Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: June 08, 2018

Bell Media creates new VOD hub

Bell Media is rebranding four of its entertainment specialty channels as CTV properties. Space, Bravo, Comedy, and Gusto will become CTV Sci-Fi, CTV Drama, CTV Comedy, and CTV Life. They will be joined by CTV Movies and CTV Vault, two new ad-supported VOD services, in a new CTV digital super-hub featuring all seven services.

The rebrand of the four specialties will be preceded by the launch of two, new digital VOD services, CTV Movies and CTV Vault. Debuting "in front of the wall" on the new platform, CTV Movies and CTV Vault will each offer thousands of hours of content, refreshed weekly, all flowing from a new partnership with Sony Pictures Television.

No doubt referencing the popularity of online services such as Netflix and Amazon Amazon’s Prime Video, Bell Media President Randy Lennox explained the move in the following statement: "In today's crowded media landscape, it's essential for our services to have the same scale and brand ubiquity as our international competitors. As a result, we're focusing and amplifying CTV so that it is stronger than ever." – Bell Media

Bell Media to spend $900M on Canadian productions in new calendar year

Bell Media confirmed today its first wave of new and returning, English-language, original entertainment programming for 2018/19. A total of 13 new and 29 returning original series and specials are confirmed to- date, produced in partnership with independent producers and international content companies, as well as Bell Media Studios, the company’s in-house production arm.

Bell Media once again plans to spend nearly $900 million overall on French and English programming in 2018/19, all promoted by the Bell Media megaphone, including Canada’s most-watched television network, CTV. Further details can be found here.

Paul Ski consultancy expands with Mike Dorn partnership

Paul Ski Media has partnered with Dorn’s Audience Research Int. to offer media research and strategy services to companies in Canada.

Both Ski and Dorn have considerable experience in researching the Canadian media environment. As well as acting as CEO and President of two of Canada’s largest, most successful broadcast companies, Ski has participated in the development of strategic plans for some of Canada’s most successful radio stations for over 30 years. ARI has researched Canadian radio markets for over 25 years.

“We felt there was a need for a media research company in Canada that understood the landscape and had a depth and breadth of experience in these markets that no others could offer”, Ski says of the new affiliation.  

Paul Ski Media can be reached at pski@rogers.com or 416-846-6895

Stingray Digital Group reports Q4 gains

The Montreal-based B2B multi-platform music and media provider reports revenues increased by $33M in its Q4 quarter ending March 31, a 24.7% increase over the same quarter 2017.

Recurring revenues were up 30.8% to $29.7 million, music broadcasting revenues increased 26% to 24.8M.

Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter increased to $11.8M or 35.6% of revenues, compared to $9M or 34.1% of revenues a year earlier. The 29.9% increase in Adjusted EBITDA was primarily due to the acquisitions realized in Fiscal 2018 and to the organic growth, partially offset by higher operating expenses related to international expansion, the company said in a media release.

For the fourth quarter, the company reported a net income of $4.7M, or $0.08 per share (diluted), compared to $4.6M, or $0.09 per share (diluted) for the same period last year. The increase was mainly attributable to higher operating results and net finance income, as well as lower legal fees, partially offset by lower income tax recovery and higher amortization expense.

Revenues in Fiscal 2018 increased 25.1% to $127M compared to $101.5M a year ago. The increase in revenues was primarily due to the acquisitions of Yokee Music, Classica and Qello Concerts, combined with organic growth of SVOD in the US., as well as additional music and equipment sales related to digital signage. – Stingray filing

JAZZ.FM91 CEO steps down in wake of probe into sexual-harassment allegations

Long-time broadcaster Ross Porter stepped down last week from his position as president and CEO of Toronto’s JAZZ.FM91 radio station on the heels of a third-party workplace investigation, a probe spurred by a letter from more than a dozen current and former employees alleging he had sexually harassed staff and created a toxic workplace, The Globe & Mail reports.

In a statement posted to its website on May 30, the not-for-profit jazz station said Porter, a former CBC radio host who took over as head of JAZZ.FM91 in 2004, “will now spend more time with his family and his ailing wife,” who has cancer. He has been granted the honorary title of president emeritus and will continue to host his Saturday morning show, Music to Listen to Jazz By.

Charles Cutts, the former president and chief executive officer of the Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall, has been appointed interim CEO of the station.

In a statement to The Globe and Mail, Porter denied that the changes were prompted by the investigation. – Simon Houpt & Marsha Lederman, G&M

Liberals set expert panel to look at ways to regulate online streaming services

The panel will have 18 months to complete its work but will be required to provide an interim report to the government next June. The timeline for a final report means detailed legislative recommendations will not arrive until weeks after the next federal election in Oct. 2019 — ensuring the interim report, among others recently presented to the government, will likely make internet and Netflix taxes election issues. – The Canadian Press

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