Young adults, those roughly 30 and under, have not embraced products that were or are mainstays of the lives of their parents and grandparents. They don’t care so much about television, prefer other messaging tools to email, and many don’t have a land line phone.
Every generation picks and chooses what they will carry forward from those who have gone before them. This next generation isn’t content with any kind of one way communication that expects them to be passive audience. And they aren’t just looking for opportunities to comment.
They want to help shape content, direct mandates and essentially be in the boardroom deciding on how products will be created or reimagined to be more relevant to them.
Reimagine CBC is a product of the new collaborative spirit that the next generation brings to their lives, their leisure activities and their work. It is a joint initiative of Leadnow.ca, a pro-democracy youth group, and Openmedia.ca, which works to engage, educate and empower citizens to defend and advance their communication interests, values and rights. Full disclosure, I am an advisor to the former and on the board of the latter.
People are vested in that which they create or have helped to shape.
Television viewership is declining and funds to public broadcasting are being slashed left, right and centre. The CBC is seeing severe cuts that have seen them chop overseas bureaus, drastically reduce documentary programing, and cut 2/3 of the live concert budget; studios across the country are also being closed. The cuts will get even deeper over the coming years.
If television is going to survive, particularly public broadcasting, it must reach its next generation of viewers and supporters. That means broadcasters have to reimagine a more collaborative relationship with their audience.
Reimagine CBC is a collective forum to share ideas about public broadcasting and what the CBC means, has meant and can mean to every Canadian, no matter how old. It is a grassroots organization helping to encourage the broadcaster to embrace its audience as an active participant and to better exploit the digital tools and cultures that will let that happen.
It brings together people of all generations, all walks of life and across a range of cultures and ethnicities both online and in the real world, including at this Vancouver event. The common thread running through them is a belief in public broadcasting and in the excellence of CBC, which is celebrated throughout the world for its journalistic integrity, its documentaries and its concert series and recordings.
People value what they have created or co-created. For generations, the CBC has united Canada, telling our stories and acting as our window to the world. In an increasingly digital age, we are surrounded by windows and platforms ready for us to tell our own stories and engage in those of others.
The participatory age is here. And not just for the CBC.
There are very few businesses that will be able to thrive if they do not move towards greater collaboration with those they serve. The time has come to Reimagine Everything.