By David Farrell
What was said
I very much enjoyed speaking at Canadian Music Week. Here, with their kind permission, is a video of the panel I hosted directly after my keynote: Building a Strategy for the Future; Putting Discussion Into Action, with Matt Deegan, Ronnie Stanton and Leslie Merklinger. You can watch the rest, including my keynote, at CMW’s RadioActive 2022 website.
It was good to be back in Canada, but it did highlight that things aren’t really very back to normal. When I do long journeys, I write a trip report, mainly to keep me sane. As you’ll see from this one (the link will skip you past the paywall), there are still lots of challenges to international travel. Toronto itself is full of closed stores and empty units, and, walking around the city during a normal working day, seems almost deserted.
Canadian radio is, through the fault of the CRTC I believe, stuck in the mid 1970s. The lack of competition in the market is coupled with ownership restrictions that harm the industry and benefit the big owners. The radio business appears to be shrinking, unlike that of the UK or Australia. Government appears to wish to keep restricting it, preferring a future where Canadian radio is penniless-but-Canadian rather than a future where Canadian radio is in fine health. Excerpted from the James Cridland newsletter, Canadian radio, and the rise of smart speakers.
Bill C-11 heads to the Upper House for further scrutiny before royal assent
The controversial, oft-misunderstood Online Streaming Act, giving the CRTC limited but persuasive regulatory powers over streaming services, has cleared a third reading in the Lower House and now heads to the Senate where it can be stalled, amended or sent back for further parliamentary debate. Maclean’s offers an op-ed piece criticizing the bill from the perspective of a Canadian YouTuber, TVO another op-ed piece penned by Neal McDougall that is supportive of the Broadcasting Act amendment and seeks to nullify assertions that the Commission is limited by court oversight.
Joel Goldenberg offers a darker perspective in The Suburban, suggesting that the government has a broader agenda and that it wants to have control over all audio and audiovisual content accessible online in Canada, including Spotify and YouTube. At this point, it’s very much a thesis than a fact.
A Reuters story appearing in Financial Post mirrors the same fears as spelled out by Goldenberg, but many news orgs stayed beyond the fray and stuck with the facts, as spelled out in the straight news story pumped out by Canadian Press.
And finally, here's what former CRTC Chair Konrad von Finkenstein has to say about the reg, and amendments he sees as necessary before passage into law.
The Competition Bureau has expanded on its opposition to Rogers Communications Inc.’s proposed $26-billion takeover of Shaw Communications in new submissions to the Competition Tribunal ahead of weeks of hearings scheduled to being this fall.
In legal filings released after markets closed, the agency challenged Rogers’ claims about efficiencies and said acquiring its closest competitor is anticompetitive that will harm consumers through higher prices, lower quality services and lost innovation.
It also argues that the proposed sale of Shaw’s Freedom Mobile service is “not an effective remedy” … The Canadian Press
Anthony Lacavera, chairman of Globalive Capital, which also attempted to buy Freedom, said Rogers is accepting $ 900 million less than the $3.75-billion his company had offered, because Quebecor would be a less aggressive competitor.
“Rogers has shopped this deal to a succession of billionaire friends and friendly parties who won’t compete with them and are willing to sell Freedom back to them at any time,” Mr. Lacavera said in an e-mail Saturday. Globalive Capital founded Freedom Mobile in 2008, formerly called Wind Mobile, and sold it to Shaw eight years later. – Andrew Willis & Alexandra Posadzki, The Globe and Mail
The CRTC has hit Bell Canada with a C$7.5M fine for not sharing its telephone poles with Quebecor’s Videotron.
After a two-year investigation, the CRTC concluded that Bell did indeed impede Videotron’s network development and created a competitive advantage for itself in Quebec, Videotron’s main service area. The plaintiff had asked for a $10M fine but the commission settled the case by imposing fines of $2.5M for three deemed violations. – IT World Canada
Section 74.06 of the Competition Act is a civil provision. It prohibits any promotional contest that does not disclose the number and approximate value of prizes, the area or areas to which they relate and any important information relating to the chances of winning such as the odds of winning. It also stipulates that the distribution of prizes cannot be unduly delayed and that participants be selected or prizes distributed on the basis of skill or on a random basis.
If a court determines that a person has engaged in conduct contrary to section 74.06, it may order the person not to engage in such conduct, to publish a corrective notice and/or to pay an administrative monetary penalty of up to $750,000 in the case of a first time occurrence by an individual and $10,000,000 in the case of a first time occurrence by a corporation. For subsequent orders, the penalties increase to a maximum of $1,000,000 in the case of an individual and $15,000,000 in the case of a corporation. – Competition Bureau
Facebook might stop writing checks to news publishers, having found they don’t make its PR problems go away. And on the other, Facebook wants to demote what little news still remains in its primary feed, having found that it doesn’t keep users engaged as much as an algorithm-generated stream of random videos. – Joshua Benton, NiemanLab
Tom Verdin — a more than 20-year veteran of the AP who spent the past seven years leading its state government team — will take up the role, managing coverage on challenges to democracy, voting rights, election processes and related areas. Although such topics are often considered the purview of politics and government journalists, the current threats to democracy both in the United States and abroad called for the attention of a dedicated editor, according to AP Executive Editor Julie Pace. – Clare Duffy, CNN
TV news groups have looked to leverage social media to get more eyes on content and boost brand awareness since the advent of legacy platforms like Facebook and Twitter a decade and a half ago. Lately, more of the focus has been fixed on relatively newer platforms — Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat — because they appeal to younger demographics and, therefore, may prove key contributors to sustainability.
Lost in the shuffle, however, has been LinkedIn. – Michael Stahl, TVNewsCheck
Newly released ticket sales data from Live Nation confirm what we've suspected all along - 2022 will go down as the "Year of the Concert" as we emerge from our Covid coma. For radio, the opportunity is knocking like a bass drum, a chance to reconnect with the audience as they celebrate their return to live musical entertainment. Who's doing it right? And what can your station do to seize the moment? – Fred Jacobs’ Blog
In an effort to present itself as a viable competitor to the reigning short-form video platform TikTok, YouTube announced today its rival service YouTube Shorts is now being watched by over 1.5 billion logged-in users every month, less than two years after its launch. By comparison, TikTok announced 1 billion monthly users in September 2021.
Though it hasn’t announced updated figures since, TikTok was forecast to hit the 1.5 billion per month user figure sometime this year. – Sarah Perez TechCrunch