Message from The President and CEO
In this “always on”, global, digital space, what Canadians need more than ever is a Canadian public space. A space that serves the public interest; that informs Canadians about their country; that encourages them to connect with each other; that elevates our stories and our values; that builds social cohesion. This is what public broadcasting is uniquely qualified to do.
Our plan towards 2020 is built around this concept. But to strengthen our connection with Canadians, we have had to change how we connect with them; and change faster than anyone expected. Our challenge as the public broadcaster – and our opportunity – continues to be meeting the many different needs of those we serve in this age of constant change. We have to be connected and relevant to the digital generation. And, at the same time, we have to ensure that we don't leave other Canadians behind.
So, where are we now? We have all been witnessing the public broadcaster’s transformation and it's really incredible to see. Today, we are Canada’s biggest online media destination for news and information. Every month in 2015-2016, almost 15 million Canadians used our digital sites. That number has increased by three million in the past year alone, and more than half of those people are reaching us through their smartphones. The Business Highlights section of this annual report discusses these and other developments in detail and in the context of Strategy 2020.
In March, we received a tremendous vote of confidence in our efforts from the federal government through an important reinvestment: an additional $75 million in 2016-2017 and $150 million per year on an ongoing basis. This commitment allows us to accelerate our plans to transition the organization to where it needs to go – richer, modern content and the digital expertise and platform we need for the future. You can read more about how we will use this investment in the Our Strategic Plan section of this annual report.
Yes, there will continue to be challenges. A modern broadcasting business model needs to reflect modern business realities. The current one is still broken. The Government's consultation on the future of Canadian Content in a Digital World, announced in April, is a very important step in addressing this challenge. We look forward to providing whatever support we can.
We’ve learned a lot about transformation over the past several years, and we will continue to learn going forward. We’ll lead by example in how to evolve, and constructively engage our audience in a fast-moving media environment. Looking ahead, both the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017 offer even more new and exciting opportunities to engage with our audiences.
I think the key point is this: transformation has no finish line. Our country is evolving and the public broadcaster will be evolving along with it. That is how we will ensure Canada has its own, true, public space. And, there is not a team better-placed to make that happen.
Hubert T. Lacroix
President and CEO