Despite Massive Injection Of Taxpayer Money, CBC’s ‘The National’ Is Getting Terrible Ratings

Rosemary Barton of CBC with Justin Trudeau


by Spencer Fernando

June 3, 2019


CBC has received a massive injection of taxpayer money under the Trudeau government.

Despite already being well-funded previously, Trudeau upped their budget to the point at which CBC now gets around $1.5 billion per year.

And that money is on top of the advertising revenue they receive, as CBC is allowed to benefit both from being State Media, and from the private advertising market.

This gives CBC a totally unfair advantage, putting private broadcasters on an unequal footing.

Yet despite this huge built in advantage, CBC is unable to convince people to watch their biggest news show – The National.

As noted by Graeme Gordon in the Toronto Sun, the ratings of the revamped 4-host show are quite bad:

“More than 18 months have passed since CBC poured a boatload of money into rebooting and heavily promoting its flagship news show, The National.


Read More HERE




  1. CBC has always enjoyed an unfair advantage even before being allowed to accept commercial clients. This latest bequest from the Government only increases that advantage. As far as sinking ratings for The National, who had the not-so-brilliant idea of having four anchors spread out across the country? The whole program appears disjointed and, to some, confusing,
    As to sinking ratings, Trudeau and his Government aren’t doing so well, either.

  2. Key paragraph from the story…

    What’s confounding is that CBC advocacy group, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, recently commissioned a poll that found 80% of Canadians don’t want to see CBC’s funding cut, despite only 1% of Canadians bothering to tune into the public broadcaster’s flagship show.

  3. Don’t really understand why some right leaning folks get so worked up about the CBC. To say they have some sort of advantage over the private networks, radio stations is odd. CBC tends to do programming that would not likely be done by private broadcasters. So in this respect they are at a disadvantage ratings wise. CBC/Radio Canada has over 90% Canadian programming in a typical broadcast day and the northern service of CBC broadcasts in various indigenous languages on both radio and tv. On CBC radio music programs are often up to 100% cancon. So where is this advantage? They aren’t really competing that much ratings wise with private broadcasters. Having said this CBC Radio One does do pretty good in the numeris ratings. However their programming does not have an equivalent on private radio.

    CBC/Radio Canada receives about 1.3 billion a year from the taxpayer and generates another $500 million in cable fees, advertising, program sales. Total operating budget is around $1.8-1.9 billion.
    BBC in the UK receives $6.3 billion Canadian from the taxpayer and generates another $2 billion in cable fees, advertising and program sales for a total budget of $8.3 billion. And I would argue that BBC competes more with private broadcasters in the UK more than CBC does. Ever listen to BBC radio 1 or radio 2? These are the number one and two radio stations in the UK and are very commercial sounding playing the top 40 hits. They have no commercials true but they hurt the private radio stations ratings wise. Many of BBC’s specialty channels do have commercials and tend to be more mass appeal in content, competing directly with private broadcasters.

    ABC Australia, the equivalent of CBC receives about $1.2 billion a year from Australian taxpayers, but Australia has about 12 million people less than Canada.

    So I don’t really buy the argument that CBC has this big advantage over the privates. Also don’t buy the argument that they are a mouth piece for the government. Being a public broadcaster they tend to cover stories that private broadcasters either don’t or don’t have time for. Just because the private broadcaster doesn’t cover particular topics in as much detail does not mean that CBC is somehow more a mouthpiece of the government. All public broadcasters do the same thing, that is part of their job.

  4. I’m a small ‘c’ conservative type and enjoy CBC very much, including The National.
    Thanks Alex for comparisons to the BBC and ABC down under.
    Frankly, the journalistic qualities presented by the 4 hosts on The National don’t have to take a backseat to anyone…

  5. Alex going to take you down a bunch of rabbit holes here I am not sure the average Canadian could tell you five shows on CBC TV not including the news or hockey. CBC can cover stories private broadcasters may or may not cover because they have 1.5 billion from the government. When three CBC production people are needed to do a voice over that is waste. The whole cancon music thing works again for CBC because of 1.5 billion dollars. Its somewhat of an albatross for private radio stations and needs adjustment. The internet has opened a whole new world of music and to saddle private radio stations with “having to play” cancon music puts them at a disadvantage. CBC isn’t a mouth piece for the government? Of course not because one doesn’t bite the hand that feeds you.

  6. Well Teddy I looked at the rabbit holes but didn’t need to go down any.

    Could the average viewer name 5 Canadian TV shows other than sports or news produced by CTV, Global or City TV?

    CBC radio shows that have up to 100% cancon works for them because of the $1.5 billion? Don’t understand what you mean. You indicated that concon saddles private broadcasters so how would up to 100% cancon for CBC radio be an advantage?

    Cancon is a disadvantage for private radio vs the internet? Is the internet hurting Canadian
    radio more than other countries? Why would it automatically be cancon if it was? If Canadian radio is being hurt by the internet why do private broadcasters still seek out new over the air licenses and why would the CRTC continue to license new stations? If radio was in serious decline or not a good investment, why would large companies like Bell, Rogers, Pattison, and now Stingray in addition to many smaller players invest so heavily in this industry?

    Those that focus on the CBC/Radio Canada $1.5 billion from the taxpayer tend to overlook the 28 specialty channels that are owned by Bell Media. Every month Bell collects millions in cable/satellite fees from the consumer for these stations. Many of these stations are a forced buy since they are packaged in groups. Corus Media has 18 specialty channels, Rogers 6 and the CBC/Radio Canada 4. Advantage who again?? And three of the biggest cable providers just happen to be Bell, Shaw, and Rogers, they get the money at both ends, must be nice!

    Bell Media and likely Rogers have a larger operating budget than CBC. This is why CBC can no longer compete for professional sports broadcast rights. The only exception would be the olympics which CBC actually partners and sells off some rights to TSN and Sportsnet. Much of this revenue for the private media companies comes from cable fees which is payed by the consumer.

    CBC costs every Canadian about $3.95 per month, wonder how much they are paying Bell, Shaw, Corus and Rogers for their specialty channels and cable fees every month? In addition to this the private broadcaster also ante up to the tax credit trough and government sponsored broadcast funds for many of their productions which again is payed by you and me.

    So the big advantage for CBC is mostly a myth, and if anything I hope they become more aggressive programming wise and advertising wise. This would be the best thing for the private broadcast groups who have become lazy and in many cases not always putting in a big effort in what Canadian shows they do produce. Many of their more expensive productions are scheduled in low viewer time slots, Saturday or Sunday afternoons or in late spring or summer when viewership of not strong.

    If CBC is not a mouthpiece for the government this would indicate that they do bite the hand that feeds them from time to time. raked the government over the coals during the SNC Lavalin controversy and most of the reader comments were critical as well. Overall CBC news does tend to be left of centre but not every time and not all stories.

    Sorry for the long post, got to learn to edit myself better!! Thanks for your time.

  7. No worries on the lengthy read. Always good to hear peoples opinion. I guess the sticking point for me is as a consumer I can choose on private broadcasters but with CBC I am being taxed with no choice.

  8. HMMM so CBC is tanking and its a mystery? See stories re the decline into the Marianas Trench of CNN. CBC is CNN Northern division. More news by the government for the government.


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