Funding cuts could jeopardize CBC prime time

CBC says its prime-time shows may be in jeopardy following a $12.6 million drop in funding from the Canada Media Fund, which came into effect on April 1.

 

CBC says its prime-time shows may be in jeopardy following a $12.6 million drop in funding from the Canada Media Fund, which came into effect on April 1.

The pubcaster’s envelope for the upcoming broadcast year totals $96.5 million, down from the roughly $109 million it received last year from the former Canadian Television Fund. That’s despite the fact that the total amount of money available has increased by $40 million to $350 million.

CBC’s funding will decrease by $8.9 million while Radio Canada’s will drop $3.7 million, according to an internal memo that circulated to staff Wednesday.

 The memo indicates that the impact will be seen in CBC’s ‘prime-time program offering, rather than felt by the operation.’

 ’We don’t want to have to reduce the number of shows on the schedule because it would be like going backwards,’ CBC’s EVP of English services Richard Stursberg says.

Stursberg says the cuts are ‘unfortunate’ given that the CBC has been pursuing the fund’s new mandate to create prime-time shows that ‘Canadians really want to watch.’ He believes that the CMF may still be operating under the old CTF rules where the envelopes are concerned, since the new mandate is to provide money to broadcasters based on the performance of first-run original prime-time shows.

Several of CBC’s series including The Rick Mercer Report, Heartland, and Dragons’ Den have delivered one million viewers plus (2+) up against US fare.

 The pubcaster says the loss of funding equates to either three half-hour comedy series, one and a half one-hour drama series or 36 one-hour documentaries, though Stursberg wouldn’t say where the cuts would be made.

‘It has implications for our producing partners so we’ll have to work with them to figure it out,’ he says.

 The new BPEs will be released on Friday.

From Playback Daily