The CBC argues that it is within their mandate to offer on-line services to Canadians. The on-line music industry claims that the CBC, by offering the service for free, draws subscribers away from the services that require a subscription. Who is right?
Let's consider broadcast radio. Broadcast radio is free - one only has to own a radio to receive the content. Commercial broadcasters funded their operations through advertising. The CBC funded its operations through government support. The playing field was level.
That is not the case with the on-line music industry. The on-line service providers rely on subscription fees from users to fund their operations, not advertising. The CBC still relies on government funding to fund their operations, and hence have an unfair advantage. The playing field is not level.
The CBC should be allowed to offer on-line services, but it should be required to follow the same business model as the on-line service providers; i.e. subscribers should pay for the service. To do otherwise risks the destruction of the on-line music industry.
But then, the CBC has quite a lot of experience in destruction, doesn't it?
This article appeared in the October 12, 2012 edition of The Globe and Mail:
I've reproduced the content of the article below, for posterity.