Canada's largest broadcasters, including the CBC and Bell, have urged the federal government to force Google and Facebook to share revenue with them.
“Bell Media cannot continue to operate its news business at a loss indefinitely,” the company said in its submission to a Heritage Canada consultation on the Liberal government’s promised news compensation legislation, obtained through access to information.
Bell, whose Bell Media division includes CTV, said “we firmly believe that all Canadian broadcasters who gather and produce news should be included in any news compensation regime.”
“In fact, local television is buckling under extreme financial pressure with the sector being unprofitable since 2012,” it said.
As of present, Google and Facebook earn an estimated 80 per cent of all digital advertising revenue in Canada.
Bell has asked that “all online digital services that provide our news stories to the users of their platforms” have to “financially contribute to our news ecosystem.”
“These digital platforms are growing their revenue at the expense of Canadian broadcasters while at the same time profit from the content we create through our local news infrastructure (i.e. our local journalists and news gathering resources),” it said.
"Frankly, without news content provided by our journalists, these platforms would have significantly less content to provide.”
The CBC has equally demanded the government to act quickly. “If we take too long to implement a solution, too many news outlets will close, too many journalists will be let go or not developed, and misinformation and disinformation will continue to spread, leading to distrust in our institutions and sowing divisions in our communities.”