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Canadian news industry pushes back against CBC’s digital growth

Lede: “Private media companies are decrying the CBC’s growing presence on the Internet and in the digital advertising market, calling on Ottawa to rein in the Crown corporation in order to salvage the production of local news and investigative journalism across the country.

From the Globe and Mail (“Ottawa pressed to curb CBC’s growing digital presence“):

At hearings of the Canadian Heritage committee of the House of Commons, the CBC is increasingly described as a great disruptor of the media landscape, with its recent budget increase of $675-million over five years coming as losses are growing and newsrooms are closing in the private sector.

The attacks place the public broadcaster in the same category as foreign Internet giants such as Google and Facebook, which many say are eating into advertising budgets of publishers and broadcasters in Canada while contributing little to the creation of Canadian content.

The CBC is specifically facing criticism over the expansion of its presence on the Internet, including the recent creation of an opinion section on its website with columns and op-eds that are in direct competition with several newspapers. …

Related:CBC joins a crowded conversation with new online opinion section

The testimony built on previous statements to the committee from senior officials at media firms such as The Toronto Star, iPolitics, Postmedia and the Canadian Newspaper Association.

The CBC recently issued a statement defending its digital presence, saying it was “more useful than ever” in a context of media mergers and downsizing in the private sector.

“The challenges facing media in Canada are many but they are not being caused by the public broadcaster,” said Heather Conway, executive vice-president of CBC English Services. “CBC/Radio-Canada does not exist to serve the interests of private businesses. It exists to serve the people who use and pay for it – all Canadians.”

In an appearance at the Canadian Heritage committee earlier this year, Jennifer McGuire, editor in chief of CBC News, directly addressed the criticism that the public broadcaster is stealing digital advertising dollars from other media companies.

“Only about 1 per cent of CBC’s revenue is from digital. So I think the argument that CBC somehow is cannibalizing the business case out there is not necessarily a valid one,” she said.

Tue, November 15 2016 » Media, Minutiae