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NEWS: A privatized CBC would cost the economy at least $1.3 billion

The Globe and Mail reports, “…If the government privatized the CBC (Canada would lose) at least $1.3 billion in economic activity, says a report prepared for the public broadcaster by Deloitte & Touche. …The report, released Wednesday, is the first major study of the CBC’s economic role commissioned by the public broadcaster and pegs its overall economic impact at $3.7-billion. The CBC (which includes Radio-Canada) receives $1.1-billion in government funding every year toward its budget of $1.7-billion – the difference is mainly made up from TV ad revenue – and Deloitte, using standard measures of direct and indirect impact, estimates that budget generates $3.7-billion of activity in the Canadian economy.”

“A privatized CBC that would commission less Canadian content, spend more money on foreign programming and compete more heavily with existing broadcasters for ad revenue would generate only $1.16-billion in overall economic activity. Meanwhile, the economic impact of redirecting the CBC’s grant back into general revenues would be $1.8-billion, assuming the money was used according to the government’s current spending profile. But other private broadcasters and media would take a $500-million hit to their economic impact as they faced a new commercial competitor. So Deloitte’s final measure is that privatization would leave the Canadian economy with a loss of about $1.3-billion – or, in the language of the report, the CBC’s net value added is $1.3-billion.”

“As well as the economic impact, the report lists several ‘spill-over effects’, other key areas where the CBC’s presence is felt, including the independent production community, where the broadcaster spends millions of dollars and promotes a variety of programming, and local economies, where the broadcaster’s presence helps to create a creative cluster, particularly in Montreal. It also argues that the whole broadcasting sector benefits from the CBC’s role in implementing new technology, promoting digital content and nurturing Canadian talent.”

The Council of Canadians is a long-time supporter of the CBC and public broadcasting in Canada.

Please sign the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting petition to support the CBC at www.friends.ca/ILoveCBC/petition.html.