Last week, while Postmedia’s CEO was advising that, “everyone in journalism should be doing a victory lap around their building right now,” National Post reporter Tristin Hopper was responding to the Government’s support for media organizations by blaming CBC.
“Stop the CBC from undercutting us,” he wrote. “Stop subsidizing a competitor that is viciously undercutting independent print media.”
This claim is made by private media in every country where there is a public broadcaster. It pretends that if there were no public broadcaster, then people would be forced to pay for their news, and all would be well, for private media companies, who presumably would also get all the digital ad revenue. This has never been true. Anywhere.
In the case of newspapers, the revenue from classifieds, flyers and ads disappeared to the Internet decades ago. Today, Google and Facebook alone take 75% of all Internet advertising revenue in Canada. Two global companies. It is not Canada’s public broadcaster that is “viciously undercutting print media.”
During this digital transformation, while these digital companies have grown and Canadian newspapers have consolidated, closed or cut to pay debt from acquisitions, we continue to serve Canadians and have moderated the worst effects of the upheaval on their news and their culture.
Public broadcasting has maintained a connection between people across every region of this country, offering them Canadian choices for the things they value: trusted Canadian news from their community and around the world; services in French and English as well as Indigenous languages; Canadian stories; and support for Canadian creators. A 2014 Nordicity study found that each dollar invested in CBC/Radio-Canada creates two dollars in economic activity for Canadians.