Cumulative earlistenery

The CBC intends to aggressively push its content onto multiple digital platforms by negotiating deals with the cable and satellite companies while building on partnerships with the major digital players like iTunes and Google.

Or so Inside The CBC tells us was discussed, at some point in time, at an undisclosed location, by a jowly fat guy with a blurry arm who may or may not be Richard the Great.

Richard StursbergGreat reportage, Inside the CBC. Welcome to the New Journalism, audience.

“You gotta be in all these places, because that’s where the audience is going.”

Well, maybe you gotta. But it seems that when everyone else is zagging, the CBC is presenting a PowerPoint about zigging. And the audience is far from “going,” it is nearly fucking gone.

A “partnership” with Google you say? This might not be the answer you’re looking for. Google has no partners, only bitches.

What does a partnership with Google look like? Something like Google’s Living Stories.

The Washington Post and The New York Times partnered with Google to essentially create living, iterative news topic pages. This collaborative effort resulted in little more than poorly designed, lackluster link aggregators.

You see, Google doesn’t give a shit about your content, just as long as it can farm it. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to make it compelling. Google can’t do that.

Want more from iTunes? The CBC is on there already, and doing well, what more do you want? You’re giving your podcasts away for free, they can’t any cheaper than that. And if you’re eyeing a greater cut of that iTunes gold, you better be ready for a real fight here, Richard.

You know where the audience also is? In school. So why are you charging them for this stuff? Everything the CBC makes should be free for any school or educator to read, watch, use, reuse, rewatch and remix.

“You have to start thinking very hard about the order in which you release your content. Because if it can be on all these different platforms, the question is in what order does it go to the different platforms. And you want to determine the order in which it goes to the different platforms on the basis on how are you going to get the most cumulative viewership or listenernship, and how are you going to maximum the total revenues that are available.”

Hm I see. The question is order. Organization. Cumulative eyeballery. Measurable earlistenery. This sounds like a problem that can be solved by Microsoft Office.

Look, the fact that we are still hand wringing about this proves that we don’t know what we’re doing. Or maybe closer to the point, we are unwilling to do what is needed and take some responsibility. Let’s be realistic, no one expects King Richard to be cutting edge. He doesn’t need to be. Let him flap his arms and get blurry, go to the Standing Committees and table stuff in Parliament, the rest of us, let’s get busy.

The CBC should not rely on internal politics to drive editorial policy. The CBC should not rely on corporate crapspeak to drive editorial innovation. Editorial excellence is driven by editors. Editorial excellence is driven by journalists. Editorial excellence is driven by producers. Editorial excellence is driven by you, the employee.

So, you can say you don’t have the resources. You can gripe that you don’t have permission. But other organizations don’t either! Look at PRI, PBS and NPR. How is it that they can deliver mindblowingly earlistenery programming, on next to nothing? Do they have something you don’t have?

Maybe. Maybe they have some balls.

They have the balls to make it happen, because they love it, like you. And they have the same restraints as you, and the same frustrations as you. And when Senior Management blasts a memo to 10,000 employees about enhancing reader engagement to drive traffic and sustain longer page views to increase our clickthroughs, they delete it just like you.

And then they go out and make something great.


  1. Anonymous
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 1:49 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Unwatchable and uninspired programming is just as putrid
    on one platform as it is on an other.

    Has anyone noticed that Bernie Madoff and Richrad Stursberg act, talk and look like each other?

    Separated at birth or kindred spirits?

  2. anon
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 7:28 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    What little worthwhile content they have is already distributed every way practicable. Thrashing around and creating new “initiatives” won’t create content but it will keep managers busy. The purpose-built new media material that does exist is pathetic.

    Stursberg isn’t alone. He’s one of a generation of professional managers who keep shouting “content is king” without the knowledge, the will or the pocketbook to actually do something about it. Have another power point presentation why don’t you.

  3. Posted February 23, 2010 at 5:31 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Sure, the CBC has to adapt to technology and the changing media environment. But, CBC is also the PUBIC BROADCASTER, not a privately-owned company. Could someone please tell Richard Stursberg that? The man is such a clown and everyone just laughs and laughs and laughs and laughs at him. Hey CBC – hear this – have faith in the people of Canada, the culture, the originality AND have faith in your employees (the ones with real talent – not the ones who sleep with the mangement) and let the viewers/listeners/onliners come to you.

    • Curb Your Enthusiasm
      Posted February 23, 2010 at 5:45 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      I didn’t know Canada had a PUBIC broadcaster. What have I been missing?

      • Posted February 23, 2010 at 9:18 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

        Obviously, it’s a typo, but in the CBC’s case, a suitable typo. You know what i mean, everyone in management all sleeps in the same bed.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 3:10 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Watching the turgid, clueless, pointless inner workings of the CBC just spin in the void is like watching the fossilisation process in hyperfast motion.

  5. Notso fast
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Actually, pretty much the big success everyone can point to over the last year is the way the NFB has leapfrogged into the digital age. The online portal, and making everything free for individuals has been a resounding success in promoting the brand and driving sales, too. Yes. Sales.

    But one of the other places the NFB is making a lot more money is for Institutional use…ie: Education. The “model” is simple — for individs, free. ANY institutional use — business, etc, and yes, schools — you charge for.

    How can you possibly write an article that says that partnering with Google & Itunes is bad and stupid, but oh by the way you should give all your shit away in the schools?

    That’s more crazy throw stones don’t talk solutions B.S. And best yet — the NFB’s example proves that’s not the way to go. Provocative article, but also kind of #fail

  6. Copypasta
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 2:46 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I;ve been waiting a long time for someone to write a post like this.

    Johnny, where have you been?

  7. Curb Your Enthusiasm
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 2:37 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Oh, Johnny! You’re so fine! But the CBC runs on fear (of what, I’m not sure….job losses?), which kills creativity so that everyone plays it safe (or boring). Maybe a group hug would help?

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