Value far beyond the broadcast: value for many, and value for money

Every dollar that Canadians invest in public broadcasting creates almost four dollars in economic value

This is a significant point in the history of CBC/Radio-Canada. Dramatic shifts in the broadcasting landscape are redefining the marketplace in which we work. Technology, business models, consumer consumption trends and preferences are all converging to test the current strategies and operations of the major players in the broadcasting and media world.

CBC/Radio-Canada is rising to the challenge. On February 1st, we unveiled 2015: Everyone, Every way, our strategy to deepen our relationship with Canadians nationally, regionally and digitally. For 75 years, CBC/Radio-Canada has expressed culture and enriched democratic life in this country. Over the next five, our goal is to be recognized as the leader in doing both.

With our plan in place, we’re ready for the future and are pushing forward. Radio-Canada has already launched a number of apps, including the very successful TOU.TV iPhone/iPad app; launched, Radio-Canada’s new music website; revamped and relaunched; and, announced the launch of EXPLORA on December 1, 2011, the new French language specialty service dedicated to Science, Health, Nature and the Environment. CBC has re-launched its CBC News site, including new mobile apps; launched a CBC TV iPad app; and, announced the first details of its plan to increase its regional presence and local focus by introducing services in Kamloops, and improving services in Victoria, Kelowna, Toronto and Calgary. The plan is to reach six million additional Canadians over the next five years.

Deepening our relationship with Canadians

And that’s just the beginning of what’s to come. We seek to deepen our relationship with Canadians and engage them in an ongoing dialogue about our strategy for the future. We embrace the need to be accountable for what we do and how we do it, and those kinds of exchanges are always better when informed by facts. So, we commissioned The Economic Impact of CBC/Radio-Canada, a study by Deloitte, as well as an update to Analysis of Government Support for Public Broadcasting and other Culture in Canada, a study first conducted for CBC/Radio-Canada by Nordicity in 2006.

While our mandate is at the heart of everything we do, the Deloitte study indicates to what extent our impact extends beyond the broadcast and the services we provide. This new data shows that our parliamentary appropriation is a force for good: it gives Canadians more than just quality Canadian content in our national, regional and digital spaces; it also boosts Canada’s economy by supporting thousands of jobs and businesses, many of which are in the private sector. Additional economic value for other broadcasters and the wider creative sector in Canada is also created through its role in implementing new technologies, promoting digital content and third party distribution, and supporting Canadian artists.

This is particularly motivating when one considers – as indicated in the Nordicity study – that among the 18 countries included in the analysis, Canada stands to benefit the most of all from public broadcasting. Canada’s need is the greatest. At the same time, the per-capita comparison demonstrates that at just $34, Canada had the third-lowest level of public funding for its national public broadcaster in 2009 among 18 major Western countries and was less than one half of the $87 average.

$3.7 billion in economic value

In the context of our parliamentary appropriation, Deloitte estimates that the direct public funding of $1.1 billion, together with CBC/Radio-Canada’s self generated revenues, generates $3.7 billion in economic value. In other words, every dollar that Canadians invest in public broadcasting creates almost four dollars in economic value for the Canadian economy, regional and local economies, as well the cultural sector, independent production, technology and Canadian talent.

This study suggests to us that the model for public broadcasting in Canada is an efficient and productive one. Beyond fulfilling a public purpose and public policy mandate, it also makes a bigger economic contribution to this country and its regions than does a private model – an impact that would be diminished by narrowing the scope of what we do.

By the same token, it also suggests that we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us: we need to strengthen our investment in Canadian capacity and talent, as well as our presence in the regions, especially in the West. 2015: Everyone, Every way should enable us to make considerable progress in each of these areas, and the Deloitte study in particular gives us a solid and reliable empirical benchmark against which we can measure that progress – and the change in our impact over time – for the benefit of Canadians.

Growing our value

The bottom line for me: through our programming, we seek to create value for many, cultural and democratic value. And in so doing, these studies suggest that we create exceptional value for money too – economic value that could not be replicated through alternate uses of that funding. Our challenge is to grow that value in every sense, and with 2015: Everyone, Every way, Canada’s national public broadcaster has a plan to do just that – for you, and for Canada.

Hubert T. Lacroix
President and CEO

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