Media Beat: August 13, 2019
What Was Said
Breaking news used to be “news of transcendent importance.” Now it’s a joke.
TV and the Internet got drunk on “breaking” on the same day. It was Sept. 11, 2001. Three cable networks and an evolving blogosphere had a story that changed minute-to-minute, with confusing details and rumors out of nowhere and, eventually, a hot war in central Asia.
Constant “breaking” news alerts made sense in those weeks. And then the news cycle slowed down. The TV channels shrugged and kept using “breaking” and “alerts” at a greater pace than ever. “It got trivialized, and people couldn’t unring the bell,” says Craig Allen, a professor at Arizona State and a historian of TV news. “It’s just horrible now. We’ve got TVs on the wall I walk past in the morning. My eye is trained to notice a ‘BREAKING’ alert and pay more attention. So is yours. But half the time I see an alert, and it turns out it’s somebody announcing an announcement of an announcement of a news conference.”
– David Weigel, Slate, April 2012
Huawei has begun researching 6G at its Ottawa lab
Huawei has started researching the next generation of wireless technology that will follow 5G at its primary research centre outside Ottawa– Catherine McIntyre, The Locic (subscription necessary)
It appears Canadian media fell for a viral political hoax
The puzzling case of a troll stirring up a divisive debate pitting neo Conservatives against MOR conservatives and baiting media into a game of pin the tail on the donkey. Take from the unfolding drama of Farhan Rana’s city hall rant in Toronto, as patched together from a wide variety of sources by Anna Slatz on Post Millennial dot com.
Writers Guild aghast at Geist
THE Globe and Mail published an opinion piece by the University of Ottawa’s Michael Geist, entitled “Election 2019: Return of the Netflix tax debate”. The Writers Guild of Canada has long differed with professor Geist on the subject of cultural policy, but in this case he not only reaches conclusions with which we strongly disagree, but gets a number of his facts wrong in the process… Maureen Parker, Cartt.ca
Montreal Virgin Radio listeners upset after morning team is quietly fired
"Freeway" Frank Depalo and Natasha Gargiulo are gone, replaced by "Cousin Vinny" Barrucco and Shannon King.
Virgin Radio has seen its ratings decline since The Beat replaced the old Q92 in 2011. That summer, Virgin had a 20 percent share of audience tuning hours versus 16 percent for The Beat, according to estimates from ratings firm Numeris. Two years later, The Beat became the most popular music station, and this spring it had an 18.8 percent share, exactly double Virgin’s 9.4 percent. Virgin had slipped not only behind The Beat, but also its sister station CHOM and even CBC Radio One. – Steve Faguy, Montreal Gazette
The inside story of Postmedia’s right turn
Many employees fear current plans to double down on what management calls “reliable conservative voices” will eradicate the local perspectives and political independence of some of Canada’s oldest and most important newspapers. These include the Citizen, Journal, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, Windsor Star, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, and Calgary Herald. – Sean Craig, CanadaLand
Jimmy Kimmel invited to visit Dildo, N.L., after broadcasting tongue-in-cheek mayoral race
The picturesque Newfoundland town of Dildo is attracting unprecedented international attention over its name, as late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel continues his televised quest to become its mayor.
Andrew Pretty, a committee member for the local service district, said jokes about Dildo’s name are nothing new, but attention has exploded since Kimmel’s first segments on the community aired this month. – The Canadian Press
New collaboration simplifies podcast music licensing
SoundExchange is announcing plans to collaborate with SourceAudio to provide a new solution for the growing podcast industry to secure music with fully integrated global licenses. The collaboration provides Podcastmusic.com, a digital music marketplace for podcasters, with access to SoundExchange's music creator membership to offer licensing for label- and publisher-owned music.
The collaboration will enhance Podcastmusic.com’s current database of 700,000 production and music bed tracks by providing a global license for all rights needed to use feature music in a podcast, including master use, performance, synchronization, and mechanical rights. Through this digital marketplace, podcast producers will be able to license label and publisher-owned music. – Douglas Reed, PodcastMusic Beta
The CBS and Viacom merger explained
The idea: CBS and Viacom, which used to be the same company but got split apart years ago, need to combine to compete with the likes of Apple, AT&T, and Disney, who are all trying to compete with Netflix in the TV streaming wars.
But while a combined CBS and Viacom will be bigger, it won’t be nearly big enough to compete with the really big video companies. – Peter Kafka, recode
Tencent Music Ent’s Q2 spooks investors
While TME says it now has a record 31M paying users of its online music services, its total monthly active users grew by just 1.2% to 652 million. Monthly average revenue per paying user fell 1.1% to $1.22. – Rebecca Davis, Variety
Why the Gannett-Gatehouse merger will speed the demise of local news in America
Two stories involving the news media broke this week. One received much more attention than it deserved--an awkward New York Times headline that liberals said went too easy on President Donald Trump, while the other, an ominous merger of the nation’s two largest newspaper chains, was buried in the business pages. The more significant and troubling story described the merger of Gannett GateHouse Media, a combination likely to hasten the demise of local news coverage throughout the United States. – Michael Posner, Forbes
Facebook latest tech giant to admit to using human review of user audio conversations
Facebook contractors were listening to and transcribing select voice conversations that were held using its Facebook Messenger chat platform, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. The company reportedly had the contractors transcribe chats in an effort to improve artificial intelligence. – Todd Haselton, CNBC
FBI proposal outlines plans for large-scale collection of social media data
The law enforcement agency is said to be seeking technological solutions from third-party contractors that would make it possible to harvest publicly-available information en masse from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
While the vendors may not be able to glean much information from private accounts, it appears that details like names, photos, and usernames will be collected and combined with other already available datasets to get a deeper understanding of the individuals’ online whereabouts. – Ravie Lakshmanan, tnw
French, Brits taking on Netflix with competitor services
Pubcaster France Televisions has pacted with its commercial rivals M6 and TF1 on the new subscription platform, which is expected to roll out in the first quarter of 2020.
The news out of France mirrors that from the U.K., where the two largest broadcasters, ITV and the BBC, are launching their “best of British” streaming service BritBox. It still needs the final regulatory green light but is slated to go live later this year. BritBox is already available in North America, where it has about half a million subscribers. – Stewart Clarke, Variety
BBC to pull all radio services from TuneIn UK
The change will only impact UK listeners of live radio streams and won't affect BBC Podcasts. The BBC's departure from TuneIn is just one of many recent actions it's taken this year to control how listeners consume its content. Earlier this year, the BBC left Google's Podcast app and Assistant because the search giant was only directing users to its own listening platform. – Amrita Khalid, endgadget