Why Is CBC TV So Consumed with Sports Broadcasting?

From an article by Barry Kiefl, President, Canadian Media Research Inc., in Huffington Post, September 16

CBC logo…CBC expenditures on sports reached a new peak in 2014, $236 million or 47 per cent of all program expenditures. This easily surpassed the money spent on news and information ($170 million) and almost tripled the combined dollars spent on drama ($61 million) and other entertainment ($25 million) or a total of $86 million….

What does the French network spend its money on? CBC French TV spends over half its programming dollars on drama ($63 million) and other Canadian entertainment ($90 million) or $153 million in total. News and information is also a major program expenditure, $122 million in 2014, slightly less than the previous two years, perhaps again to pay for the 2014 Olympics. So, incredibly, the smaller French network outspends CBC English TV by almost 2:1 in drama and entertainment. Does CBC’s Board of Directors or the government understand this and does it not signify that a serious review of CBC is needed?…

What does it mean for the future?

In the case of CBC TV, we need only look at the financial data to understand that if most of the money is spent on securing rights to and producing sports and so little on drama and entertainment, one can only expect modest success in drama and entertainment. International experience shows us that quality TV, other than programs from the massive U.S. entertainment industry, can only be achieved with public funding, ideally from a dedicated fee or tax. The BBC is successful because everyone who owns a TV pays about $250 annually to support it.

CBC should be funded in a similar way, directly by the public. CBC is clearly underfunded and is eating its young and abusing its elders to survive. A properly funded and focused CBC should be one of the first items addressed by the next government. [A federal election takes place in Canada on October 19.]

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2 responses to “Why Is CBC TV So Consumed with Sports Broadcasting?

  1. He shoots! He scores!

  2. Easy to understand the focus on sports. That is where the advertising dollars are. Sports are a lowest common denominator topic, which is why we use it to fill empty space when chatting with our barber or bartender.

    The French and British know that a public broadcaster must raise the bar through the role of critically understanding news and the arts. As such, a public broadcaster is a public intellectual (no apologies for that elitist term) causing us to reflect in context.