I was surprised by Jesse Kline’s criticism of the public broadcaster’s financing model. Mr. Kline appears to believe that a hybrid financial model for CBC/Radio-Canada is both new and unnecessary. It is neither. We’ve had this model for over 75 years, and we’re critically dependent on it since our level of public funding does not allow us to fully meet our mandate, and it never has.
A hybrid model is how Parliament chose to structure its public broadcaster. We earn almost half of our annual budget by operating in the marketplace; ad sales and merchandise, for example. In a country as large, diverse and sparsely settled as Canada, this additional revenue ensures adequate support for a national, multi-lingual, multimedia public broadcaster.
CBC/Radio-Canada is not the only public broadcaster operating under a hybrid financing model: most major public broadcasters around the world rely on hybrid financing. Moreover, this approach is not limited to public broadcasting. Via Rail, for example, receives nearly as much of its overall revenues from public funding as CBC/Radio-Canada. It makes up the rest through ticket sales. None of this is “double dipping”. It’s simply a smart and efficient way to achieve Canada’s public policy goals.
CBC/Radio-Canada is proud of its unique role in Canadian life. Stories, music, news, culture - we do it all in French, English, eight Aboriginal languages and internationally through Radio-Canada International. But CBC/Radio-Canada doesn’t do all of this on the public dime; it also generates commercial revenue that is reinvested directly in programming and services which help the Canadian media industry thrive.
William B. Chambers
Vice-President, Brand, Communications and Corporate Affairs, CBC/Radio-Canada