As a Canadian TV watcher, I am not permitted to see U.S. commercials during the Super Bowl broadcast — Canadian ads must be inserted in their place.
Canadian broadcasters are required to produce and air a minimum percentage of Canadian content on their channels. Now, federal regulators want to extend a similar Canadian content rule to cover foreign streaming services that sell to Canadian consumers.
But, when the federal government increased its advertising spend before the last election to almost $59 million — to reach Canadian citizens, in Canada, with Canadian messages — it spent most of those hard-earned Canadian tax dollars on American media platforms.
Something doesn’t seem right.
When the government of Canada buys advertising to tell you how well it’s doing, or who qualifies for a disaster benefit, or how to access parental leave benefits, or who you should vote for in the next election, it overwhelmingly chooses to buy that advertising on Google, Facebook and other international gigantic social media services. This, according to the government’s own Annual Report on Government of Canada Advertising Activities, released recently.
Facebook alone accounts for 71% of Ottawa’s spend on digital advertising.
Only a fraction of the government’s advertising budget is spent on Canadian-owned media platforms, digital or otherwise.
Meanwhile, many Canadian media organizations are struggling to survive for want of advertising dollars. Canadian platforms that reach the same Canadian audiences Google, Facebook and social media do.
This is not just “old” print, radio and TV vs. “new” digital media. All these Canadian platforms have digital offerings as well. But the government doesn’t support them.