Media Beat: March 23, 2018

Media Beat: March 23, 2018

By David Farrell

 CRTC calls for cheaper data-only wireless plans, but doesn't open up networks to smaller players

Canada’s telecommunications regulator won’t require the Big Three wireless carriers to open up their wireless networks to smaller players yet, but it will make them come up with cheaper, data-only cell phone plans.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission issued a decision Thursday on wholesale wireless services after the federal government asked it to reconsider its rules in the name of affordability.

At stake was whether the regulator would force incumbents to open up their networks to smaller players that offered service over Wi-Fi first, but relied on the incumbents’ infrastructure when customers lost Wi-Fi connections. These providers don’t build complete facilities-based networks. As it stands, the Big Three may enter into agreements to provide such services, but it is not mandatory. – Emily Jackson, Postmedia


Government responds to the introduction of new measures to reduce wireless prices

In 2017, the Government of Canada took concrete action to reduce wireless rates and support more competition in the telecommunications market. The Government directed the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to reconsider a decision that effectively prevented Canadians from being able to choose an innovative low-cost wireless option.

Today, the CRTC has responded with a decision that will make new low-cost data-only wireless plans available to Canadians across the country.

In an additional measure, the CRTC has reduced final wholesale roaming rates by 44% to 99%.

Furthermore, the CRTC announced that it would launch a process which will include consideration of how mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) can be leveraged to further contribute to wireless affordability and competition.

The Government of Canada will review the CRTC’s decision to determine its next steps. The Government supports measures that promote affordability and competition in the wireless market.

The Government of Canada remains focused on the three elements of telecommunications service that matter most to middle-class families: quality, coverage and price. – Gov’t press release


CRTC 'sweep' finds misleading advertising 'prevalent' in affiliate marketing

Canada's telecommunications regulator says that more than 200 websites have been flagged for follow up by a multinational group investigating problems with a common type of electronic marketing that frequently involves misleading advertising.

The problem sites were found last summer through an investigation coordinated by the Unsolicited Communications Enforcement Network (UCENet), which includes Canada.

The Canadian regulator didn't identify any of the problem websites, reveal locations or identify the types of problems detected by UCENet. The multinational probe focused on affiliate marketing, in which merchants pay a commission to affiliated intermediaries that provide sales leads or sales. – BNN

Taking action against online theft

Canada’s cultural industries contribute over $54.6 billion and 630,000 jobs to our economy. As more and more Canadians consume content on the Internet, international online piracy websites are taking advantage of that trend.

The new, borderless nature of digital piracy has made currently available tools for fighting illegal copying and distribution of creative work ineffective.

As a result, piracy websites are profiting. They are making millions of dollars in advertising and subscriptions by hosting these materials illegally while taking away fair compensation from the people who create the content and make it accessible to Canadians. Fair Play Canada has a plan to thwart the pirates under the aegis of the CRTC.


Quebec moves to tax web giants with or without Ottawa’s approval

Carlos Leitão will move from words to action in the field of e-commerce. The budget he will be tabling next week in Quebec will contain a series of measures to legislate "within the limits" of what the provincial government can do, despite Ottawa's "lack of will" in this area.

The Minister of Finance will announce measures to collect the Quebec sales tax (TVQ) from foreign digital giants like Netflix, La Presse has confirmed from two high-level government sources.

Team Trudeau and the Liberals’ Facebook conundrum

All political parties like to carry their favourite tools from election campaigns into government. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, for instance, loved their Constituent Information Management System (CIMS) and the data it provided on voters.


Post-2015 campaign, Liberals have carried on their love affair with Facebook. Just last month, we learned that digital advertising had finally overtaken TV advertising for the largest share of government advertising — $7-million spent on social media ads in total, with $4.6-million of that going to Facebook.

There’s a good reason that the Liberals (and all parties) like to advertise on Facebook, beyond the ability to target specific audiences and people who may not be in touch with politics on a daily basis. Facebook not only sends information, but it receives it too — information about people who are using it.

That information, we’ve long known, is gold to political strategists. But the Cambridge Analytica controversy is starting to make this look like pirate’s plunder — stolen on the high seas of the internet, buried on some political parties’ secret island. – Susan Delacourt, iPolitics

Preventing social media from interfering in Canadian elections

Canada should pass legislation to require platforms to have a full, live public archive of all targeted online advertisements, displaying the ad itself, its source, the targeted audience, the amount spent, impressions delivered and the demographics of the audience reached.

In the case of election advertisements, the archive should also identify the candidate and issue that is the subject of the ad. The archive should be live so that problems can be identified immediately — not after the election is over.

A full public archive is the only mechanism that will allow individuals, journalists, politicians, corporations and academics to bring online advertising campaigns and strategies into public light. – The Conversation

A key legal shield for Facebook, Google is about to change

A 1996 law sits at the heart of a major question about the modern Internet: How much responsibility should fall to online platforms for how their users act and get treated? Today, this law still sits at the heart of a major question about the modern Internet: How much responsibility do online platforms have for how their users behave or get treated?


In the first major change to Section 230 in years, Congress is voting this week to make Internet companies take a little more responsibility than they have for content on their sites. – Alina Selyukh, WAMU 88.5

‘It just felt right’: David Carroll on suing Cambridge Analytica

“What Christopher Wylie has revealed is that this operation is not a typical voting-analytics operation, it doesn’t just create traditional campaign ads for candidates, it’s a full media operation that creates all manner of content, not just to resemble traditional campaign advertising, but literally fake news sites created as a proxy for political advertising. And then it starts to resemble the practices of the Internet Research Agency, or even more sophisticated than that. If Wylie’s claims are corroborated, we’re talking about a company that literally built vast networks of psychologically targeted media to distort truth and reality. We’re not talking about ad banners, we’re talking about completely fabricated editorial worlds, and tracking mechanisms and re-targeting mechanisms being used in a very sinister manner.” – Mathew Ingram, Columbia Journalism Review


Stingray Digital taps former Montreal mayor Denis Coderre as special adviser

The media firm, best known in Canada for its commercial-free streaming service Stingray Music, has been an active industry consolidator since it went public in 2015. It has made six acquisitions in the past year alone, including a deal for Israel-based application developer Yokee Music Ltd., and now derives more than half its revenue from international sales.

Mr. Coderre will help Stingray hone its political insight, build alliances with industry players and secure high-level meetings with decision makers key to its global development, the company said in a news release slated for publication on Friday. The job is understood to be part-time. – The Globe & Mail

Avril Lavigne
Tyler Kenny

Avril Lavigne


Avril Lavigne Announces First Greatest Hits Album, Spanning 20 Years of Her Career

Set for a June 21 release, 'Avril Lavigne - Greatest Hits' features 20 fan favourites from across the Canadian star's two-decade career, accompanying her upcoming headline tour.

A Canadian music icon is releasing her first ever greatest hits album.

Avril Lavigne, the skater girl from Napanee, ON who went on to sell fifty million records worldwide, will release a double LP of 20 fan favourites on June 21, titled Avril Lavigne — Greatest Hits.

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