Media Beat: March 20, 2020

Media Beat: March 20, 2020

By David Farrell

Breaking down Ottawa’s $82-billion economic response plan for COVID-19

Experts and executives who spoke to The Logic said the package is a good start, but the relief is mainly for individuals, not businesses, and may not be immediate.

“This is a package best-suited for a solution to a problem that we don’t think will last longer than six to eight weeks,” said Matt Roberts, a partner at ScaleUp Ventures. “This is a keep-the-lights-on plan for people who have lost their jobs or can’t go to their jobs…. It is not a stimulus package for businesses.” – Fatima Syed & Murad Hemmadi

CBC under pressure to restore local TV newscasts

P.E.I. MP Wayne Easter wrote an open letter Wednesday to Catherine Tait, the CBC’s president and CEO, calling the move “reckless and inappropriate,” while urging her to reverse the “dangerous and short-sighted decision.” – Jon Rumley, HuffPost


Nova Scotia distillers shift production from booze to hand sanitizer

Thomas Steinhart, owner of Steinhart Distillery in Antigonish, N.S., says he was already worried about dropping liquor sales as a result of social distancing measures recommended by the province and decided to venture into something new. – CBC Radio (with audio)

BMG Production Music expands operations in Canada

BMGPM’s Canadian operations will be overseen by Anna Andrych and Matt Cansick. Together, Andrych and Cansick will be responsible for leading strategic business development, coordinating marketing and sales efforts, and handling all licensing for clientele in Canada.

Andrych joins BMGPM from Musique & Music, based in Paris, France, and will be based primarily in Montreal. Andrych will work closely with Licensing Director Matt Cansick.  Cansick joined BMGPM UK in 2017, before transferring to Los Angeles in 2019.

Andrych and Cansick will both report to Dennis Dunn, BMGPM SVP, US, as the direct operations in Canada now expand the company’s North American footprint overseen by Dunn from the Los Angeles office. Dunn reports to John Clifford, BMGPM’s EVP & Global MD, based in London.

Commenting on the company’s expansion into Canada, Clifford said, “BMG Production Music going direct in Canada is a natural move for the company. This follows both, the end of BMGPM’s previous sub-publishing relationship (Dec 2019) and the launch of the new BMG office in Canada earlier this year.  We see Canada as a great potential growth market for BMGPM where, to date, our repertoire has been largely under-exploited. Anna and Matt are two seasoned Production Music pro’s, and with both of them hailing from Europe I think they will offer a fresh approach to our media partners in Canada! I’m excited to see what they can accomplish!”


Earlier this year, BMG officially launched a new branch office in Canada, based in Toronto. An initial team of four staff in Toronto, and one based in Montreal, now service BMG’s growing operations in the country.

With an international music catalogue featuring over 400,000 tracks, BMGPM has custom scoring studios in Los Angeles and London, and global creative teams specializing in music synch and licensing, project supervision, and custom music for film, television, games, and advertising. – Handout

Netflix to cut European traffic by 25% due to coronavirus

After a request from the European Union, Netflix is downgrading the quality of its picture so it doesn’t use as much bandwidth, Reuters reported. The EU was worried about the pressure on European broadband networks of people streaming endless amounts of Netflix shows. – The Information, Deadline


US residential Internet usage surges 98% amid COVID-19 crisis

OpenVault, which offers data, insights and consulting to broadband service providers, said that average downstream residential data usage for urban dwellers reached 5.16 gigabytes on Tuesday, March 10, the day after dire warnings from the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and other health authorities inspired many companies to issue work-from-home edicts and many school districts to shut down. – Next TV

Home office communications software options

Microsoft Teams is my primary chat tool, with Skype Business coming in a close second and Zoom for video conferencing with larger groups (I refuse to connect the camera though, and my avatar is Destro eating a banana). Then there is Ring Central for phone calls, which I never open unless I need to make one. Which is rare. That's for outside the business communication, something I actively try to avoid. – Curtis Silver, Forbes


Facebook, Google discuss sharing smartphone data with government

The disclosure that the U.S. government is currently in discussions with Facebook, Google and other tech companies about the possibility of using location and movement data from Americans’ smartphones to combat coronavirus has some people on edge about potential privacy and cybersecurity issues. – Ellen Sheng, CNBC

RAIN News: Infinite Dial special edition

We've seen lots of research exploring the burst of interest in podcasts. The Infinite Dial 2020 results show just how much the audio format is growing in popularity in the U.S.

The headline metric is illustrated above: Over 100-million Americans (12+) are monthly podcast listeners. That's a benchmark absolute number, representing 37% of the population. –

iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman bullish on podcasting’s future

Bob Pittman made his name running cable pioneer MTV and then early digital powerhouse AOL. But he got his start in media at age 15, working on-air shifts at a small-town Mississippi radio station so he could pay for flying lessons.

Fast-forward 50 years, and Pittman is back in the business of audio, as CEO of iHeart Media, home to the nation’s biggest radio-station group. But he also presides over the nation’s biggest podcast network, and growth opportunities there have him particularly bullish, so much so that he even hosts his own podcast, Math & Magic: Stories from the Frontiers of Marketing. – David Bloom, Forbes

Messenger app a new tool for breaking news

Broadcasters including Gray Television and Cox Media Group have been beta testing the new Facebook Messenger Experience app from Social News Desk enabling users to opt in for breaking news and customized content. With 1.3 billion global Messenger users and a 50%-80% open rate, it opens a key new front to reach viewers. – Dawn Terrick, TVNewsCheck


Liberty Media helps cushion Live Nation stock price

Liberty Media Corporation announced Thursday that it has fully repaid a Live Nation margin loan using cash. The payment, worth $130M, means that there are now “no margin or other price triggers that could require a sale of the underlying [Live Nation] stock”, according to Liberty.

Liberty Media owns approximately 69.6 million shares of Live Nation common stock, controlling around a third of the concert promoter. – MBW

Coronavirus will eventually change, shrink and shrivel television as we know it

The coronavirus has thrown the planet into crisis: The death toll mounts, social life is restricted, planes are grounded, most travel is out of the question. Professional sports are halted. The performing arts have stopped performing. People are confined to their homes as we all try to flatten that curve and prevent more deaths.

On the surface, that means a boon for television, both conventional and streaming. Television is the one crucial source of entertainment and information. The audience is bigger and hungry for escapism. Suddenly, television has immense relevance.

That relevance will continue but TV as we know it will change, shrink and shrivel. Accustom yourself to multiple genres of entertainment now, get used to foreign-language content with subtitles and feast on the vast library of content that exists, because the industry is shutting down and the outlook is ominous. This era of what’s called Peak TV, with the number of original scripted dramas and comedies topping 500 shows a year, is probably over. – John Doyle, Globe and Mail


A message from Italy: It’s going to get worse. much worse

Greta Privitera is a journalist who lives in Milan. For weeks, she has seen the effects of the coronavirus in Italy firsthand and written about her experiences for Slate’s Coronavirus Diaries series. Lately, deaths from the coronavirus have been surging in Italy, especially around her region. Thousands are in intensive care. The health system is overrun. Privitera has been talking to her friends in the U.S. and telling her what she’s been seeing. She knows what’s about to happen to them. And it isn’t good.

On Thursday’s episode of What Next, I spoke with Privitera about how the coronavirus has affected life in Italy, and what we might see in the U.S. very soon. Our conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity. – Mary Harris, Slate

German military laptop sold on eBay included classified missile information

Weighing in at a hefty 11 pounds, with a tiny 128 MB of working memory and a decades-old Pentium III processor, a used laptop recently bought by a German cybersecurity firm had its heyday long before the first iPhone was built.

But the laptop’s new owner says it has one standout feature: Its hard drive carried — without encryption or even password protection — a confidential user manual and schematics for a surface-to-air missile system that Germany’s air force still uses. – Christopher F. Schuetze, Chicago Tribune

Welcome to the age of Quibi

Months ago—in a time that now feels like the much more distant past—Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman announced their plans to launch a new sort of streaming platform: Quibi, a service offering only short-form content (i.e. the “quick bites” from which it draws its name) produced by some of the biggest names in entertainment.

Now, at a time when much of the country—if not the world—has become an almost literally captive audience, their brainchild is preparing for its debut. Will it wind up hitting? Joy Press weighs Quibi’s chances, noting that it does have several things working in its favor: “scripted fare from filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, Antoine Fuqua, Mary Harron, the Farrelly brothers, and Guillermo del Toro, as well as daily news. But its unscripted shows triggered the most commotion on social media when they were announced: There’s a small-claims court presided over by Chrissy Teigen; a cooking competition called Dishmantled in which blindfolded chefs have food blasted at them with a cannon; a pay-it-forward reality show, produced by Jennifer Lopez, in which people are shocked by $100,000 gifts that they must use to help others; and more.

Quibi’s brand is self-effacing, as befits the TikTok-loving millennial and Gen Z viewers they’re courting. For a while their Twitter display name read ‘WTFisQuibi.’” – Joy Press, Vanity Fair

50 Cent

50 Cent


50 Cent Takes A Victory Lap at Toronto's Cabana Pool Bar: Canadian Concerts of the Week

Also this week: it's festival season, with Hillside, Le Festif! and the Vancouver Folk Music Festival all happening on the same weekend.

Summer is in swing, and that means festival season. While many of the biggest ones take place in August, this weekend sees a handful of folk or adjacent events with the perfect summer vibes. Find those below, after our concert of the week featuring one of the biggest rap success stories of the last two decades.

Concert of the Week

50 Cent at Cabana Pool Bar, Toronto — Saturday, July 20

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