Media Beat: February 25, 2019


Media Beat: February 25, 2019

By David Farrell


The following is excerpted from Bob Hoffman’s The Ad Contrariannewsletter.

Last Year's Miracle

The miracles come and go so fast in marketing it's hard to remember that last year at this time the thing that was going to "change everything" wasn't artificial intelligence, it was blockchain.

     - McKinsey gave us the good news about "How Blockchains Can Change The World."
     - Forbes, taking it four steps further, told us about "Five Ways Blockchain Could Change The World"
     - Not to be outdone, FXEmpire told us "How Blockchain Will Change Our Life, Economy and the World." Sheesh, is that all?


Why all the hyperventilating about blockchain? According to The Wall Street Journal, "once a transaction has been made, the blockchain remains an immutable record of it." According to McKinsey, blockchain is "an extraordinary thing. An immutable, unhackable distributed database of digital assets." 

Well, you guessed it. Not exactly.

According to the MIT Technology Review blockchain is being hacked rather nicely. Something called a... "51% attack against Ethereum Classic was just the latest in a series of recent attacks on blockchains... In total, hackers have stolen nearly $2 billion worth of cryptocurrency since the beginning of 2017, mostly from exchanges, and that’s just what has been revealed publicly."

Whenever you read hysterical yapping about whatever the next marketing-miracle-of-the-month is going to be -- user-generated content, social media, QR codes, chat bots, virtual reality, AI, blockchain, crowdsourcing, delivery drones, native advertising, 3D printing, influencers, or, yes, Pokémon Go -- remember what the great Richard Feynman said, "Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts."

Executive turntable at Corus

In a news release, the media firm has announced “enhancements” to its Executive Leadership Team (“ELT”) and business operating structure, “designed to accelerate advancement of its strategic priorities to own more content, engage audiences and expand into new and adjacent markets, and to strengthen its position as Canada’s largest pure-play media and content company.”


The structural reorganization includes the following ELT changes:

  • Troy Reeb has been promoted to Executive Vice President Broadcast Networks and joins Corus’ ELT. This new portfolio brings all of Corus’ broadcast networks under one umbrella to facilitate innovation and collaboration across its TV, Radio and digital platforms.  In addition, regulatory and government relations will report jointly to Reeb and Corus’ EVP and General Counsel, Dale Hancocks.

  • Colin Bohm becomes Executive Vice President Content and Corporate Strategy. In addition to his current leadership of strategy and business development, Bohm’s role now includes oversight of Corus’ original content teams, including Nelvana, Corus Studios, Kids Can Press and Toon Boom. This will maximize strategic growth opportunities for Corus content, both domestically and internationally.

  • Greg McLelland, Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, will expand his role to include marketing and Corus’ Social Digital Agency (so.da), in addition to his current leadership of sales, content distribution, research and consumer insights, and data and advanced advertising. McLelland’s team will be aligned on maximizing audiences and revenue, and exploring new opportunities for creative production, both for our internal brands and our clients.


CRTC offers lame duck remedies to abusive telecom sales practices

There was nothing stopping the CRTC report from including a timeline or targets or commitments to specific actions. The report does contain a few promises – for example, it says it will develop its own secret shopper program modelled on University of Ottawa work led by Professor Mary Cavanagh – but most recommendations are consigned to future consideration or study. In other words, the issue is reminiscent of the Seinfeld Penske File episode, as Canadian consumers can expect Scott to be hard at work on the issue with few expectations of tangible results. Indeed, the decision to reject an inquiry and only consider the issue when forced to do so by the government arguably says more about the CRTC’s commitment to consumer concerns than its report. – Michael Geist


Fagstein’s Media News Digest

News about news:  I send my FOIA birthday cards when my original requests turn one year older. Does this speed up my FOIAs? Not really, but the cards have to go into some file forever. — Bill Geerhart (@CONELRAD6401240) February 11, 2019 The FPJQ says 256 journalists submitted 422 stories for its 10 Judith-Jasmin […] – Steve Faguy

Earl Seitz's 50-year journey in broadcasting

Seitz has received the honour of being inducted into the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame. The induction comes after 50 years in broadcasting, mostly over the Kamloops airwaves both on radio and television (watch the video here) – CFJC

CNN’s hiring of a GOP operative as political editor is even worse than it looks

CNN has hired Sarah Isgur — who has no journalism experience and once slammed her new employer as the “Clinton News Network” — as a political editor.

The network, under heavy fire for the move, was insisting by Tuesday night that she wouldn’t be directing political coverage, although that surely is what a political editor might be expected to do. – Margaret Sullivan, The Washington Post

YouTube unleashed a conspiracy theory boom. Can it be contained?

Last month, the YouTube star Shane Dawson uploaded his new project: a 104-minute documentary, “Conspiracy Theories with Shane Dawson.”

In the video, set to a spooky instrumental soundtrack, Dawson unspooled a series of far-fetched hypotheses. Among them: that iPhones secretly record their owners’ every utterance; that popular children’s TV shows contain subliminal messages urging children to commit suicide; that the recent string of deadly wildfires in California was set on purpose, either by homeowners looking to collect insurance money or by the military using a type of high-powered laser called a “directed energy weapon.”

None of this was fact-based, of course, and some of the theories seemed more like jokey urban legends than serious accusations. Still, his 20M fans ate it up. – Kevin Roose, The New York Times


Pedophilia content leads to some advertisers boycotting YouTube

Nestlé, Epic Games and other major brands said on Wednesday that they had stopped buying advertisements on YouTube after their ads appeared on children’s videos where pedophiles had infiltrated the comment sections.

The companies acted after a YouTube user posted a video this week to point out this behavior. For the most part, the videos targeted by pedophiles did not violate YouTube’s rules and were innocent enough — young girls doing gymnastics, playing Twister or stretching — but the videos became overrun with suggestive remarks directed at the children. – Daisuke Wakabayashi and Sapna Maheshwari, The New York Times

Tucker Carlson defends his profanity-laced invective masked as an interview

Fox News host Tucker Carlson has responded to a now-viral video of an unaired interview in which he swore at a guest, calling him a “moron” and a “tiny brain,” by apologizing for his use of profanity but defending his fiery reaction as “entirely accurate.” – The Washington Post

A new generation of mobsters in Naples abandon the traditional code of silence

With generational change has come a change in style. Whereas the older mafia bosses often operated out of the limelight, observing omertà - the code of silence – today’s criminals broadcast their exploits on social media, where they pose in designer clothes, clutching €200 bottles of champagne. They wear hipster-style beards and race through the alleyways of Naples on scooters like packs of wild dogs. And they shoot. – Lorenzo Tondo and Gianmaria Tammaro, The Guardian


Céline Dion in 'I Am : Céline Dion'
Prime Video

Céline Dion in 'I Am : Céline Dion'

Tv Film

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The Maisonneuve Theatre in Montreal was packed to celebrate Quebec's national treasure, Céline Dion.

Monday evening, June 17, Prime Video organized a handful of previews of Irene Taylor's highly anticipated documentary I Am: Céline Dion. In Montreal, where Billboard Canada was among the guests, many people came to attend the special screening.

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