BBC to open bureau in Toronto, launch ‘localized’ Canadian website later this year

The British are coming! The British are coming! With a total of three job offers, that is.

In a week where BuzzFeed Canada and Global News announced they were cutting positions, Canada’s media industry got a little bit of a jolt Thursday afternoon when the world’s largest broadcaster, the BBC, announced it will be adding an editorial bureau in Toronto and launching a version of BBC.com tailored for Canadians.

The Canadian bureau will launch with a video journalist, an online journalist and a social media producer.

According to a release by the BBC, the Canadian edition of its website “will see a range of enhancements to the BBC’s online news offer, including the curation of the international and news homepages to offer Canadian audiences better targeted, more relevant content from the BBC’s global coverage. There will also be an increased editorial focus on news and features to give Canadians better insight into the world around them and their role in it.”

The broadcaster said it plans to launch the new localized edition of the site later in 2016. It says it already has a digital audience in Canada of 5.6 million monthly average users.

The BBC is funded by an annual license fee paid by British residents who own receiving devices such as radios, televisions and computers. The license fee can go as high as £145 for a colour screen. In 2014, that gave the broadcaster £3.7 billion to spend in addition to the £1.3 billion it made in commercial income and licensing. That year, it spent £254 million on BBC World Service, its global news hub.

A BBC spokesperson said the three new editorial roles in Canada will be funded entirely by commercial revenues from its global news services, not by the licence fee in the UK.

The British national broadcaster’s budget is considerably larger than that of the CBC, which is funded by government revenues and will receive approximately $1.1 billion in the 2016 fiscal year, according to the March federal budget.

“We’ve had a significant TV, radio and online presence in Canada for many years, and the BBC is uniquely placed to provide Canadian audiences with the global perspective on stories that matter to them,”said Jim Egan, CEO of BBC Global News Ltd, in a press release. “These new investments will offer Canadian audiences an enriched and more relevant user experience, as well as enabling us to enhance our offer to partners and advertisers in Canada who want to reach our large, upscale audience both nationally and internationally.”   

The BBC is not the first British news outlet to signal it wanted entry into the Canadian market in recent months. In December 2015, The Guardian newspaper advertised for a Canada Correspondent, though has yet to hire one and in March its parent Guardian Media Group announced it is planning to cut 250 jobs, more than a tenth of its total workforce – including 100 in editorial. 

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Read the original at News – Financial Post.