LILLEY: CBC will get more of your money mostly because it serves Trudeau Liberals – Toronto Sun

Posted: January 24, 2022 at 10:09 am

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If CBC didnt already exist, would we invent it or see the need for it in todays media landscape?

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Id argue the answer is no but then again, I dont think there has ever been a need for Canadas state broadcaster.

Despite the national myth, built up by CBC itself, Canada had a robust broadcasting system before CBC existed. Before CBC was even created in 1936 we had a robust private system providing everything from news to variety shows, comedies and dramas right up to what would become Hockey Night in Canada.

Today, fewer Canadians are watching CBC with the network taking just 5% of the available English television audience in primetime.

The most recent ratings available show just one CBC show making the top 30 the heavily promoted Son of a Critch brought in 941,000 viewers on Jan. 4 putting it in 28th spot.

CTVs local supper hour news had an average audience of 1.7 million across the country, their national news at 11 had an average audience of 1 million, and Globals weekend news had an audience of just under 1 million.

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CBCs The National wasnt in the top 30, meaning fewer people watched that program on an average night than watched The Curse of Oak Island on History. While CBC doesnt like to discuss the ratings of The National , maybe because they struggle to break the 500,000 mark and have been below 300,000 per night.

This is the broadcaster no one watches but that the Trudeau government wants to give more of your money to.

In the 2015 election, the Trudeau Liberals promised CBC an extra $150 million per year in funding on top of the $1.1 billion in base funding. CBCs annual government funding now stands at $1.4 billion, but its not enough.

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In the last election, Trudeau promised an additional $400 million over four years to make CBC less reliant on advertising. The real reason for the funding boost is that CBCs advertising revenues have fallen dramatically over the last several years as viewers go elsewhere.

Television ad revenues have fallen from $426 million in 2014 to $199 million last year, including a 10% drop in 2021 compared to the previous year.

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So obviously, the only answer from Trudeau will be more cash from taxpayers to make up for the fact that advertisers arent willing to pay more for a shrinking audience. At the same time as CBC is a threat to the public purse, they also remain a threat to a healthy private sector media ecosystem.

Private broadcasters, online and print media outlets dont start off with an extra $1.4 billion of government money in the bank. In the last couple of years the Trudeau Liberals have opted to mistakenly spend just shy of $600 million in subsidies among all private outlets, but even that leaves CBC with a hugely unfair advantage.

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In addition to distorting the ad market because their subsidy allows them to undercut, CBC also makes it harder for private media outlets to turn readers or viewers into subscribers. As media outlets around the world move to a paywall system, CBC continues to use their subsidy to give everything away for free, further distorting the market.

Devotees of the state broadcaster wont listen to such business-minded criticisms, nor will they allow it to be stated that even with their fat subsidy CBC doesnt fulfill their mandate. To them, the only answer is the same one the government has arrived at more funding from taxpayers.

Trudeau offers more funding and secures votes from CBC devotees and continued positive coverage from the most Liberal friendly outlet in the country.

Canadians need a serious rethink of CBC, a true debate on what for it should take, how it should be funded or if it should even exist. Under this government, none of that will take place, youll simply pay more for programs you dont watch because it serves Trudeaus political purposes.

blilley@postmedia.com

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LILLEY: CBC will get more of your money mostly because it serves Trudeau Liberals - Toronto Sun

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