CBC says may cut services

Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:27pm EST
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By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian Broadcasting Corp said on Thursday it is looking at cutting services in coming months, including the "downgrading" or even the sale of some of its TV or radio assets, as the public broadcaster weathers a slump in advertising.

"If we are to maintain our strategic momentum ... we must protect, to the extent possible, our key assets -- our people and our programs -- but we too will be looking at reducing our services in the new fiscal year," Chief Executive Hubert Lacroix said in a speech in Toronto.

The CBC has said it is facing an advertising revenue shortfall of up to C$65 million for the fiscal year ending March 31 as the economic crisis pushes advertisers to slash their spending.

Even so, it thinks it will be able to barely break even. It is the future that is of concern, Lacroix said.

"Frankly, all the options are on the table in terms of trying to monetize some of our assets and generate some revenue," he told reporters following his speech.

Lacroix said the company may also look at consolidating some of its local stations and that it may introduce more U.S. television programing.

He said it's too early to speculate about layoffs at the CBC, which has about 5,500 employees represented by the Canadian Media Guild union.

The broadcaster hopes to have a firmer plan in place for cost cuts by mid-March.   Continued...