“If the share of CBC TV was just over 5% in prime time, it is below 5% on a 24 hour basis; CBC daytime schedules have traditionally performed poorly compared to CBC’s prime time. Making matters worse is that the audience to about half the U.S. TV stations available in Canada are no longer being measured by the ratings company and neither are services such as Netflix or Apple TV, meaning that CBC’s share of all TV viewing is actually lower than the numbers suggest. This is the lowest audience share in CBC’s history and yet there is no hint of the severity of the TV network’s situation in the quarterly report. CBC TV audiences are sold to advertisers and with less audience to sell, 2012-13 revenues, shown in the table above, are almost $40 million less than at the same point the previous year, creating a revenue shortfall that, when added to federal cuts, may be crippling.
There has been some public debate about whether or not CBC is in crisis. The CBC’s latest report confirms that many programs on the main TV service, despite efforts to be more “popular,” have fallen to audience levels not much greater than many specialty channels. Those who deny the crisis fail to realize that Canadians prefer Duck Dynasty to most CBC shows, including the national news. The most important and costly CBC service has an audience crisis and CBC needs to respond to it. Is it time to rethink the role of CBC TV? “