Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: August 16, 2019

What’s FaceApp and Facebook got to do with competition compliance in Canada

Taking inspiration from the FTC's approach to pursuing privacy representations as deceptive practices, the Competition Bureau has taken the view that it may use the Competition Act to challenge representations regarding the use and collection of data that are "false or misleading in a material respect." This approach would allow the Bureau to seek, among other things, the imposition of administrative monetary penalties of up to $10 million against corporations whose representations are found to be false or misleading in a material respect.

According to the Bureau, "companies are putting themselves at risk when they collect information that consumers would not expect to be collected in the normal course of business and only disclose this material information in terms and conditions that are likely to be overlooked by consumers." The Bureau has also taken the view that "the collection and use of data that go beyond what consumers would reasonably expect increases the likelihood of deception." – Anita Banicevic, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg

Federal Court awards compensation to Rogers in file sharing case

The long journey of a number of film production companies in seeking compensation from alleged copyright infringers has taken yet another step after the Federal Court has finally awarded costs to Rogers Communications for finding the information the companies were seeking, at a level far above what they thought the communications giant was entitled to.

The companies, known collectively as Voltage Pictures, are alleging copyright infringement as a result of their films being posted on the Internet using peer-to-peer file sharing networks such as torrent sites. Voltage sued one person, initially identified as “John Doe” but later revealed to be one Robert Salna, alleging breach of copyright; the ultimate goal is to have the case certified as a so-called “reverse” class action against approximately 55,000 people who have also allegedly infringed their copyrights.

Justice Keith Boswell of the Federal Court issued a Norwich third-party disclosure order compelling Rogers Communications Inc. to provide the contact and personal information of Salna. In September 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that Rogers and other ISPs are entitled to be reimbursed for their “reasonable costs” in supplying the names and addresses of alleged illegal downloaders to copyright holders, and sent the case back to Justice Boswell to determine costs (Rogers Communications Inc. v. Voltage Pictures, LLC 2018 SCC 38). – Continue reading Andrew Bernstein, Torys LLP, overview published on The Lawyer’s Daily website

CRTC lowers wholesale internet rates

Thursday the regulator set final wholesale rates that will facilitate greater competition and promote innovative broadband services and affordable prices for consumers.

“Hitsville: The Making of Motown” premieres on Crave TV this month

Variety reports that many of Motown’s biggest icons were in attendance at the premiere of Showtime’s latest documentary, “Hitsville: The Making of Motown,” last Thursday, August 8 at the Harmony Gold Theater in Los Angeles. Unforgettable stars such as Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Thelma Houston and former Vandellas member Betty Kelly graced the red carpet alongside legendary producer William “Mickey” Stevenson, songwriter Janie Bradford, and of course, members of the Gordy family.

Directed by British brothers Gabe and Benjamin Turner, “Hitsville” traces the history of Motown Records from its founding in 1958 in Detroit up to its relocation to Los Angeles during the early 1970s. Crave TV premieres the doc Aug. 24 at 9 pm EST. Separately, The Handmaid’s Tale season 3 finale screen Aug. 18 at 9 pm ET.

Muskoka radio station taken off air due to arson

Hunters Bay Radio community radio station (The Bay 88.7), FM) was taken off the air as a result of arson that took place at its transmitter facility in Dwight.

According to news reported by We Are Muskoka website operated by The Bay, vandals broke into the secured facility and poured an accelerant on equipment and lit it on fire.

While the fire did not affect our equipment, smoke and soot caused damage to several components of the transmitter which failed overnight, the site reported Thursday.

Technicians investigating the extent of the damage were able to restore service at a quarter of standard power.

The FM has studios in Huntsville, Gravenhurst, and a summer studio in Dorset, Ontario. The station’s website notes it is in the process of building a new studio in Bracebridge

Canadian Microwave and Hunters Bay Radio are offering a $1K reward for any information that leads to an arrest in this case. 

CBC to turn its five most popular podcasts into TV shows

The five podcasts that will be adapted for TV include Someone Knows Something, Uncover: The Village, Personal Best, Tai Asks Why and Alone: A Love Story.

“This growing cultural phenomenon will make it possible for us to work with Canadian and international partners to bring passionate podcast listeners to our television and streaming platforms, and showcase Canadian stories to wider audiences at home and around the world,” said Barbara Williams, executive vice-president of CBC English services, in a press release.

With more than 20 series in genres including investigative reporting and true crime, comedy, human interest and audio fiction, CBC podcasts are downloaded millions of times per month.

Smoking in the boy’s room

Smoking remains the most common method of consuming cannabis, with approximately two-thirds of male (68%) and female (62%) consumers choosing this method in the first half of 2019.

Females (14%) were almost three times more likely than males (5%) to have consumed cannabis through "other methods," such as the application of products on the skin or under the tongue. – StatsCan national cannabis survey

Marketers in Canada turn to podcasting for brand awareness

n Canada, podcasts are increasingly becoming part of advertisers’ content marketing menu, and many brands are investing in podcasts to deliver branded or sponsored content.

And there’s good reason for them to do so: According to the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, about a third (29%) of internet users in Canada listen to podcasts. A May 2019 study from Edison Research and Triton Digital found that 36% of consumers in Canada listened to podcasts monthly in 2019, up from 28% in 2018. Roughly half (45%) of respondents ages 35 to 54 said they listened to podcasts monthly, compared with 21% of consumers 55 and older. – Paul Briggs, eMarketer

From 12:36

What the hell happened to Charles Adler? Clickbait headline aside, Michael Coren supplied the CBC with support for his former Sun News Network colleague. Adler, like Coren, has turned against right-wing politics—a shift that seemed to coincide with the start of his new gig with Global News Radio. (Last week, it was Barbara Kay who was wondering what the hell happened to Michael Coren.) – Marc Weisblott

Rogers touts its horn for Citytv series

Citytv’s highest-rated original scripted series – reaching 4.1M viewers in its original full-season run* – returns with more action and heart when Season 2 of Hudson & Rex moves to a new night, beginning Tuesday, Sept. 24. Produced by Shaftesbury and Pope Productions Ltd., in association with Citytv and Beta Film GmbH, production on Season 2 of the police-procedural drama – starring John Reardon, canine Diesel vom Burgimwald, Mayko Nguyen, Kevin Hanchard, and Justin Kelly – is now underway in St. John’s, Nfld. Also garnering international acclaim, Season 1 of the original Canadian series was recently acquired by Italian broadcaster RAI, which premiered on Rai 3 on August 4. Additional major territory deals will be announced soon. –RCI handout

Details on the Podcast Music deal: a good day for podcasting?

It’s up to the labels as to what music will be available, though Podcast Music is clear to point out that it is unlikely that anyone will get the rights to play whole tracks — this isn’t a way to play DJ. Labels could opt to license a track in a podcast for a limited time, after which you’d need to remove it. Some labels could only give licences to larger podcasts, or to podcasts on specific hosts. Some tracks may not be allowed as a “theme tune” for specific subjects, like political shows, but might be fine for less controversial areas. It’ll be “clearer in the next year”. Again — no labels have signed up to this yet, and Podcast Music are waiting to learn what conditions they’ll require. – James Cridland, pod news

iHeartMedia US digital revenue p 33% in Q2

HeartMedia boosted total revenue with the help of its fast-growing podcast segment in its first quarterly earnings report since emerging from Chapter 11.

The media giant pulled in $913 million in the three months ended June 30, an increase of $21.6 million, or 2.4%, compared to the same period a year ago. iHeart said on Thursday that digital revenue alone increased by $22.5 million, nearly 33%, driven by growth in podcasting and its 2018 acquisition of Stuff Media, as well as other digital revenue like on-demand services.

Broken down by segment, broadcast radio is still iHearMedia’s main engine – Marc Schneider, Billboard

Facebook admits its listening in on your conversations

Similar listen and transcribe practices have also been used for Apple’s Siri and the Google Assistant. Both companies said they had suspended these practices. 

These companies’ policies about listening in on you are hidden in plain sight. Facebook’s data policy states, “We collect the content, communications, and other information you provide when you use our Products, including when you sign up for an account, create or share content, and message or communicate with others.” – Allison Matyus, Digital Trends

As face-recognition technology spreads, so do ideas for subverting it - Fooling Big Brother

Training one algorithm to fool another is known as adversarial machine learning. It is a productive approach, creating images that are misleading to a computer’s vision while looking meaningless to a human being’s. One paper, published in 2016 by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, and the University of North Carolina, showed how innocuous-looking abstract patterns, printed on paper and stuck onto the frame of a pair of glasses, could often convince a computer-vision system that a male AI researcher was, in fact, Milla Jovovich, an American actress. – The Economist

I’ve seen the worst in humanity: The hard reality of being a brand social media manager

When talking about her work as a social media strategist across different industries, including tech, politics and consumer goods, Linda Dianne says the one thing that has never changed, regardless of the industry, is the omnipresence of trolls. 

"I've seen the worst of humanity," Dianne says. "The worst has to be death threats or threats of sexual violence with really graphic footage of the kinds of acts people wanted to do to the brand or me."

The prevalence of death threats isn't unique to Dianne's experience alone. Lia Haberman, a former social media manager for companies such as E! News and Yahoo who currently teaches social media marketing at UCLA, says online threats were a constant in some of the communities she managed. The ones who were able to pinpoint where she lived or made references to her family were the most unsettling. And some communities were so toxic that it made Haberman fear for her safety. – Pang-Chieh Ho, Digg

Over half of Google searches don't produce a single click

Looking at browser searches from mobile and desktop in the US, SEO platformer Rand Fishkin found that 50.33% of searches result in no click at all, while 42% of them result in an 'organic click', and 4.42% produce clicks on ads. – Liam Tung, ZDNet

Capital One hacker took data from more than 30 companies

Paige A. Thompson, the hacker accused of breaching US bank Capital One, is also believed to have stolen data from more than 30 other companies, US prosecutors said in new court documents filed today and obtained by ZDNet. – Catalin Cimpanu, Zero Day

The court documents don't list the names of any of the other 30+ companies that Thompson is believed to have hacked. However, according to previous media reports, this list might include companies such as Unicredit, Vodafone, Ford, Michigan State University, and the Ohio Department of Transportation. -- ZdNet

North American wearables market grows 33%

The wearable band market in North America reached $2 billion in the second quarter, according to new data from Canalys.

Thanks to the popularity of smartwatches, shipments of the wearables increased 38% to 8 million units in the quarter. – Chuck Martin, MediaPost

The 20 fastest-growing skills freelancers need to get hired

Video editing and data analytics skills dominate the list. Here are the other top skills freelancers should have, according to Upwork.  Macy Bayern, TechRepublic

China’s entertainment boom: How it’s rivaling Hollywood

China’s top three streaming services are Tencent Video, Alibaba’s Youku and iQiyi, the last of which hit 100 million subscribers in June. Astonishingly, together they account for about 60% of all video-on-demand subscribers in the world, and dwarf broadcast TV in content spending. Though none is yet profitable, they have thrived in part because of protectionism — YouTube, Netflix and Amazon are all blocked in the Middle Kingdom — and because they can run losses for years on the backs of their parent companies’ other businesses, like gaming or e-commerce.

Last year, iQiyi’s “Story of Yanxi Palace” was the most Googled TV show in the world, even though Google is blocked in China. – Rebecca Davis, Variety

Viacom – CBS deal drama was worthy of the fall lineup

A disgraced former CEO. A newly minted mogul. Lines from ‘The Godfather.’ The path to a media reunion was rocky. –Benjamin Mullen & Joe Flint, WSJ subscription

Shari Redstone’s epic battle ends as CBS, Viacom head to the alter

Shari Redstone, 65, is poised to become chairman of the combined company, the throne once occupied by her father. Her ascent would make her the only woman among the elite ranks of media moguls with iron-clad control of an entertainment-focused conglomerate. She joins Mary Pickford, a co-founder of United Artists, and Lucille Ball, whose Desilu banner bought RKO in 1957, on the short list of women who have had ownership stakes in major Hollywood studios. – Cynthia Littleton, Variety

David Clayton-Thomas just rush released anti-gun song, Never Again

Earning a new round of exposure thanks to his performing with Blood, Sweat & Tears ten-song set 50 years ago Aug. 17 at Max Yasgur’s Bethel, NY farm, DC isn’t sitting idle, releasing a song from his next album entitled Say Somethin’ (Linus Records, ETA early 2020). Never Again is the advance single. “Given the current climate of gun violence in America,” Thomas said in a statement, “we felt this song should be heard now. The song is dedicated to the kids of Parkland and the March For Our Lives movement.”

Microsoft's Windows is falling apart, says Google (and Bill Nye)

Windows is old and tired. Switch to a Chromebook. This is the new jaunty, Bill Nye-fronted message now coming from Google. – Chris Matyszczyk, Technically Correct

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