Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: April 06, 2020

What Was Said

In Fairness to Facebook

If there's one thing I hate it's being fair to Facebook. And if you tell anyone I did this I'll deny it. But, okay, they deserve some credit for something.

This week they earmarked $100 million in grants and marketing dollars for local news outlets hard hit by CV-19. Over the years they've done a lot of damage to local news media. This was a good thing for them to do. – Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian

Bruce Allen’s Reality Check

Bringing out the best in people: Not all Covid-19 stories are bad

RIP: Former BCE Inc. and Bell Canada Chair Thomas Charles O'Neill

O'Neill retired from the BCE Board in April 2016 after serving as a Director from 2003 and as Chair from 2009. He formerly served as CEO and Chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting and retired as Chair of Scotiabank in 2019.

O'Neill guided Bell's resurgence as Canada's No. 1 communications company during his tenure as Chair from 2009 to 2016.

He was key to the launch of the Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative in 2010. He received special recognition from Catalyst Canada for his role in advancing the careers of women leaders in Canadian business.

Bell has CRTC approval to acquire Quebec’s V network

The regulator announced Friday that it has authorized Bell Canada to acquire Quebec’s five V television outlets in the province, filling one of the few remaining holes in Bell’s multi-platform empire.

The selling price is pegged at $20M.

According to the CRTC, the following conditions were imposed on Bell Canada as part of the approval:

  • V Stations must broadcast 5 hours of local programming per week for the Montreal and Quebec City markets in 2020-2021 (it’ll increase to 8.5 hours in 2021-2022

  • Broadcast at least 5 hours of local programming per week for the Trois-Rivières, Saguenay and Sherbrooke markets.

  • spend at least 40% of the previous year’s revenues in Canadian programming

  • Spend at least 18% of the previous year’s revenues in programs of national interest

  • invest more than $3 million to the Canada Media Fund and Bell Fund in equal annual payments over 7 consecutive broadcast years. – Fagstein & iPhone in Canada

The CRTC also approved Leclerc Communication’s application to acquire the assets of radio station CJPX-FM Montreal from Musique ClassiQ.

The CRTC has authorized an amendment to CJPX-FM Montreal’s licence allowing it to change the station’s format from specialty classical music to mainstream music. The format proposed by Leclerc will allow many French-Canadian artists, especially emerging artists, to increase their visibility.

Leclerc currently owns two French-language commercial FM radio stations in the Quebec City market: CJEC-FM (WKND 91.9) and CFEL-FM (BLVD 102.1). The prescribed tangible benefits tied to the deal is set at $290,000.

In its decision published Friday, the CRTC said the $4.9-million sale “will have a positive impact on the station’s sustainability and will serve the public interest.”

Corus Q2 details

Corus Entertainment has released its Q2 2020 financial results reporting consolidated revenues for the three months ended Feb. 29 were $376.0 million, down 2% from $384.1 million last year. Net income attributable to shareholders was $18.5 million ($0.09 per share basic) for the quarter and $96.6 million ($0.46 per share basic) year-to-date. Television segment revenues decreased 2% in Q2 2020 and were flat year-to-date. On a proforma basis, when adjusted for the disposal of the Telelatino Network in Mar. 2019, segment revenues were flat for the quarter and up 1% year-to-date. Ad revenue decreased 6% in Q2 2020 and 2% year-to-date. Subscriber revenues were down 2% in both Q2 2020 and year-to-date. In Radio, segment revenues decreased $2.5 million (8%) in Q2 2020 and $5.8 million (8%) year-to-date, while segment profit margin of 16% in Q2 2020 and 25% year-to-date was comparable with the prior year. Corus says it’s too soon to gauge the impacts of the current COVID-19 outbreak, but is conserving cash out of an abundance of caution. As such, the company expects to put its share buyback program on hold in the immediate term. ­– Broadcast Dialogue

Media outlets under financial strain as advertising businesses close their doors

Stingray Radio, which owns Radio NL, has temporarily laid off 90 employees across the country. All of its employees have taken a 10 percent wage cut, while the company’s CEO has had his wage rolled back by 75 percent.

The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group is trying to avoid layoffs amongst its more than 700 employees at media outlets across western Canada, and in Kamloops, the local newspaper is reaching out to readers for help as its viewership increased and ad revenue has slowed to a trickle. – Jill Sperling, CFJC Today

Pattison food chain donating $500K to feed kids in distress

Save-On-Foods, part of the Jim Pattison Group, has committed $500,000 toward a $1 million fundraising goal. The money will be donated to Breakfast Club of Canada, which in turn will distribute funding and support to schools, community organizations, and other partners mobilized to get good food supports to kids as quickly and efficiently as possible. More than 35 schools and organizations in Saskatchewan have applied for the Club’s special grant so far. More than 20 are from Indigenous communities will be provided with a nutritious bagged breakfast every morning, including weekends, during the pandemic.

According to a media release issued by Save-On-Foods and campaign partners, an estimated one in five school-aged kids in Canada rely on school-based nutrition. – battlefords NOW

New Covid aid offers no help for a third a third now unemployed

To qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), you have to have lost your job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but 1.2 million Canadians were already unemployed when the crisis hit, report author David Macdonald pointed out. Of those, only half, or about 600,000, qualify for Employment Insurance.

“If you were unemployed before COVID-19 hit, you get nothing from CERB, even though the prospects of finding work right now are virtually non-existent,” Macdonald said in a statement. – Daniel Tencer, HuffPost

Stingray launches east-coast music channel

Stingray has partnered with the East Coast Music Association to promote Atlantic Canadian talent on its newest channel.

The 100% East Coast. Canadian Style features 150 tracks artists such as Neon Dreams, Eastern Owl, Sirène et Matelot, Jimmy Rankin, Sam Wilson, Motherhood, Jenn Grant, Thomas Stajcer, Les Hay Babies, Jody Upshaw, Zaum, and Natalie MacMaster.

Part of the channel was curated by compiling the top 100 tracks in over 20 genres, based on scores from the ECMA’s 2020 awards submissions process. The remaining 50 tracks were provided by ECMA’s regional music industry partners. Some of the selections on the channel also include legacy acts such as Rita MacNeil as an acknowledgment to their important contribution to the East Coast music community.

At Margaret Atwood’s prompting, Canada launches virtual book tours

The National Arts Center is using streaming video for authors to promote their spring and summer titles to a nation stuck indoors by the pandemic. – The New York Times

Hollywood Suite salutes pandemic’s frontline workers

The Canadian on-demand movies channel company has released a smart 30-second video pastiche made from movie clips that thanks healthcare professionals and frontline workers during these troubling times. The spot has been uploaded onto various social media platforms and will also presumably be included on the company’s four movie-themed channels. It’s worth noting, too, that during the virus outbreak some cable TV providers are offering Hollywood Suite channels on free preview for a limited time.

An up-to-date list of Canadian live streams to watch during COVID-19

This week: Rae Spoon, Hubert Lenoir, Sharon Hampson and more are keeping fans entertained. – Holly Gordon, CBC Music

UK ad market faces drop of 50% in April

Marks & Spencer and Dixons Carphone are among the many brands to have told investors that they have cut marketing spend. Sources said travel adspend has fallen to virtually "zero" and automotive has slumped by as much as 85%. Retail adspend, including a significant amount of ecommerce, has also been hit hard by the government’s lockdown. – Gideon Spanier, campaign

Streaming wars may be put on hold during quarantines as free content takes over

User-generated free services like Tiktok, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube may ultimately be the winners over all subscription services. – Alex Sherman, CNBC

Quibi, Peacock & HBO Max launching as economy staggers

As Americans shelter in place with many spending most or all of each day at home, three new streaming services are prepping for launch: Quibi, Peacock and HBO Max.

They are hitting the market at a stomach-churningly weird time for the world and for the companies – and investors – that own them. As it turns out, though, quarantine has sent already robust television and streaming usage levels through the roof as we all look to our screens more than ever.– Jill Goldsmith, Nellie Andreeva, Dominic Patten, Deadline

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