The Canadian News

CRTC report says conventional TV in ‘downward trajectory’

Courtesy Samsung

Conventional TV is on a “downward trajectory” that will see networks fight over an ever-dwindling pool of revenue, says a CRTC report.

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, all television programming, with the exception of sports, is now a money loser, it said.

“Each year a larger share of ad spending in Canada is flowing to the internet and other digital platforms,” said the report, Harnessing Change: Financial Model Of The Canadian Television Sector. “This will ultimately mean even a higher audience share of the broadcast platform will yield less advertising revenue that that same share does today.”

“Furthermore, Canadian audiences are migrating away from predominantly ad-supported television platforms to predominately subscription-driven platforms,” said Harnessing Change. “This migration will eventually show up in audience and ad revenue figures.”

The report is dated September 30, but was only released Friday. The Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission ordered the study by Nordicity Group Ltd. consultants at an undisclosed cost.

“Total revenue in the Canadian broadcasting sector has been on a downward trajectory,” wrote consultants, adding: “The steepest decline has been in the private conventional television segment which relied almost exclusively on advertising sales to generate its revenue.”

Figures showed over a 10-year period ending in 2021, private TV revenues declined from $2.14 billion to $1.42 billion, a fall of 32%.

“Outside of sports programming in the English-language market all genres of Canadian television programming are unable to earn enough commercial revenues to cover their total costs of production,” said the report. CBC revenues over the same decade declined from $1.33 billion to $1.06 billion but were offset by increased parliamentary grants, now $1.3 billion a year.

The report followed a separate CRTC study released last July 15 that gave private TV broadcasters three years to radically adapt or fail.

“It is not a stretch to say decisions made by public policy makers in the next three years will determine whether the Canadian broadcasting system survives and whether our creative sector gets stuck in an increasing branch plant economy,” said the report The State Of The Canadian Program Rights Market 2020.

“How much time do we have?” asked the report. “Best guess given current trends: three years.”

Since 2016 Canadians’ average weekly hours spent watching traditional television have declined an average 2% annually, it said.

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