CBC President Hubert Lacroix Comes To Concordia

The future of the public broadcasting corporation in Canada is in trouble, according to CBC president Hubert Lacroix. He discussed his views of the industry and other recent controversies to Concordia’s Journalism department last Wednesday evening.

Lacroix spent most of his presentation polling the audience on whether they watch programs and newscasts from the CBC, and whether the students take advantage of their mobile platforms and services.

Competing against privately owned television networks who have bigger budgets to spent is becoming more difficult as the CBC begins to see cuts in their funding, the President added.

In April 2014, the CBC announced they were cutting over 650 jobs in order to withstand a hit of over $130 million dollars in their budget during the next two years.

“I am unhappy with this funding line, compared to what the government’s been spending, and what private broadcasters are getting,” said Lacroix.

He also compared the costs between creating content for Americans and Canadians, and spoke on how private broadcasters spend less money for our southern neighbours than produce their own Canadian content.

For example, he revealed that the cost of one hour of production for the Netflix hit, “House of Cards”, was between five and seven million dollars. The Canadian show, The Border, CBC’s most expensive show ever produced, barely compares to those figures.

Lacroix even addressed losing one of CBC’s flagship programs, Hockey Night in Canada, to Rogers Communications, who struck a lucrative television deal with the National Hockey League for broadcasting rights before the beginning of the 2014-15 season.

The public broadcasting president felt that holding on to these rights would cost the corporation too much money.

“There is no public broadcaster that can justify spending $5.2 billion on hockey games,” said Lacroix.

Following his presentation, Lacroix addressed the recent controversies surrounding the CBC, including the Jian Ghomeshi and Amanda Lang scandals.

On his relationship with Ghomeshi, the President said he “loved him” and connected him with as many people as he could within the CBC and Radio-Canada. Due to “legal issues,” his comments about the allegations were limited.

As for Amanda Lang, the CBC journalist who provided favourable coverage to two companies who offered her paid speaking engagements, Lacroix said that the CBC is considering the allowance of employees to possibly engage in paid appearances.

Days after his presentation at Concordia, the CBC announced that they would no longer allow their journalists to do any paid speaking appearances.

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