Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is among the media companies in Canada with the features of a cultural industry. Consequently, the company has rich profile and current activities in relations to the country’s history. The company’s products with cultural orientations are news services, merchandising, interactive television programs, online, and commercial activities.
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In addition, CBC also engages in social responsibilities such as providing reading spectacles among others. These products and services of CBC have both cultural and historical connections to Canada. Occasionally, cultural industries sell their products and services as final goods or services, or as intermediate products and services.
Over the last decades, the CBC profile and activities have undergone considerable changes due changes in the media industry. The company’s profile of products includes those sold directly to customers, such as newspapers, magazines, and pay-television. At the same time, the company also has cultural products, which act as intermediate products and services.
This helps it in attracting the audience for selling advertising space or airtime for advertisers. This category of cultural products includes the free media products such as television programs, free magazines, newspapers and radio broadcasting. Cultural industry like CBC obtains its revenue mainly from advertisement activities and related markets (Robinson, 2009).
The focuses on revenue growth and innovative products and services have affected the current activities of cultural industries. For instance, CBC has become entrepreneurial and is continuously searching for new opportunities for revenue growth. In this manner, the company must actively concentrate on its advertisement activities.
Therefore, the focus must be spending most time on advertisement programs in free television and pay-television channels. These profiles of advertisement activities influence charges on subscriptions.
Cultural industries like CBC have also devised methods to generate revenue. In turn, these activities affect their products strategies. Advertisers buy access to CBC audience.
This depends on time, size of the audience, and demographic characteristics of the target audience. Since advertisement is the main source of revenues, CBC, a company in a cultural industry has expanded its programs and profile of activities. This is happening under a condition of demand uncertainty.
Cultural industries have problems with creating and maintaining brand loyalty. This is because media companies introduce new products with unpredictable outcomes. For example, if CBC replaces one television program with another, the outcome is difficult to predict as viewers usually relate such products to producers, owners, or actors.
Different programs such as those from different cultural backgrounds, producers, and companies experience success in different ways. For instance, Hollywood programs on CBC channel may be successful than other CBC programs from other companies. French-Canada programs may also be successful than those of English-Canada.
Thus, media companies can use different strategies to promote their brands. For instance, CBC discovered that it can use a series of programs (sequels) in order to increase its brand loyalty because consumers or viewers are already familiar with them. However, standalone cultural products have challenged cultural industries in building brand loyalty.
CBC dominance in media industry has declined over the years. This is because the company’s cultural influence on its viewers has changed with time, just like in other media companies. A part of the reason could be the budget cut by the government. On the other side, CBC’s viewership also experiences division and fragmentation because of new specialty, television programs and channels.
Fragmentation of audience affects their choice of programs based on local or foreign choices. Likewise, rise in non-television sources of entertainment like video games, online games, and music, among others have equally affected the industry. This affects both public and private media companies (Barwise and Ehrenberg, 1988).
Private broadcasting companies have also affected the market. They mainly broadcast popular programs to English-speaking Canadians (Tinic, 2005). This class of viewers prefers American programs than those CBC provides, which are mainly local programs. This wave has not spared viewership of French programs. Currently, CBC experiences competition from private French orientated television networks.
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However, in cases of breaking news and matters of national importance, CBC being a cultural industry company still leads the rest. In this regard, most Canadian cultural media are claiming the leading position. This remains a difficult task for viewers to prove as the methodologies for determining such claims are always not clear.
The creation of ITO (CTV) changed the landscape of CBC network in Canada. CBC has been the only television network in Canada with national coverage in terms of radio and television programs. Consequently, most of the industry’s impacts came from CBC since many Canadians did not have many options in terms of choosing their sources of entertainment or information. This created the company has a powerful media and communication tool in Canada (Deuze, 2007).
Changes in the market particularly the rise of commercial television and radio stations have influenced current activities of CBC. The company has also adjusted its activities to seek commercial opportunities as reflected among its current services. What keeps CBC a thriving cultural industry in terms of objectives is that it caters for both large and small viewers in terms of programs.
The company has drama, documentaries, entertainment, performances and arts, news and current affairs, and sports. CBC has also created director, actors and writers for its domestic television programs. These people have since moved to seek better terms at Hollywood and New York.
Though competitions from private media companies have affected the activities of CBC has a cultural industry, the company still remains one of the most important media companies in a cultural industry. In fact, most Canadians consider CBC a crucial service in terms of its services and products.
How globalization of cultural activity affected the company’s objectives and output?
Globalization usually affects the cultural activities of cultural oriented companies such as CBC. Most of the television programs Canadians view come from the US, which is responsible for about 75 percent of television programs exports. The US television programs have low prices in the international markets. This trend has affected CBC cultural activities, its objectives and outputs.
Canadians have also become huge consumers of online programs and video games. However, video games and other entertainment options are usually from foreign countries. Video games are part of popular cultures, which are shaping the media industry. In this regard, video games studios have received support from the government to enhance local production (Dyer-Witherford and Sherman, 2005).
Scholars examined global competitive status for the television industry in relation to the US dominance. They also look at how the US has sustained its dominance despite the rapid technological and worldwide trends which affect contents. Most of them attributed these factors to a large market shares spreading outside their borders.
Many people prefer watching their local and domestic television programs if they have the choice. Viewers may find programs with cultural orientation difficult to watch outside its cultural environment. Consumers of such programs may find it difficult to identify with the institutions, styles, beliefs, behavior patterns and program’s message under presentation.
In this light, broadcasters note that foreign programs have low values where domestic programs rooted in familiar cultural setting dominate. Consequently, broadcasters are willing to buy few foreign programs. This implies that a cultural industry like CBC may find it difficult to sale its products outside the region. Therefore, CBC must strive to expand both its domestic and global markets in order to maximize revenue generation.
CBC must align its objectives and cultural activities to meet the demand of globalization. Whereas other scholars look at market size, others concentrate on language. They note that, in a cultural context, language plays a significant role in promoting local-based programs.
Globalization has affected cultural media industry in terms of competition. This means consumptions of local programs are also on the decline. Consequently, most media companies are exploring strategies like franchising. The media companies produce and sell local concepts in other countries. In addition, cultural media industries are adopting co-production.
Different countries produce a program jointly and air it simultaneously in their countries, and also sale it to other countries. Co-production involves sharing of costs. This applies that if CBC wants to engage in co-production, it must either export its equipment, technology, expertise, and business model to the host country (Hoskins and McFadyen, 1993).
Globalization is making the world diverse. Multinational media companies continue to dominate as those regarded as cultural industries continue to fulfill domestic expectations. For instance, the American CNN has dominated global news and has no specific attachment to any nationality. Global agenda and business ethics are factors that drive the company.
The company shows no interest in promoting cultural-oriented content like many other media companies. Unless the CBC understands that it must use globalization platform to promote its international agenda, otherwise its objectives, activities and strong cultural ties will remain almost intact. Therefore, CBC must change its cultural activities and objectives with regard to globalization.
There are cultural implications in embracing a global media culture. We might argue that local media companies have become unproductive in relation to their multinational counterparts. The decline in government funding to state media companies like CBC has affected their global agendas.
Thus, the resources to make it competitive in global markets are scarce. Consequently, they turn to local programs with the wide audience. If media companies with cultural connections like CBC cannot take advantage of globalization, then only few media companies will be able to compete in the international market.
Cultural media industries must recognize that economical and structural development will take place in the media industry. This will eventually lead to popular programs. However, local productions and programs will remain but with stiff competition from international programs.
The challenge has been that globalization in media industry is colonizing weak and poor countries particularly in Africa where international media have dominated. Other countries will also have to adopt imported and cheap television programs. Still, local production will continue both in dependent and independent cultural media industries.
Canada has developed a strong cultural media industry as seen in CBC. This company is successful in developing local programs and films. However, its lacks the competitive advantages of the global media markets and large domestic markets due to fragmentation of viewership.
However, its production knowledge, technology, and expertise can improve if it exploits the current trend of franchising, co-production, and collaboration. This will also enable it enjoy cheap production rates in the global markets.
Barwise, P. and Ehrenberg, A. (1988). Television and its audience. London: Sage.
Deuze, M. (2007). Media Work. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Dyer-Witherford, N. and Sherman, Z. (2005). The Political Economy of Canada’s Video and Computer Game Industry. Canadian Journal of Communication, 30(2), 187-210.
Hoskins, C. and McFadyen, S. (1993). Canadian participation in international co- productions and co-ventures in television programming. Canadian Journal of Communication, 18(2), 219-236.
Robinson, D. (2009). Communication History in Canada, 2nd ed. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press.
Tinic, S. (2005). On Location: Canada’s Television Industry in a Global Market. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.