I haven’t posted in a bit but like most Canadians I’ve been watching the drama associated with the hockey night in Canada Theme song. For those way out of the loop this is where the story starts in The National and in the National Post, and on CTV News, the Globe And Mail, the Ottawa Citizen, and the Toronto Star.For my American friends. This is the theme played on our national public broadcaster, the CBC (like the BBC), before and during the broadcast of our NHL hockey games. Turns out the CBC doesn’t own the jingle and has been licensing it for the past few (40) years, recently at $500 bucks a pop. They tried to come up with a perpetual agreement that would give them full ownership for a price in the high 6 figures, or just under a million bucks or so. You can watch the coverage on the CBC’s The National on CTV News, Or Read about it in the Globe, in the National Post, the Toronto Star and in the Ottawa Citizen, so as you can see its pretty big news here.What happened is the CBC decided to break off negotiations and announced a contest to replace the jingle with a new one, sort of a American Idol for jingles. At this point CTV, another major TV station swooped in and bought the rights, for roughly $2.5 million or so. I personally believe that the Contest and the ending of negotiations was a bit of a ploy on the CBC’s negotiators side, because as soon as they saw that CTV was in the running they announced they were negotiating again.In any event The CBC lost the deal with Scott Moore, executive director, CBC Television Sports saying:
“The owner’s demand of $2.5 to 3 million is well beyond—actually, three or four times as much as—what we consider to be a reasonable valuation. As a public broadcaster, it would have been irresponsible to have offered that amount.”
Fair enough. (I have bolded the public thing)Now CBC Sports has been having a rough time as of late. They won’t be broadcasting the Olympics (they were outbid) and lost the CFL (Canadian Football League) again because they were out bid, they also lost curling (no great loss IMHO). Last year they won both the FIFA and NHL Broadcasting rights. The NHL deal cost “roughly 100 million a year” this being bid on again against CTV. The CBC at the time tried to reassure Canadians that this wasn’t Tax Payers money being used but private money.
Stursberg explained that 45 per cent of CBC Television’s financing comes from public money — the other 55 per cent is private money.”This is financed completely out of private money … There is no public money involved in this deal,” said Stursberg, adding that revenue generated from the deal will help finance other, less-profitable CBC programs.
He was also quoted in other media outlets saying:
“This is financed completely on private money,” said Richard Stursberg, the network’s vice-president of TV. “Advertising revenues from the property cover in their entirety the rights and production costs.”
I remember this argument and kind of laughed at the statement, but I like CBC’s hockey coverage so no biggie.But as this Private vs. Public Money thing is CBC’s argument for paying huge numbers on the Hockey rights, hockey is over 18% of CBC televisions budget alone, they should be honest about it. Remember their argument for not getting the jingle was of course they are a poverty stricken public broadcaster. I don’t think they can or should have it both ways.Were they going to use public money to buy a jingle that helps their ‘privately paid for’ broadcast? We were told that this NHL Broadcast deal was profitable, so presumably they can afford to pay for the jingle with those privately financed dollars. In any event, I’d probably be complaining if they had paid $3 million for the jingle but the broadcaster should stop trying to have it both ways on private vs. public dollars and quit trying to spin how their budget works. They are a publicly funded institution that has dipped into competing with CTV and Global, fair enough, but if you’re going to be compete on these things (and make money on deals – which they have) don’t beg off when you loose in public because you’re the public broadcaster.