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FYI

Media Beat: March 14, 2021

Media Beat: March 14, 2021

By David Farrell

Rogers to buy Shaw in $26B deal

Rogers Communications Inc. says it has agreed to buy rival Shaw Communications Inc. in a $20 billion deal that unites Canada’s two largest cable providers.


Rogers says that cost savings from the deal will top $1B annually within two years.  

As part of the transaction, the combined company will invest $2.5B in 5G networks over the next five years across

Additionally, Rogers will commit to establishing a new $1B Rogers Rural and Indigenous Connectivity Fund dedicated to connecting rural, remote and Indigenous communities across Western Canada to high-speed Internet and closing critical connectivity gaps faster for underserved areas.

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An additional $3B has been committed to support additional network, services, and technology investments, a media release states.

Rogers has retained BofA Securities and Barclays as its financial advisors and Goodmans LLP as its legal advisor. Torys LLP is the legal advisor to the Rogers Control Trust. Shaw has retained TD Securities Inc. as its exclusive financial advisor and Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP and Wachtell, Lipton Rosen & Katz as its legal advisors. CIBC World Markets Inc. is acting as independent financial advisor to the Special Committee and Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer LLP is independent legal advisor to the Special Committee. The Shaw Family Living Trust has retained Dentons Canada LLP as its legal advisor.

Rogers and Shaw will host a conference call for financial analysts at 8:00 AM Eastern Time today (6:00 AM Mountain Time) to discuss this announcement.

The deal and all of its components are subject to regulatory approval.

The new Broadcasting Act is about speech control over the internet

The defenders of the Broadcasting Act and its revisions will say the remedies they propose will not cost much and won’t hurt a bit. They envisage the CRTC using its powers to figure out what could be regulated and what should be left unregulated. But their fundamental proposition is stunning: that freedom of speech through video or audio should be in the hands of the CRTC — including Canadians’ freedom to use the internet to reach audiences and markets as they see fit.

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In practical terms, because of how the CRTC Act is constituted, one chairman and two commissioners constitute a hearing panel. Thus, three political appointees could extend CRTC jurisdiction over speech through video and the other commissioners could do nothing about it. He who hears decides. – (Former CRTC commissioner) Timothy Denton, Financial Post

Months after Bill C-10 is tabled, Canadian Heritage releases draft policy direction still short on details

From a substantive perspective, even supporters have acknowledged that the bill eliminates the policy objective of Canadian ownership of the broadcasting system (Canadian Heritage officials have offered easily debunked talking points about the issue), drops the prioritization of Canadian performers, fails to address concerns about intellectual property ownership, and punts so many issues to the CRTC that it will take years for any new money to enter the system. If that were not enough, there is the failed process, including fast-tracking the bill to committee before completing second reading and the prospect of a constitutional challenge. Not to be forgotten is the astonishing secrecy: decreased Parliamentary oversight of policy directions and the need for MPs to demand access to basic documents such as costing estimates and draft policy directions that were withheld by Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault and his department. – Michael Geist blog

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Cabinet-approved orders to CRTC give regulator broad powers over online streaming platforms

The bill aims to bring streaming services such as Netflix, Crave, Disney+ and Spotify under the existing Broadcasting Act, which would require these companies to support Canadian cultural industries. – Bill Curry, The Globe and Mail

Why you should be afraid of the digital revolution: White collar jobs are increasingly at risk — and so is Canada's GDP

For the first time, what we call white-collar workers will experience what blue-collar workers experienced decades ago: globalization, the outsourcing of their jobs to other countries where labour is cheaper.

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“The ongoing technological change will also impact professions such as accountants, lawyers, architects, engineers, software developers, editors, and auditors,” according to prominent Canadian economist Armine Yalnizyan. These higher-paying jobs, previously protected by geography, will now be in competition with workers around the world, thanks to digital platforms. – Rosa Saba, The Star

Canadian editorial boards cheerleaders for wars since 1918

Between the six newspapers and the 12 conflicts included, 65 stances were taken. Of these 65 stances, just two were opposed to Canada’s involvement in the military effort being discussed. The other 63 offered support in some regard. This means that these editorial boards have supported Canada’s war efforts 98 per cent of the time. Five of the six editorial boards also supported the Iraq war. – David Mastracci, Passage

Moses Znaimer revolutionized TV and the way we watch it — makes sense that he collects the coolest TV sets on the planet

“I’ve always thought TV sets should be regarded less like the toaster, which is easily disposable, and more like the family silverware you want to preserve,” says Moses Znaimer, who founded the MZTV Museum of Television. – David Silverberg, The Star

Carl Hiaasen signs off from his daily column at the Miami Herald

I’ve done this column since 1985. No idea how many. No particular favorites, no regrets. Slash-and-burn was the only way I knew to do it.

Even the satirical pieces could be scalding, but that’s what those who betray the public trust deserve. When somebody got caught selling their commission vote under the table, or stealing outright, I felt morally obliged to write something that would make them choke on their corn flakes the next morning.

Once I called Miami City Hall a “bribe factory,” and another time described Tallahassee as a “festival of whores.” Too subtle? Possibly.

One time, the Legislature authorized random drug tests for state employees. Lawmakers mysteriously exempted themselves, so I offered to personally pay a big lab so that every one of them, including the governor, could pee in a cup.

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No volunteers. Wonder why. – Carl Hiaasen

Hiaasen’s retirement is good news for sleazeballs nationwide

Carl Hiaasen is retiring. This is good news.

It’s good news for sleazeballs, charlatans, buffoons, blowhards and fools. It’s good news for the powerful, the pompous, the entitled, the smug and the slimy. It’s good news for those who view the Everglades as a useless swamp, or look at mangroves and see only a bunch of smelly trees blocking the view.

It’s good news for those people, but it’s bad news for Florida. For decades this state has had no watchdog fiercer (or funnier) than Carl. He has more than earned his retirement, of course. But he’ll leave a void in the journalism landscape the size of Lake Okeechobee. – Dave Barry, Miami Herald

Jerking from home

Did you ever wonder what your work colleagues are doing when they're not on Zoom calls? Apparently Covid has some side effects that Fauci forgot to mention.

Website Study Finds reports that research on the behavior of over 2,000 single adults claims that on average they're whackin' it three times a day. I'm not kidding. When you add in the cigarette, the snuggling, and the nap, that's an awful lot of "me time."

There are a lot more disturbing stats in the report that a family newsletter would just as soon leave out. Let's just hope our work force doesn't bring the "new normal" back to the office with them. – Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian

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FYI

Fixing The News Business Means Learning To Think Differently (Guest Column)

Change is coming quickly to the news industry, and innovation has to come just as quickly.

This is the second part of a series of guest columnsseeking answers to the financial issues that have plagued Canadian news organizations.

My prescription for change is very clear. Stop trying to solve today's problems through yesterday's lens.

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