Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: July 12, 2017

Cogeco with $1.4B US acquisition

Canada's Cogeco Communications Inc said Monday its Atlantic Broadband unit has agreed to buy all of the cable systems operating under the MetroCast brand name from Harron Communications LP for $1.4B in cash.

MetroCast has a network of close to 236,000 homes and businesses in New Hampshire, Maine, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia and serves 120,000 internet, 76,000 video and 37,000 telephony customers.

The company is expecting to generate $230M of revenue in 2017. "With this acquisition, we are increasing our customer base in attractive markets adjacent to the ones we currently serve," Cogeco Chief Executive Louis Audet said in a statement.

The deal is expected to close in Jan. of 2018 and will be financed with secured debt provided by two banks and an equity investment by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

CRTC broadcasting decisions, July 10

2017-243 Radio Chalom - Montréal, Quebec - APPROVED - Application to renew the broadcasting licence for the religious radio station CJRS Montréal, Quebec

2017-244 9427899 Canada Inc. - Montréal, Quebec - APPROVED - Applications to renew the broadcasting licence for the ethnic radio station CKIN-FM Montréal, Quebec

Telecom regulatory policy:

2017-11-1 Application of regulatory obligations directly to non-carriers offering and providing telecommunications services - Change to registration date - Revised registration deadline: 17 July 2018 - File number: 8663-B2-201514050

Telecom order:

2017-242 Bell Aliant Regional Communications, Limited Partnership – Local channel rates - File number: Tariff Notice 508

Google funds automated local news writing software

Google is awarding the Press Association, a large British news agency, $805,000 to build software to automate the writing of 30,000 local stories a month.

The money comes from a fund from Google, the Digital News Initiative, that the search giant started with a commitment to invest over $170 million to support digital innovation in newsrooms across Europe — Recode

News consortium wants to bring Google to heel

This week, a group of news organizations will begin an effort to win the right to negotiate collectively with the big online platforms and will ask for a limited antitrust exemption from Congress to do so.

It’s an extreme measure with long odds. But the industry considers it worth a shot, given its view that Google and Facebook, regardless of their intentions, are posing a bigger threat economically than President Trump is (so far) with his rhetoric.

That’s how David Chavern, the chief executive of the News Media Alliance, put it in an opinion piece published online by The Wall Street Journal on Sunday evening.

The Alliance, the main newspaper industry trade group, is leading the effort to bargain as a group. But it has buy-in across the spectrum of its membership, bringing together competitors like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, as well as scores of regional papers like The Star Tribune of Minneapolis, which face the gravest threats  — The New York Times

Here’s what podcasts Canadians are listening to, as charted by iTunes

Non-Mover. 385 days on the chart

Non-Mover. 20 days on the chart

Up 1 place. 69 days on the chart

Up 1 place. 756 days on the chart

Up 1 place. 676 days on the chart

Down 3 places. 27 days on the chart

Up 1 place. 1354 days on the chart

Down 1 place. 111 days on the chart

Up 2 places. 854 days on the chart

New Entry!

Down 2 places. 1004 days on the chart

Down 2 places. 35 days on the chart

Up 2 places. 1133 days on the chart

Non-Mover. 705 days on the chart

Up 3 places. 13 days on the chart

Up 5 places from #21

Up 2 places. 19 days on the chart

Down 2 places. 1353 days on the chart

Up 14 places from #33

         20 Hidden Brain

Non-Mover. 599 days on the chart

Up 7 places from #28

Up 1 place. 676 days on the chart

Up 4 places. 27 days on the chart

Up 12 places from #36

Up 15 places from #40

Non-Mover. 134 days on the chart

Up 4 places. 1333 days on the chart

Down 4 places. 156 days on the chart

In Passing

Bell Media Radio launched the first HD radio signals broadcasting from the CN Tower on June 30, providing all four of its Toronto radio stations in digital audio alongside their regular analog audio broadcasts. The new digital HD signal of 99.9 Virgin Radio, also carries In-Depth Radio NewsTalk 1010 on its second HD channel, while 'Today’s Best Music Station' 104.5 CHUM FM carries sports station TSN 1050 on its secondary HD channel.

— Behind every number: A portrait of Canada — A video about Canada seen through the lens of statistics

— The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has published its Trends Report 2017 Mid-Year Update. PDF available here; highlights include:

  • It may prove to be affordable to reach audiences that have been ‘filtered’ and targeted by algorithms. That first pool of ‘converts’ can then facilitate the marketing of content to other audiences.

  • Users are increasingly inclined to pay for the cultural and entertainment content that they consume online.

  • Despite the impressive number of users on the dominant platforms, large swathes of the population remain to this day poorly served by these major players which offer too little diversity.

  • On a global scale, there will be great potential in the French-language market over the coming years, and it’s a potential that is worth exploring.

  • Creativity and talent rather than technology remain the assets that are most sought out and the most susceptible of creating long-term value. In this regard, Canada is very rich in both creative and technological talent.

— One in four 18-to-34-year olds and 28% of students have ditched cable entirely. That’s according to a report from the Media Technology Monitor (MTM) — Playback

— The Interactive Advertising Bureau has announced the lineup for its 3rd annual podcast upfront, and it boasts some changes. Gimlet, Public Media Marketing, and iHeartRadio are added to the mix, while CBS and AdLarge appear to be sitting this one out. This year’s festivities will take place on September 7 at Time Inc.’s Henry R. Luce Auditorium in New York.

US podcast ad revenues are forecasted to skyrocket to more than $220M in 2017, an uptick of 85% over the $119M recorded in 2016, according to the first IAB Podcast Advertising Revenue Study released by the Interactive IAB and conducted by PwC US.

—  When radio ratings got more precise, it changed how programmers saw their audience. Are podcasters heading for something similar? Gabe Bullard at Nieman Lab has the scoop and it’s a fascinating read.

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