Some concerning news from the CRTC for viewers of CBC television. In 2018-2019 the CBC audience share dropped 25 percent from the previous year—a year where the CBC’s audience share was already at an abysmally low 5.2 percent. The figures show CBC television now only getting 3.9 percent of Canadians’ viewing hours. Private television networks like CTV, Global and Rogers now command six times the viewing hours of CBC. They receive just under 25 percent of Canadian viewing. But the private Canadian networks only garner less than half of the viewership of the various discretionary and pay channels. Who now account for more than 60 percent of Canadian TV viewing. CBC is not even the top producer of Canadian content, CTV outspends CBC on Canadian content by over $300 Million. (story continues below)
Its been a bad year for CBC President Catherine Tait who was appointed President in 2018. Not only did viewership drop by 25 percent in her first year but she has had to put out several fires. At the beginning of the pandemic she came under fire for temporarily suspending local news programs in major Canadian markets. The decision was quickly reversed. She faced a staff revolt a couple of weeks ago over a proposal to have CBC start offering to produce and air infomercials, called “branded content” by the industry. News staff complained the mix of paid content that looks like news in the network’s schedule would erode the news division’s credibility. And things got worse last week when it was revealed by Canadaland that Tait has been running the CBC out of a $5.4 million house in Brooklyn New York, where she had lived for years before taking the CBC job. CBC explained that Tait made the move after COVID hit because her husband has a health condition that makes him susceptible to the virus. When Tait was hired her appointment was heralded because of her background in creating successful television programming in the private sector.
CBC spends about $1.7 Billion per year, $1.2 Billion of which comes from the federal government.