Around The Dial: Broadcast & Media News Today

News about media and the regulatory environment both inside and beyond Canada's borders

Canada Confirms Participation In Post-TPP Talks

Although U.S. President Donald Trump kiboshed his country's involvement with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Canada says it will be at the bargaining table as the rest of the signatories figure out how to carry on with the agreement.

No date is set, but the parties will meet in Chile in March, notes the office of International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne. The invitation came from Chile's foreign minister, Heraldo Munoz, who invited ministers from the 11 other TPP members as well as China and South Korea to discuss how to proceed.

The TPP text is over 6000 pages long, and of principal interest to the Canadian music industry are the common rules set to include intellectual property rights. 

Telus Profit Down Sharply As It Attempts To Keep Up With Shaw

Vancouver-based telecommunications provider Telus registered a 67% profit loss to $87M or $.14 per share in its fourth quarter.

The loss was chiefly due to a one-time $305M payment to employees through a combination of cash and shares, in exchange for a wage freeze and lower overtime costs that will remain in place for both union and management until 2019. The move was made to free up flexibility to keep up the pace of its capital expenditure program, reports The Globe and Mail.

The company has been upgrading its landline and wireless networks to fibre-optic cable, as Shaw has been aggressively selling more high-speed internet services and its BlueSky TV service, a direct competitor to Telus' Optik TV.

Telus has spent $2.97B on capital expenditures in 2016 and plans to add another $2.9B to that tally in 2017, says CEO Darren Entwistle, adding that the company's wireless network will be much stronger than Shaw's Freedom Mobile division, while Telus Optik will have features that are favourably competitive with Shaws BlueSky TV.

The company also secured a reduction in employee overtime payment from double time to time-and-a-half, less vacation time and an end to Sunday working premiums.

“During this period of competitive intensity, the economic downturn in Alberta and the generational investments we’ve made on fibre, we need all hands on deck,” Mr. Entwistle told the Globe.

Telus reached a new collective agreement with the Telecommunications Workers Union, covering 10,500 workers in November. Two more agreements with separate Québec unions followed in December, with all new deals including the one-time payouts.

Telus reported Q4 revenue of $3.3B, up 2.7% from a year earlier. The company's adjusted profit was $.53 per share, down 1.9% and missing analyst projections of $.58 per share. 

Telus said it is targeting 2017 dividend increases in the range of 7% to 10%.

On the landline side, Telus revenue was up 1.3% to $1.5B and the company reported solid growth in Internet services, with 24K new customers in the quarter, ahead of expectations.

Slow Revenue Growth Hampers Twitter

A decline in Twitter Inc.'s Q4 advertising revenue by .5% to $638M and a rise in users to 319M fell short of Wall Street forecasts, sending shares down more than 10% in value on Thursday after the company poste its slowest revenue growth since it went public in 2013.

And it turns out that despite President Donald Trump's tenacity to tweet incessantly, an expected bump in the social media platform's popularity never materialized.

The 140-characters-a-tweet service has been unable to attract new users or advertisers in an area and atmosphere that has seen both Snapchat and Facebook Inc. make progress.

Reuters reports that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told analysts on a Thursday conference call that Twitter was investing in machine learning and searching for ways to engage advertisers.

“It will take time to show the results we all want to see, and we’re moving forward aggressively. The whole world is watching Twitter,” he said.

In the meantime, however, the company said that advertising revenue growth would continue to lag as well as user growth during 2017. Analysts were disappointed when Twitter's user base in the fourth quarter grew to 319M - .6M less than what they were expecting.

Total revenue grew 1.0 per cent to $717.2M, also missing analyst forecasts of $740.1M, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Twitter’s net loss widened to $167.1M, or $.23 per share, in the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31 2016, from $90.24M, or $.13 per share, a year earlier.

The one bit of good news? The company’s adjusted profit beat estimates, earning $.16 per share in Q4 instead of the forecasted $.12 per share. 

Restructuring charges in the last quarter soared to $101.2M from $12.9M in 2015.

Worth Noting

Read The CBC/Radio Canada Accountability Plan here - cbc.radio-canada.ca

Gene & Julie: 5 Radio Morning Bits That Always Work - Jacobs Media

The Independents: TekSavvy - A Grass Roots Success Story - Cartt.ca

MTV's Turnaround Plan: More Music, More Live, More Fun - Variety

6 Ways To Grow Your Podcast Audience With SEO - Marketing Land

Stevie Wonder Makes A Case For Fair Treatment Of Independent Radio Station Owners - Billboard

Broadcaster Magazine: 1941-2016 - Cartt.ca

Say Hello To The Super-Stealthy Malware That's Going Mainstream - Wired

 

 

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