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Only 0.8% of Canadians tuned into CBC news in 2019 while ad revenue plummeted

The total audience tuning into local evening CBC TV newscasts was only 319,000 Canadians across the country, or approximately 0.8% of Canada’s population.

The CBC reported another abysmal year in viewership and profitability in 2019 according to Blacklock’s Reporter.

The national broadcaster’s annual report shows that ad revenues for their English language TV programs fell by 37% over the previous year. In 2018, the CBC reported a total of $178 million in ad revenues, whereas in 2019 they only generated $112.5 million. 

CBC’s share of the market also fell to a meager 5% down from 8% in 2018. The total audience tuning into local evening CBC TV newscasts was only 319,000 Canadians across the country, or approximately 0.8% of Canada’s population. 

The recent findings follow a trend of decline for the taxpayer-funded broadcaster despite receiving $1.2 billion from the federal government each year. Over the past five years the amount of ad revenue the company has managed to pull in has shrunk by 53%. 

“Our objective is not to make money but to provide a service and fulfil our mandate. We reinvent ourselves every year to try and find new ways to do things because we have to offer more, but with a smaller budget. So that requires visionary talent,” said Radio-Canada Executive Vice President Michel Bissonnette.

In November the CBC announced that it would be downsizing and cutting 35 jobs with a majority of the cuts taking place at their Toronto headquarters.

Canada’s Heritage and Multiculturalism Minister Steven Guilbeault announced even more funding for the CBC late last year. According to Guilbeault, the broadcaster would be eligible for an increased amount of funding to expand local news coverage. The government has yet to announce any further details on how much additional funding the CBC can expect to receive.

The increased funding is in tune with Guilbeault’s directive from Prime Minister Trudeau to “strengthen the regional mandate of CBC/Radio-Canada.”

When testifying before a parliamentary committee in May 30, CBC’s CEO Catherine Tait told members that the broadcaster’s role was to “protect the truth” and “dispel misinformation.” 

“How do we protect and defend our citizenry from this unbelievable tsunami of disinformation? In a sense we become a beacon for truth. We need the public to feel safe, that we are a beacon for that truth,” said Tait.

However, several recent incidents show that the CBC has failed to meet its own standards. 

As reported on by True North investigative journalism fellow Lindsay Shepherd, the CBC failed to fully translate a hateful and anti-democratic Chinese letter posted on a student’s locker in Richmond, B.C. Instead of publishing the full pro-China letter, the CBC opted to only refer to a few select words in their report. 

In another instance covered by True North the CBC overstated a study’s findings on how many Canadians experience racism. The original report claimed that only 8% of Canadians reported experiencing racial discrimination, but instead the CBC article on the issue falsely claimed that 40% of Canadians did so. 

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