Media Beat: January 18, 2019

By David Farrell

Int. coalition demands Google respects free speech on Internet Freedom Day

Activists will gather outside Google HQs in Montreal and Toronto today with messages highlighting the risks Dragonfly poses to freedom of speech and internet security and calling on the tech company to end the project. They will also hand out leaflets to Google employees and the public. The organisers have stated that this will be the first of a series of protests that will continue until Google executives confirm that Project Dragonfly has been cancelled. Dragonfly is an Internet search engine app being prototyped by Google that is designed to be compatible with China's state censorship provisions.


The coalition of groups launching the global day of action on Internet Freedom Day includes the World Uyghur Congress, Free Tibet, International Tibet Network, Students for a Free Tibet, Tibet Action Institute, Tibet Society, SumOfUs and other activists from Chinese, Tibetan and Uyghur communities.

Protests will also take place in Australia, the UK, Switzerland, Sweden, Argentina, Chile, and the US.  –

CMF crunches a lot of data in its annual report

Is it possible to remain creative and innovative in a world of similarities powered by algorithms? How do we stay competitive in a media sector dominated by technological titans? How do we adapt our business models in a space where automation is taking over?

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) hopes to help answer these and other questions in its newly released 2019 Trends Report, entitled Hold My Hand.

“New alliances, new collaborations, new opportunities—we’re here to help professionals in the screen industry navigate through it all,” CMF Director and report co-author Catherine Mathys says. “We’re calling this report Hold my Hand because we’re all in this together and no one can pretend to go through these major transformations on their own.”

Stingray fans Breeze format to Halifax

After launches in Edmonton and Vancouver, Stingray launches its contemporary easy-listening format Thursday (17th) in Halifax when it rebrands Mix 96.5 (CKUL-FM) as 96.5 The Breeze.


The format is to feature staples by artists such as Lionel Richie, Elton John, Ed Sheeran, Whitney Houston, Sara McLachlan, Billy Joel, and Adele.

 “We’re offering an escape – a place to relax and revisit … great songs that listeners know and love. They were all huge hits, and for some reason, radio in Halifax seems to have forgotten about them,” said Dan Barton, Stingray’s Director of Contemporary Programming for Nova Scotia. “96.5 The Breeze is bringing those fantastic songs – and that relaxing, familiar feel - back to the radio.” – Stingray Media

CRTC approves $21M TVA purchase of Évasion and Zeste TV channels

Groupe TVA must meet certain conditions set by the regulator, including paying $1.8M in tangible benefits to the Canada Media Fund, Telefilm Canada and the Quebecor Fund to support Canadian French-language programming. – The Canadian Press

Freedom drives Shaw’s revenue growth

Shaw Communications Inc. beat analyst estimates with a 68.5 percent increase in its Q1 net income as growth at Freedom Mobile and its business services unit offset flat results at its core residential services. – Dave Paddon, The Canadian Press

SiriusXM subscribers increase, but what about autonomous cars?

With the news that the platform added 1.3M new subscribers in the US last year, the future looks rosy, right?

Forbes muddies things up by asking the question: Will we stop buying new cars for our personal use in favour of services like Lyft and Uber? That scenario would mean that Sirius would end up selling its service to just a few fleet operators, and probably at a considerable discount. Does that mean that the subscriber numbers plunge from 34 million-plus down to maybe dozens? – Bob Owsinski, Forbes


Podcast Movement 2019

The world's largest conference and trade show for podcasters returns in its 6th year, welcoming nearly 3,000 podcasters from around the world Aug. 13-16 in Orlando, Fla. Register today to save a few hundred $s on the cost of attendance!





The Billboard Canada FYI Bulletin: Beyoncé Country Hit A Win For Canadian Songwriters

Also in this week's roundup of industry news: Kayla Diamond launches her own boutique imprint, SOCAN names an ombudsman, and time's running out for noms for this year's Rosalie Award honouring trailblazing women in broadcasting.

Beyoncé becomes the first Black woman to top Billboard’s Country Songs chart with “Texas Hold ‘Em” and it has gone to No. 1 on iTunes in 14 different countries and counting. There are some surprising connections. The song is co-written and co-produced by Ontario-born writer/producer Nathan Ferraro, whose previous collaborations include working with Lady Gaga, Carly Rae Jepsen, Bear Mountain, RALPH, Shawn Hook, Alyssa Reid, Jessie Reyez, Lowell and Tyler Shaw.

In fact, the song has deep Canadian origins. Two other Canadian songwriters participated in this runaway hit: Megan Bülow (who records and performs as bülow) as and Elizabeth "Lowell" Boland (a.k.a. Lowell), with Ferraro co-producing the track with Killah B and Beyoncé.

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