The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and digital platforms

May 6th 2021, 1:45pm-3:15pm ET


The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and digital platforms

May 6th 2021, 1:45pm-3:15pm ET

Chair: Philip Savage (McMaster University)
Format: Live

Led by Philip Savage (McMaster), this panel will discuss the various relationships (of content dissemination, video and audio distribution, and advertising) between Canada’s national public broadcaster and digital platforms, including Facebook and Netflix.

Presenters:
Philip Savage (McMaster University)
Paper Title: The CBC and Public Service Media Universalism: An International Comparison
Paper Abstract:
An analysis of the range international of public service media (PSM) approaches to universal program and service provision around the world (c.f. UK, USA, Russia, Japan, Germany, Netherland and Canada). To what degree and how do different PSM digital forms and platforms, and their attendant content development and distribution respect the diversity of the unique affordances provided? And in doing so how do they maintain sufficient degrees of cohesion, trustworthiness, fairness, and inclusion that remain the professed universalist obligation of public service media?

David Skinner, Miles Weafer and Amanda Oye (York University)
Paper Title: Living On-line: Platformization and the CBC (Presenter: Miles Weafer)
Paper Abstract:
This presentation explores CBC’s engagement with the field of digital media platforms and the relationships between these efforts and its mandate. Relationships with dominant platforms such as Facebook, Spotify, YouTube, iTunes and the App Store are considered as well as the Corporation’s own efforts to establish itself as a public service media platform. Key questions explored include: What kinds of relationships does CBC have with media platforms? What kinds of policies does it have with regard to these platforms? What kinds of presence does CBC have on these platforms? How is that presence supported? How does that presence relate to the Corporation’s mandate?

Lizzie Jackson (London South Bank University)
Paper Title: To be Seen and Heard is to be Datafied: Public Service Media 3.0
Paper Abstract:
Speaking to the interaction between public service media and technology clusters around the world, with an analysis of the case study of the CBC in developing various platforms approaches for new and other content in local CBC operations in Toronto and Hamilton. It is proposed that datafication enables media to be delivered to audiences in fluid multi-way recombination for universal and individual or group consumption that can be live or independent of time or platform. This is dependent on having an adaptive organisational structure to support such data flows. The argument is made for‘Public Service 3.0’, a twenty-first century version of public service media.

Daniel Bernhard (Centre for International Governance Innovation)
Paper Title: Organisational Cultures for Datification and Platform Fluidity in Public Service Media
Paper Abstract:
Overview of the developments in citizen engagement and lobbying by public interest groups and media users, relative to the access to and affordability of private and public digital media services and content available to citizens and consumers. The discussion looks to the role and tactics that are effective in providing input and oversight to a range of users across regions and levels of accessibility to new digital media, including that provided by the national public service provider, CBC-Radio-Canada.

Christopher Cwynar (Defiance College)
Paper Title: Podcasting, Platformization, and the Future of the CBC
Paper Abstract:
This paper endeavours to understand the CBC’s position in a rapidly shifting mediascape through the institution’s engagement with the emerging medium of podcasting. Using discourse and textual analysis, it argues that the CBC’s engagement with podcasting is emblematic of the tensions within the institution between public service and commercial imperatives. Podcasting appears to offer the CBC the means to potentially revitalize its radio division, an historical strength with respect to its fulfillment of its national public service mandate, to better serve domestic stakeholders. At the same time, the financial pressures on the CBC, and the evolution of the medium and its platforms, are clearly pushing its podcasting and audio media operations toward the commercial marketplace in a manner that threatens to undermine their legitimacy. This paper builds this argument through an historical sketch of CBC radio, an examination of the division’s engagement with podcasting from its earliest forays to the Tandem fiasco, and implications of the platformization of podcasting for the CBC. It concludes with some brief policy recommendations drawn from the CBC’s engagement with podcasting, the emergence of major audio platforms like Spotify, and the institution’s need to adapt to the networked digital media paradigm.


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