On the road to greening our fleet

An exciting new initiative is underway in Quebec City with the introduction of two electric vehicles (EVs) to our fleet this month, making us the first media company in the region and the CBC/Radio-Canada station in the country to have zero emission vehicles.

What are EVs?

ev-autoElectric vehicles are cars powered by electricity. Not a drop of gas is used to operate these vehicles. No gas means no tailpipe, no fumes and best of all, zero emissions.

Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, the 100% electric 2016 Nissan Leaf joins our 2011 Ford Escape hybrids in Quebec City, Toronto and Charlottetown.

The Quebec City hybrids

Used as a patrol vehicle, travelling around the city covering news stories, the Quebec City hybrid amassed over 310,000 km over the course of the last 5 years. Compared to other non-hybrid Ford Escapes used in Quebec City, the hybrid ran with a fuel consumption of $0.03/km less, for a savings of $9,300 over the lifespan of the vehicle at 310,000 km. On average, the non-hybrids Escapes travel 1,080 km/month, whereas the hybrid travelled approximately 5,636 km per month. It is clear that the return on investment for the use of these vehicles is heavily based on high usage and thus high mileage.

The key to the successful management of this program is all thanks to our drivers and the team responsible for the maintenance program. Working together, they extracted all the benefits the hybrid had to offer from a cost saving and environmental perspective.

This textbook approach will be used in the operation of the new electric Nissan Leaf, which is intended to be used in the similar capacity as the hybrid Escape. In addition to the introduction of the EVs, charging stations are being installed on-site. These exciting initiatives build upon our ongoing efforts to green our fleet.

We are proud to introduce the Leaf to our fleet roster. Congratulations to Mario Gionet,  Andre Duchesneau and Andre Fortin for their work in implementing these vehicles in Quebec City.

For more on how CBC/Radio-Canada continues to be environmental conscious and sustainable, check out our  annual Environmental Performance Report. The edition for 2015-2016 is scheduled for release in November.

– Athena Trastelis, Senior Manager, Environment, CBC/Radio-Canada

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Fort McMurray : A look back at our coverage through an infographic

Five months ago, to the day, 100 000 residents of Fort McMurray were threatened by devastating wildfires and forced to flee their homes – an ordeal they will never forget.

From the start, CBC and Radio-Canada were on the ground, 24 hours a day, reporting on the latest developments. Working together, our teams provided some of the best crisis coverage Canadians have experienced, many of them saying it was a lifesaver.

Find out, in numbers and pictures, the difference we made on the ground.

– Julien Faille-Lefrançois, Writer-editor, Enterprise Communications


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Lessons from Public Broadcasters International


From September 14 to 16, CBC/Radio-Canada played host to over 60 public broadcasters from around the world. Public Broadcasters International (PBI) is an annual event that was held this year in Montreal. The theme was The NEXT Future: Connecting the Digital Generation to Public Broadcasting. Maxime St-Pierre and I were invited to attend and provide a keynote presentation, which you can watch here. Below are our top observations from the event.

Millennials are Still Aliens
It was common for people to refer to Millennials as  “the young people,” seeming to be ignoring the fact that many Millennials are in their 30s, in careers, with kids themselves. I didn’t consider myself a youth when I turned 30. I think we still have work to do to make our younger citizens a part of our culture both internally and as part of our audience.

Richard Kanee, Head of Digital, CBC

Richard Kanee, Head of Digital, CBC

Overwhelmingly the most cited word used by all presenters. Vice, YouTube, Wattpad and others claim that the single most important thing we can do to reach Millennials is to speak authentically to them. I think what they are saying is that online audiences consider themselves a peer with content creators. How we create, publish and engage through our content should reflect this new flattened relationship where our audience are friends rather than targets.

Millennial Projects
One approach to reaching Millennials that we heard often was to create stand alone autonomous units that are shielded from the core business. We have examples of this at CBC/Radio-Canada, including the Idea Accelerator, the CBC Creator Network, as well as the Next Generation project announced at PBI. What was less discussed was the harder but necessary work of transforming our core business holistically from a public broadcaster to a public media company that privileges digital as equal alongside TV and radio.

Though challenging, and at times overwhelming in scope, the results of CBC/Radio-Canada’s efforts in this regard can already be seen in the additional 2 million Canadians per month we now reach online. This effort, fundamentally changing how we work and what we work on will enable CBC/Radio-Canada to expand and deepen our leadership position in Canada.

Us or Them
The tension between investing in our own digital sites and products vs “fishing where the fish are” on Facebook, Google and other third party platforms was a major theme of the week from the first panel. CBC/Radio-Canada has charted a path forward that lies somewhere in between. To reach new audiences, we must actively go and find them while also investing into branded products that serves a specific audience interest in our content, our brand and our experience.

Emphasis on Content, Not Product
Absent from the discussion last week were strategies and approaches to digital products. We are and have always been first and foremost content companies and that tends to be our focus. Our approach at CBC/Radio-Canada includes developing great products that answer the needs of our audience and creates an ideal environment for them to engage with and through our content.

Online publishers’ websites haven’t changed very much in a decade, while platform companies like Facebook dominate engagement with our audiences and relegate publishers to the role of content suppliers. Today we reach 16 million Canadians every month, the 9th largest digital audience in Canada. We are largely dependent on Google and Facebook for this audience. By investing, we will deepen engagement and retention of our audience on our products and allow us to continue to grow, regardless of whatever changes may occur on our partner products.

From small pacific island states to PBS and BBC, everyone in attendance shared a common passion for the cause of public service. The Robocon presentation from NHK was particularly inspiring. The Japanese broadcaster presented a case study on Robocon, an internationally televised robot building competition. Audiences were massive and in each of the 18 countries that participated, enrollment in engineering schools increased after airing. Truly inspiring public service programming!

– Richard Kanee, Head of Digital, CBC

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Reaching millennials: here’s where we start


From September 14 to 16, CBC/Radio-Canada hosted Public Broadcasters International (PBI), a conference bringing together hundreds of representatives from over 60 public broadcasters worldwide to focus on the challenge of engaging with the digital generation. A number of key themes emerged during the conference and I’ve compiled a list below of the ones that stood out the most for me.


Maxime St-Pierre, Executive Director, Digital Media Radio-Canada

All public broadcasters were unanimous on this point. The importance of authenticity and emotion in conveying our content (and our brands) was central to discussions. The main challenge being to strike a proper balance – to continually explore innovative narrative forms, while staying true to ourselves and aligned with the mandate and values of public broadcasters.

The never-ending quest for engagement and impact
How do you engage audiences in a two-way, reciprocal conversation? And how do you create impact to achieve the widest possible reach? In theory, we all agree that granular data is a powerful strategic tool in the quest for engagement. In practice, though, big data has yet to really take hold in broadcasters’ business processes. You can bet that this topic will be revisited at future conferences.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAExploration: the dichotomy between the search for perfection and the right to fail
Another aspect that stood out was the near-total lack of product development philosophy, where we allow ourselves to explore a lot of small initiatives and test out approaches with the right to fail, so as to better develop products that become more robust over time. Although a handful of public broadcasters have initiatives in place, there’s still room for progress in adopting these new operating models. All in all, we’re still trapped in the mindset of once a project is over, you move on the next one, just as the first one is starting to take off.

The clash of generations
During the event, the term “them” was thrown around a lot in reference to millennials and gen-Zers, to the detriment of the “we.” The fact that there was a panel on this topic also says something about how preoccupied public broadcasters are with millennials and generation Z. There are still many hurdles to overcome before we can start applying the “we” to everyone and ensure that we include all generations in the big content strategies, but also in the container strategies, as these containers are no longer simply TV sets, but a personalized multiscreen ecosystem tailored to the audience’s viewing context. So there’s still a lot of work to be done. Having these issues on our radar is the first step in the right direction. A few public broadcasters have implemented “by millennials, for millennials” team models and seem to have had some success. Is that the key to engaging the next generations? Let’s not take these initiatives lightly, but see them as an opportunity to expand our overall offering, while continuing to build on what we do well – inform, educate and entertain.

– Maxime St-Pierre, Executive Director, Digital Media, Radio-Canada

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10 takeaway quotes from our Annual Public Meeting

The spotlight was on digital at our Annual Public Meeting Tuesday evening in Moncton. A lot of people came out to join us for a conversation about the public broadcaster’s relevance in the digital age and the rapid evolution of information technology.

Masterfully emceed by Janique Leblanc and Ian Hanomansing, the event featured panelists Jean-François Bélanger, Samuel Chiasson, Karine Godin, Sonali Karnick and Harry Forestell.

Here’s a look at the top 10 quotes from our meeting:

jf“People are overloaded with information from many different sources and I think Radio-Canada is like a beacon in the storm.”

“People have a hard time identifying with stories that are told with numbers alone. There has to be a human element.”
– Jean-François Bélanger, Paris correspondent



“Be first, but be right – those are practices that we are integrating more and more as we are depending and using more social media to get out news and information.”
– Sonali Karnick, host, All in a Weekend




richars-s“We produce digital content, but our conventional platforms – radio and television – remain extremely important anchor points, especially for the Acadian community.”
– Richard Simoens, director, ICI Radio-Canada Atlantique




sam“A video of a cat playing the piano is fierce competition these days.”
– Samuel Chiasson, host, Méchante soirée





“Twitter can be imperfect in many ways, but it’s a great tool for events that happen quickly.”
– Ian Hanomansing, host, CBC News Network, and reporter, The National




harry“Social media is very good at describing the what, but not so good at explaining the why. We draw people to our television programs by trying to answer the why.”
– Harry Forestell, host, CBC News New Brunswick




“We need to develop this reflex of getting young people involved in creating and sharing their content. And we need to trust them with the keys to the car.”

“In French Services, all of our regional stations will benefit from the reinvestment, including our centres serving French-speaking minority communities.”
– Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO, CBC/Radio-Canada



“When you see the CBC/Radio-Canada logo, you have the promise that we did our homework, that we checked the facts.”
– Karine Godin, reporter, ICI Radio-Canada Acadie




#CBCAPM to follow the discussion online.

– Caroline Lévesque-Pelletier, Social Media Communications Specialist, Enterprise Commmunications

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