Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: July 19, 2017

Ian Scott named as Blais successor in CRTC chair

The federal government has confirmed former Telesat and Telus executive Ian Scott as chairman of the CRTC.

As well, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada legal counsel Caroline Simard is named vice-chair, broadcasting. Both will assume their new duties in September.

CRTC senior legal counsel Christianne Laizner is named interim vice-chair telecom, effective immediately, filling the slot left open by Peter Menzies’ departure last week.

Not enough diversity on Canadian television, report says

A research report prepared for the CRTC notes there’s still a lack of television programming representing people with disabilities and the Indigenous population in particular — Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press


The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has announced that 13 digital media projects received a total of $10.2M in funding as part of the first round of production support from the 2017-2018 Experimental Stream – Innovation Program that is designed to encourage the creation of interactive digital media content and software applications.

— Live shows are shaping up to be an increasingly meaningful component of your standard podcast business (to the extent there is such a thing as “standard”), and if you’re looking to set that up, you probably need the help of touring professionals.

The Billions Corporation — a 28-year-old touring agency with offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Toronto, and Nashville — has been working with podcasts for a while now, representing shows like Welcome to Night Vale, Criminal, and The Flop House — Nieman Lab

— Netflix added 5.2M new subscribers last quarter, with roughly 4.1M coming from outside the US — Recode

— Microsoft wants to extend broadband services to rural America by turning to a wireless technology that uses the buffer zones separating individual television channels in the airwaves.

— The BBC has cast a woman as the next star of Doctor Who — more than three decades after the sci-fi show's Canadian co-creator, Sydney Newman, suggested they do exactly that.

— Corus Entertainment has announced a trio of high-profile departures, with SVP of women and lifestyle content John MacDonald and SVP, brands and marketing Susan Schaefer set to exit the company. A spokesperson for Corus also confirmed that Amy Sutton, director of programming, women and family has left.

— The transmitter for CFJC Kamloops’ sister radio station CIFM serving the Ashcroft and Cache Creek area has been destroyed by the Ashcroft Reserve Wildfire. Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Engineers are in the area to survey the damage, which is substantial. In a related story, Rogers is waiving domestic voice/text/data overages until July 28 for those customers evacuated from the affected areas.

Worth Noting

Will the death of US retail be the next big short

Credit Suisse estimates that as many as 8,640 stores with 147m square feet of retailing space could close down just this year — surpassing the level of closures after the financial crisis and dotcom bust — Financial Times

Elon Musk says we need to regulate AI before it becomes a danger to humanity

Elon Musk’s thoughts on artificial intelligence are well known at this point. He famously compared work on AI to “summoning the demon,” and has warned time and time again that the technology poses an existential risk to humanity.

At a gathering of US governors this weekend, he repeated these sentiments, but also stressed something he says is even more important: that governments need to start regulating AI nowThe Verge

Businesses are hanging up on the desk phone

KPMG, one of Canada’s largest accounting firms, is ditching desk phones in favour of broadband connections. And they're not alone — Emily Jackson, Financial Post

Rogers wireless-plan tweak could lead to U.S.-style pricing

Rogers Communications Inc. recently tweaked some of its high-end wireless plans, a move that could herald a shift toward more U.S.-style pricing that separates the cost of customers’ smartphones from their monthly service charges — The Globe & Mail

Quebecor buys a chunk of Quebecor Media from Caisse after spectrum sales

Analysts estimated the two spectrum sales – of $184-million to Rogers Communications Inc. and $430-million to Shaw Communications Inc. – will reduce Quebecor’s debt to EBITDA ratio by 0.4 points to 3.0 times when both deals close — Christine Dobby, The Globe & Mail

Canada podcasts, the laundry list

The real deal on what’s available and what the podcasters are selling, giving away and the stories behind what they are pitching — PlayerFM

Has Trump turned CNN into an existential house of dread?

After relentless attacks from Trump and his allies, a series of journalistic problems, and in the shadow of a possible merger, the network’s C.E.O., Jeff Zucker, is feeling the heat. “I think there’s a real chance that Zucker is being forced out,” said one employee. “That’s going to blow up this organization like nothing in the history of CNN” — Sarah Ellinson, Vanity Fair

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