Waddell - The Future for the Canadian Media _Policy Options 2009_ - Copy.pdf - THE FUTURE FOR THE CANADIAN MEDIA Christopher Waddell The sharp cyclical

Waddell - The Future for the Canadian Media _Policy Options 2009_ - Copy.pdf

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OPTIONS POLITIQUES JUIN 2009 16 The sharp cyclical downturn in advertising revenues has awakened mainstream media, particularly Canada’s television networks, to the transformational change that has occurred in their industry because of the Internet. The Great Recession is a recent occurrence, sweeping across the globe and decimating ad revenues in conventional broadcasting since the fourth quarter of last year. But declining audience shares for over-the-air television outlets, with viewers migrating to specialty channels that derive their revenue base from cable carriage fees, to say nothing of Internet platforms, are not new developments. But the combination of the recession and new technologies has finally resulted in an awakening, in the middle of a reckoning. Christopher Waddell of Carleton University looks at the future of Canadian media. La forte baisse des recettes publicitaires aura finalement éveillé les médias grand public, et notamment les réseaux de télévision canadiens, aux profonds changements qui ont transformé leur secteur depuis l’arrivée d’Internet. Alors que la récession s’étendait à l’ensemble du globe, les télédiffuseurs traditionnels ont vu fondre leurs recettes dès le quatrième trimestre de l’an dernier. Le recul des parts de marché provoqué par la popularité de chaînes spécialisées tirant leurs revenus des frais de câblodistribution, sans même parler des platesformes en ligne, n’a pourtant rien d’un phénomène nouveau. Il aura fallu qu’une récession vienne s’ajouter aux nouvelles technologies pour que les acteurs de ce secteur en prennent pleine conscience. Christopher Waddell, de l’Université Carleton, examine l’avenir des médias canadiens. T his is the year the Canadian media realized it was in trouble. It was as if everyone in the newspaper, tele- vision and radio business woke up one morning and discovered audiences and advertisers were leaving the main- stream media. It took the sharp drop in ad revenue from the recession along with the prospect that the lack of cash to make inter- est payments on a debt of almost $4 billion would finally force CanWest into bankruptcy protection, finally to draw attention to a media landscape that has actually been changing for quite a while. Readers, listeners and viewers are leaving the main- stream media for a variety of reasons and advertisers are fol- lowing. The newspaper industry has long been worried that younger generations — a key advertiser demographic — aren’t reading newspapers the way their parents did. Now they’re also watching less television. The Internet gets the credit (if you are a news con- sumer) or the blame (if you are a media owner) for most of this, as it lets audiences get news and information when they want it. No one has to wait for evening or even hourly newscasts or for the paper to arrive in the morning. The Internet also provides almost infinite choice in where to get news and information, whether it is traditional news
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