CBC’s new 5-year plan

CBC president Hubert Lacroix released a new five-year plan for the
public broadcaster this week, which includes more Canadian programming
and a focus on regional expansion.

He said the new strategy (dubbed 2015: Everyone, Every Way) “includes a doubling of investment in digital services over the next five years,” the CBC reports.

What we’d like to do is expand our presence in the regions,” Lacroix said in a CBC interview. “You can’t be a national broadcaster — I’ve said this since the moment I walked in — without being deeply, deeply rooted in the regions.”

The plan may include new radio stations, local sites and increased regional programming that “goes beyond news”, he said. He outlined a stronger commitment to quality Canuck programming, noting that primetime shows will be mostly Canadian. That means replacing fan favourites Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, which currently run in the early evening, with shoes like Battle of the Blades and Dragon’s Den.

The Globe and Mail reports that “Meanwhile, CBC management stressed its new regional expansion. Over the past several months, there has already been an increase in local news and programming across Canada, including pilots for new morning and weekend news shows. But around seven million Canadians, even those in relatively large towns and cities, currently don’t have local or regional fare, a particular problem in the West.”

The CBC built a sleek mini site to the new plan, complete with video, downloadable PDFs and an interactive presentation.

Lacroix explains the new strategy in an online video, (after first explaining to audiences that the internet has changed, like, everything). “We can’t be all things to all people, but we can and must in some way be something for and mean something to every Canadian.”

A CBC backgrounder outlines that the CBC plans to:

-Offer more homegrown stories, humour and culture.
-Build a music service dedicated to promoting Canadian talent.
-Produce programming that fosters debate and contributes to a shared national identity.
-Increase regional television news during the day.
-Increase regional programming on all platforms.

To meet these goals, Lacroix said, the CBC will have to grow its ad revenues at 2.8 per cent a year, (which is beyond industry forecasts of 2.4 pre cent, the Globe notes), and double its online revenue to meet the estimated $33-million needed to cover the costs of the new plan.

The Globe also noted that “Word of the five-year plan was detailed in a non-confrontational presentation and conference call to staff. Since the CBC’s two-month lockout of workers in 2005, corporate strategy presentations have often been tense. The comments and questions from the staff during the announcement were more approving, as Lacroix emphasized the need for decision making to happen among employees and not merely handed top-down.”

The CBC has invited the public to comment on the new plan.