New Directions, New Challenges
Edited By Stephen Cushion and Richard Sambrook
Chapter 19: The International Newsgathering Challenge for Public Service Australian and Canadian 24/7 TV Channels
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The International Newsgathering Challenge for Public Service Australian and Canadian 24/7 TV Channels
ABC Australia and CBC-Radio Canada are two old and venerable public service broadcasters (PSB) that have managed the difficult transition into the digital age: they are battered and bruised, but somehow still standing. The two countries and their media systems have a lot of the same characteristics and challenges: the ABC (founded in 1932) and CBC-Radio Canada (founded in 1936) both have to service relatively small and scattered populations across vast, geographic distances. Both companies do some broadcasting in Indigenous languages, and CBC has both English and French speaking services. The two companies also both have roots in the BBC “Reithian” tradition of being called upon to “educate, inform and entertain.” However, in terms of funding they have followed very different paths, and neither service is currently operating within a healthy financial framework. The ABC is a PSB that is almost entirely funded by government, with its TV channels going out advertisement-free. But as we shall see below, this money is now being cut back drastically without warning. CBC, on the other hand, is financed by a mixture of the government (48%), advertising (24%), subscriber fees (13%) and financing/other sales (15%), according to its financial report (CBC, 2014: 4). It operates in the congested airwaves of North America with a lot of competition for viewers across Canada and the US.
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