The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is rapidly devolving from a state broadcaster designed to support media development and access in far-flung communities to one which is actively stifling the possibility for any other group to compete without massive amounts of subsidies.
Since the 1970’s the organization has continued to increase the place advertising holds in revenue portfolio, and now with the transition to digital, it seems like it has become one of the most important parts of their business model.
Here is the serious problem with that:
The CBC is for the most part failing when it comes to producing content others will actually consume, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t increasing the costs for every other player in the market to operate by receiving large grants which help subsidize all subsequent activities. It should be noted that the CBC continues to receive this massive amount of funding while spending a large amount of time on content which is not Canadian or actively ignores key pieces moments which are clearly in the public interest.
The CBC for example chose to air an episode Murdoch Mysteries instead of live coverage of the Toronto municipal election. The organization also chose to air none of the five federal debates in 2015. CBC allegedly refused to cover the extremely important federal election because they had no “input on content”
It should be noted that the CBC has in the past “flipped to live BBC coverage of U.K. elections, or CNN feeds during disasters, with zero input on content,” according to Macleans.
The site has even been repeatedly called out for failing to properly cite the work of other organizations, in many ways hindering the capacity for less funded organizations to grow.
This history of expensive failure combined with continued financial support is, in my opinion, why we now need to now also bailout the nations media establishment.
The establishment media class have also failed, remaining clearly unprofitable not because of unforeseen disruption, but due to an unwillingness to follow changing times, and actually invest in the digital equivalent of a printing press.
Instead of being forced to adapt, this group will also have their hands held as they continue to produce content which either is ignored due to weak distribution or a lack of user interest, or simply not done well enough for the digital environment.
Now I get it—Canadians like to subsidize things as they expect the public market to perform better, and some of us are worried about American culture sweeping our identities, and a large portion of the population actively supports the CBC.
None the less, that does not justify the colossal destabilizing elephant in the room which is actively working against every single one of those same principles. We are failing at protecting our culture, Canadian content is not being viewed, and the subsidies are not working.
What do you think about this rather complex situation? Should the CBC’s funding be reduced? Should it be removed from the news business or perhaps just have all of its private ads pulled?
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