Since it receives more than a billion dollars of taxpayers’ money, the CBC doesn’t face the same challenges and decisions as other media companies. But the change in leadership would be a good opportunity for the public broadcaster to take a step back, review its mandate and assess the impact it’s having on the media landscape.
In principle, the CBC should be filling in gaps. But in many cases, it’s competing directly with the private sector and perhaps even hastening the demise of media companies. If you can get your news for free on the CBC website, why would you pay for it somewhere else? Ultimately, the CBC should focus on two areas: creating great Canadian content and serving communities that don’t have a lot of local news coverage. In the digital age, it doesn’t necessarily need the infrastructure of a television network to fulfil that role. It could distribute content electronically or even provide it to private broadcasters.
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely any of that will happen anytime soon. The CBC will continue to be a media competitor that has the huge advantage of receiving millions of dollars of public money.