Howard Beale on a tear in '70s film Network.
Howard Beale on a tear in '70s film Network.

Media Beat: May 17, 2019

What Was Said

Fox News is a hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists—it’s designed to turn us against each other, risking life and death consequences, to provide cover for the corruption that’s rotting our government and hollowing out our middle class.

Hate-for-profit works only if there’s profit, so Fox News balances a mix of bigotry, racism, and outright lies with enough legit journalism to make the claim to advertisers that it’s a reputable news outlet. It’s all about dragging in ad money—big ad money.

But Fox News is struggling as more and more advertisers pull out of their hate-filled space. A Democratic town hall gives the Fox News sales team a way to tell potential sponsors it's safe to buy ads on Fox—no harm to their brand or reputation (spoiler: It’s not).

Here’s one place we can fight back: I won’t ask millions of Democratic primary voters to tune into an outlet that profits from racism and hate in order to see our candidates—especially when Fox will make even more money adding our valuable audience to their ratings numbers.

I’m running a campaign to reach all Americans. I take questions from the press and voters everywhere I go. I’ve already held town halls in 17 states and Puerto Rico—including WV, OH, GA, UT, TN, TX, CO, MS & AL.

I’ve done 57 media avails and 131 interviews, taking over 1,100 questions from press just since January. Fox News is welcome to come to my events just like any other outlet. But a Fox News town hall adds money to the hate-for-profit machine. To which I say: hard pass. – Elizabeth Warren, May 14 on Twitter

Sale of Shaw stake could mean more deals for Corus

Corus Entertainment Inc. watched its share price plunge after Shaw Communications Inc. sold its stake in the television network owner to a group of banks led by TD Securities –a plot twist analysts saw coming as part of Shaw’s long-term plans to shed media assets and focus instead on its higher-growth wireless business.

Industry analyst Kaan Yigit, president of Solutions Research Group, said Corus has a decent collection of assets, but that the new world of Netflix and social media’s dominance in advertising is “cruel for mid-sized players.” The share sale could give Corus more leeway to look for a deal, whether it’s a large buyer or in pieces to niche players, Yigit said in an email.

The biggest problem, however, is “out-dated” CRTC rules that “hinder a larger deal by making it unattractive or not allowing them to have the flexibility needed,” he said. – Emily Jackson, Financial Post

Why Netflix is no longer political poison in Canada

Stephen Harper made it next to impossible heading into the 2015 election for any political party to propose a tax on Netflix, Google and other foreign online services. But two provinces are now charging sales tax on those international media companies, suggesting that at least some governments now see the economic benefits outweighing the political risks. – Chris Hall, CBC

Taxing digital monopolies should be 2019 election issue

It has been a few weeks of important news for all those who believe in fair taxation and that the giant digital monopolies, such as Google, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon and Spotify, should pay their fair share.

First of all, the Quebec government, which is the first in Canada to make the digital oligopolies collect sales tax (only Quebec PST in this case) discovered that in the short period from Jan. 1 to March 31 some $15.5 million was raised from these companies combined, much more than anticipated. Saskatchewan has also started collecting PST sales tax in January on digital sales. – John Anderson, The Star

Trudeau takes aim at big tech, announces ‘Digital Charter’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says social media platforms and tech giants have failed Canadian users and it’s time the government stepped in.

According to prepared remarks obtained by the Star, the Liberal government is set to unveil a framework for reining in tech giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon. The so-called “Digital Charter” will outline the government’s expectations on issues such as data ownership, privacy protections and the online dissemination of hate — and Trudeau said the government is considering “meaningful” financial penalties for companies that break the rules. – Alex Boutilier, The Star

Stingray signs licensing deal with Northstar Media

The Montreal-based media company has signed a 3-year global licensing agreement with Northstar Media, a music distribution company. Under this agreement, Stingray Festival 4K will be granted the license to 49 concerts filmed in 4K Ultra HD by artists such as Imagine Dragons, Shawn Mendes, Playboi Carti, Beth Hart and Rae Sremmurd. The first titles will air in July. – Stingray media release

Audit suggests Google favors a small number of major outlets

In the last week in April, nearly 23 percent of all traffic to news sites tracked by web analytics firm Parse.ly came from search engines. Google alone accounts for almost half of external referral traffic—traffic, that is, that comes from platforms, apps, and other outside sources— to news sites. Together with the fact that Facebook referral traffic is on the wane, this means that Google’s search algorithm is now perhaps the most powerful mediator of online attention to news.

But for all the influence Google has in directing attention, we know painfully little about how its algorithm selects and curates news. Which sites does it direct traffic toward? And how does Google’s news curation impact the diversity of information found? – Nicholas Diakopoulos, Columbia Review of Journalism

What is radio’s value in 2019 and beyond?

What should the role of radio in our connected world be? And what should your business do now to be part of that?

Those questions are explored in a 37-page paper released in March by a working group of the North American Broadcasters Association titled “The Value Proposition of Radio in a Connected World” and discussed in a session at the Broadcast Engineering & IT Conference at the NAB Show.

The paper makes for thoughtful reading by anyone interested in the overall direction of the radio industry and how it uses technical platforms. What follows is a summary of its major points based on my reading of the document and attending the session. – Doug Irwin, RadioWorld

Change is coming to America

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just blew the roof off of the building with an epic speech. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) spoke Monday night at Howard University to discuss the road to making the Green New Deal law. Ocasio-Cortez blasted "middle-of-the-road" Democratic approach to "save our lives." Ocasio-Cortez criticized Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden last week for his "middle ground" approach, calling it a "dealbreaker."

– by way of Warren Cosford

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