Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: September 17, 2020

Popular radio G98.7 FM is about to change ownership hands, and members of the community hope it stays Black-owned

G98.7 FM, a radio station that has served Black communities around the Greater Toronto Area for nearly a decade, is about to be handed to the highest bidder following a court-ordered receivership.

The station’s financial troubles came to light last year after the death of its founder and president Fitzroy Gordon. A call was later put out for interested individuals and companies to submit the bid, and the final decision on the new owners is expected this month.

Members of Black communities and allies in Ontario and across the country have been drumming up support for the next owners of the station to be Black, saying Black-owned spaces in the city are already few and far between. At a time when the fight against systemic racism is at its peak, they argue, it would be counter-productive to have a Black voice such as G98.7 FM station owned by anyone outside the community. – Gilbert Ngabo, The Star

Amazon Music now has podcasts

Podcasts can be listened to through the updated Amazon Music app, on the web, or on Amazon Echo devices. Echo devices will search Amazon Music by default and will remember where listeners left off, regardless of what platform they use to listen.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon will be selling ads for its shows, although it’s unclear if that means DJ Khaled and other hosts will be reading ads and if paid subscribers will hear these ads, similarly to Spotify. – Ashley Carman, The Verge

Streaming now 85% of U.S. recorded music revenue: RIAA

Streaming has grown from 80% to 85% of all recorded music revenue in the U.S., according to the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) in its mid-year 2020 report. – Brad Hill, RAIN News

US Disney+ Viewers on track to surpass Hulu by 2024

According to our latest estimates for over-the-top (OTT) video services in the US, Disney+ will have 72.4 million users this year, representing 32.1% of OTT viewers. The number of Disney+ viewers has blown past that of Apple TV+ (18.8 million), which is impressive given that both services launched in November 2019. – eMarketer

Report predicts five years of steep global decline for newspaper industry revenue (print and online)

Global newspaper advertising is set to fall by $8bn in 2020, with global circulation revenues down by $6.5bn on last year, new figures show. – Freddy Mayhew, Press Gazette

How ViacomCBS’ CNET sale fits into refocus on video

ViacomCBS said it anticipates that the sale, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020, will provide between roughly $330 million and $350 million in net proceeds. Red Ventures’ $500 million acquisition of CNET Media Group includes multiple websites, such as Gamespot, Metacritic and TVGuide.com. – Trey Williams, The Wrap

Netflix, Sky tell UK Parliament Committee that public service broadcasting remains key to TV industry’s future

Netflix has been benefiting from both that ‘brand’ and the production infrastructure that the UK can provide, with highly trained experienced crews, quality talent, and good amounts of studio space.

That point led the committee to ask if Netflix’s approach to paying tax here is fair. The streamer benefits heavily from production tax breaks, as do many foreign entities that locate shoots here, but its European operations are headquartered in Amsterdam, a move that some claim is done to avoid paying its fair share. A report from Tax Watch in February was critical of the streamer’s approach, noting it pays very little tax despite surging revenues. – Tom Grater, Deadline

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