CBC cuts 800 jobs

560 at Canwest

600 at Sun Media

100 at Rogers

105 at CTV, plus another 118 at A-Channel

In an environment where about one journalist in six in Canada has lost their job, that number just got a lot worse. CBC/Radio-Canada announced 800 job cuts today (about half split between the two sides to maintain political correctness) as part of an effort to balance a $171-million budget deficit. Even then, most of the money will come not from job cuts but from sales of assets (CBC owns quite a bit of land, for example, including the Maison Radio-Canada downtown, which it is hoping to convert into condos) and other vaguely-described programming cuts. Senior executives’ salaries are also being reduced by 20%.

Some statistics:

  • 393 cuts in English services, 336 cuts in French services, 70 cuts at the corporate level
  • 80% of cuts will come at the network level, 20% at regions. The CBC says it won’t shut down any regional stations
  • 17% of cuts are in radio, 83% in television. No plans to introduce advertising on CBC Radio, and the television schedule is to remain “largely intact” with no additional U.S. programming

Perhaps most telling, the CBC’s Hubert Lacroix said the network wants to transition “from being a TV provider to a provider of video content” (and similarly for radio). Not quite sure what that means exactly, but it sounds nice, doesn’t it?

11 thoughts on “CBC cuts 800 jobs

  1. Shawn

    800 out of how many positions, anyone know? One wouldn’t think that a $65 million shortfall in an organization that had $1.53 billion in overall revenue in 2006 (most recent year cited on Wikipedia) would lead to this level of hardship, but I guess it shows how much of that money goes to simply maintaining their technical infrastructure?

  2. Westerner

    “Scandalous that they are still handing out bonuses to senior management”

    Only 50% of what the bonuses were before!!! or so we are told.

    Lacroix is likely right in what he is saying. In Canada, the penetration of cable and satellite is over 92% across the nation. Why should the CBC, CTV or any other terrestrial broadcaster be forced to operate expensive technical transmission infrastrure which no one is watching. You can thank the CRTC for this as the broadcasters incuding CBC had a plan to shut down a number of terrestrial transmitters and the CRTC turned this down. Many of these retransmission facilities are in very remote areas which are very expensive to maintain. In most of these communities people are receiving their TV via satellite and don’t even bother with the local channel. Whats the point??

    1. Fagstein Post author

      No one is forcing CTV or Global to operate regional stations. They could shut them down at any time (and in some cases, they are doing exactly that). In addition to getting that 10% of television viewers who don’t have cable, having a broadcast station also gives stations guaranteed carriage on cable and a position low on the cable dial. Whether that’s incentive enough, we’ll see.

  3. Cedric

    Hey, I turned out to be one of the very few people being cut from the Radio-Canada.ca staff.

    According to the address we got this morning, Hubert wants the Corporation’s various sectors, to think cross-platform, asking, say, TV producers to think in terms of the web and vice-versa (by creating a fictional Facebook profile for a TV series character? or offer the same electoral map on TV and on the web?).

    Otherwise, my sector is one of those left relatively unscathed from the onslaught. Hubert had been stressing the word “new platforms” so much in preemptive memos. Beyond the usual web as we know it today (web pages in a browser?), I think that there’s a huge potential in mobile devices and the merging between real life and virtual space (Got bless the GPS). There’s also a tremendous potential in creating accessible interfaces to masses of unhelpfully scattered/hidden public data…

  4. Westerner

    In the end it will come to to carriage charges on satellite and cable for local television news, sports events etc.. Currently, as you know, the subtitution of Ads is only required in the extended coverage area of a terrestrial broadcaster. No one is watching the local channels, but they need to provide the signal for substitution rights. This applys to large markets as well.

    The CRTC turned this down as the cable operators voiced opposition to this a year ago last June at the Calgary Conventional television hearings (well, subsequent to these hearings). They also went fairly hard on the possible requirments for HD for substitution rights to continue.

    The CRTC in view of the current economic situation is going to re-visit this decision. Interesting, that some companies have holdings in both cable and conventional TV (Rogers and CORUS being the big ones).

    On the rebroads, yes CTV announced it plans not to renew licences for 43 of them.

    I guess one will see.

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