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Media Beat, Aug. 19, 2021

By David Farrell

Canadian Newspaper and periodical publishers: Declining trends continue through the pandemic

The financial strains of the pandemic were more significant for the other publishing industries. Operating revenue had been on a declining trend prior to the pandemic for newspaper and periodical publishers. In 2020, newspaper publishers saw an estimated decline of 20.6% in operating revenue, while it fell by 23.6% for periodical publishers. Despite reliance on the news industry for information about the pandemic, financial strains worsened for media publishers, leading companies to restructure, permanently or temporarily shut down, or modify their production schedules. Print advertising revenue was significantly affected by economic conditions and the shutdown of businesses, leading to significant losses in what was previously the greatest source of sales revenue for this industry. The reduction in foot traffic in stores and shopping centres was detrimental to periodical publishers, significantly affecting the demand chain for these publications.


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However, salary, wage, commission and benefit expenses did not decline to the same extent. Because of shrinking operating revenue, newspaper and periodical publishers had already completed significant downsizing and restructuring activities in the years prior to the pandemic. These industries were also able to more easily transition to working from home and using digital delivery services. Although there were still changes to the workforce in 2020, the salary, wage, commission and benefit expenses did not contract as much as in other industries. The news industry relied on government assistance during the pandemic, as did many other industries. – Statistics Canada

Stingray strikes deal with Amazon Prime video channels

Stingray Group Inc. now has video bundles available on Amazon’s Prime Video channels in Canada, Mexico and Brazil.

The successful Montreal-based media and entertainment company has 1K employees worldwide and assets that include 100+ radio station, 4K UHD TV channels, digital signage, in-store music services and music apps that have been downloaded 160M times. The Stingray brands reach 572K users in 160 countries.

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In its most recent Q2, the company reported revenues of $64M, up 23.9% – Press release

Wireless prices have nowhere to go but up after carriers spent big on 5G spectrum auction

The Trudeau government has got itself in a pickle over its telecom policies as they launch into a federal election campaign.

Consumer prices for wireless services are expected to rise after carriers spent a whopping $8.91-billion in a government auction of 5G airwaves.

Analysts predict that carriers, which still need to make major investments to upgrade their networks, will pass on those costs to consumers. What’s more, they say the government’s auction rules precipitated this problem by inflating spectrum costs for large carriers. – Rita Trichur, The Globe and Mail

Canada: $29M statutory damage award for copyright infringement, includes finding of "inducement"

It is settled law in Canada that one who induces another to infringe a patent is guilty of patent infringement. 1 But what about other intellectual property rights? On a recent ex parte default judgment motion in the Federal Court of Canada, the Court awarded over $29M in statutory damages for a claim of copyright infringement brought by a group of media broadcasters against sellers of pre-programmed set-top boxes for streaming alleged pirated content.  Adam Bobker & Martin Brandsma, Bereskin & Parr

As Kandahar falls, should Canada reject the notion of ‘American exceptionalism’

With the implosion of the Soviet Union, and the economic transformation of China, America was all dressed up with nowhere to go. It continued to fund a military designed to fight World War III as a high-tech sequel to the Second World War, complete with sneak attack, tank battles in Europe, and vast naval fleets sweeping across the seas, plus nuclear missiles.

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In practice, the American military was sadly unready for lesser wars and low-tech challenges. Korea was a “police action” that saw North Korea bombed flat with a million deaths, but it ended in 1953 with a “truce” that continues 68 years later. Vietnam pitted B-52 bombers against guys pushing bicycles laden with rice and ammunition over jungle trails. The bicycle guys won. – Crawford Kilian, The Tyee

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China’s soft power ambitions in Afghanistan are worth billions

10 maps to understand Afghanistan

The diagrams that explain displacement populations in Iran, Pakistan and Tajikistan, literacy rates across the mountainous country to opium cultivation regions and revenues. – Mohammed Haddad & Alia Chughtai, Al Jazeera

The Taliban’s key leaders in Afghanistan

Six important figures lead the Taliban movement, which has been fighting the Western-backed government since 2001. – Al Jazeera

Sports TV is about to be turned on its head

One of the first steps came with this spring’s $100 billion,12-year NFL rights deal. The incumbent broadcasters/cable powers signed up for what seemed like it was maintaining the status quo, just at twice the price. But the inclusion of streaming rights for everyone and Amazon winning rights to produce 15 Thursday-night games a year beginning in 2022 (it’s been running Fox’s game feed since 2017) is sure to send a batch of viewers online to watch legacy TV’s most popular programming. – David Bloom, Next TV

Tracking the evolution of global TV viewing

In aggregate, linear television remains the best way to reach mass audiences, but reach levels are dropping between 2% and 3% each year as viewing behaviours fragment across the growing variety of streaming content.

Despite (this) fragmenting viewership, and in contrast to what many marketers say about their planned spending, global ad spend on linear TV has bounced back stronger than spending across all media following the global ad pullback last year. The revitalized commitment speaks to the enduring influence of linear TV, even though the pandemic viewing gains of last year have receded. – Nielsen

Google to Court: We’re no more common carriers than Fox News

Google said that the suit was being brought because "most Ohioans who seek information on the internet prefer to use Google rather than other internet search services." It said that is no more valid a reason under law than "to declare Fox News, the New York Times or Walmart a 'public utility' because most people in a particular town prefer to get their news or groceries from them instead of someone else."
Google said its search is not a public service, or a service of public concern, that it is not hired to carry content from one person to another, that there is nothing "common" about the information it presents and that the way it responds to queries is protected by the First Amendment. – John Eggerton, Multichannel News

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Snopes co-founder caught plagiarizing under a fake name

David Mikkelson, the co-founder of the fact-checking website Snopes, has long presented himself as the arbiter of truth online, a bulwark in the fight against rumours and fake news. But he has been lying to the site's tens of millions of readers: A BuzzFeed News investigation has found that between 2015 and 2019, Mikkelson wrote and published dozens of 54 articles containing material plagiarized from news outlets such as the Guardian and the LA Times. – Dean Sterling Jones, BuzzFeed

A&E doc to portray Hef as a big bad wolf

Once described by The New York Times as "the grinning pimp of the sexual revolution," A&E plans to premiere a less than glorious documentary about Playboy czar Hugh Hefner early next year. Advance hype for Secrets of Playboy  promises to sandpaper the American magazine magnate's lustrous image and sully the image of a man who once exemplified the epitome of American male style. He died Sept 27 2017 at age 91. 

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Qualcomm launches 5G platform for drones, says working with Verizon for network testing

Chipmaker Qualcomm Technologies Inc. Wednesday launched the industry’s first 5G platform for drones with artificial intelligence (AI)-capabilities to drive the next generation of high-performance, low-power drones.

The Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G platform will help accelerate the development of commercial, enterprise and industrial drones. – ET Telecom

Why successful individuals wear the same outfit daily

Every decision you make uses up your mental energy. Just the simple act of thinking about whether you should choose A or B will tire you out and reduce your brainpower. This means that the more decisions you have to make throughout the day, the weaker your decision-making process will become.

This is why many successful individuals like Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Albert Einstein decided to reduce the amount of decisions they make throughout the day by doing things such as choosing to adopt a monotonous wardrobe. – Vincent Carlos, LinkedIn

What to know when reporting on the delta variant

What do journalists need to understand about the delta variant, and about COVID-19 variants more broadly? On this webinar, Peter van Heusden, a bioinformatician and researcher at the South African National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI), will help demystify the delta variant and guide journalists in improving their reporting on it.

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Burton Cummings

Legal News

The Guess Who's Burton Cummings Will Give Up His Royalties to Stop Alleged 'Cover Band'

The Canadian musician has cancelled performing license agreements for all of his songs, which will prevent the act currently performing under The Guess Who name from playing hits like "American Woman" and "These Eyes."

Canadian musician Burton Cummings is giving up his royalties to protect his legacy.

The "American Woman" singer and co-founder of classic Winnipeg band The Guess Who has cancelled his performance license agreements, Rolling Stone reports, in an effort to prevent the current iteration of The Guess Who from performing.

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