Media Beat: June 10, 2019

By David Farrell

As Canadian TV disaster looms, writers script their own survival

Maybe it’s an occupational hazard. Writers spend their days living in their heads, imagining the world as they want it to be, so perhaps when things turn dark in the real world they’re just naturally inclined to ignore the facts. How else to explain that, when The Globe and Mail recently surveyed some of the leading creators and other players in Canadian television, they were – almost as a breed – unflagging, even upbeat? Hadn’t any of them heard about the dire state of the industry? – Simon Houpt, The Globe and Mail (subscription needed)

National Post calls for a national inquiry into ‘ad-hungry’ CBC

It’s no mystery why CBC would want advertising, of course. More money is its own reward. The problem is, the CBC is not Canada’s only broadcaster or news outlet. And every dollar of advertising it secures is a dollar less available to Canada’s other media companies, which receive no comparable direct federal subsidy.


This is a real and growing problem given the migration of most advertising away from traditional outlets — TV, radio and print — to the internet. Even as their audience reach has grown, media companies around the world have seen their revenue contract significantly.

Highlights from the 2019 Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Awards

If you weren't at the recent 2019 Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Awards, among this year's Hall of Fame inductees were longtime CJAY92 Calgary morning man Gerry Forbes, coast to coast-rock-radio legend Brother Jake Edwards - who currently helms mornings at TSN 1040 Vancouver, and legendary CKOI-FM Montreal music director Guy Brouillard. What follows are highlights from the event, as captured in a Broadcast Dialogue podcast

Nielsen survey younger adult TV viewing habits

Marketers and advertisers alike strive to reach key demographics with their content and ad campaigns. But, in today’s landscape wrought with device fragmentation, content choices and unique consumption habits, younger audiences have seemingly been an enigmatic group that encapsulates these variables. Some of these complex issues, however, can be solved by looking toward a simple solution—out-of-home (OOH) TV viewing. – Continue reading the Nielsen OOH survey by clicking on the headline.


Twitter’s head of content on why traditional media outlets are ‘more friends than foes’

At a flashy event in Toronto’s Distillery District on May 30 — that included Toronto Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia and NHL superstar Taylor Hall — the company announced partnerships with CBC Sports, Rogers Sportsnet, TSN, DAZN, Universal Music and Corus Entertainment to livestream sports highlights, the FIFA Women’s World Cup, musical performances and celebrity interviews.

Other global deals will also give Canadians access to content from the NFL, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Time, CNET, the Players’ Tribune and Blizzard Entertainment.

The Star sat down with Twitter’s global head of content Kay Madati to discuss these deals, the company’s efforts to wade into the crowded and competitive live streaming market and how it’s coping with concerns around profit-sharing and regulation. – Tara Deschamps

Confessions of a fake news writer

Collectively, my portfolio of fake news might sound pretty funny. At the time, my career seemed to have taken on a life of its own, and I was only really concerned about scraping together enough money to pay my rent. Now I look back and it’s a rogues’ gallery of crimes against journalism. I’m confessing, I suppose, in the hope that it inspires you to think more critically about what you read and how it might be trying to influence you. So here goes.


I have written completely fabricated experiences of being a medic delivering care in a war zone and the difficulties I’ve encountered as a middle-aged housewife (a piece about the emotional labor of the holidays went down well) and growing up as a Muslim. Media agencies (a bizarre name for them, because they are basically advertising companies) have to churn out so many articles that they need writers who can be all things at all times. The work is presented as journalism, when, in reality, it’s creative writing. – Winston Wordsworth, Medium


The making of a YouTube radical

Caleb Cain, 26, recently swore off the alt-right nearly five years after discovering it, and has become a vocal critic of the movement. He is scarred by his experience of being radicalized by what he calls a “decentralized cult” of far-right YouTube personalities, who convinced him that Western civilization was under threat from Muslim immigrants and cultural Marxists, that innate I.Q. differences explained racial disparities, and that feminism was a dangerous ideology.

“I just kept falling deeper and deeper into this, and it appealed to me because it made me feel a sense of belonging,” he said. “I was brainwashed.” – Kevin Roose, The New York Times

China warns big tech about complying with US trade restrictions

As the trade relationship between the United States and China has broken down, fears have risen in China that major companies will seek to move production elsewhere to avoid longer-term risks. In the meetings this week, Chinese officials explicitly warned companies that any move to pull production from China that seemed to go beyond standard diversification for security purposes could lead to punishment, according to the two people.

The Chinese officials appeared to have differing messages for the companies, depending on whether they were American or not, the people added. – Kate Conger, The New York Times

More video options won’t change consumer behaviour

Many Americans believe they will use more subscription services in the future. But when it comes to video streaming, more options doesn't mean consumers will drastically increase the number of services they're willing to pay for. – eMarketer

Apple previews its new software features

In a 2.5-hour keynote, Apple proved that it’s really thinking beyond the iPhone with new software features coming to iPad, Apple Watch and Mac. WSJ's Joanna Stern and David Pierce recap the ones that matter in about three minutes.


Taco Bell’s latest spot is a fake movie trailer that pokes fun at musical biopics

“Chasing Gold” is the aspirational rise-and-fall story of a singer (Golden Globe winner Darren Criss) who gets his big break after being discovered by an agent (played by comedian Chris Diamantopoulos) who hears him singing about his deep love of Nacho Fries in an alley. – AdWeek

Why VW is bringing up its emissions scandal again in new ad

Outside of a smattering of targeted print and online ads, Volkswagen has largely avoided alluding to its 2015 global diesel emissions scandal in U.S. advertising. But now, some four years later, the automaker is tackling the issue head-on in a new TV ad airing during tonight’s NBA Finals that spins the crisis into the impetus for its aggressive move into electric vehicles. - AdAge


Louis Potvin, broadcaster, died at age 95 on June 2 in Squamish, BC. 

Potvin left school at age 15 to and trained at Sprott Shaw Radio School in Vancouver. At age 17, joined the air force and trained as a wireless operator and radio repair technician. According to his autobiography, Louis’s Place, which was published in 2001, his Morse code was 30 words a minute by the time the war was over in 1945. Potvin married a fellow wireless operator and returned to B.C. working as an installer and repairing radiotelephones on ships and in camps. Settled in Lillooet Lake, he would have a mink farm, sawmill company and property development business, before taking a job marketing B.C.-built VHF equipment that were sold in Cuba, Japan and Latin America. In 1981, he and his second wife Carol fulfilled a long-held dream to have his own radio station Mountain FM (CISQ-FM) Whistler, the Sea to Sky corridor’s first radio station. Potvin formed Mountain Broadcasting Ltd, with subsequent approval for rebroadcast transmitters at CISE-FM Sechelt, CIPN-FM Pender Harbour, CISC-FM Gibsons and CIEG-FM Egmont. CISQ was sold to Selkirk Communications in 1989.


Chuck McCoy describes his friend as “a unique individual and a pioneer Broadcaster who was an entrepreneur and a mentor to many Canadian Broadcasters. As a sidelight, Louis was also an inspirational Grandfather to my three children”.  – Augmented with details from Broadcast Dialogue




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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