CBC gets added support in federal budget

The national broadcaster receives an addition $21 million to help cover shortfalls in ad revenue.
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Canada’s Federal budget for 2021 focused largely on child care, recovery benefits, and old-age security, but it also addressed the CBC’s declining ad revenues, in turn proposing $21 million in “immediate operational support” for 2021-2022 to ensure the national broadcaster’s stability during the pandemic.

According to the broadcaster’s report for Q3, which ended on Dec. 31, over the previous nine months, the broadcaster had a $30.6 million (8.2%) decrease in revenue. For that quarter alone, there was a $5 million (3.5%) decrease in revenue over the period, with expectations that “TV advertising revenue is expected to remain challenged and our expenses to increase in the final quarter of the year,” echoing Catherine Tait’s – CBC’s president and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada – comments earlier this year, stating that it’s “probably at a two or three-year recovery to get back to where we were a year ago.”

That said, the Q3 report notes that the CBC saw some of the highest-ever engagement driven by improvements to the overall user experience, expanded video offering on cbc.ca, and growth in both CBC Gem and CBC Listen.

According to details outlined in the budget itself, the proposed support is positioned to directly benefit CBC/Radio-Canada and its employees, as well as indirectly benefit all Canadians through the continued broadcasting of its television and radio news and entertainment programming.

CBC/Radio-Canada employs over 7,500 individuals, approximately 49% of whom are women, 14% visible minorities, 8% LGBTQ2, 3% persons with disabilities, and 2% Indigenous peoples (source: CBC/Radio-Canada internal data).