The report of the Standing Committee by Canadian Heritage - Disruption: Change and Churning in Canada’s Media Landscape has been released for the government to review on how they can help the industry deal with the digital disruptions to their business model. This comprehensive document is tackling some tough issues that face the media industry like local news, media concentration, broadband access, tax incentives, new taxes, grants and the support of community news/multicultural media.
This document is a good close look at the history and issues and supports additional government intervention to support the media industry. The expected outcome of this document is to look at ways to sustain an independent media industry as a key player in a properly functioning democratic society through a healthy journalism sector. The political goal is to find an even playing field for all stakeholders, as the highest share of the industry ad revenues are going to digital distributors like Google and Facebook and less to content creators and thus is not sustainable over the long-term.
As expected the report is reflective of liberal policies of government intervention, while the dissenting voice of the conservatives that was included in the report favour a more laissez-faire approach i.e. the survival of the fittest. The report has 20 recommendations and one was a sales tax on on the internet that was quickly shot down by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Even with government support the media ecosystem is oversaturated (digital oversupply) in Canada for a market of 35 million people and future consolidation is inevitable as digital convergence of media continues in all sectors. The current digital ad market is in an oligopoly state as Google and Facebook control 65% of industry revenues accorded to this Fortune.com report and government intervention/regulation is required when the free markets are in this stage to ensure fair competition.
FACTS ABOUT THE MEDIA INDUSTRY IN A CANADA
• There are 1,162 newspapers in Canada 102 dailies and 1060 community newspapers. In 2011 there were 122 dailies and 1042 community. ( Must be all those store flyers we are getting that support the community news sector)
• The magazine sector has seen a 30% increase in the number of titles since 2000 with over 2,000 titles according to Magazine Canada. (Masthead Prediction: This sector will see consolidation and will eventually see digital convergence with the radio sector over the long-term.)
• There are 680 television services with 85 television station of which 65 are owned by 5 companies (Bell, Shaw, Rogers, Quebecor and Renstar) with 20 independent. Television is still #1 when it comes to advertisers
• There are 1,120 radio and audio services with 594 FM and 129 AM stations. Radio has been identified as the sector least affected by the digital disruption due to its emphasis on local content