Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: September 08, 2020

Rogers vows to keep Cogeco in Quebec as part of takeover proposal

Rogers Communications Inc. sought Friday to reassure Quebecers over its attempt to buy the Canadian assets of Montreal-based Cogeco Inc. and Cogeco Communications Inc., pledging to keep the companies’ headquarters in the province where they’ve been rooted for more than six decades.

“Upon successful completion of a Cogeco transaction, Rogers would ensure that Cogeco’s headquarters and management team remain in the province, including the operations of the company’s Quebec-based media assets,” Rogers said. – Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press

Regulation is the only way to rein in rich and powerful digital platforms

Facebook, Google, and other digital platforms have become so powerful and rich that regulation is the only way to rein them in. How we go about that is something we will have to decide soon. But the thing with bullies is that they don’t give up power on their own — it has to be taken back, and sometimes, the only option is to use force. – Navneet Alang, The Star

Rogers commits to expanding its already strong Quebec presence

Following this week’s announcement related to the proposal to acquire Cogeco’s Canadian assets, Rogers Communications today reaffirmed its commitment to expand and grow its presence in Quebec.

Upon successful completion of a Cogeco transaction, Rogers would ensure that Cogeco’s headquarters and management team remain in the province, including the operations of the company’s Quebec based media assets. This follows a similar approach after the purchase of Fido 16 years ago, with the brand headquartered in the recently renovated downtown Montreal headquarters at Place Bonaventure following an investment of $42 million in modern offices. – Media Release

Harold Greenberg Fund in a state of transition

Bell Media has confirmed that the English and French-language programs of the Harold Greenberg Fund/Le Fonds Harold Greenberg will begin transitioning following the completion of seven years of financial support as result of the Bell/Astral transaction in 2013.

The English-language program continues status quo for at least the next 12 months with the support of Crave as the Fund invites additional partners to invest in its future.

"The Harold Greenberg Fund came to us with a plan to continue its English-language program by seeking alternate funding following the completion of the benefits, and we are happy to provide our support in their efforts to attract complementary financial partners," said Randy Lennox, President, Bell Media.

Like many other funds supported by tangible benefits regulated by the CRTC, the French-language committee for Le Fonds Harold Greenberg has chosen to complete its mandate and will wind down operations over the next six months. With considerable reserve funds, the program will focus exclusively on Fiction Feature Film Production. As of February 28, 2021, the French-language program will close and transfer any remaining funds to another certified independent production fund. – Bell Media Release

What Facebook’s threat against news in Australia means for NZ (and the rest of the world)

Facebook has declared it would prevent news from being posted to its platforms in Australia if draft legislation requiring it to pay news organisations went ahead.

Google is already engaged in an unprecedented publicity campaign against the proposed legislation. Every Google and YouTube user in Australia – ie everyone – is being bombarded by messages about how the new laws threaten the search giant’s “free services”. – Hal Crawford, The Spinoff

Is Spotify killing the top 40?

Something is happening to the way Americans listen to music. The most popular songs appear to be getting a little less popular.

In early 2018, the top 40 songs on Spotify in the US would get a total of around 35 million streams on a typical Wednesday. In 2020, the 40 biggest hits rarely hit 30 million streams, according to Quartz’s analysis of Spotify data. – Dan Kopf, Quartz

Environmental protesters targeted two News Corporation printing presses and delayed the delivery of Saturday newspapers

The Prime Minister has branded Extinction Rebellion's blockading of major printing presses to stop papers reaching shops on Saturday "completely unacceptable".

Boris Johnson said a free press is "vital" and criticised the activists for trying to "limit the public’s access to news".

More than 100 protesters used vehicles and bamboo lock-ons to block roads outside the printing works at Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and Knowsley, near Liverpool. By Saturday morning, police said some 63 people had been arrested. – Telegraph Reporters

Time magazine’s successful pivot from print to broadcasting

The legacy magazine has pivoted from live events to video and broadcast television. One upcoming example: Time is planning to reveal its 2020 class of Time 100 honorees with an hour-long broadcast special that will air in prime time on ABC on September 22. Now Time 100 is outpacing its 2019 revenue by 37%, with the projection that it will double year over year, according to the company. – Kayleigh Barber, Digiday

Terence Corcoran: You are not you, and other truths of the new world

Today minds are closed as systemic collectivism gains mainstream acceptance. The main current effort to sideline individualism and associated economic ideas is being propelled by journalists, academics and political forces in the name of fighting racism and other isms. In this fashionable woke world view, individual freedom and its associated ideas are vehicles of white dominance, sexism and cultural suppression.

If you think this is all exaggerated, polemical blather, consider the following brief review of a few of the contributors to the idea that the Enlightenment is a curse and new forms of thinking and new political systems.

Never mind Marx and the New and Old Left activists of the 20th century — from Herbert Marcuse to Noam Chomsky. Let’s start with a summer walk through the main promotional bookshelves of Canada’s flagship bookseller, Indigo. Lined on the walls and tables for summer reading while in Covid lockdown are the works of American and Canadian advocates for the destruction of capitalism and its associated principles — including four books on the Globe and Mail non-fiction best- seller list: #5 White Fragility; #7 The Skin We’re In; #8 Me and White Supremacy; #9 How to be an Antiracist. – Financial Post

The media fails its biggest Trump 2020 test

As in 2016, there is one election, between two candidates, and it remains the responsibility of journalists to help voters understand the choice they will face; also as in 2016, journalists have begun to fixate on a storyline that they perceive as a liability for the Democratic nominee. But this time around, not only does that approach serve to mislead the public about the stakes of the election, there is also literally nothing real underlying it. The Trump re-election campaign confronts journalists with the question of how to cover a candidate whose entire appeal to voters is fiction—words and actions meant to deceive people about the state of the country and the nature of the election. Rather than address that challenge, though, they have chosen so far to simply treat these deceptions as if they’re offered in good faith, helping the campaign mislead voters with potentially disastrous results. – Brian Beutler, Crooked

What you can no longer say in Hong Kong

The security law has also sent a chill through Hong Kong’s once freewheeling news media.

RTHK, the public broadcaster, removed a political podcast from its website after the authorities warned that an interview with Nathan Law, a democracy activist now living abroad, could be in breach of the new law.

In August, Jimmy Lai, the publisher of Apple Daily, a local newspaper, was arrested under the law. During a raid at the office of Mr. Lai’s newspaper, the police selectively barred several news outlets from getting past their cordon.

Lau Kwong Shing, an illustrator known for artwork supporting the protests, said he planned to leave Hong Kong, but in the meantime would take a break from explicitly political drawings. – Jin Wu & Elaine Yu, The New York Times

The unravelling of America

Today, the base pay of those at the top is commonly 400 times that of their salaried staff, with many earning orders of magnitude more in stock options and perks. The elite one percent of Americans control $30 trillion of assets, while the bottom half has more debt than assets. The three richest Americans have more money than the poorest 160 million of their countrymen. Fully a fifth of American households have zero or negative net worth, a figure that rises to 37 percent for black families. The median wealth of black households is a tenth that of whites. The vast majority of Americans — white, black, and brown — are two paychecks removed from bankruptcy. Though living in a nation that celebrates itself as the wealthiest in history, most Americans live on a high wire, with no safety net to brace a fall.

With the Covid crisis, 40 million Americans lost their jobs, and 3.3 million businesses shut down, including 41 percent of all black-owned enterprises. Black Americans, who significantly outnumber whites in federal prisons despite being but 13 percent of the population, are suffering shockingly high rates of morbidity and mortality, dying at nearly three times the rate of white Americans. The cardinal rule of American social policy — don’t let any ethnic group get below the blacks, or allow anyone to suffer more indignities — rang true even in a pandemic as if the virus was taking its cues from American history.

Covid-19 didn’t lay America low… – Wade Davis, Rolling Stone

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