A new report by a federal commission is calling for the CBC to completely gut advertising and to force streaming services to offer Canadian content.
The report, which recommends various regulatory reforms, was released by the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel.
Among its suggestions was for the CBC to eliminate all advertising from across its platforms. The move would cut into the public broadcaster’s diminishing revenue.
Recent figures show that the CBC reported an ad revenue loss of 37% since 2018. In 2019, the public broadcaster only managed to pull in a total of $112.5 million from its advertising, which was considerably less than 2018’s $178 million figure.
Along with declining profitability, an abysmally low number of Canadians tune into the CBC’s evening TV news programs. In 2019 only 319,000 Canadians watched the evening news on the channel, making up less than 1% of Canada’s population.
The CBC receives well over $1 billion in taxpayer dollars from the government each year.
After being re-elected in 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tasked Heritage and Multiculturalism Minister Steven Guilbeault with expanding local news coverage for the CBC.
Since then Guilbeault has indicated that the CBC could receive even more federal funding than it currently receives.
The commission also called on US streaming services like Netflix and Prime Video to devote additional programming budgets to provide viewers with Canadian series and programs.
“It’s not necessarily the case that this is going to increase their program budgets. What we’re saying is that a portion of those program budgets, which are significant, must qualify as Canadian,” said panel member Janet Yale .
“We do not think that this is something that would be passed on to consumers or result in higher prices.”