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Media Beat: March 09, 2023

By David Farrell

Google gives MPs internal documents about search-blocking tests over Bill C-18

The U.S. company sent the documents about its response to Bill C-18 to the House of Commons heritage committee this weekend, a number of sources told The Globe and Mail, although it missed a Thursday deadline the committee imposed last week. – Marie Wolf, The Globe and Mail


Heritage Minister rejects key C-11 amendment, puts himself on potential collision course with Senators

As Bill C-11 reached its final stages in Parliament before becoming law, the government rejected a key change designed to clarify that the bill would not lead to the regulation of user-generated content – such as amateur videos – on platforms such as YouTube. – Marie Woolf, The Globe and Mail

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Government rejection of key Senate Bill C-11 amendment reveals its true intent: Retain power to regulate user content

For more than a year, Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez has clung to the Bill C-11 mantra of “platforms in, users out”. When presented with clear evidence from thousands of digital creators, the former chair of the CRTC, and numerous experts that that wasn’t true, the Senate passed compromise language to ensure that platforms such as YouTube would be caught by the legislation consistent with the government’s stated objective, but that user content would not. Last night, Rodriguez rejected the compromise amendment, turning his back on digital creators and a Senate process lauded as one of the most comprehensive ever. In doing so, he has left no doubt about the government’s true intent with Bill C-11: retain power and flexibility to regulate user content. – Michael Geist blog

Corus confirms layoffs as part of ‘enterprise-wide cost review’

Unifor, the union representing over 800 media members at Corus, says online journalists and online video journalists at Global News are among those impacted, in addition to the sports department at Global Edmonton which it described as “decimated.” –Connie Thiessen, Broadcast Dialogue

Corus Entertainment slashing quarterly dividend payment

Television and radio company Corus Entertainment Inc. is cutting its quarterly dividend. Corus executive chair Heather Shaw says the money that would have gone to dividends is expected to be directed to debt repayment. – The Canadian Press

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The CBC debate won’t die until we try something different

The CBC's TV audience has disappeared and ratings for its news are in the low single figures. – Peter Menzies, the Hub

Viaplay launches in Canada with ‘The Architect,’ ‘Max Anger’

The Nordic region’s largest streamer, Viaplay, has debuted in Canada, continuing its expansion into North America after landing in the U.S. on Feb. 22. – Amber Dowling, Variety

Canadian startup aimed to reshape media – and learned ‘news is hard’ the hard way

Since launching in 2021 … Overstory media group has fallen far short of its ambitious expansion goals. With growth slowing in recent months, Overstory began cutting jobs. The deepest came in early February at Capital Daily, after the publication lost four of its employees, bringing its staff to three. The Victoria-based publication had repeatedly been held up as the company’s exemplar of an award-winning, profit-making publication. – Leyland Cecco, The Guardian UK

Google to launch fund supporting Taiwanese media

Alphabet Inc.'s Google said on Wednesday it will launch a $9.8 million fund over the next three years to help boost the Taiwanese media's continuing operations and digital competitiveness. – Reuters

News Corp cuts driven by Murdoch’s mission to prop up news assets

Less than three weeks ago Murdoch scrapped his decade-long ambition to reunify News Corp – home to assets including the Sun, Times, the Australian and Wall Street Journal, with the immensely profitable Fox, broadcaster of Fox News and prime NFL games – reluctantly admitting it was “not optimal” after a backlash from investors and his younger son, James. – Mark Sweney, The Guardian UK

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What’s going to happen to legacy broadcast bands when the lights go out?

… The last twenty years have seen a shift to digital for all broadcast TV, with for Americans at least a bunch of those UHF frequencies being snapped up for data services. Radio has gone digital too, for Europeans with DAB in the 200 MHz-ish band, but we’ve still got a fairly thriving FM band even if governments are making noises about moving FM stations to digital. Meanwhile down at the bottom of the dial those AM and long wave bands are in terminal decline, with transmitters going silent across the board. Perhaps Americans still have more AM stations than Europeans, but we’d wager they are no longer the premium money spots.

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Enthusiasts may point to digital AM systems such as DRM (Digital Radio Mondial) as their saviour, but can format music radio compete against streaming at all? In a few years then, it’s likely that the AM and longwave broadcast bands will be empty, and possibly not too far behind them the FM band too. What happens then, is the interesting part. Will they be sold on to new uses, or will they lie idle, waiting for a fresh purpose? It’s a question to which the answer is more complex than meets the eye, because it leaves the technical for the political. – Jenny List, Hackday

Blackstone, Thomson Reuters sell $2.4 Billion of LSEG shares

The placement was upsized from 23 million shares with the sellers gathering enough investor demand for the offering within minutes of announcing the deal. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC — who are members of the Blackstone consortium — also sold. – Tom Metcalf, Bloomberg News

Notable

George McCullagh — Canada's first media mogul you've never heard of.  'He's been deliberately erased from Canada's history,' says biographer – CBC

Canadian politicians have started deactivating their TikTok accounts after the federal government and House of Commons both decided to ban the app from their devices. – The Canadian Press

Man surfs naked on car in Oshawa . Police say the 'male in distress' was taken to hospital. – Enette Wilford, Toronto Sun

Google Canada starts layoffs as parent company cuts 12,000 workers globally. – Aaron D’Andrea, Global News

Rogers executives see bright side in long wait to acquire Shaw. – Ahmad Hathout, Cable & Telecom

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Who is trying to interfere in Canadian elections. – The Agenda with Steve Paikin

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Music News

Kaytranada Announces a 'Timeless' New Record Featuring Childish Gambino, PinkPantheress

The Montreal producer's third solo LP will also include collaborations with Canadian artists Rochelle Jordan and Charlotte Day Wilson, and is set for a June 7 release.

One of Canada's most celebrated producers has a new full-length on the way, arriving just in time to kick off the summer.

Kaytranada's Timeless is set for a June 7 release, and will feature a host of acclaimed collaborators, including Childish Gambino — fresh off his Atavista release — U.K. bedroom pop star PinkPatheress, funk virtuoso Thundercat, R&B singer Ravyn Lenae and many more.

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