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Media Beat: January 27, 2022

By David Farrell

Heritage: Digital giants must pay Canadian media for using news

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says the government is pressing ahead with plans to ensure digital giants pay Canadian media outlets for reusing their news content.


The minister said a bill was an “absolute priority” for him and that he was moving quickly to bring it forward.

He said there was now a “critical situation” that needed addressing in Canada’s news industry. – Marie Woolf, The Canadian Press

ZoomerMedia acquires blogTO

Media mogul Moses Znaimer has expanded his media empire with the acquisition of popular Toronto events, culture and fashion news portal blogTO.

The move comes after taking a flyer and gambling on nailing down a growing wealth segment of retirees in Canada under the banner of ZoomerMedia which owns and operates radio, cable TV and print vehicles that pander to this segment. Znaimer’s latest move in acquiring the online portal brings with it an audience of upwardly mobile 30+ year-olds flush with cash and wanting to spend it on goods and services that blogTO promotes with vigour and panache.

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Here's the press release:

ZoomerMedia announced Monday, Jan. 24 that it has acquired all of the shares of Freshdaily Inc. (“Freshdaily”), owner and publisher of blogTO, Toronto’s popular online events, culture and fashion portal founded by Tim Shaw in 2004.
“Thus far we have been edging our analog radio, TV, and magazine products and audiences into the digital domain,” ZoomerMedia Founder and CEO Moses Znaimer said in a prepared statement.

“In aggregate, our digital properties today deliver over 50 million page views a year. This acquisition will add 350 million+ such views (and growing rapidly) and is also intended to kickstart a suite of new, mobile-friendly, digital offerings that we will soon announce.”
“I'm a known believer in the local. Zoomer Radio and Classical FM already bring local news and life to the older demo. blogTO does that for the younger cohorts.

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For his part, Shaw stated: “This sale represents an exciting new chapter for blogTO… Combining our digital experience and capabilities with the resources of ZoomerMedia will allow us to quickly expand in ways that would not have been possible otherwise. I particularly look forward to working with Moses and am confident his unparalleled industry experience and creative vision will help us grow and evolve in innovative and unexpected ways.”

Key transaction benefits for ZoomerMedia

- Brings in-house one of Toronto’s fastest-growing digital publishers with leading audience market share and a demonstrated history of audience and revenue growth;
- Adds nearly 3 million social media followers and 350 million+ page views of inventory a year;
- Introduces a new and younger demographic to the ZoomerMedia fold, enabling a full spectrum offering to clients and partners;
- Accelerates product development of daily digital video content;
- Revenue and cost synergies are expected from audience integration, cross-selling and multi-platform offerings across online, radio, TV, print and shows and conferences.

The acquisition price was not disclosed. Zoomer Media Ltd. owns and operates various vertically-themed cable TV shows, radio stations, various publications that include Zoomer Magazine, trade shows and conferences.

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Whether it’s ‘kill the CBC’ or ‘defund the CBC,’ it’s all witless naivete

It is simple-minded to think that the superabundance of content on streaming services will continue forever, making the CBC’s efforts redundant. This current period will not last forever. There will be consolidation, and a contraction in content. That’s when a public broadcaster will be truly necessary to present storytelling that matters to a national audience, maybe an international audience, too. And by the way, it is delusional to think that commercial broadcasters can fill the need. – John Doyle, The Globe and Mail

Steve Waxman’s latest podcast features broadcast exec Julie Adam

In the show notes, Waxman writes: “I've known Julie Adam a very long time. She's come a long way from her days as a radio station intern, working her way to the very top of her profession.  She is held in the highest regard in the broadcast industry and as long as I've known her, Julie has always conducted business with a smile on her face. When I heard that she had written a book, I quickly downloaded the preview and after reading the introduction I knew, right away, that she would be an inspiring guest on the pod.

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You can listen here.

R.I.P. Broadcaster Bill Anderson

William “Bill” Donald Anderson, award-winning broadcaster, passed away on Jan. 25, in Collingwood, ON. At age 77.

In 2015 he celebrated 50 years as a broadcaster. He was one of the few on-air personalities who was born and raised in Toronto and grew up in the beaches, spent his teens in Scarborough, and lived most of his adult life in Etobicoke, Mississauga and Collingwood. His career spanned numerous formats including pop, country, rock, easy-listening and classical. His radio stops have also included CJCB Sydney, CHML Hamilton, CKBB-CKCB Barrie, Ont., CFOX Montreal (as Rick Shaw), the Pelmorex Radio Network and Toronto stations CKYC (Country 59), CFRB, CKFM, CJEZ and CFMX (Classical 96).

He was named Canadian Country Music Awards Broadcaster of The Year six times for his work on Big Country and was inducted into The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame as a Builder in 1998. He was also one of the early directors (1977 – 1985) of the CCMA, guiding the organization through a period when it was merging into its present form; when its first member-organized conventions were held; and during the creation of the first CCMA Awards.

His family asks that donations go to local food banks. Forward condolences or messages to bhaugen@ica.net to be forwarded to the family. A celebration of life will be announced at a later date.

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Spotify picks Joe Rogan, dumps Neil Young

Neil Young doesn’t like what Joe Rogan is saying about Covid-19 on his popular Spotify-exclusive podcast so he gave the company an ultimatum; Joe or me. Spotify chose Rogan and will be deleting Young’s music from its service.

Young had about 6.6M listens per month on Spotify, according to media reports. Rogan is the number one podcaster in the world, millions of people listen to his 3-hour long episodes. Spotify paid Rogan $100M to come over to the streamer exclusively as the company tries to compete with Apple for the ears of podcasters.

Spotify sent the following statement to The Washington Post: “We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users. With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators. We have detailed content policies in place and we’ve removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon.” – Radio Ink

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DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla
@anmollium / Anmol Raina

DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla

Chart Beat

Karan Aujla & DIVINE Debut in Top 25 on Billboard Canadian Albums Chart

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE land the No. 22 spot on this week's Canadian Albums chart with their new collaborative release, 'Street Dreams.' On the Canadian Hot 100, Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em" ascends to No. 1, while Canadian pop artist Preston Pablo makes a debut.

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE are making moves together on Billboard's Canadian Albums chart this week, with their collaborative project, Street Dreams, debuting in the No. 22 spot.

The seven-track album, released Feb. 16, blends harder hip-hop and smooth R&B pop, the latter shining through especially on the Jonita Gandhi-assisted "Yaad." It's not Aujla's highest spot on the Albums chart — he reached No. 5 in 2023 with Making Memories, his collaboration with Canadian Punjabi artist Ikky — but it gives him some momentum going into his upcoming performance at the Juno Awards on Mar. 24, where he's nominated for TikTok Juno fan choice and breakthrough artist.

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