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CBC will trim budget, staff

Cuts due to rising costs and declining revenues

MONTREAL — Canadian Broadcasting Corp. will cut C$23 million ($16 million) from the $367 million budget of the English-language CBC TV network, with part of the budget reduction coming via layoffs of 173 employees.

The pubcaster said Thursday that those layoffs will save the CBC $6 million and that the remaining $10 million will come via reduction of expenditures on inhouse productions, productions in association with the independent sector and administrative overhead.

The CBC is publicly funded, but, unlike PBS in the United States, it sells advertising and is one of the country’s most popular webs.

Revenues dip

In contrast to many previous CBC cuts, these reductions are not coming as a direct result of a dip in CBC’s Parliamentary appropriation. Management said the cuts were made due to the narrowing gap between rising costs and expected declining revenues. According to CBC execs, costs are rising as a result of inflationary pressures and salary increases that came in the last collective agreements, inked last spring.

In an unusual statement, CBC execs said they expected revenue for the network to decline as a result of a decrease in advertising due to audience fragmentation and market competition. The budget-chopping is the first major administrative move since new CBC president Robert Rabinovitch took over the top job in mid-November.

CBC Television also announced that “Midday,” a daily one-hour national news and current-affairs show, is being axed as part of the cuts. “Midday” has been a staple of noon-time programming on the network for 15 years, but its ratings have been declining over the past few years. It will see its final live broadcast at the end of June.

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