The CBC gets a haircut, Part II
In light of last week's sports cuts at the CBC, two more questions have been raised. Okay, I raised them, but others may have been thinking about them.
Here's one: Considering that the public network is supposed to pay special attention to underserved (amateur) sports, why did Hockey Night In Canada emerge basically unscathed, except for maybe a three-jacket limit for Don Cherry? The other is: What's the status of the proposed CBC digital sports channel, CBC SportsPlus?
As always, I aim to supply answers to my own questions.
On the first point, CBC Sports boss Scott Moore says the fat has already been cut at HNIC through travel reductions and behind-the-scenes stuff. In fact, he says HNIC came in under budget after trimming.
But what about all those regional telecasts on Saturday nights? Surely, they don't help the bottom line considering how much they add to costs.
Well, Moore says, in fact they do add to the bottom line. ``The regional broadcasts have added from 100,000 to 300,000 viewers a night," he says. ``Without the extra Montreal Canadiens games, we would have less revenue because of lower ratings."
As for the planned digital channel, which was to show a variety of Canadian sports including a lot of amateur stuff, Moore says it's been on hold since the fall awating further decisions from the CRTC. That's the same thing the Canadian Olympic Committee has done with its channel application.
But CBC's plan is to launch some version of the channel by the summer of 2010, preferably before the World Cup so it will have somewhere to put all those games.
"We are still hoping to find a workable business plan and we still hope that we find a way to launch a service by World Cup next year," he says. "It may not be as ambitious as we initially had planned, but we think it’s important."
How it plans to do that is a mystery. If amateur sports coverage has been cut to deal with a budget shortfall, how do you justify spending more money on a channel that's destined to lose money for at least five years? Supposedly, CBC has a plan on that one.