CBC plans significant downsize, shift to digital

Canadian pubcaster the CBC plans to cut between 1,000 and 1,500 jobs by 2020, as part of a five-year restructure that sees it moving away from conventional TV to focus on digital, and reducing its in-house production.
June 27, 2014

Betting its future on internet advertising and platforms, a modernizing CBC on Thursday (June 26) signaled a retreat away from conventional TV to digital, as part of a range of cost-cutting measures targeting “financial stability” by 2020.

The shift to focus on the Internet and mobile will entail job cuts, the Canadian network warned, with the pubcaster expecting to have between 1,000 to 1,500 fewer employees by 2020 – which represents a cut of as much as 20% of its current workforce.

The cash-strapped pubcaster, in a 19-page summary of its latest five-year plan, said CBC/Radio Canada will shift from a focus on TV and radio news to a “mobile-first” strategy, as Canadians increasingly receive their news on laptops, tablets, smartphones and social media.

That heralds fewer supper-hour TV newscasts as the pubcaster aims for a “core baseline” service that calls for “frequent updates and newsbreaks.”

The CBC also plans to “significantly” reduce in-house TV production, excluding news, current affairs and radio. As previously reported earlier this week, this involves changes to its in-house documentaries unit.

According to the report, changes to CBC’s English Services include: docs with a POV focus; investigative and in-depth reporting on the news and current affairs side;¬†investment in a minimum of three dramas that “meet the high critical and creative standard of premium cable”; more scripted comedies but less traditional sitcom formats; and more satire/sketch comedy.

On the French programming side, the report says CBC priorities will include: refreshing its primetime TV schedule (citing the fact that 40% of its current schedule is more than five years old) with a focus on drama, cultural events, and current affairs programming; a year-round programming strategy; growing; “attractive, distinctive” acquisition content; and a digital/mobile-first news strategy.

The pubcaster’s sports coverage will also look to go “multi-platform,” and music services will similarly shift to digital.

  • From Playback Daily, with additional files from Katie Bailey and Adam Benzine¬†


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