Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: July 19, 2019

Expert body calls for expanded rules to fix news-outlet tax credit status

The federal government should increase the scope of tax credits being made available to help small news-media outlets survive, an independent panel of experts recommended in a report issued Thursday.

The tax credit program being offered by the federal Liberals will not be enough on its own to prevent the disappearance of some news outlet, the panel said in a letter to Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez and Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

Especially vulnerable are “small local news media outlets that are not covered by the Budget 2019 measures,” the letter stated. – Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press

Audioboom sees 171% revenue growth for H1 2019

Podcast company Audioboom reported its financial results from the first half of 2019. Revenue in the first six months of the year totaled $9.8 million, up 171% on-year. More than 88% of the revenue figure came from the U.S., although the company also saw more than 100% increase in its UK revenue to reach $1.1 million. Audioboom cut its EBITDA loss in half, from $2.8 million in H1 2018 to $1.4 million in H1 2019. – Anna Washenko, RAINN News

Have we hit peak podcast?

It’s no wonder that the phrase “everyone has a podcast” has become a Twitter punch line. Like the blogs of yore, podcasts — with their combination of sleek high tech and cozy, retro low — are today’s de rigueur medium, seemingly adopted by every entrepreneur, freelancer, self-proclaimed marketing guru, and even corporation. (Who doesn’t want branded content by Home Depot and Goldman Sachs piped into their ears on the morning commute?) There are now upward of 700,000 podcasts, according to the podcast production and hosting service Blubrry, with between 2,000 and 3,000 new shows launching each month. In August William Morrow will publish a book by Kristen Meinzer, a co-host of the popular “By the Book” podcast. Its title: “So You Want to Start a Podcast.” – Jennifer Miller, The New York Times

G7 finance chiefs pour cold water on Facebook's digital coin plans

The massive social media company’s plan to launch a digital coin has met with a chorus from regulators, central bankers and governments saying it must respect anti-money-laundering rules and ensure the security of transactions and user data.

But there are also deeper concerns that the powers of big tech companies increasingly encroach on areas belonging to governments, like issuing currency. – Michael Nienaber, Reuters

Netflix subscriber drop hints at streaming-service fatigue

A dramatic slowdown in worldwide growth at Netflix — including the first quarterly drop in its U.S. subscribers since 2011 — is raising questions about just how much are people willing to pay for streaming services. Especially with a host of new ones from Disney, Apple and others on their way. – Mae Anderson, The Associated Press

BBC could become a subscription service, says director-general

The BBC could switch away from the licence fee to a Netflix-style voluntary subscription model, the director-general acknowledged yesterday.

The compulsory licence fee system is guaranteed until 2027, after which the broadcaster will have to negotiate a new funding arrangement with the government. – Matthew Moore, The Times

Sky News appoints first dedicated climate change correspondent

In May, an update to the Guardian style guide told journalists to stop using the phrase “climate change”, instead favouring “climate emergency, crisis or breakdown” in a push for “stronger language to describe the situation we’re in”.

Head of Sky News John Ryley said the broadcaster planned to give “full weight and support to continue to set the agenda on the crisis of climate change”. – Charlotte Tobitt, PressGazette

Newspapers should reorient their print content to serve their aging audiences 

What other kinds of content will inform and delight an older print audience? History and nostalgia, longer features, puzzles. They have leisure time to spend on these things that a younger audience does not.

Why aren’t we treating the obituary pages, from a design and editing perspective, as one of the most important sections of the newspaper? We might joke about it, but what could be more important than the deaths of loyal readers’ contemporaries? And if a Tim Conway or Doris Day dies, it deserves major treatment. These are the stars of our readers’ youth. – Matt DeRienzo, Editor&Publisher

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