The CBC‘s ad revenues fell by 16% in the first half of 2023, though its CEO Catherine Tait did not mention this in her testimony before the House of Commons heritage committee on November 9.
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, Tait, who makes $497,000 a year as the top exec at the state broadcaster, told the House that “there is much to do to prepare CBC for an uncertain future.”
“We are experiencing the same challenges as other media in Canada and around the world,” she added.
In its Second Quarter Financial Report, the CBC said its television ad revenues for the six-month period leading up to September 30 had fallen from $95.7 million in 2022 to $80.6 million for the same period in 2023. The number included figures for both English and French programming.
Managers blamed “lower demand and a softer TV market.”
According to the report, the broadcaster isn’t expecting significant improvement for at least the next three years. “In response to the federal Budget 2023 announcement to reduce spending by three percent and in light of both the softening of the TV advertising market and the current economic environment we are developing an analysis of the revised financial context that presents an updated version of our financial pressures including the adverse revenue outlook for the next three years,” it read.
The CBC continues to receive nearly $1.3 billion in federal funding each year. It is the media company’s largest source of income.
In her testimony before the House committee, Tait said the the CBC has not had a real increase in its budget in the last 30 years and complained “we are flat.” As Blacklock’s noted, the CBC will actually receive $1.29 billion in federal funding this year, up from last year’s figure of $1.25 billion.
Tait told the committee that the number of people watching traditional television is now at 14%, approximately half of what it was when she started at the CBC.
A heritage committee report to Parliament earlier this month said that Tait and other CBC executives must forego their Christmas bonuses this year due to revenue losses. “Given the job cuts announced at CBC for 2024 it would be inappropriate for the CBC to grant bonuses to executive members,” the committee said.
The state broadcaster cut 600 jobs on December 4, but in an interview shortly afterwards, Tait wouldn’t say whether or not those remaining would still receive their bonuses.
Adrienne Arsenault almost made CBC CEO Catherine Tait swallow her tongue with her brilliant question about Christmas bonuses. pic.twitter.com/IclspMPLri
— Matt (@Constantinoplis) December 5, 2023
“Records show 18 percent of the CBC’s 6,262 employees have received annual bonuses in the past even as the network lost money,” reported Blacklock’s. “Tait’s bonus is worth more than $100,000.”