Updated: Dec 24, 2021
A recent study by Postmedia found that the CBC's advertising revenues are in freefall.
Reports indicate that ad sales were down from $220 million in 2019 to just under $199 million in 2020, a drop of about 10% in one year.
Furthermore, "CBC’s share of prime-time viewers fell by 2%, despite the fact locked-down Canadians watched more TV than ever before during the pandemic. At any given time during prime viewing hours (8 to 11 p.m.), just 5% of Canadians are watching our state broadcaster", reports the agency.
The report ads that the network's share of 18- to 49-year-old viewers is steadily declining each year. A disproportionate amount of people watching the CBC are in the next age cadre. However, this spells disaster for the news corporation, as eighteen to 49-year-olds are the most coveted by advertisers because of their purchasing power and spending habits, and the CBC is largely irrelevant to them.
The report adds that "since 2014, the CBC’s income from TV ads has collapsed from $426 million to $199 million, a decline of 53% in just seven years."
The collapse has been attributed to a slow trickle augmented by COVID, ever since the loss of NHL broadcasting rights to Rogers’ Sportsnet in 2014. Without the "bright, shiny object of hockey coverage to entice sponsors, selling ads on the CBC’s “woke” comedies, mediocre dramas and sports only the players’ parents care about have become, um, difficult," reports Lorne Gunter.
He quotes CBC executive vice-president, Richard Stursberg, who explained how the carrot of 'advertising space' used to be held out during NHL broadcasts as a way to sell ads on its other, unappealing programming.
“If you would like to have hockey,” Strusberg claims the CBC would say to sponsors, “then you have to buy this dog over here that nobody wants.”
Now, no longer. As a result of federal budget cuts, the Canadian Broadcasting corporation is set to lose 650 jobs. One wonders how much longer it can remain afloat.