Media Beat, Sept. 02, 2021

Media Beat, Sept. 02, 2021

By David Farrell

Justin, that was then…

Rob’s bro pirouettes without a hint of eggshell on his face

Merry Christmas, a not so jolly new virus is on the way

A new coronavirus variant, C.1.2, has been detected in South Africa and a number of other countries, with concerns that it could be more infectious and evade vaccines, according to a new preprint study by South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform. The study is awaiting peer review. – The Jerusalem Post (via Warren’s network)

Hollywood Suite rocks this month

The specialty channel has a heavy schedule of live concerts, music docs and the like this month, heralded by the premiere of Metric: Dreams So Real, a concert doc filmed on the band’s 2016 global tour. Other billings include Coldplay Live in São Paulo, The Sapphires, Detroit Rock City, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Buddy Holly Story, Elvis…on Tour, Blue Hawaii and King Creole, Jailhouse Rock, Viva Las Vegas, Love Me Tender, Purple Rain, Paul Simon in Concert, Bona Vista Social Club, and Creem: America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine. The full schedule can be found here.


Telus is becoming a sexy tech story

Telus has been on a tear over the past year, relatively speaking. The stock is up about 21 per cent since last August, a substantial figure for a utility like Telus which has delivered a gain of about 140 per cent over the past ten years, not including the always attractive dividend which currently sports a yield of 4.3 per cent.

That 21 per cent return over the past 12 months compares favourably to rivals BCE and Rogers Communications who have returned about 14 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively, over that time span.

But Bill Harris, partner at Avenue Investment, who spoke on BNN Bloomberg, sees growth potential in Telus, even though the stock may not be a buy at the moment.

“The interesting thing is in this particular window — we think it’s actually already priced into the market, as Telus has done well and it’s priced in — is where BCE and Rogers felt that they had to have content and then you’re selling your content on your platform, Telus has gone out and said that data analysis and AI are going to be part of the future,” Harris said. – Jason MacLean, CanTech Letter


Telus launches $400K Black creators’ fund in AB and BC

Interested creators are invited to pitch a locally reflective original idea for a short documentary, web pilot series or digital short for the opportunity to receive a grant. Online applications are open September 1 to October 6, 2021.

In addition to the funding, successful creators will receive customized career training, filmmaking mentorship, and distribution of their projects on select Telus platforms. No previous experience in film production or other creative endeavours is required to submit an application.

Broadcasters, telecoms received $300M+ from Covid wage subsidy programs in 2020

Large Canadian broadcasting and telecommunication enterprises collected significant amounts from the federal government’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP) in 2020 and will likely receive more for 2021. According to CRA, Rogers and BCE alone received more than $200M in wage subsidies. – Denis Carmel, CARTT

Election 2021: The major parties on Arts & Culture

On September 20, Canadians will be going to the polls: Here are the positions of the major parties on arts, culture, and heritage. – BC Alliance for Arts + Culture


Quebec vaccine passport safe and a model for the country, say cybersecurity experts

VaxiCode Verif is a reader application that scans data contained in the QR code, including a cryptographic signature to verify the code's authenticity. That reader could scan a QR code uploaded to the VaxiCode application or to a paper version of the code, or to a photograph or PDF of the code. – The Canadian Press

Rock star deaths: Newsrooms need to anticipate the unexpected

Last week, it was Charlie Watts, the Rolling Stones' dapper drummer.  Unlike so many of these events that have suddenly occurred during “inconvenient” hours – over weekends, at night, etc. – the announcement that Watts had succumbed at age 80 came during the noon hour ET this past Tuesday.  Perfect, right?


But as usual, I saw the outrage on Twitter and Facebook, aimed at Classic Rock stations that made no announcement about Watts' death, nor played any Stones songs.  Stations that heavily voicetrack and/or use midday talent from out of the market, were especially likely to have missed the moment. – Fred Jacobs, Jacobs Media

Radio listenership earns a fail in the digital universe, study finds

The most recent Share of Ear study from Edison Research finds that 12% of all AM/FM radio listening is via streaming, while 88% of listening is done to a traditional, over-the-air radio signal.

AM/FM radio content in the U.S. is now available through a variety of digital apps and devices, making radio listening possible on computers, smartphones, smart speakers, and through radio station websites, apps, and third-party apps. Although streaming AM/FM content continues to see small amounts of incremental growth each year, and at 12% is the highest measure yet, the largest amount of listening goes to the over-the-air (OTA) signals from devices such as car radios and clock radios.

Vice abandons SPAC plans

Vice Media officially nixed plans to go public via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), at least for now, The Information reports. However, Vice did raise an additional US$85M from existing investors. A portion of those funds are earmarked for costs associated with the company’s 2016 acquisition of UK-based studio Pulse, since it must continue investing to retain a majority share of the company. Vice co-founder Shane Smith will no longer control a voting majority of Vice, though he’ll remain as board chairman. The digital media company was $20M in the red last year, down from a $100M loss in 2018. So investors hope the new round will be a bridge to sustainable profitability. – AdExchanger


Hong Kong residents transfer billions to Canada as China clamps down

Capital flows out of Hong Kong banks reaching Canada rose to their highest levels on record last year, with about C$43.6B in electronic funds transfers (EFT) recorded by FINTRAC, Canada’s anti-money laundering agency, which receives reports on transfers above C$10,000.

The outflows represent only 1.9 per cent of Hong Kong’s total bank deposits in 2020. But, at the same time, the FINTRAC data captures only a fraction of total legal inflows into the Canadian economy because many transactions are not included, such as transfers via cryptocurrencies, between financial institutions. – Sarah Wu & Nicholas Saminather, Reuters

Canadian Q3 survey of business conditions

Over half (53.9%) of businesses reported that they could continue operating at their current level of revenue and expenditures for 12 months or more before considering closure or bankruptcy, compared with over two-thirds (68.5%) of businesses that reported the same in the second quarter. Similar to the second quarter, 6.8% of businesses reported that they could continue for less than 12 months. Less than one-fifth of businesses in accommodation and food services (16.9%) reported that they could continue to operate at their current level of revenue and expenditures for less than 12 months before having to consider closure or bankruptcy, down from the previous quarter (22.8%).


Almost half (49.4%) of businesses reported that they could continue to operate at their current level of revenue and expenditures for 12 months or more before considering laying off staff, down from the over three-fifths (61.6%) of businesses that reported the same in the second quarter. Meanwhile, more than one in six businesses (17.7%) reported that they could continue for less than 12 months before considering laying off staff. Businesses in accommodation and food services (34.5%), in arts, entertainment and recreation (33.7%), and in manufacturing (24.3%) were most likely to report that they could continue operating at their current level of revenue and expenditures for less than 12 months before considering laying off staff. – Statistics Canada

Over one-quarter (27.8%) of businesses anticipated that some of their workforce would continue to primarily telework once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. The businesses most likely to anticipate having some of their staff primarily telework were those in information and cultural industries (53.4%); professional, scientific and technical services (51.5%); and finance and insurance (44.8%). Of the businesses anticipating staff to telework, almost one in six (14.7%) foresaw reducing their office space because more of their workforce would be teleworking.

Biden, Trump, and the missing big picture in Afghanistan coverage

In the hours after Kabul fell to the Taliban, swathes of the mainstream US news media instantly savaged President Biden for losing Afghanistan. In the week since then, he has stayed under an intense spotlight. News organizations have disputed the accuracy of many of his claims about the situation on the ground—a “credibility gap,” Politico’s Playbook newsletter wrote over the weekend, “that is dominating the coverage right now and could threaten Biden’s standing with the public.” The credibility-gap narrative has extended overseas, with American commentators and foreign outlets alike stating that Biden has taken a wrecking ball to global perceptions of US prestige and reliability. – Jon Allsop, Columbia Journalism Review

Fox News accused of stoking violence after Tucker Carlson ‘revolt’ prediction

Fox News is driving political violence in the US, a media watchdog warned, after the primetime host Tucker Carlson predicted “revolt” against the Biden administration.

In a Monday night monologue targeting the White House and military leaders over the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Carlson demanded resignations. He also said: “When leaders refuse to hold themselves accountable over time, people revolt. That happens.

“We need to change course immediately and start acknowledging our mistakes. The people who made them need to start acknowledging them or else the consequences will be awful.” – Martin Pengelly, The Guardian

NFL Broadcasters face crucial $105B stress test in new season

America’s media giants in March hitched their wagons to the NFL for another decade. Next week, they’ll find out whether that US$105B was money well spent.

The new NFL season, which begins Sept. 9, will provide a crucial stress test of the popularity of TV’s biggest attraction. Last year, NFL regular season viewership fell 7%, marking the first drop in three years. But it was hard to tell if fewer people watched because of declining interest in the sport or due to Covid-related disruptions, including an unusually crowded sports calendar, games played without fans and players sidelined by the coronavirus.

Now, CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN and Inc. will get a clearer picture of what they will be paying for through 2033: an entertainment property largely immune to the pressures facing the rest of TV or one that’s also starting to slip. – Gerry Smith, Bloomberg News

The New York Times wants readers to pay for newsletters

New York Times Co. is putting 18 newsletters behind a paywall, going toe to toe with rival offerings from Twitter, Facebook and Substack Inc. in an effort to boost subscribers.

The company leads the newspaper industry, with more than 8M total subscriptions. – Gerry Smith, Bloomberg

Sirius launches TikTok Radio channel

It’s another smart move for Liberty Media which owns 77% of SiriusXM, a third of Live Nation and some 7M shares of iHeartMedia, so it’s expected that further cross-pollination between the two media platforms will materialize. In short, it’s not just about the music.

A shift in American family values is fueling estrangement

Both parents and adult children often fail to recognize how profoundly the rules of family life have changed over the past half century. – Joshua Coleman, The Atlantic

Aussie broadcaster puts Trump’s (one of many, many) former lawyers in a very awkward spot

Jade Eagleson
Ryan Nolan

Jade Eagleson


Canadian Country Music Association Awards 2024 Nominations: Jade Eagleson, Mackenzie Porter Lead The Pack

The two platinum-selling singer/songwriters have scored six nominations each for the CCMA Awards, with The Reklaws and Josh Ross hot on their heels. The biggest night in Canadian country takes place on Sept. 14 at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Today (July 18), the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) announced the official nominees for the 2024 CCMA Awards. Topping the list of contenders with six nods apiece are Jade Eagleson and MacKenzie Porter, the latter of whom will co-host the awards show alongside American country star Thomas Rhett.

Hot on their heels with five nominations apiece are The Reklaws and Josh Ross, while High Valley, Owen Riegling and Dallas Smith are each cited in four categories. Other notable Canadian artists making the list include Dean Brody, Steven Lee Olsen, James Barker Band, Brett Kissel, Tenille Townes and Lindsay Ell.

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