1. Current challenges
Increasingly tight budgets and audience erosion are creating a vicious circle in Ontario‘s French-language private and community media. It is leading to a decline in the quality of their services and could even cause many to close. The less advertising revenue they generate, the less they will have the funds needed to produce and promote their content, and the less attractive they will become to Ontario Francophones, Francophiles and advertisers.
Declining advertising revenue is occurring at the same time as the traditional media are being forced to make a dramatic shift to digital. Public broadcasters TFO and RadioCanada have already begun to make the crucial transition and are asking governments for support.104, 105 Private and not-for-profit media must also modernize and innovate without necessarily having the expertise needed to do so.
The fact is that this modernization process goes well beyond the technical aspects of producing and distributing content on various digital platforms. It also means acquiring expertise in data analysis, digital audience marketing and development, selling digital solutions to advertisers, creating content in various formats that can be used with the specific features of a variety of distribution platforms and, of course, user expectations.
French-language media in Ontario are being forced to deal with the strong trends affecting the entire media industry. It is naive to think that the laws of the marketplace alone will enable them to strengthen their financial position, modernize, innovate and remain relevant producers of French-language content. The challenge will be to come up with solutions that generate long-term success for Ontario‘s Francophone media ecosystem.
- Groupe Média TFO, Numérique Éducatif Francophone, 2017. Available online at https://www.groupemediatfo.org/numerique-educatif-francophone/
- CBC/Radio-Canada, Corporate Plan Summary 2017-2018 to 2021-2022. Available online at http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/_files/cbcrc/documents/corporate-plan/2017-18-2021-22-corp-plan-summary-en.pdf