Media Beat: March 12, 2018

Bell and Rogers Tell the CRTC Netflix Should Fund Canadian Content

The CRTC has been asked by the Trudeau government to release a report on how to sustain a business model that supports Canadian content, and has until June 1 to do so.

Leading up to the CRTC report, Canadian broadcast companies have submitted their comments to the CRTC, and The Financial Post has reported a summary of the positions held by companies such as Rogers, Telus, Bell, Shaw, Corus and Quebecor, which all have different ideas on what should neighbourhood.

Bell and Rogers want the CRTC to have companies such as Netflix to fund investments in Canadian programming, but both differ in their proposals – iPhone in Canada

CRTC decisions

The CRTC plans to issue the following decisions or regulatory policies in the coming week. This list may be incomplete and is subject to change without notice.

Decisions relating to the following applications considered under the Commission’s Part 1 process:

  • Sirius XM Canada
    Tangible benefits proposal filed by Sirius XM Canada Inc.
    Public record for this application: 2017-0560-0

  • Ethnic Channels Group Limited
    Addition of various non-Canadian programming services to the List of non-Canadian programming services and stations authorized for distribution
    Public record for these applications: 2017-1155-7, 2017-1072-3, 2017-1075-7, 2017-1082-2 and 2017-1084-8

Comcast challenges Murdoch's Fox with $31B offer to buy broadcasting group Sky

U.S. media giant Comcast announced a cash offer Tuesday to buy Sky, raising the stakes for Rupert Murdoch's Fox to take over the pay-tv group.

Comcast, which owns NBC and Universal Pictures, said it was offering 12.50 pounds per share. That proposal is significantly higher than the 10.75 pounds per share agreed by Twenty-First Century Fox – CNBC

iHeart: Firms having trouble threatening creditors with bankruptcy

Buyout kings lately are having a harder time bullying creditors with bankruptcy threats.

A year ago, lenders to radio broadcasting giant iHeart Media were getting threats from private-equity firms Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners, who demanded they take a haircut on $15 billion in bonds and cede control of the company to avoid a bankruptcy filing.

As soon as today (Monday), however, iHeart is expected to file for Chapter 11, with creditors led by Franklin Resources and Pimco poised to seize a controlling stake worth about $11 billion (including Clear Channel Outdoor) – New York Post

Facebook is getting exclusive rights to 25 Major League Baseball games

It’s the first time Facebook has had exclusive distribution rights to games from a major sports league – Recode

Scientology Is Launching a TV Network

An as-yet-unverified Twitter account called Scientology Network has an announcement video for Scientology.TV, which is launching today, March 12 on DirecTV, AppleTV, Roku, fireTV, Chromecast, iTunes, and Google Play. That suggests that the Network will be an over-the-top service in the vein of Netflix rather than a cable channel.

“The only thing more interesting than what you’ve heard is what you haven’t,” claims the video produced by the controversial religion, which counts such high-profile celebrities as Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its ranks. Scientology has been at the centre of ongoing scandals related to what its members can and cannot do, as well as how it deals with former devotees like Leah Remini, who has been highly critical of the Church since leaving it.

“We’re focused on one purpose, which is to preserve the purpose of Dianetics and Scientology,” says a man featured in the announcement video. “It’s a making a difference in the world. That’s what it’s all about,” adds a woman.

A Scientology channel has been rumoured since the organization purchased a nearly five-acre studio in Los Angeles’ Los Feliz neighborhood for $42 million from public TV station KCET (which downsized to smaller offices in Burbank) in 2011.

Scientology poured millions more into the run-down studio to re-open it as Scientology Media Productions. Scientology leader David Miscavige called the studio an “uncorrupted communication line to the billions” in a press release. “If you don’t write your own story, someone else will. So, yes, we’re now going to be writing our story, like no other religion in history. And it’s all going to happen right here from Scientology Media Productions.”

Radio station fined for playing song that 'glorified battlefield victories against non-Muslims'

The British broadcasting watchdog Ofcom said the song in question was “glorifying the victories on the battlefield of figures from Islamic history” and then suggesting that “similar violent acts committed against non-Muslim people would bring honour to Islam".

The station Radio Dawn, which serves the Muslim community, has since apologized for the song, which it said should never have "slipped through" – The Independent

Howard Stern wins court battle after broadcasting woman’s conversation with IRS

A Massachusetts federal judge has ruled that a private call between an Internal Revenue Service agent and taxpayer Judith Barrigas that was broadcast on The Howard Stern Show was somehow related to collection of taxes and also wasn't "sufficiently personal or intimate in nature." Accordingly, Stern and the U.S. government have beaten privacy and negligence claims by the woman – The Hollywood Reporter

Switzerland votes overwhelmingly to keep its public broadcaster

The debate focused on media’s role in fostering national unity in a country that has four official languages – The Guardian

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