In 2019, CBC-TV viewership fell below 4% for the first time ever as the public broadcaster struggled to keep Canadians tuned in.
New data released by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) shows that in the last year, CBC’s share of the television viewing audience fell by a whopping 25%.
The new data follows a trend of declining advertising revenues and viewership for the taxpayer funded broadcaster.
Recent financial statements show that in the second-quarter of this year, CBC-TV’s advertising revenue also fell by 19%.
According to CBC CEO Catherine Tait, the broadcaster has had to implement “contingency” plans to square the impact of the advertising losses with business expenses.
“We have implemented a financial contingency plan that includes reducing operating expenses, significantly postponing capital expenditures and managing programming expenses to offset expected revenue losses,” wrote CBC CEO Catherine Tait.
Coupled with sustainability issues, the CBC is currently undergoing an employee revolt over the Crown corporation’s decision to introduce the branded content component, Tandem, to the business.
Hundreds of former and current CBC employees have signed onto a letter demanding that the broadcaster immediately terminate its plans for Tandem over fears that it would harm the CBC’s public reputation and standing.
“The problem is that ads should never be disguised as news. When you are on a CBC platform, whether reading a news story or choosing a podcast, you should not have to ask yourself, ‘is this CBC journalism or is it advertising?’” claims the group’s website, Stop Paid Content on CBC.
Each year, the CBC receives $1.2 billion from taxpayers.
Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole has promised that if elected he would defund CBC’s English language programming.
O’Toole’s Conservative leadership platform included measures to end all funding to CBC Digital, and to cut funding to English programs and CBC News by 50 percent with the eventual goal of privatization by the end of O’Toole’s first mandate.