CBC/Radio-Canada to CRTC: Reject old assumptions about New Media

July 11, 2008, Ottawa

New media is neither displacing traditional media, nor will it solve the financial difficulties facing conventional broadcasters. This is the message CBC/Radio-Canada has for the CRTC as the regulator assesses New Media.

The submission CBC/Radio-Canada filed today urges the Commission not to accept false assumptions raised in Perspectives on Canadian Broadcasting in New Media, a compilation of research and views released by the CRTC in May 2008. The national public broadcaster encourages the CRTC to recognize the importance of traditional media as the source of professional broadcast content for all new platforms.

“Internet use is replacing some activities in Canadians’ lives, but it isn’t replacing television watching,” said Richard Stursberg, Executive Vice-President of English Services. “Viewing television on the Internet represents less than one per cent of the total time Canadians spend viewing television. In fact, Canadians watch more TV now than they did 15 years ago.”

The Internet is used primarily as a communications and research tool today, and not for watching TV. As well, virtually all professional video content consumed via the Internet originates from traditional television.

CBC/Radio-Canada also stresses that television content is not easily financed on the Internet. In fact, video advertising on the Internet represents less than one per cent of the $1.24 billion of Internet advertising revenue generated in Canada today.

CBC/Radio-Canada is a leader in new media development, offering news and media websites that are among the most popular in Canada. While the Internet represents an exciting marketing opportunity to reach audiences seeking more personalized content, it does not provide broadcasters with any significant advertising revenue opportunities.

“The Internet today is a fundamental tool for achieving our mission as Canada’s public broadcaster,” said Sylvain Lafrance, Executive Vice-President of French Services. “That said, the revenue we generate from it will not offset the losses associated with media fragmentation. The current business model for conventional television needs to be reconsidered.”

CBC/Radio-Canada recommends that these misconceptions be corrected by the Commission in order to ensure that a New Media policy will be founded on a thorough and accurate understanding of the broadcasting system.

CBC/Radio-Canada’s submission is available here.

About CBC/Radio-Canada

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. With 29 services offered on Radio, Television, the Internet, satellite radio, digital audio, as well as through its record and music distribution service and wireless WAP and SMS messaging services, CBC/Radio-Canada is available how, where, and when Canadians want it.

Through this array of activities, CBC/Radio-Canada brings diverse regional and cultural perspectives into the daily lives of Canadians in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages, in nine languages on its international Radio service, Radio Canada International, and in eight languages on its Web-based Radio service RCI viva, a service for recent and aspiring immigrants to Canada.

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