Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: November 01, 2019

New book spurs new conversations about Ghomeshi and our sexual assault laws

It has been four years since former CBC star Jian Ghomeshi was charged with sexual assault and then acquitted on all charges two years later. He’s in the news again, at least in name, primarily due to the publication of investigative journalist Robyn Doolittle’s book, Had It Coming: What's Fair in the Age of #MeToo?

“In all of the interviews that I’ve done, even with the most progressive legal scholars and lawyers, everyone pretty much agrees that the trial verdict was the right one,” Doolittle tells Vice’s Sarah Berman. “It’s unfortunate that that’s a controversial stance, that somehow it seems like you can’t support sexual assault survivors while also objectively looking at the Ghomeshi trial and saying it was a hot mess.”

In a Quill & Quire review of the book, Shazia Hafiz Ramji posits: “Doolittle writes with lucidity and heart, directly addressing the challenges posed by a book that delves into a topic that often leads to knee-jerk reactions and polarizing debates. Instead of capitulating to these impulses, she chooses to explore the questions of the moment with the nuance and detail they deserve.”

And Maclean’s senior writer Anne Kingston writes: “Had It Coming doesn’t address the power imbalances underlying assault. Nor does it look at issues surrounding harassment or the way #MeToo fits into a historical continuum. Throughout, Doolittle injects herself into the narrative as she interviews experts. The book can be best read as a useful primer on the myths still embedded in how sexual assault is treated within the courts and culture (the “she had it coming” victim-blaming) and the disconnect between how consent is taught in school and how people actually have sex.”

I reached out to Ghomeshi before publishing this piece but as yet have not heard back. If I receive a reply, I’ll be sure to print what he has to say. Penguin RandomHouse provides an audio clip of Doolittle reading from her book here.

Postmedia, Torstar take taxpayer cash, fight to keep public in dark about cuts

While Torstar and Postmedia have pocketed $11.5M in taxpayers’ money, the two companies have been fighting to keep the public from learning about their 2017 deal that resulted in 36 newspapers closing across Canada.

The Competition Bureau’s lawyers have argued there is no legal reason for the secrecy, and the court records should be public. — Bryan Carney, The Tyee

Torstar stock tumbles following Q3 losses

The media company reported on Wednesday a $40.9M loss attributable to shareholders and an 11.6 percent decline in third-quarter revenue. — Dave Paddon, The Canadian Press

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 535: Marc Weisblott from 12:36

Mike chats with Marc Weisblott of 12:36 about the current state of media in Canada and what you oughta know. This episode is exactly 2:33:42.

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 534: Humble Howard Kicks Out the Jams

Mike catches up with Humble Howard Glassman before he kicks out the jams. This episode is exactly 1:21:54.

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 533: David Marsden

David Marsden presents at the Reference Library in Toronto. This episode is exactly 1:23:22.

Jeff Vidler: Time Spent with Podcasts is Not a Zero-Sum Game

In The Canadian Podcast Listener, we put a lot of attention on consumption: who’s listening, how many episodes are being listened to, and how much time are they spending with the medium. One of the questions we often get asked is: “where is this time coming from?”

Radio broadcasters tend to be particularly concerned about this. — RAIN News

Netflix’s dominance comes with a $25B debt load

In April 2018, Moody’s estimated that Netflix may reach “cash-flow breakeven” in 2023.

And here’s the thing: Netflix was founded in 1997. By 2023 the company will be 26 years old, and if all goes incredibly well, the company may finally reach cash-flow “breakeven” – not even cash-flow positive – 26 years after it was founded? I mean, give me a break.

Its balance sheet is a mess. After years of borrowing cash and then burning it, the company now has $12.1 billion in “content liabilities” and $12.4 billion in long-term debt, for a total of $25.5 billion that it owes.

That $2 billion in new debt to be issued will bring its long-term debt to $14.4 billion, and the total to $27.5 billion. — Wolf Richter, Wolf Street

Cord-cutting will reach -3.8% in Q3, analyst says

The dour forecast comes after AT&T, Comcast, Charter Communications and Verizon each reported significant pay-TV customer losses for Q3—AT&T alone shed more than 1.1 million traditional subscribers during the quarter. — Daniel Frankel, Multichannel News

Facebook pays UK fine but offers no contrition over Cambridge Analytica scandal

The social media platform reached a settlement with the U.K.’s privacy regulator to pay a contested US$643K fine for allowing political-data firm Cambridge Analytica to improperly access users’ data but stopped short of admitting wrongdoing. — Parmy Olson, The Wall Street Journal

Amazon poised to escalate Pentagon 'war cloud' fight

The fight over the Pentagon’s $10 billion “war cloud” contract is entering a new phase after the Department of Defense (DOD) awarded the lucrative contract to Microsoft over rival Amazon in a shocking move.

All eyes are now on Amazon, which is seen as likely to take the fight over the Pentagon’s decision to court or before the government’s top auditing office.

Democrats and industry watchers are raising the possibility that President Trump swayed the process. — Emily Birnbaum, The Hill

HBO Max is the new $200 iPhone

It’s been a good month for freebies. This week, AT&T announced that its upcoming HBO Max streaming service—it’s HBO plus The Big Bang Theory and other catalog hits—would be free for its mobile subscribers and $15 for everyone else. About a week ago, Disney and Verizon partnered up, offering unlimited-plan customers a year of free Disney+. These sorts of add-ons aren’t entirely new; certain T-Mobile plans have scored you free Netflix for a couple of years now. Likewise, Hulu and Sprint. But the latest wave of giveaways cements it: Subsidies are back! They’re just a lot more complicated.

It’s been long enough now to have faded a bit from memory, but you used to buy smartphones differently than you do today. Instead of paying in full upfront, or getting on an endless payment plan–upgrade carousel, you’d pay $200 for an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, full stop. Less fancy phones you’d get for free. — Wired

Which Streaming Services Are Worth Paying For?

For the consumer, the options can seem overwhelming — and expensive. Each service has something to offer, and its value to you as a customer depends on your taste and habits. We’ve broken down the major new and existing streaming services by cost, pros and cons, ideal audiences, and what look to be the most promising or popular original shows and movies on each one. —Eliana Dockterman, Time

Apple Stock Gains on strong earnings report

Revenues were $64.04 billion, up 2%, and just above the high end of the guidance range. Earnings per share were $3.03, nearly 20 cents ahead of Street estimates. The midpoint of December-quarter revenue guidance of $85.5 billion to $89.5 billion was ahead of the previous Street consensus. The company posted 18% growth in services, nearly 17% growth in iPad sales and 54% growth in wearables, driven in particular by AirPod sales. — Eric J. Savitz, Barron’s

Sirius XM revenue surpasses $2B in Q3 revenue

The US company posted robust operating and financial results for the third quarter of 2019. The company’s total revenue of $2 billion was up 37% over the same period last year, seeing a considerable boost from the company’s acquisition of Pandora Media earlier this year. On a pro forma basis, revenue climbed 7% from $1.9 billion in the third quarter of 2018. — Variety

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