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Canadian Journalism Support Fund - The $600 Million Street Fight Is Heating Up

  • Broadcast in Politics
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Just in case you haven't heard, traditional media in Canada has fallen on hard times. Just ask them. Coverage on this topic by corporate print, periodical, radio and television has not been sporadic or lacking detail. But it's not like this is an overnight avalanche without a clear pattern developing over the last 30 years.

The once exclusive domain of print for classified ads which generated a huge portion of revenues started to disappear with eBay, kijiji, Craig's List and others near the turn of the century. It has been replaced by...nothing. A high market saturation of subscriptions to print started to decay more than a generation ago. It has been replaced by...nothing. The speed and agility of the internet is no competition for hard copy physical text in delivery or currency. That was countered by creating a new delivery system by entities with no digital experience. Aggregators simply took it and ran, also taking almost all the revenue from the activity. Television thought the video format would insulate their ad revenues. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and others said not so fast. These lost revenues have been replaced with...nothing. Only radio has managed to keep afloat, but not anything more than that.

Everybody knows the problem. It's only been almost 50 years since the Davey report in the Canadian Senate "The Uncertain Mirror" sounded the alarm on the then new issue of media concentration. Today, Google and Facebook take 2/3 of all advertising revenues in media. That's concentration. Canadians still trust and value their traditional media by a large margin compared to the internet giants of today.

In 2017, the Public Policy Forum undertook a new study to guide government on how to go about trying to rescue legacy media in Canada - "The Shattered Mirror". The money has been earmarked, $600 million of it. Now the hard part begins. TVUH looks at the study and the options going forward.

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