TORONTO - The public broadcaster will no longer bid for professional sporting rights and will slash 657 jobs in the next two years as it tightens its belt following a slump in ad sales and previous cuts to its funding from the federal government.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said Thursday it would cut $130 million from its budget immediately and halt planned regional expansion, but still look for ways to cover events of national importance such as the Olympics, to which it remains committed.
657 full time equivalent jobs eliminated over next two years. 573 of them this year #CBCCUTS— David Cochrane (@CochraneCBCNL) April 10, 2014
Our newsroom is like a morgue #CBCCUTS— David Cochrane (@CochraneCBCNL) April 10, 2014
“As the media landscape changes, CBC/Radio-Canada will also need to re-imagine itself,” the broadcaster’s chief executive, Hubert Lacroix, said in a statement.
CBC blamed its financial challenges on slumping advertising that has hit the entire industry, disappointing ratings for some programs, weaker-than-expected ad revenues from two radio stations, and the National Hockey League’s decision to leave CBC to sign a broadcast deal with cable company Rogers Communications.
Rogers, which is also Canada’s largest wireless telecom company, last year signed a $5.2 billion deal to lock up NHL rights for 12 years, elbowing out rival BCE Inc whose TSN sports channel had previously held most of the rights to show the country’s most popular sport.
As part of that deal, Rogers agreed to sub-license some hockey games, including playoffs and the Stanley Cup, to the CBC for four years. CBC also retained its highly rated “Hockey Night in Canada” program, a national institution that it has aired on Saturdays since the 1950s.
My heart goes out to all talented and dedicated CBC colleagues affected by today's news. #CBCCUTS— Tim Harper (@nutgraf1) April 10, 2014
CBC has struggled to maintain its programming, particularly in television, since the federal government slashed its funding by 10% in 2012.
That prompted CBC to rely more on commercial advertising and to cut some foreign language services.
part of my regular viewing, and I'm <40. The #cbccuts are heartbreaking to me as a Canadian. 2/2— Melly M (@melly_m) April 10, 2014
The #CBCCuts are really depressing. Sad to hear about this from our oldest national news network.— Samantha Jung (@samanthajung) April 10, 2014