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Opinion Dec 13, 2019 5:39 AM EST

CBC should focus on Canadian content, not selling corporate products

The state broadcaster continues to use government subsidized reach to bring corporate messaging to your doors.

CBC should focus on Canadian content, not selling corporate products
Ali Taghva Montreal, QC

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

Have you ever wanted your taxpayer-subsidized state broadcaster to also become the person selling you corporate goodies?

Well, you’re in for a treat!

Since the CBC’s mandate does not block the state broadcaster from competing with private media, it has for years been using your taxpayer dollars to subsidize reach and compete for advertising dollars.

They have been doing this in an industry that is already rapidly shrinking due to the onslaught of large scale ad platforms such as Google, Facebook, and now Amazon. Those three firms notably take 70% of all digital ad spend.

Interestingly, while the organization has opened its advertising offerings, it continues to rapidly lose clients and viewers, with the company shedding more than half its ad revenue over the last five years.

In that time, its domain has seen less traffic than sites like Narcity, while its high-end news broadcast The National continues to be trounced in every market by competitors like CTV.

When you look at just how bad the CBC is losing viewers in comparison to the competition, its quite obvious that while Canadians are happy to support a potential state broadcaster, they do not actually find use from the current content plan or business model put forward.

In many ways, it seems the continued failure of the CBC comes because of its model.

Instead of focusing on creating content that is predominantly and distinctively Canadian and actively contributing to the flow and exchange of cultural expression, mother corp has bunkered down and done almost everything it can to ruin its own path to growth.

For example, where the company could follow the path of “Letterkenny” and “Trailer Park Boys,” creating high-impact video capable of defining Canadian content and distributing it through international platforms such as Netflix or Hulu, its president decided to leverage your tax dollars and go at it alone, while bizarrely describing the organization as a form of colonization… seemingly forgetting to true brutality and lack of consent that came from colonialism and its institutions.

That comment led to articles panning the company’s president for attempting to rebrand the broadcaster’s own complacency as colonialism coming from the United States.

Of course, the problems don’t stop at complacency.

The CBC also actively ensures that at least one-third of Canadians recoil from all programming due to its desire to waddle into the political discussions of the nation in what can only be described as a clearly biased fashion.

During the 2019 election, for example, the CBC sued the Conservative Party of Canada for using excerpts from its leaders’ debates in campaign material, while naming Rosemary Barton—a debate moderator—on the lawsuit itself.

Outside of the public callouts for bias, those with an understanding of intellectual copyright law such as Michael Geist repeatedly stated that the use of the footage was likely covered by fair dealing provisions. If Geist is correct, the CBC is now not just politically biased, it is also wasting taxpayers’ funds to clog up the court system during a national election.

With so many clear flaws its no wonder the company is failing, even as it continues to get massive government funding.

The average Canadian does not want to have biased politics or poorly designed corporate messaging from the broadcaster we already pay for with our taxes.

Its time the CBC stopped wasting resources competing with private media, and instead focused on producing high-quality Canadian content which actively defines and exports Canadian culture.

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