Public opinion research in recent years has consistently shown that only about 9 percent of Canadians are prepared to pay for news online. That’s because they see news available for free everywhere online and they have limited or no ability to differentiate between quality and commodity.
What about the public broadcaster? What role does the federal government see for CBC/Radio-Canada in all this? CBC/Radio-Canada has already moved aggressively into the digital world, competing with newspapers online for news, opinion and — most important to the private sector — online advertising dollars.
Does the prospect of competing against the relatively deep pockets of the CBC prevent entrepreneurs from launching news startups in communities across the country? Should government place fences around the activities of the broadcaster it owns?