CBC to “re-imagine” itself as cuts announced

Announcing 657 jobs and $130 million in cuts, hints of new ad and media plans emerge Faced with reductions in government funding and the loss of lucrative NHL revenue, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has announced “immediate and difficult” cuts of $130 million and the elimination of 657 jobs over the next two years. CBC president […]

Announcing 657 jobs and $130 million in cuts, hints of new ad and media plans emerge

Faced with reductions in government funding and the loss of lucrative NHL revenue, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has announced “immediate and difficult” cuts of $130 million and the elimination of 657 jobs over the next two years.

People watch the CBC broadcast of its own cutbacks from inside the main foyer of the CBC building in Toronto

CBC president Hubert Lacroix informed staff of the cuts during a town-hall meeting on Thursday. In a release, Lacroix said that the cuts represent “tough decisions necessary to balance our current budget.”

Lacroix said that CBC/Radio-Canada needs to “re-imagine” itself in a changing media landscape to continue delivering on its mandate.

The public broadcaster said it is faced with numerous financial challenges, including an industry-wide softening of the ad market; “disappointing” schedule performance among key demographics on CBC television; “much lower-than-expected” ad revenues from services including Espace musique and CBC Radio 2; and the loss of NHL hockey to Rogers.

CBC also announced that it will no longer compete with private broadcasters for professional sports rights, and that its involvement in amateur sports will also be reduced. The broadcaster pledged to only broadcast events that will allow it to break even.

The public broadcaster said it remains committed to “signature events of national importance,” such as the Olympics, but said it will approach these events with new ways of producing, new technologies and new partnership arrangements.

It also announced a new approach to advertising sales, specifically the consolidation of CBC and Radio-Canada’s revenue groups to present a national multiplatform advertising offer.

The CBC said that management’s decisions were influenced by its Strategy 2015: Everyone, Every Way strategic plan and “key pillars” designed to maintain its ability to invest in strategically important areas while providing services that “inform, enlighten and entertain” Canadians.

Nationally, the broadcaster is committed to prime time television, national news and “high-impact” websites.

On a regional basis, the CBC said it remains committed to the various regions and will work to modernize its delivery of services. While pledging to maintain its presence and newsgathering capabilities on a regional basis, Lacroix said that planned expansions – which included plans for a station in London, Ont. – have been cancelled.

Digitally, it will allocate 5% of programming budgets to digital and focus on what it described as “high-impact” and “strategic” initiatives.

“It’s clear we can’t be resizing the public broadcaster every two years,” said Lacroix. “It is equally clear that the media landscape is transforming at an astounding speed. To meet this challenge, we have accelerated a strategic planning exercise that was already underway.”

He said that a new strategic framework to be announced in the coming month will guide its evolution towards a “smaller, more nimble and open” broadcaster. Lacroix said that the announcement marks not an end point, but a “pivot point” into a period of accelerated change.

Media Articles

Shomi: The data

Streaming video service releases aggregated user info to mark one-year-anniversary

Twitter Canada announces new head of news and government

Former politican and journalist Jennifer Hollett takes over for Steve Ladurantaye

CRTC issues order for simsub removal

Regulator says no new evidence to suggest broadcasters can't benefit from ad sales

Rio Games attract 32.1 million Canadians

Men's 200m final the most-watched event

CNN launches Canadian sales effort

News company's long-time ad sales partner Adspace Sales opens Toronto office

Radio revenues fell slightly in 2015: StatsCan

It is the second straight year of decline, though the sector remains relatively stable

Starcom hires Mike Rumble to oversee new integrated team

New unit expected to oversee the agency's recently defended TD Bank Group account

Bell extends its Olympic sponsorship through 2024

The extension comes as CBC finishes its well-rated coverage of the Rio Games