We are disappointed that the Commission has denied CBC/Radio-Canada the ability to continue to earn revenue from advertising on its music services; Radio Two and ICI Musique.
Quite simply, the CRTC’s decision means CBC/Radio-Canada has fewer resources to invest in the programs and services it provides to Canadians.
The decision shows a lack of understanding about the reality of public broadcasting. CBC/Radio-Canada depends on a combination of government funding and commercial revenue to finance its services. It has been managing a significant drop in both those sources of funding.
The Commission states that the government’s reinvestment makes additional revenue from radio advertising unnecessary. That is incorrect. The Government’s reinvestment ($75M this year, rising to $150M in following years) is vital to stabilizing the Corporation so it can implement its 2020 strategic priorities to make its programming and services more Canadian, more local, and more digital. By cutting off a source of revenue, the CRTC is simply ensuring there are fewer resources available to do that. That does not help CBC/Radio-Canada serve Canadians.
We are also surprised the CRTC made its decision on the final day of its existing authorization to broadcast such advertising. That is simply not in keeping with modern business practices. We will make the required changes to our programming schedule and wind down this part of our business, however this simply cannot be completed by the end of day today.
The CRTC allowed CBC/Radio-Canada to carry limited advertising in 2013 based on satisfying four criteria. In its decision today, the Commission acknowledges the Corporation met three of those criteria:
- advertising did not impact advertising markets,
- advertising did not affect the distinctiveness of the services,
- advertising was not disruptive to listeners.
The fourth, that CBC’s level of investment in radio be maintained, was simply not possible to meet given the $115 M in reductions to the Corporation’s Parliamentary Appropriation beginning in 2012. That cut, combined with the continued industry-wide decline in advertising revenue on television meant CBC/Radio-Canada was forced to reduce the budgets for all of its services – including for Radio 2 and ICI Musique. Additional revenue from limited advertising on Radio was not sufficient to offset those cuts.
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. We are Canada’s trusted source of news, information and Canadian entertainment. Deeply rooted in communities all across the country, CBC/Radio-Canada offers diverse content in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages. We also provide international news and information from a uniquely Canadian perspective.