“It would appear that Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains has had enough. Enough of incumbent telecom giants claiming that more competition would be bad for consumers. Enough of CRTC Chair Ian Scott dismissing consumer concerns about the state of communications services. Enough of half-measures that fail to significantly move the policy needle and leave the government looking weak on an issue that is critically important to its innovation agenda. Yesterday, Bains took his most significant policy step to date to address telecommunications concerns by issuing a proposed policy direction to the CRTC based on competition, affordability, consumer interests, and innovation. The proposed policy direction will take several months to work its way through a defined legal process (publication in the Canada Gazette in early March, 30 days for public comment, 40 House of Commons sitting days before it can take effect), but should be operational by the summer.
“(What this) signals that telecom policy will be an election issue in 2019. Wireless pricing, misleading telecom sales tactics, and an embarrassingly out-of-touch CRTC under Ian Scott have attracted significant media attention and are forcing the issue onto the political agenda. The Liberal approach to date on the telecom issue has been largely ineffective: the “step in the right direction” refrains are increasingly mocked, the referrals back to the Commission rejected, and their selection of CRTC chair viewed as a blunder. The proposed policy direction sends the signal that the government wants to prioritize alternative competition such as MVNOs, affordability, and consumer protection. Look for the other parties to jump in with their own proposals in the months ahead.
“Second, the government is not buying what the incumbent telecom companies have been selling. Bell, Telus, and Rogers have tried to cast doubt on studies that consistently find Canadian consumers pay some of the highest wireless prices in the world. They have downplayed the reports of misleading sales tactics. They have implausibly argued that competition from MVNOs would harm consumers (an April 2018 letter from BCE CEO George Cope to Bains released under ATIP warns of “the damage that would be done to competition and consumers”). The government isn’t buying any of it, instead introducing a proposed policy direction that features policies that have been consistently opposed by the incumbents.”
– Abridged from Michael Geist’s Feb. 27 blog post.
Ontario Creates is now accepting applications for the Global Market Development program 2019-20. This program provides eligible Ontario interactive digital media content producers with funding to participate in international activities that correspond to their strategy for company growth. Primary activities supported are market event attendance and targeted sales trips.
Deadline: April 30, 2019 (by 5:00 pm ET)
Information Session (Registration Required): April 2, 2019
Webinar Session (Registration Required): April 4, 2019
Guidelines and Application Process
Complete Guidelines and the link to the Online Application Portal (OAP) are posted on the Ontario Creates website.
Real gross domestic product edged down 0.1% in December, the third decline in four months. The 0.7% decline in goods-producing industries more than offset the 0.2% gain in service-producing industries. – StatsCan
The common wisdom business owners hear is, “Well, you can’t really calculate ROI from social media directly.”
Hogwash. We do it all the time, and the formula we use to understand how marketing spends will influence revenues is simple. – Tod Maffin, The Globe & Mail
Revenue was down 5.8% to $1.658B, and a strategic review is underway to sell all or part of the company’s businesses. For 2019, the company expects net income to be between $240 million and $300 million, and revenue to be flat to up 1.5%. – Broadcasting & Cable
More than 240,000 people donated to 154 non-profit newsrooms in 2018’s last two months as part of the NewsMatch program. Geared as a national grassroots campaign to stir up individual support — backed with checks from a coalition of journalism-friendly and local foundations and, new this year, Facebook — NewsMatch has brought $14.8M over the past three years to non-profit newsrooms since its launch in 2016. – Christine Schmidt, NiemanLab
A few months ago, Emily White wrote an article that gave voice to the technological frustrations of listeners, “Where is the Instagram for Audio?” From the creator’s perspective, I ask, “Where is the YouTube for Podcasts?”
I’m not about to argue that a direct translation of YouTube is the solution to the podcast platform problem. There are a lot of problems with YouTube’s model. But a comparison between audio and video platforms is useful in highlighting how far podcast platforms are behind other digital mediums. – Lindsay Patterson, Medium
The Times added 265,000 new digital subscribers in the fourth quarter and last year the company added 120 newsroom employees, bringing the total number of journalists at The Times to 1,600, the largest count in its history. – Jaclyn Pieser, The NYT
There's a narrative in media circles that Netflix, Amazon and other technology companies are killing cable companies. Cord cutting is accelerating! No one watches cable TV anymore! The end is nigh!
The quieter truth is that many cable companies — maybe even most — don't really care. – Alex Sherman, CNBC
Journalists and media personalities rank high on the list along with clergy and (un)civil servants, according to a new book. – Reuben Westmaas, Curiosity
Darren “Dude” O’Donnell, a C-103 Moncton on-air personality, died of cancer Feb. 28 at age 48.