A four-decade-long ban on advertising on CBC radio will come to an end in October, when Radio 2 will begin airing a limited amount of commercials, the broadcaster announced Monday.
The CBC got permission last May from the CRTC to run ads on its music service, something the broadcaster said was necessary to offset federal budget cuts to its service.
The ads will run on Radio 2 as well as Radio-Canada's French-language Espace music service, Marketing Mag reported.
But the CBC didn't get all it wanted from the CRTC. While execs had hoped to bring in $20 million annually from ads, the CRTC restricted the number of ad spaces, meaning the broadcaster will likely haul in only about $10 million per year from the new ad spots, the Globe and Mail reports.
The broadcaster will be limited to four minutes of advertising time per hour (compared to 12 minutes per hour on TV), will only be able to run national — not local — ad campaigns, and its licence to run ads will be reviewed after three years.
The CBC has hired radio ad sales agency Canadian Broadcast Sales to represent the new ad spaces, Marketing Mag reports.
Critics of the move include both industry insiders who see yet another way the CBC is competing directly with private broadcasters, and some consumers' groups as well, who fear this could be just the beginning of the commercialization of CBC Radio.
The move is "a serious blow" to public broadcasting, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting warned last May.
"What it really means is the CRTC and the CBC have conspired to end almost 40 years of almost proudly non-commercial public radio in Canada," group spokesman Ian Morrison said.
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