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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Report calls for broadcasting changes in Canada

This National Post article outlines some of the recommendations of a Senate committee report on broadcasting in Canada.

First off, it says the CBC needs to get back to the basics:

The CBC should stop broadcasting professional sports and eventually cut all advertising so it no longer competes with private networks...

"CBC-TV should be a public broadcaster that fills niches that no one else can or will fill," [Senator Joan] Fraser said after tabling the report...

I'm not sure I agree with cutting out sports entirely ... Hockey Night in Canada is a Canadian tradition! But "filling niches no one else will" is an idea long overdue. It's how new trends are born ... altho it's absolute anathema to the risk-averse who dominate the CBC. Just ask Stompin' Tom fans.

The report also deals with the contentious issue of media consolidation:

The report examined trends such as centralized news gathering and media concentration in particular cities and regions, and proposed that the federal Competition Act be amended to trigger an automatic review of proposed media mergers if certain audience thresholds are reached. ...

Hear, hear! Of course, the moguls probably won't be too keen on that, if it means limiting concentration of media ownership:

In a speech last week, CanWest chief executive Leonard Asper said merger reviews should be overhauled to allow more consolidation because competition for readers and advertisers is coming from new sources such as web giants Yahoo and Google.

Interestingly, Asper initially welcomed news of a Broadcast Act review, but he and other media moguls are mum on the findings of this Senate report. Hmmm....

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