Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: May 20, 2020

Media Insights reborn as Signal Hill Insights

As of this week, Jeff Vidler’s Audience Insights Inc. becomes Signal Hill Insights. A ‘Radio on the Move 2020’ webinar on Thursday at 1 pm ET will be the public debut of the new brand.

“It's a reflection of a couple of things,” audio research consultancy chief Vidler explains. “It builds on the work we've been doing on the advertising side for podcasts and radio, a lot of it for US clients: brand lift studies for Pacific Content, WNYC, The Atlantic and, more recently, Westwood One. It also reflects the growing team of researchers and partners who are giving us the bandwidth to handle that work.”

He adds: “We're still working on the content/programming side of the industry. That doesn't change at all. But it does mean a clearer focus on all things audio.”

Vidler has been researching media for 25 years and launched Audience Insights six years ago.

Bell Media completes Quebec acquisitions

Bell Media has officially closed its acquisition of network V and video-on-demand service Noovo.ca from Group V Media in Quebec.

Bell says the acquisition “strengthens choice for TV viewers in Québec while enhancing investment in French-language content creation.” –Gary NG, iPhone in Canada

He helped expand Disney’s empire. Can Kevin Mayer do the same for TikTok?

Kevin Mayer, who led the rise of Walt Disney Co.'s streaming business and served as the architect of blockbuster deals, is leaving the company to run the fast-growing mobile video app TikTok, the company said Monday.

Before his rise as streaming chief, Mayer served as Disney’s chief strategy officer and was instrumental in multiple landmark deals, including the acquisition of 21st Century Fox. He also played a key role in Disney’s acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Entertainment, Lucasfilm and streaming technology firm BamTech. – Ryan Faughnder & Wendy Lee, Los Angles Times

Music advocacy groups denounce big radio bailouts in US

A coalition of music industry advocacy groups has called out Congress for what they describe as an unwarranted federal bailout of the commercial radio industry.

The group, which includes SoundExchange, the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), the Future of Music Coalition and the Recording Academy, claim the language in the draft HEROES bill “will provide more help, even if unintentionally, to companies like iHeartMedia, Cumulus, and Sinclair than it will to the small independent broadcasters truly hurting in this environment. The stunningly broad language would divert assistance away from true community outlets in favor of the same mega-corporations that have been laying off thousands of local employees in a wave of consolidation. Truly small, non-commercial, and community radio stations shouldn’t be forced to compete with huge companies for limited payroll assistance.”

The coalition is also critical of the proposed bailout because the conglomerates have steadfastly refused to pay performance royalties to recording artists, whereas satellite radio and streaming services do.

With cuts at Vice, Quartz and BuzzFeed, even media’s savviest digital players are hurting

The layoffs came swiftly last week. At Vice Media, 155 people lost their jobs. Quartz laid off 80. Condé Nast, publisher of glossy magazines such as Vogue, cut 100 people. And as BuzzFeed furloughed staffers at its overseas divisions, its U.S.-based staffers braced for similar cuts.

For those who had been watching local newspapers struggle in the era of digitization, these announcements were sobering: Even the media business’s most savvy, innovative and glamorous players are hurting. – Elahe Izadi, The Washington Post

To fix social media, we need to introduce digital socialism

The ingenuity of the free software community is central to the struggle for tech rights and equality. Solutions like the Fediverse and LibreSocial prove that a world in which users are not exploited is possible. But they alone cannot pull away the billions of users stuck inside Big Social Media.

Ultimately, activists will have to push for new technologies, laws, and regulations that eradicate Big Social Media and transition the world to a social media commons. – Michael Kwet, Al Jazeera

'Resistance journalism' destroying media's credibility, critics say

“Resistance journalism” coined by New York Times media columnist Ben Smith, means that journalists are now not only free but encouraged and incentivized, to say or publish anything they want, no matter how reckless and fact-free, provided their target is someone sufficiently disliked in mainstream liberal media venues and/or on social media. – Brian Flood, Fox News

Randy Rainbow skewers Donald Trump with Fiddler on the Roof ‘Distraction’

Donald Trump’s latest strategy for failing to address his anemic response to the pandemic is to shout “Obamagate,” or what satirist Randy Rainbow calls “Distraction” to the tune of “Tradition” from Fiddler on the Roof.

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