Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: November 22, 2017

Can Canada build its own podcast industry?

“There are no major players. There is no industry,” says Jesse Brown, founder of Canadaland, the independent news organization and podcast network. “Canada is five years behind the U.S. with professional podcasting, at least.”

Brown, of course, was one of the first people I wanted to trade emails with about Canadian podcasting, given his prominence as a media critic in the country and the fact that he’s a close observer of local industry dynamics out of necessity. Further, Canadaland has consistently popped up across conversations I’ve had about the country, looked upon as both symbol and test case for a longstanding question: Can an independent news organization exist in Canada?

Can an independent podcast network? (Those questions, as you could imagine, are equally deployable with respect to the United States.)

At this point, the case continues to be tested. “So, Canadaland sells our own ads to brands like Casper and Hello Fresh, and we work with Midroll to sell to Squarespace and other familiar podcast advertisers,” Brown wrote, when asked about his adventures in podcast advertising. “Our founding sponsor was Freshbooks, a Canadian company. But one or two Canadian brands does not an industry or ecosystem make.” Canada has a unique problem with advertising, in Brown’s formulation, as its smaller population means that advertising alone won’t be enough to sustain podcasting at a professional level.

Which is why Canadaland is structured as a hybrid business built on both ad sales and crowdfunding, with the latter engine being positioned as the primary driver of the company.

At this writing, the company’s Patreon account enjoys over 4,500 supporters and brings in over $22,000 a month —

Nicholas Quah, NiemanLab


A farewell to CBS Radio

Few media companies offer the time-honored pedigree of CBS Radio, which launched in 1928 as the Columbia Broadcasting System by William S. Paley. Now, as the sun sets on the iconic brand—amid its merger with Entercom—Inside Radio looks back on the mighty empire that ultimately grew into 117 radio stations in 26 markets coast-to-coast.

Technically, CBS Radio was born out of a deal engineered by artist manager Arthur L. Judson. He lined up investors, rented studio space at WOR New York and ultimately convinced 16 stations to sign on. His new network would pay stations for carrying its programs, with its own expenses paid for by advertising. The Columbia Phonograph Company agreed to provide cash, and so, on-air, it was called the Columbia Phonograph Broadcasting System.

In September 1927, the network went live with an orchestra broadcast, and then provided 10 hours of arts programming each week, contracting to pay each station $500 per week. But a few months in, Columbia Phonograph pulled out, while salesmen also struggled to sell airtime. In peril, Judson sold his fledgling radio company to the Levy brothers, who owned the successful WCAU Philadelphia. They brought in additional investors, including Sam Paley, owner of the Congress Cigar Co….

Stingray launches three 4K UHD channels globally

Montreal-based Stingray music platform has launched Stingray Now 4K to its portfolio of 4K UHD specialty channels. Rogers is the first provider worldwide to introduce the 4K music video channels offering themed formats spanning arts, culture, health and nature.

4K UHD is one of the two resolutions of ultra-high definition television targeted towards consumer television. As 4K TV sales have grown at an explosive pace in the past three years (4K UHD resolution has become dominant among new TV sets released by major brands since 2014), consumer demand for 4K UHD content has seen exponential growth,” the company reports.

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