Media Beat: February 03, 2022
Fed Liberals revive streaming bill
The Online Streaming Act, introduced Wednesday, would force web firms to offer a set amount of Canadian content and invest heavily in Canada's cultural industries, including film, television and music.
Bill C-11, as it is known in Parliament, updates the 1991 Broadcasting Act which predates the internet revolution that changed the way people watch film and video content and listen to music.
If passed, streaming services, such as Netflix, Crave and Spotify, would be regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and required to invest in Canadian cultural enterprises.
They would also have to commit to reflecting diversity in their programming, including Indigenous content. – The Canadian Press
CRTC chair fesses up about drinks with Bell friend
Chair Ian Scott has been a target of criticism in the aftermath of a CRTC decision in August of 2019 that found that wholesale rates were too high and that they should be lowered.
That led initially to much cheering by consumer advocacy groups who had long been complaining that internet affordability in Canada is exorbitantly high compared to other parts of the world.
But after an appeal by Canada’s big telecoms, the regulator made an abrupt U-turn and reversed its decision on the lower rates last year. This led to accusations of CRTC favouritism.
A flashpoint for critics was a December 2019 meeting at an Ottawa pub between Scott and Bell Media CEO Mirko Bibic, who was at the time the chief operating officer. Critics said the CRTC was unduly influenced by the big players over smaller internet service providers, to the detriment of more affordable rates for Canadians.
“I went for a beer with someone I have known for many years …. And it ended up he chose to address a broadcasting issue a little of what Bell might be doing in the future,” says Scott in the wide-ranging, nearly hour-long interview. – Tony Wong, Toronto Star
Google posts mammoth jump in Q4 revenue
Search giant Google on Tuesday posted a mammoth jump in quarterly sales fueled by its search and advertising businesses, the same operations that are attracting antitrust attention.
Revenue at Alphabet, Google's parent, jumped 32% year over year to $75.3 billion in the fourth quarter, beating the $72.13 billion forecast by analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance. Net profit totalled $20.6 billion. Earnings per share totalled $30.69, beating analysts' forecast of $27.48.
The company also unveiled a 20-for-1 stock split, pending shareholder approval. – Andrew Morse, CNET
Popular online game Wordle bought by New York Times
The five letters, six attempts, puzzle named Wordle has been sold to the New York Times for a seven-figure sum, revealed its creator. Josh Wardle is the Reddit engineer who created this game and launched it in October. – The World Is One News (WION)
Meta shares plunge 20%, faces heat from Apple, TikTok
YouTube ad sales hit $8.6 Billion in Q4
While YouTube’s Q4 ad revenue experienced a slowdown compared with in Q3 (which saw 43% YoY growth), the business ended the year with $29 billion in ad revenue, up 46% over 2020. – Todd Spangler, Variety
Netflix, Mattel partner for ‘Masters of the Universe’ live-action movie
Masters of the Universe was first introduced in 1982 through a line of action figures. In 1983, the animated series “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” premiered and became one of the first kids’ show to be syndicated on television.
A year ago, Netflix acquired Hasbro’s animated My Little Pony movie from Entertainment One, the media company the toymaker acquired in 2019 for $4 billion. – Erik Gruenwedel, MediaPlay News
SpaceX launches Starlink Premium internet plan, and it's not cheap
The satellite broadband service features a $2,500 kit and a monthly $500 fee. – Kourtnee Jackson, CNET
A small island nation has cooked up not 1, not 2 but 5 Covid vaccines. It's Cuba!
Cuba can boast one of the highest Covid vaccination rates in the world. More than 85% of the island nation is fully immunized against the virus — a far higher vaccination rate than the U.S. It even tops every country in Europe except Portugal. The country is even giving the shots to kids as young as 2 years old.
At a time when many other low- and middle-income nations continue to struggle to get enough doses, Cuba is exporting vaccines to Iran, Venezuela, Mexico, Nicaragua and Vietnam. – Jason Beaubien, NPR
Int. support grows for Mexico’s lawsuit against gun-makers
In a big boost to the Mexican government’s historic federal lawsuit against American gun-makers, 13 US states, the District of Columbia, two countries, a coalition of attorneys general, and numerous advocacy groups on Monday filed or joined amicus briefs supporting Mexico’s litigation, which seeks to hold weapons manufacturers accountable for the violence they facilitate. – Brett Wilkins, The Real news network
The biggest streaming series coming in February
There’s nothing quite as exciting as your favourite show returning for another season unless it’s discovering a brand new series to fall in love with. This February, there are a lot of new arrivals heading to streaming, and Whip Media has ranked them in order of what viewers are most excited for.
According to users, Prime Video‘s Reacher is the most anticipated new series of the month. The series is based on the character created by novelist Lee Child, who we’ve seen Tom Cruise portray in the Jack Reacher movies. This new series is not to be confused with Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, played by John Krasinki, which is also on Prime Video and set for its Season 4 return (with trailers). – Tmera Hepburn, Cord Cutters News