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CBC to slice 657 jobs, announces $130 million in budget cuts

Deals with the loss of Hockey Night in Canada, budget cuts from the Canadian government, and a loss in 25-54 viewership...

The Corporation is cutting back.

The CBC announced cuts of 657 jobs on Thursday – to be carried out over the next two years – amid “shortfalls and revenue losses” that have forced the broadcaster to clear out $130 million from its budget in 2014.

The CBC also said it will no longer be competing for the rights to professional sports, but will still go after international sporting events like the Olympics – “events of national significance” (CBC News).

“Very tough and controversial choices needed to be made and were made,” said CBC president and CEO Hubert T. Lacroix, in a meeting with staff today. “We were not able to protect these priorities as much as we would have liked to. And Canadians will now notice.”

Those unprotected priorities include the National Hockey League, which entered into an agreement with Rogers last fall. The private broadcaster – which owns Sportsnet – now owns the rights to air all nationally televised hockey games in Canada.

Under the agreement, Rogers has creative and editorial control over the CBC’s flagship program, Hockey Night in Canada, and will receive all revenue from the program, as well. The CBC has aired HNIC since its first season in 1952.

The Rogers/NHL deal will last for 12 years, starting this fall, worth $5.232 billion.

In addition to last fall’s seismic shift in the NHL’s landscape, the CBC must also deal with a three-year, $115 million loss in funding, put through by the Canadian government in its 2012 budget.

The public broadcaster also said its viewership in the 25-54 age demographic, which has cost it $47 million in lost revenue.

The network will also be ending its late night news in the North, will have one less television series, and will not replace George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight (which will end when Strombo moves to Hockey Night in Canada).

VIDEO: The National’s story on Rogers scoring NHL rights through 2015

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