Below is the press release from CBC/Radio-Canada regarding its latest round of layoffs and a change in direction for Canada’s national broadcaster:
CBC/Radio-Canada today announced its 2014-2015 budget. Due to market realities, the plan includes immediate and difficult cuts of $130 million and the equivalent of 657 positions over the next two fiscal years. The Corporation is also incurring one-time severance costs of $33.5 million.
“Today, we have made the tough decisions necessary to balance our current budget” said Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada. “As the media landscape changes, CBC/Radio-Canada will also need to re-imagine itself in order to continue delivering on the mandate with which we were entrusted over 75 years ago.”
CBC/Radio-Canada is faced with financial challenges ranging from an industry-wide softening of the advertising market, disappointing schedule performance in key demographics on CBC Television, much lower-than-expected ad revenues from Espace musique and CBC Radio 2, and the NHL’s decision to move to a single, exclusive broadcaster. These reductions are in addition to significant pressures already managed by the Corporation since 2008/2009, due in part to actions surrounding the Deficit Reduction Action Plan (DRAP) and the elimination of the Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF).
In making these reductions, management’s decisions were influenced by its Strategy 2015: Everyone, Every way, and its key pillars designed to maintain the Corporation’s future ability to invest in strategically important areas, while continuing to provide Canadians with services and programs that inform, enlighten and entertain.
Our National Presence:
Prime time television
Audio talk programming
High impact national websites
Our Regional Presence:
Focus and commitment to the regions
Modernize delivery of services
Previously announced plans for further expansion cancelled
Our Digital Presence:
Allocate 5% of programming budgets to digital
Focus on high-impact and strategic initiatives
Mr. Lacroix continued: “Today’s budget announcement is about three things: 1. making choices and doing fewer things better, 2. modernizing how we do what we do, and 3. accelerating the process of reinventing Canada’s public broadcaster to meet the future needs of Canadians, taking into account a much lower revenue base.”
These three elements are demonstrated in the difficult choices announced today:
Sports: CBC and Radio-Canada will no longer compete with private broadcasters for professional sports rights. We will also cover fewer events and fewer sports. In addition, our involvement in amateur sports will be reduced. We will only broadcast events that allow us to break even.
We remain committed to signature events of national importance such as the Olympics; but, as with Sochi, we’ll approach these events in new ways – new ways of producing, new technologies and new partnership arrangements.
Advertising Sales: CBC and Radio-Canada will consolidate their revenue groups and present a Canada-wide multiplatform advertising offering.
Regions: CBC/Radio-Canada will maintain its presence and news-gathering capabilities in the regions. However, planned expansions have been cancelled, including plans for a station in London, Ontario.
“It’s clear we can’t be resizing the public broadcaster every two years,” continued 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. This new strategic framework, which we will announce in the coming months, will guide the Corporation’s evolution towards a smaller, more nimble and more open public broadcaster. It will ensure that the services we provide, and the operating model that supports those services, evolve in tandem with the changing expectations of Canadians and the movements of our industry. Today’s announcement is not an end point, but a pivot point into a period of accelerated change.”