Dear Mr. Minister
While I regularly access several online and print news sources, I want to believe that the CBC - specifically
The National- should be my main source of topical, trusted, real news. This important nightly broadcast to the entire nation could be more contentful, more analytical, more relevant, more helpful and become a world-leading News Purveyor that will make Canadians and your Government very proud. How? Make it more strategic and more watchable.
1. First by making some watcher-friendly "technical" changes to the the broadcast. I recently made a few specific suggestions to senior executives at the National dealing with such matters as screen and logo display, the use of teasers, the At Issue Panel, COVID coverage and even re-branding the show to The CBC World News. I was favoured by a prompt return phone call and meaningful discussion. So through you, a compliment to The National staff.
2. Then, there's the Elephant... the overwhelming amount of time taken by advertising during the one hour nightly broadcast. This is a function of the current mandate of CBC (News) and the fiscal policies of the Government/your Ministry. I ask, not naively, that you make whatever financial investment is required to allow The National to deliver its products - Real News and Best in the World Issue Analysis - ad free. *
Fourteen +/- minutes of each hour's reporting and analysis potential are now stolen by advertising; this is an abomination.** I I believe our national news broadcast is one of the heaviest ad - infested broadcast News shows in North America. Canadians need and deserve more. The News is The Thing. The CBC is The News. Free the National!
Removal of the requirement to sell and broadcast so many ads would mean....
- 25% more time to report and provide in-depth analysis of current affairs important to Canadians.
- Less need to play and replay redundant teasers of upcoming items resulting in...
- Another 3 or 4% more reporting and in-depth analysis time which means...
- More informed "clients" and improved viewership. People will be more engaged, thus less likely to channel surf
- Improved Branding for the CBC, the Government and improved (Inter) national acclaim
Having the precious minutes gained could also open up broader social opportunities. Let's consider, for example:
- More crucial, consistent expert advice on living with Covid and other topical challenges
- A strategic focus on the country's non profit and charitable organizations which are so crucial to this country. CBC could use some of the free time to "report on" charity and non profit successes as news and educational items. It would provide exposure to socially important groups without sucking up their ad dollars. Seeing the investment in free time as leveraging investment in the NGO world would be a pretty justifiable rationale. For smaller NGOs, their brand recognition would be established and for larger ones, extended. This in turn would encourage future donations...yet another level of leverage.
Anyway...that's it Mr. Minister. Let's Free The National, improve its content, improve its watchability, it's loyalty and support amongst Canadians. Let's make The National Great(er)!
Thanks in advance for taking the time to consider these ideas (and pitch!). I look forward to your thoughts and trust they will come from your most creative self.
Brian Caldwell 705 444 6268
73 Niagara St Collingwood On L9Y3X4
*Given all the pandemic money that your Government is spending to help Canadians, surely maximizing the amount, quality and conveyance of true and accurate data and expert advice to Canadians everywhere should be part of the pandemic effort.
**That there seems to be no governing policy regarding the type or quality or strategic purpose to the ads is a concomitant problem/opportunity. Enough of the Pizza delivery ads etc. They detract from the gravitas of the broadcast and make customer loyalty far less likely.
If there must be some ads (albeit far fewer) accept and promote only those with useful, educational information on themes of relevance to Canadians. See earlier comments regarding NGOs.