Media Beat: March 25, 2021

Media Beat: March 25, 2021

By David Farrell

Gov’t extends deadline for emergency business support program

The federal government has extended the deadline for new Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) applications until June 30.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Small Business Minister Mary Ng announced the extension March 22. This deadline extension applies to any new applications for CEBA loans of $60,000 or to new applications from businesses that have already received the $40,000 loan and intend to apply for the additional $20,000. – Ian Burns, The Lawyer’s Daily

A guide to the Rogers-Shaw battlefield

The mighty Canadian telecom regulatory machines at the Competition Bureau and the CRTC are gearing up to grind through the $26-billion Rogers-Shaw merger proposal. Also preparing for action (or inaction) is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government.


The merger is a colossal issue filled with political risk, which may explain a certain lack of enthusiasm in Liberal circles. Last week, when Conservatives on the Commons industry committee moved to review the transaction, Liberal MPs balked. “What’s the urgency of this?” asked Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches-East York, Ont.). “Are we going to bring a few witnesses in to wag our fingers at them? … What do we actually want to accomplish?” This is the same Erskine-Smith who called in executives from the national supermarket “oligopoly” for allegedly colluding last summer when they stopped paying a $2-an-hour COVID-19 bonus to employees. – Terence Corcoran, Financial Post

A blast from the past

Dave Mickie, the new night disc jockey at CKEY, Toronto, is polite enough in private but on the air he’s a gibbering, yelping caricature of the things parents often find most insufferable in their own teenage children. Mickie is twenty-two and, to hear CKEY tell it, he’s also the hottest broadcasting discovery since transistor radios. – Harry Bruce, Maclean’s (1963)

Canada’s Gen Z generation pumps social media connectivity

Social networks will reach almost full penetration among adult Gen Zers this year, or 99.0% of users ages 18 to 24. The next-highest penetration rate will be among the 25-to-34 age bracket, younger millennials, at 90.9%. – Paul Briggs, eMarketer


Comcast to invest $1B on upgrading American connectivity

Comcast said Wednesday that it would invest $1 billion over the next ten years in its Internet Essentials program, the high-speed data service targeted at low-income households in its service footprint, to help further narrow the digital divide.

In the past decade the Telco has connected 10M people to broadband service. In a press release, the company says its $1B commitment will include additional support for its Lift Zone initiative, which expects to establish Wi-Fi- in 1,000 community centers by the end of the year; as well as provide new laptop and computer donations; and grants for non-profit community organizations. – Multichannel News

US retail ad spend almost $2B in Jan./Feb.

According to MediaRadar’s latest analysis, the retail industry spent $1.8 billion on advertising during January and February 2021, a 24 percent decline from the same period last year.

Between 2017 and 2020, ad spend decreased an average of 34 percent each year, a post-holiday phenomenon that marketers have come to expect. MediaRadar forecasts Q1 2021 retail ad spend will reach $2.73 billion, which represents a 33 percent dip in ad spend between Q4 2020 and Q1 2021. – Nina Aghadianian, The AList


The ‘truthiness’ of words coined by celebrities

Famous folks can start all kinds of trends, from hairstyles to clothing to, yes, even words. We're still trying to make "fetch" happen, but here is a batch of celebrity-coined words such as “smize” that have actually caught on with the public. – Word Genius

Nearly 1B connected in China

China will have 983.7 million internet users this year, thanks to an unexpected 8.6% boost in 2020, the fastest expansion its online population has seen since 2012. We previously forecast that it would take several more years for China’s internet users to hit the magical 1-billion mark, but we now project this unprecedented milestone will come by the end of next year.


Growth will decelerate to 3.6% this year, but that will still be enough for 70.4% of the population to qualify as internet users, a threshold China has never reached before. For comparison, in India only 45.0% of the population will be online this year. In the most advanced countries, penetration is usually in the mid-80% range. China is getting close to that status. – Ethan Cramer-Flood, eMarketer

Harry earns a paycheque

You may now address Prince Harry by a new title: chief impact officer.

That's the job the Duke of Sussex has taken at BetterUp, a San Francisco-based startup focused on coaching and mental health. – Steven Musil, CNET

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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