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CBC to stream more content online; add digital player

Exciting news from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s radio division, who announced an agreement with the country’s Audio-Video Licensing Agency.  The partnership allows CBC to stream more content online and through a digital player, the details of which are still undisclosed.  Interestingly, this comes just days after a Globe and Mail report stating the CBC has been told to do away with thousands of records and CDs from their archives.

The same report said the CBC is considering an online streaming service showing Canadian music in multiple genres.  Sources said “as many as 35 stations” could be added, ideally all streaming from one central website.

Wednesday’s announcement makes that rumor more official, although details of the digital player remain under wraps:

“Through this new relationship with AVLA and the Canadian music labels, CBC will be able to offer its programs on demand complete with music while at the same time building a new digital music service, that will be unlike any other available today in Canada,” Chris Boyce, executive director of radio and audio of CBC English Services, said in a statement.

“As part of our on-going commitment to Canadian culture, this will be accomplished by combining the power of context, curation and community in new and innovative ways,” he added, noting that more details about CBC’s new digital music service will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Toronto Star noted the service is slated to launch later this winter, though it wasn’t disclosed if the digital stations would be free.

Today, much of CBC’s musical content is edited from podcasts and streaming broadcasts due to high licensing fees.  CBC Radio 3, which primarily showcases independent Canadian music, already streams online and on Sirius Satellite Radio.  I can’t recommend it enough if you’re a fan of indie music, Canadian or otherwise.

A subscription model for said services could be a new revenue stream for the CBC, who receives about $1.1b annually from the Canadian government, with approximately $348m going towards radio.  But a 2011 report found 53% of Canadians surveyed would like to see the CBC’s funding cut, with a move towards a model aligned closer to PBS’s.  Online streams could be a creative way to receive more funding from outside the country, although it may be a tough sell for those unfamiliar with CBC’s broadcasting.


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