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Media Beat: June 28, 2021

By David Farrell

Canadian media outlets sign licensing deal with Google

The tech giant is launching a product called Google News Showcase in Canada this fall, a platform that will see the company pay news organizations across the country for access to content and give media companies an opportunity to sell online advertising around their stories, as well as sign up new subscribers.


Along with the Toronto-based Globe and Mail, Google is teaming with Black Press Media and Glacier Media, both headquartered in B.C., Quebec-based Métro Média, Nova Scotia’s SaltWire Network, Manitoba’s Winnipeg Free Press and two other Ontario publishers, Narcity Media and Village Media. Collectively, the publishers own more than 70 national and regional media platforms. – Andrew Willis, The Globe and Mail

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How international media covered the discovery of 751 unmarked graves near former Sask. residential school

The New York Times struck a sober tone consistent with many international news sources with its page 8 headline “In Canada, Another ‘Horrific’ Discovery of Indigenous Children’s Remains”, writing that, combined with the discovery of the remains of 215 children in Kamloops, “have jolted a nation grappling with generations of widespread and systematic abuse of Indigenous people, many of whom are survivors of the boarding schools.”

Like the Times, many international media outlets took pains to attempt to set the discovery in the proper context, with background on the residential school system and the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s description of the policy as cultural genocide. – Cameron French, CTV News

The stakes too high for Canadian film and TV industry for Senate not to pass updated Broadcasting Act

… Given the popularity of U.S. TV, and the lack of any language barrier in English Canada, there will never be the same incentive to push true homegrown stories here that exists in countries like Japan or France, where local content tops even the biggest global hits.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution: Enter Bill C-10 to modernize the rules of our broadcasting system. The bill requires no taxes or levies, no hand of government dictating programming choices, just that streaming services invest a share of their Canadian revenue into Canadian productions — as our own broadcasters always have.

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While this solution is simple, debate in Parliament has been anything but. – Warren P. Sonoda, The Star

Lee Abrams’ bold predictions for Radio in 2026 include…

– Radio demos will continue to age
– Generic radio will be omnipresent with some marginal successes but generally in clear decline
– A handful of powerhouse stations will prevail
– Extremely local stations in small and medium markets may flourish
– Streaming will continue to grow especially in younger demos
– As streamers evolve from jukeboxes to a 360-degree radio experience they will grow with older demos.
– Podcasting is the new Talk Radio, and it’s where the next generation of talk stars will originate.

In 2021 radio still has unmatched reach, but generic programming is not a winning strategy. – Ken Benson, Radio Ink

A magic button for radio?

… I believe that broadcast radio still has the ability to compete for “continuous music” from a programming standpoint. We have a lifetime’s head start in understanding listener preference. Even a few years ago, the pure-plays’ music sounded as random to me as the MSN playlists of 17 years ago. But that advantage is starting to dissipate in the playlist era. I think Today’s Top Hits on Spotify is often more on target than its broadcast counterpart. It’s one more reason to make a move now. And getting “continuous music” back without a magic bullet won’t easily happen now.

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I’ve been hesitant to just put the “mute button” option out there. But I feel reasonably sure that broadcast radio’s competitors will get to it at some point, even without my help. The only holdup now is that Spotify, Amazon, and others still treat personality as mostly an opt-in option. There is still little that re-creates radio’s real time experience as Apple Music does.

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Then again, for “with or without jocks” to be a viable option, broadcast radio also has to offer “with jocks” consistently. As James Cridland points out, those listeners who opt in are probably looking for more content and more real-time content, not just “coming up, music from these three artists” or the same story that was on this morning’s entertainment report. It also means that radio would have to be consistently hosted 24/7, for those who wanted it. There’s potential in a mute button, but not if broadcasters are already muting themselves. – Excerpted from Radio Insights by Sean Ross

Bullshit disguised as research

Let’s talk about a little research trick that devious operators use to con gullible rubes. In "Advertising For Skeptics" I wrote about how companies use bogus, loaded questions to turn baloney into "research."

Here's what I wrote:
   "By posing questions in manipulative ways...it is easy to use research to distort the    truth. If you ask someone 'do you prefer ads that are relevant?' of course they’re going to say yes. (Who prefers ads that are irrelevant?)

   "But if you ask the proper question — 'Are you willing to trade private, personal information about yourself and your family, have your movements tracked and catalogued both online and offline, have your emails and texts scanned and archived, and have files about you sold to anyone who wants to buy them, in order to get 'more relevant advertising?' I don’t think you need to be a research genius to know what the answer will be."

This week I was sent a lovely example of this in something called "6 Insights From Iterable's 2021 Consumer Psychology Poll." This so-called 'psychology poll' found that "The large majority of consumers (58%) said they feel positive about receiving a hyper-personalized online ad... it’s evident that consumers want a personalized experience and aren’t against their information being used for targeted marketing." My ass.

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So I wrote back to these people and asked for a copy of the actual questionnaire they used to arrive at these stunning conclusions. Not surprisingly, I haven't heard back from them. – Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian

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Allison Russell at an interview with iHeartRadio for Billboard Canada Women in Music on June 19, 2024
Marc Thususka Photography

Allison Russell at an interview with iHeartRadio for Billboard Canada Women in Music on June 19, 2024

Awards

Allison Russell, Charlotte Cardin, DijahSB Shortlisted for 2024 Polaris Music Prize

The Beaches, rapper TOBi, indie experimentalist Cindy Lee, and previous winner Jeremy Dutcher are also amongst the ten artists in contention for the $50,000 prize, which recognizes the best Canadian album of the year based solely on artistic merit. See the whole list here.

Some of Canadian music's biggest breakthroughs of the last year are facing off for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize.

Charlotte Cardin for 99 Nights, The Beaches for Blame My Ex, Allison Russell for The Returner and Cindy Lee for Diamond Jubilee are among the ten artists shortlisted for the 2024 award, which recognizes the best Canadian album of the year.

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