian content to fill the programming gaps, less C$40 million in cost savings from eliminating sales expenses. C$100 million would be devoted to new investments to deal with "consumer and technology disruption." The network estimates that C$158 million in ad revenues would be diverted to private TV and digital competitors, helping that sector as well. The plan would increase per-capita funding by C$12, resulting in C$46 per person per year in tax money to fund the network, which it says "is consistent with the 2008 recommendation of $40 per person by the Standing Committee for Canadian Heritage, adjusted for inflation."
In its proposal, the CBC writes, "Public broadcasting has the potential to fuel our cultural ecosystem, deliver on CANADA’s cultural policy goals and make CANADA a cultural powerhouse.
"CBC/RADIO-CANADA wants to be able to deliver what Canadians want to see more of, and what we know they value in their public broadcaster: more non-news programming, more information to help them develop a better understanding of their world, more local programming, more investment and diversity in our radio programming, and more of the kind of nation-building events where Canadians come together to celebrate the achievements of our top creative talent.
"We want to listen to and collaborate closely with CANADA’s artistic and creative communities to help define a future for CBC/RADIO-CANADA that fully leverages our value within our cultural ecosystem. We will ask our creators what they want in CBC/RADIO-CANADA going forward to support them in producing great Canadian content and strengthening the impact of our collective work for the benefit of Canadians."
The proposal names four priority areas for the network, digital innovation, contributing to a shared national consciousness and identity, creating quality Canadian content, and promoting Canada to the world, and says that "(t)here is an important financial element to this model. It would provide stability for CBC/RADIO-CANADA and for our cultural ecosystem. At a time when the interest in and the excitement around Canadian culture at home and globally is as strong as it has ever been, it would strengthen the momentum we are creating through our transformation.... We would focus less on commercial return and more on cultural impact, exploring more ways to help Canadian content and creators thrive and grow. We would be able to commission programming that takes risks and has the time to find an audience without being overly driven by the need to deliver immediate success." The network asserts that "(t)he economic upside of moving to an ad-free model would be a net total GDP gain of C$488M, a total labor income impact of C$355M and the creation of 7,200 new jobs."
The network has in the past insisted that "There is no good public policy reason to eliminate or seriously reduce advertising on the TV services of CBC/RADIO-CANADA. It does not detract from its public broadcasting mandate."