An article in today's Globe & Mail suggests that CBC television should drop advertising and concentrate on news, documentaries, and "smart little sitcoms."
I don't see it happening myself -- how could the Corp give up Hockey Night in Canada? -- but so long as there's funding to keep up the newscasts, sans Beeb-style licences, I'm on board.
As a trial run, why not drop the commercial breaks on CBC North first? CBC North is the broadcast shared by Nunavut, NWT, and Yukon. The "North" part consists largely of the Northbeat newscast, together with some Inuktitut and Cree programming out east.
The problem with the advertisements on CBC North is that there are no advertisers. I'm not sure why. It may be that the rates are just too high for the small businesses in northern towns. A more likely reason is that advertisement viewership is diluted across the scattered communities making up the North, most of which are out of broadcast range and so subscribe to satellite programming anyway (dishes seemingly pointed below the horizon at that latitude). Under those circumstances, there are better ways to sell your product.
So what does occupy the commercial breaks on CBC North if not ads? Why, public service announcements, along with endless promotional spots for upcoming CBC shows.
Because of the limited selection of PSAs and promos, virtually every station break is identical. Let's imagine one: two pals cautioning against excessive engine idling, next weekend's CFL/NHL game, an anti-drinking and driving rap ("with the who, what, where, when, and why"), yet another preview of Chitty Chitty freakin' Bang Bang (no matter how far in the future it will play), a warning against playing on train tracks (What tracks are these? The only functioning ones in Yukon are for a two-dollar trolley ride along Whitehorse's river edge.), a hard-hitting promo for the National, and finally a silent tableau of an Outside artist's offbeat-media work.
Ten minutes later, second advert, same as the first.