At least once a decade, the CRTC summons all the stakeholders in the radio industry to discuss how things are going and whether changes in regulation are required. The last time this happened was in 2005 and although radio had started to face serious competition from Internet-delivered services, the basic verdict was “Everything’s okay. Come back and see us in a couple of years.”
Well, more than a couple of years have passed and the media landscape is unrecognizable from 2005. YouTube, just months old at the time of the last review, is a monster. The iPhone was two years off; now 60% have high-speed Internet on our phones. The biggest music retailer in the world is iTunes. Facebook–about a year old when those hearings were held–has more than a billion users. Streaming music services have popped up all over. Twitter didn’t exist. And none of the above is saddled with the same kind of regulation as commercial radio. You’d think that it would be time for another radio review, right?
Nope. The CRTC has released its fiscal and user stats for 2013, which they say proves that commercial radio is in fine shape. With revenues of $1.62 billion and profits of $331 million, Sean Hutton, the executive director of broadcasting for the CRTC, says that there’s no need for a comprehensive review of commercial radio is needed right now. However, the Commission is thinking about looking at some regulatory and policy elements of the radio industry.
Good. Is it time to think about CanCon again? After all, none of the online services need to worry about that.
- 20% of Canadians stream an AM or FM signal through the Internet.
- 14% stream audio on a tablet
- 13% stream a personalized Internet music service
- 8% stream audio over a smartphone
By the way, Canada ranks 86th (!!!) in the world when it comes to accessing streaming music services. That’s a worse ranking than what FIFA gives our men’s soccer team (112th, just ahead of Latvia).