CBC’s current management is facing enormous challenges, greater than at any time in the Corporation’s history; the temptation to distort and contort the facts to suit a chosen, seemingly compelling, strategic direction is understandable. However, the CBC's appearance at its recent CRTC licence renewal hearing brings into question the efficacy of the strategic planning process at the Corporation. Understanding and incorporating basic and complete facts about the broadcasting environment is critical in strategic planning and CBC's disdain for the facts will not serve it well. Here is the second of three serious factortions CBC made at the hearing:
Factortion: CBC TV Sports Programs
During the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting November 23, 2012, appearance before the Commission at the CBC's licence renewal hearing Ian Morrison made the interesting point that in the 8 months of the year when CBC TV carries NHL hockey (i.e., October to May) there are about 1,000 hours of prime time available (4 hours/night X 30 days X 8 months). Mr. Morrison made the observation that professional sports or related programming accounts for about 400 prime time hours during those eight months. He said 400 hours represents 40% of CBC’s prime time in those eight months, something that Friends’ tens of thousands of supporters are concerned about. Even if the number of hours is only 300, this is still 30% of the primetime schedule in the highest viewing months.
The last day of the hearing CBC contorted this information by wrongly claiming that the Friends had said there were 1,000 hours of prime time sports programming on CBC TV, adding that since there are about 1,500 hours of prime time per year (in 12 months), this would mean CBC’s schedule would be two-thirds sports (1,000/1,500 hours per year). If CBC management didn’t care enough to attend or monitor the hearing, they could have read the transcript to learn precisely what Mr. Morrison had said. Instead, CBC dismissed this useful observation by Friends by contorting and distorting basic facts presented to the Commission.
Moreover, CBC stated that only 10% of its 2012 schedule was amateur or professional sports programming. CBC didn’t make it clear that this number was for the whole day, not prime time. An examination of CBC’s program logs would reveal that the amount of professional sports alone exceeded 20% in prime time in 2012, over 90% of which was hockey-related and all broadcast in the eight months Mr. Morrison referenced. CMRI urges the Commission to review the program logs of CBC and the CRTC public data on CBC expenditures in sports programming to help it determine if CBC is too reliant on sports.