CBC/Radio-Canada: National public broadcasting in the digital age

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Société Radio-Canada
Key objectives of the measure:

Conventional broadcasting is in flux as audience behaviours, advertising models and methods of production shift quickly. The profile of the industry is also changing: availability of foreign content is exploding; technology is transforming the industry; and consumer expectations, habits and demographics are transforming the marketplace.

CBC/Radio-Canada is the national public broadcaster. It operates television, radio and online media services, delivering predominantly Canadian content in English, French, eight aboriginal languages and its international service in five languages. Public broadcasting continues to play a crucial role in Canada and around the world. CBC/Radio-Canada invests a greater percentage in Canadian content compared to the largest private‐sector Canadian broadcasters, in this way providing a home for the creation and discovery of Canadian content.

Launched in June 2014, CBC/Radio-Canada’s 2020 strategy A Space for Us All is designed to provide the national public broadcaster with the agility and stability needed to navigate a rapidly evolving media environment. The strategy aims to position CBC/Radio-Canada to thrive now, as well as in an age beyond traditional broadcasting. A Space for Us All includes four objectives:  

  • Through distinctive content, increase and deepen engagement with Canadians, and inspire them to participate in the public space.
  • Change the infrastructure to allow increased simplicity, flexibility, scalability, and collaboration.
  • Build a culture of collaboration, accountability, boldness, action, and agility, with a workforce that reflects the country.

Achieve sustainable financial health, including the ability to invest in the future.

Scope of the measure:
Nature of the measure:
Main feature of the measure:

The plan A Space for Us All focuses on the following elements:

1. More digital

Currently, television and radio platforms are the primary focus. By 2020, CBC/Radio-Canada will transform the way it is delivering its services to maximize engagement and modernize its offering. It will continue supporting conventional services and the audiences and revenues it currently attracts, while also shifting to mobile and digital platforms in terms of resources, audiences and revenues. 

2. More local

The strategy aims to maintain existing geographic presence and evolve CBC/Radio-Canada’s service by offering content specific to the needs of each region. It intends to provide more local information, using digital technology to make it affordable and timely. As part of the Corporation’s digital strategy, it has shifted its focus to deliver local content through mobile and web platforms first, then radio, then television. In this way, local services can be tailored to the specific size and needs of each community.

3. More distinctively Canadian

CBC/Radio-Canada believes that “programming needs to be contemporary and distinctly Canadian. Entertainment content will be a significant area of increased investment. Prime‐time entertainment titles are the biggest drivers of audience and revenue on conventional television. They are powerful vectors of culture and help create a shared national identity. They also have the best chance of becoming breakout hits, which then drive consumption of non‐news content on digital platforms.”

For more information, please see: http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/_files/cbcrc/documents/explore/transforming/a-space-for-us-all-summary-v12-en.pdf

Results expected through the implementation of the measure:

The Corporation’s strategy will reduce fixed costs and shift investments from support services, real estate and traditional broadcast infrastructure, to providing high‐impact Canadian content, including news and entertainment, progressively adapting to audience preferences through an even greater focus on digital and mobile across all genres.

CBC/Radio-Canada will fulfil its mandate by accelerating a fundamental transformation that will make it more scalable and sustainable; and in so doing, able to better withstand the challenges that lie ahead and take advantage of opportunities as they emerge.

CBC/Radio-Canada has set for itself two goals that symbolize the ambition of A Space for Us All:

  • By 2020, CBC/Radio-Canada will have doubled its digital reach. One out of two Canadians, 18 million in total, will use its digital services each month.
  • By 2020, three out of four Canadians will answer that they have a strong attachment to their public broadcaster.

For more information, please see: http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/_files/cbcrc/documents/strategy2020/public-space-jan2016-short-version.pdf

Financial resources allocated to implement the measure:


Goal(s) of UNESCO's 2005 Convention
Cultural Domain(s)
Cinema/ Audiovisual Arts
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