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Media Beat: March 01, 2019

By David Farrell

CRTC mandates telcos to provide cheaper wireless plans ASAP

A new government directive to the CRTC telling the regulator to focus more on competition, innovation and consumer interest could mean more affordable wireless plans in Canada within two years.


Navdeep Bains, minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced the new directive earlier this week during question period. It changes the criteria for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to consider when issuing decisions.

Previously, the regulator was operating under 2006 guidelines that directed it to consider market forces, investment in networks and facilities-based competition between already established network owners as a priority. – CBC

SiriusXM launches 100 new music channels in Canada

With the new Xtra Channels, the SiriusXM app now offers more than 300 channels of world-class programming to choose from, plus video from the Howard Stern Show, and thousands of hours of on-demand content.

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For a full list of new Xtra Channels visit: https://www.siriusxm.ca/100-xtra-channels/

Stingray CEO sets sights on becoming an industry world leader

The president of one of the world’s largest providers of music services says his goal is to become the world leader in the industry.

Eric Boyko is the founder and President of Stingray—the Montreal-based company that purchased Newcap Broadcasting last year

Boyko says his goal is to become one of the biggest music companies in the world.

He says they are currently the third largest music company in the world and have a real chance to become a world leader. – VOCM News

Comedians cheer as Just For Laughs radio channel remains distinctly Canadian

After unamusing blowback by CanComics on social media when it appeared the show content was to be diluted with foreign chuckle makers, the subscription service has reviewed its programming policy and announced a new strategy.

"We've listened carefully to the concerns of Canadian artists and regret the stress we have caused the comedy community. We are invested in the growth of Canada's comedy industry and are working to include even more Canadian talent in all our initiatives. To that end, we will continue to engage directly with the industry and work with CASC to strengthen and advance Canadian comedy." – Bruce Hills, President of Just For Laughs

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"Our partnership with Just For Laughs Canada provides an opportunity to bring Canada's comedic talent to a larger audience in Canada and the United States. We understand the importance our platform has to comedians in Canada, and along with Just For Laughs, we will continue to work closely with that community to ensure its success." – John Lewis, SVP of Programming and Operations, SiriusXM Canada – Media release

Torstar swings to $3.1-million loss as revenue falls

Canada’s largest daily newspaper by circulation reported a loss in its Q4 as revenue continued to decline sharply year-over-year.

The publisher of the Toronto Star, many community newspapers and a number of digital and online properties, said it lost $3.1 million for the three months ended December 31, 2018, or four cents per share. The loss was primarily attributed to a steep decline in sales of print advertising.

That contributed to a $31.5-million loss for Torstar shareholders for the full year 2018, which compared with a loss of $29.2 million in 2017. – Baystreet

Huawei's security risks outweigh its investment in Canada

While Huawei argues that the company has no ties with the Chinese government, there is evidence suggesting otherwise. Like many other companies in China, Huawei also has an internal Communist Party committee (required by Chinese law) that oversees the conduct of party members in the company. This means the Communist Party has a leading role in influencing Huawei's operation through both external and internal channels, which is less desirable for the company's future on Canadian soil. – Chauncey Jung, HuffPost

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Martha Stewart partners with Canadian cannabis firm

No, you're not smoking something. Martha Stewart has entered the fast-growing — but still legally murky — cannabis market.

The domestic diva who brought us hemp yarn is now partnering with Canada's Canopy Growth Corp. to develop new products containing CBD, a compound derived from hemp and marijuana that doesn't cause a high. – Dee Ann Durbin, AP

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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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