Elimination of advertising on CBC/Radio-Canada services would be bad public policy: Nordicity

November 28, 2011

A new study by Nordicity Group Ltd. reveals that advertising does not detract from the public broadcaster’s mandate and that there is no good public policy reason to eliminate advertising from its television services. In fact, most public broadcasters around the world carry advertising or are engaged in commercial activities.

Removing ads from CBC/Radio-Canada’s services would result in a significant reduction of Canadian content and have serious consequences for both the independent production sector and advertisers.

The study was released today by CBC/Radio-Canada in the context of the International Institute of Communication’s pre-conference on public broadcasting, organized alongside the Corporation’s 75th anniversary celebrations. Commissioned as part of the Corporation’s ongoing efforts to inform debate about the role and responsibility of the public broadcaster, the findings will inform decisions as the Corporation continues the implementation of its five-year strategy, 2015: Everyone, Every Way.

"Private and public broadcasters compete on many levels in our mixed public-private system, but each has a contribution to make,"said Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada. "The national public broadcaster has access to advertising revenues to help meet Broadcasting Act objectives, while private broadcasters have, most notably, access to public subsidies to help them meet Canadian content requirements."

"The elimination of advertising revenues would seriously compromise the Corporation’s ability to fulfill its mandate and roll-out initiatives planned under 2015: Everyone, Every Way,"added Lacroix.

Nordicity estimates that the elimination of advertising from CBC/Radio-Canada would result in a net financial impact of $533 million. That would translate into a $160 million reduction in Canadian programming expenditures. CBC/Radio-Canada, alone, invests as much in Canadian programming as all conventional private broadcasters combined ($696 million in broadcast year 2010).

In addition, Canadian businesses that rely on the public broadcaster as an advertising vehicle, would suffer from the loss of CBC/Radio-Canada as an option. This would mean fewer – if any – alternatives in smaller markets. And because of reduced inventory, TV ad rates would invariably be pushed up.

For further details, consult the Nordicity study here (PDF).

About CBC/Radio-Canada

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. The Corporation is a leader in reaching Canadians on new platforms and delivers a comprehensive range of radio, television, Internet, and satellite-based services. Deeply rooted in the regions, CBC/Radio-Canada is the only domestic broadcaster to offer diverse regional and cultural perspectives in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages, plus seven languages for international audiences

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