Does CBC.ca run itself?

Have you ever taken a good look at the organizational structure of CBC Senior Management? Probably not.

There are actually 2 levels to it: the President and everyone else. But the artist, in her wisdom, has drawn some Vice-Presidents more equal than others: the VP’s directly in charge of broadcast media, as well as George Smith, are a little higher that the rest.

This speaks volumes, but what I’m interested in today is who isn’t there. Astute readers will note that there is no VP of Digital Media on this chart.

The French have the rakish, erudite Sylvain Lafrance in charge of “French Services,” which means French TV, Radio, and Web, but when it comes to the English side, CBC.ca apparently runs itself.

So what? you say. But here’s where the budget gets spent (taken from the Auditor General’s Report in Nov 2005):

And if you refer back to the org chart you can match up the VP with the money. This is why you will see Sue Gardner searching the couches in the Artists’ Lounge for spare change.

TV ratings have been steadily declining over the years, and that radio listenership has increased 2% in 10 years is a big deal. Yet at the same time traffic to CBC.ca has exploded. Amid many excuses, TV ratings were down for the Turin Olympics, but visitors to the website doubled.

So why, with all the success we have had on the web, and this now being the 21st century, does the web not exist at the senior level of the CBC?

Part of it is because many of the people at the top don’t understand it. They don’t even use it. But a larger part of it is fear.

For if there were to be a VP of CBC Digital Media, she would be a powerful beast indeed. And that power would not come from nowhere – it would come at the expense of some of the other fellows on that chart. And none of them want that.

Now, of course, CBC.ca does not run itself. For a little while longer we have an Executive Director of Digital Programming and Business Development, and he being the guy at the top of the ladder makes him the guy in charge. But at the end of this month he goes back to the company whence he came.

His new job?

Vice President of Digital Media, for Alliance Atlantis.

16 comments:

  1. Anonymous
    Posted March 3, 2006 at 7:06 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    If you dig a lttle deeper you will find that Sylvain LaFrance is in charge of cbc.ca, English as well as French.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted March 3, 2006 at 8:09 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’ve heard that Claude has said in the past that there are as many VPs at Alliance Atlantis as there are Directors at CBC, and that moving back at the same level as he left (he was a VP there before coming to CBC) would actually be a step down. Wonder what prompted this move.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted March 3, 2006 at 8:29 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Wow, sounds like more offal for the sausage factory, meaning; sunny as this ‘article’ sounds, the whole truth is no where represented in what is seen above.

    Oh. “WE NEED MORE MONEY!” poor wee sue, maybe she should look in her own bloated mid-manager’s pockets for the cash.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted March 3, 2006 at 8:39 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    That wasn’t really called for. It’s always been the best model to have a New Media exec. in all talks.
    It’s time to remodel a lot of things, and cbc.ca can be asked what it thinks is best.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted March 3, 2006 at 7:04 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “Wonder what prompted this move.”

    Boatload of money.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted March 3, 2006 at 11:36 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Sylvain is only in charge of the French web site. Richard Stursberg is in charge of CBC.ca.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted March 4, 2006 at 2:24 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    No boatload.

    I got to know Claude. I think he was A. O.K.

    The only thing prompting this move is a desire not to become communist inert (a metaphor).

    Looks peeps, CBC is inert and is corrupted stone. We all know it. Even those of us who work there.

    The reporters all rock, god help the management, there will be no mercy shown I assure you.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted March 5, 2006 at 12:22 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Claude is a likeable guy. I like him.

    But he is more of a marketing guy, and CBC.ca needs more good ideas than anything else. I always got the feeling he was in over his head.

    Alluance Atlantis probaby is a better place for him, and I wish him the best of luck.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted March 6, 2006 at 7:17 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    If you check the last CBC annual report which contained a list of CBC managers (2002-03), you will find that Sylvain Lafrance is listed as VP French Radio and New Media (English and French). Since there has been no announcement that he lost that responsibility when he added French TV last year, I assume that he remains in charge of cbc. ca.

    But the CBC doesn’t seem to be able to keep anything straight. In this year’s annual report the President claims that cbc.ca was the number 1 news site in Canada (p. 10) but the audience data on page 14 state that it was among the top 3?

  10. Ouimet
    Posted March 6, 2006 at 6:50 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Actually, in the 2002-2003 Annual Report, Sylvain is listed as “VP, French Radio and New Media,” meaning French Radio and French New Media. When they threw in TV last year, Bobby wrote: “I would like to specify that these changes will affect the French networks only. We do not believe that such developments in English Services are called for.”

    And when they say they are the #1 news site, usually they are adding the numbers for cbc.ca and radio-canada.ca together, in which case they are right.

    The last numbers I saw for cbc.ca by itself put it at #3 behind CTV and the Weather Network.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted March 7, 2006 at 8:50 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I beg to differ but I was there when Sylvain assumed control of all New Media. As for the .ca numbers, there is no definition of the audience data in the annual report. For example, the report fails to point out that the .ca reach is based on a month, not a week’s duration, which is the case for TV and radio measurement. The monthly audience reach of cbc.ca is equivalent to the smallest of TV specialty channels.

  12. Ouimet
    Posted March 7, 2006 at 2:26 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Anonymous, it’s entirely probable that you know more about it than I do. Thanks for writing.

    “The monthly audience reach of cbc.ca is equivalent to the smallest of TV specialty channels.”

    I’m going to look into that. Interesting, if true.

    I see today that Krista Harris has been chosen as the new Claude Galipeau (and reporting to both Richard and Jane). A sound choice, as far as I’m concerned. Krista can be tough, maybe even abrasive (which is not always a bad thing), but there’s no doubt she’s on the ball.

    Should be interesting.

  13. Anonymous
    Posted March 7, 2006 at 5:07 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    This is getting interesting here.

    Is there a reliable source for internet stats? Would love to see them. Tired of seeing cbc.ca held up as a model or success. The news writing is strictly cut & paste wire style and much of the arts writing is student paper quality. Click today and see stories from two months ago. I love the invitation to make it my homepage! What kind of loser would make a slow loading page with banner ads and a no-name search tool their homepage? And how about the slow paced news crawl in the tiny window! And scrolling down for the weather? And try to find local and regional coverage. Its there, I think, but you have to click your way through the maze. Just look at the BBC site to see how its done properly.

    On another note: Does anyone know whos responsible for scheduling Marketplaces most important show of the year against the Academy Awards?

  14. Anonymous
    Posted March 8, 2006 at 10:35 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Internet stats. Go to the Canwest Global site and click on the PDF in the middle of the page:
    http://www.canwestmediaworks.com/online/visitor_profile.html

    Comscore is the only reliable research source and it shows sites like cbc.ca with a couple of million visitors per month. Dozens and dozens of sites have far more traffic and if one converted the monthly reach numbers into market share, cbc.ca would have maybe a tenth of one per cent of all Canadian internet taffic. The satas re. internet traffic are the biggest con game in the history of mass media.

  15. Anonymous
    Posted March 8, 2006 at 10:39 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    satas=stats

  16. Saskboy
    Posted March 12, 2006 at 12:37 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Good point, where’s cbc.ca in that flow chart?


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