The following note to staff about CBC/Radio-Canada's plans to deal with the loss of the Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF) was published internally today.
As you know, the CRTC announced in July that the Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF) – created three years ago to help broadcasters sustain and improve local television service in markets of a population of one million or less – will be phased out over three years. In the run up to our license renewal hearings, the CRTC asked for further information on what the consequences of that cancellation will be on our programming. We went directly to the business, both English and French Services, to come up with a plan to manage the LPIF cuts. Our Board approved that plan, the requested information was submitted to the CRTC and, last week, the CRTC posted it on its website.
So that you have a clear picture of what those plans are, you’ll find below a summary of the measures to be taken to balance our budgets. We’re giving you as much detail as possible right now, but remember the Fund is being phased out over several years so there are certainly some details to work out. You’ll be hearing more from your respective managers over the next coming weeks and months.
We’ve made a decision to protect as much as possible the initiatives that the LPIF allowed us to implement. Regional programming is essential to our role as the national public broadcaster. Improving our presence in communities across Canada is one of the top priorities of our 2015 strategic plan.
Last year, CBC/Radio-Canada drew $47 million from the Fund to improve service for viewers in 20 markets. That money was instrumental in allowing us to enhance our service. It funded the addition of weekend news in most of our markets in both French and English, it allowed us to add late night local news at CBC, extend by 30 minutes our supper-hour news shows in several markets, and enhance our coverage of local events, sports, weather. These things will be protected. But that means that other priorities will be affected by this drop in funding.
We knew that the CRTC was reviewing the Fund; so we had already conservatively put in place plans for a reduction in our current three-year financial projections. The Commission’s decision to eliminate the fund entirely means that the Corporation now has to reduce its budget by a further $28.4 million by 2013–2014. Here’s how we plan on tackling things:
|Cancellation of plans for four new local radio stations as part of the Local Service Extension (LSE).||$6.1M||CBC|
|Fewer productions of large-scale programs of national interest such as 8th Fire and Love, Hate and Propaganda.||$8M||CBC/Radio-Canada|
|Reduced regional contribution to non-news programming via such shows as Belle-Baie (Moncton), Créatures fantastiques (Trois-Rivières) and Caméra boréale (Regina). We’re also reviewing our schedules with a view to introducing further reductions.||$4M||Radio-Canada|
Reductions to network schedules.
|Reduction of communications and promotional budgets.||$3M||CBC/Radio-Canada|
|Further efficiencies to be determined over three years.||$2M||CBC/Radio-Canada|
We are all focused on continuing to offer Canadians the best content and experiences they can find anywhere. It’s what Canadians expect of us, and it’s what you deliver. We achieve that, despite everything, mostly because of your talent and dedication. Thank you for that. Keep it up.
Hubert, Kirstine and Louis