There may be as much talk about hockey as there is about broadcasting – for the CBC, the two have become unsettling inseparable.
Beginning today, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission will hold hearings into the renewals of broadcast licences for CBC/Radio-Canada.
There will be some two weeks of public hearings with presentations from the CBC and a number of interveners, and then several weeks of deliberations before a decision is tabled.
But it has been more than 12 years since the public broadcaster’s licenses were last renewed (due to delays and postponements from either side).
In that time, the importance of sports programming has increased tremendously, in terms of audience viewing time and advertiser revenue, both for the CBC itself, and for a host of dedicated broadcast and specialty channel sports services.
As well, the media landscape has been changed with the emergence of multi-screen viewing options, including online and mobile platforms. Major media companies like Bell, Rogers, Shaw and Quebecor have not only increased their reach through the use of vertically integrated distribution options, they have also invested in new sports production and distribution services.
So the sports talk is bound to be lively as the CRTC hearings, and it will include the possible loss of NHL coverage on the public broadcaster, and the impact that would haave overall.
The definite loss of government funding is another key topic: the CBC has had its budget cut back by some $115 million annually, for the next three years.
The CBC has already tabled, and it is expected to further describe, its plans for meeting a broadcast and media mandate through an expanded digital strategy, including the use of Internet and multimedia platforms for program production and distribution.
Covergea of the hearings is provided online from CPAC, a privately-owned, commercial free, not for profit, bilingual licensed television service, created in 1992 by a consortium of cable companies.
For more Mediacaster Magazine coverage related to this topic, please see:
CBC Sticks to Five Year Plan Despite Funding Woes
CBC Five Year Plan Calls for More Regional, Digital Content
CRTC To Hold Public Hearings to Renew CBC Licences
CBC Licence Renewals Postponed Indefinitely as Criticism, Consultation Grows
CBC’s 75th Anniversary Perspectives (Feature Report): Corporate Strategy Sees Big Goals in Small Bytes