YEAR IN REVIEW HIGHLIGHTS
We are transforming the public broadcaster into a more modern, accessible media organization to better fulfill our role as Canada’s public space. The following business highlights demonstrate the progress we made this year towards achieving our Strategy 2020 goals.
TOWARDS FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY
In March, the federal government announced an important reinvestment in the public broadcaster: an additional $75 million in 2016-2017 and $150 million per year on an ongoing basis. Our plans for this reinvestment are all about content: creating new content and making it more accessible than ever across our platforms. This is fully aligned with our strategic plan and stable, multiyear funding will enable us to carefully map-out how to best use these additional funds in the years ahead.
CONTENT AND SERVICES
Embracing our digital shift
In 2015-2016, almost 15 million Canadians used CBC/Radio-Canada’s digital sites every month – more than half of them through their mobile devices.
And that number has increased by 3 million in the past year alone.(1)
Embracing our digital shift means rethinking how we produce, format and distribute content. Digital is no longer seen as a separate entity; it is woven into all that we do as we work towards a truly multiplatform experience across our services. Over the past year, we advanced our digital offering, going beyond ensuring that traditional broadcasted content receives a second life on digital platforms. For example, shows like Keeping Canada Alive included six hour-long television episodes, but also more than 40 hours of online content, including extended breakout footage, original content, as well as an online 24-hour stream of raw footage. Moreover, shows like Le nouveau show and Série noire were first released digitally, and then on conventional and specialty television, experimenting with our multiplatform/multiscreen strategy.
Going beyond podcasting original radio content, Radio-Canada is increasing the availability of digital content with its newly launched digital service, Première PLUS. Audiences can now stream and binge-listen to a huge collection of high-quality audio selections that is tailored to their own interests. We are also working to establish watch.cbc.ca as a best-in-class Over-the-Top (OTT) CBC video experience, one that over time will replace our current CBC Player as our go-to digital home for full-length programming. Radio-Canada is also increasing the amount of digital news available, with a priority on mobile and an updated Radio-Canada Information mobile app.
We were excited to apply our enhanced digital approach to our PanAm Games coverage in the summer. As we noted in our Q2 report, we reached more than 22 million Canadians. Digitally, our mobile app garnered 30 million page views and more than 3.2 million video views on the web.(2)
Expanding our regional presence
As part of our regional strategy, we continue to create new opportunities to tell stories and engage our audiences with more coverage of the local issues that matter to them. In 2015-2016, we were able to reinvest in a more comprehensive local news offering by applying our digital-first strategy, and adjusting the length of TV supper-hour news to either 30 or 60 minutes. Specifically, this means more region-specific websites with content published throughout the day, adapted to all screen sizes and mobile devices; and more updates simultaneously broadcast on local morning radio shows and TV through visual radio, a new and innovative production method.
Building partnerships is another important way for us to strengthen our role as Canada’s public space. A collaboration effort between Radio-Canada and Facebook to get exclusive access to its data during the federal election campaign and on election night, a first in French-language Canadian broadcasting, illustrates how Radio-Canada continues to be a leader in political coverage and analysis. In addition, English Services launched the CBC|Fullscreen Creator Network partnership with the goal of learning more about the dynamics of YouTube creator channels.
We continue to build our brand as Canada’s Olympic Network and Official Broadcaster with an extension of our partnership agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to cover the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games and the 2024 Olympic Games. The IOC decision is a vote of confidence after our exceptional coverage and digital offerings from the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games – the most-watched Olympics in history, a success we hope to build on together with our broadcast partners from Bell Media and Rogers Media for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
In addition, following the CRTC’s decisions from the Let’s Talk TV consultations, we are in ongoing negotiations with licensed distributors of our programming content (cable and satellite) to produce a new contractual relationship that encompass the regulatory changes.
More detailed programming information is available in the Content and Services section of this Annual Report.
This year saw progress in our infrastructure strategy, as we review our requirements across the country to ensure we occupy the right amount of space and that we provide our employees with a modern, inspiring work environment and current technologies to produce even better content. In 2015-2016, our Sudbury and Moncton stations underwent this renewal process, with staff being moved into more modern facilities, closer to the communities they serve, while at the same time reducing our overall real estate footprint. We also announced we will be selling our existing Calgary location and moving into a new, right-sized leased facility that will allow us to fully modernize our operations in this location.
Meanwhile, we continue to explore options surrounding our two largest real estate holdings: the Toronto Broadcast Centre and Maison de Radio-Canada (MRC), with the ultimate goal of reducing our investment in infrastructure and redirecting important savings back into content, while at the same time meeting the needs of a modern public broadcaster. The MRC project took a major step forward in May 2016, when the Board of Directors shortlisted two proposals for a new facility, both of which would see MRC remain on a portion of the same site. Regarding the sale of the existing facility, the final phase of the process will continue with four proponents to maintain a high level of competition in the market and guarantee the best possible offer at the end of the process. The final choice of proposal, both for the new MRC and the sale of the existing facility, is expected in fall 2016 and will need to be approved by the Treasury Board.
Abroad, both networks extended our international capabilities with CBC opening a bureau in Moscow, while Radio-Canada relocated its Paris office within the headquarters of TV5MONDE, the largest French-language network in the world, granting us access to international Francophone audiences.
Supporting our people
Our employees are the public broadcaster’s best and most important resource. From the continued training and development made available to all employees who are making the transition to digital, to progress in implementing recommendations that came out of the Rubin report, the Corporation is continuing our efforts to support our teams across the country and to make CBC/Radio-Canada a place where we can all be proud to work. You can read more in the People and Culture section of this Annual Report.