Media Beat: September 15, 2022
By David Farrell
ZoomerMedia Ltd., controlled by Citytv founder Moses Znaimer, has agreed to buy Buzz Connected Media, publisher of the Daily Hive, for $16.4 million cash, stock and debt.
The deal is the second youth-focussed purchase this year for Zoomer, which bought blogTO in January. Both Daily Hive and blogTO — hyperlocal online news sites — are supported by ad revenue; neither currently have any subscription revenue. – Josh Rubin, Toronto Star
Corus Entertainment has struck an overall deal with U.K.-Canadian production company Dominion of Drama and appointed its founder Jeff Norton as the head of its new imprint, Waterside Studios.
Waterside Studios is positioned as a new IP and production venture focused on premium scripted Canadian content for youth and primetime audiences. The outfit will cater to the Canadian as well as international marketplace.
Norton most recently served as a consultant for Corus, and previously as executive producer of “Trucktown” for production company Nelvana. – Manori Ravindran, Variety
Five days into his job as president of Bell Media, Wade Oosterman cleaned house.
In a January 2021 memo to staff, the 59-year-old executive and four-decade veteran of the telecommunications industry announced the departures of several Bell Media executives, including the heads of original programming, Bell Media Studios, and content sales and distribution.
The memo was coded in corporate speak, but the company’s financial statements painted a clearer picture: Bell Media, a subsidiary of BCE Inc. which owns popular news channels like CTV News, CP24 and BNN Bloomberg, was losing money. – Jacob Lorinc, Toronto Star
CityNews has hired veteran news anchor Lisa LaFlamme as a special correspondent to lead its coverage of the death and legacy of Queen Elizabeth.
LaFlamme's new employer, CityNews, said she will travel to London to provide daily television and radio reporting on the legacy of Queen Elizabeth and the transition to the reign of King Charles, and will lead live coverage of the Queen's funeral.
Initial reaction to LaFlamme's arrival has been positive among those in and outside of Rogers, says Connie Thiessen, the editor of Broadcast Dialogue, an industry trade publication focused on Canadian broadcast media.
"This could be a really great thing for the network," she said, but added this is a one-time special correspondence event. – CBC News
The Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications resumes its hearings into Bill C-11 this week with plans for four sessions that will hear from a wide range of witnesses. Given the shortcomings of the House committee hearings – numerous important stakeholders were not given the opportunity to appear – the Senate review this fall provides a critical opportunity to re-examine the bill and to address some of its obvious flaws. With that in mind, this post is the first of a series that highlights some of Bill C-11’s major risks and concerns.
The series unsurprisingly starts with the issue that has been top of mind from the very start: the regulation of user content. Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez adopted the mantra that “platforms are in, users are out” of the bill and sought to assure concerned Canadians that it “listened, especially to the concerns around social media, and we’ve fixed it.” Yet the reality is the overwhelming evidence is that the issue is not fixed and that user content is covered by the bill. Indeed, look no further than Ian Scott, the chair of the CRTC, who told the House committee:
Reality television is a genre that has taken over the airwaves with all kinds of dating series and extreme competitions. Some find the genre shallow. But in one recent attempt, a producer gathered altruistic entrepreneurs to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems, like racism and poverty. However, it turns out the television show had a problem with reality. It didn’t really exist as discussed, leaving many contestants feeling confused and swindled. The Star’s Kevin Donovan joins to discuss his latest investigation, which looked at “4 Days To Save The World,” a reality series aimed at changing the world. – Raju Mudhar, Toronto Star
The Copenhagen-founded company says that it has doubled its employees since 2021 and claims to have increased the amount of paying members five-fold YoY.
It also says it was the fastest growing podcast and audiobook subscription service in Europe in 2022. – Murray Stassen, Music Business Worldwide
The Google spinoff says its technology can deliver internet to remote parts of the world and to receivers on celestial bodies, such as a rover on Mars or a lunar base camp. – Imad Khan, CNET
The lawsuit, filed in 2020 by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and 16 states or territories, alleges that Google entered into a secret agreement, codenamed Jedi Blue, with Facebook in 2018 that would allegedly give the social network an illegal advantage in the search giant's online advertising auctions. Facebook is not a party to the lawsuit. – Steven Musil – CNET
A European law firm has announced plans to file a €25bn (£22bn) adtech lawsuit against Google on behalf of news publishers in the UK and EU.
Geradin Partners, headquartered in Brussels, believes that the US technology giant has “deprived [media organisations] of billions of revenues through anti-competitive conduct”. – William Turvill, Press Gazette
At 35 people, the Daily Mail's Snapchat team is one of the publisher's largest and produces 60 Top Snaps (short teasers that give an overview of the main piece) every day of the week.
It is part of a major investment in social media across the board at the DMGT-owned publisher. Earlier this year, the company’s chief product officer for editorial, Chris Lawrence told Press Gazette the publisher manages upwards of 20 different Facebook pages. It is also one of the biggest news brands on Tiktok with 3.9 million followers. – Aisha Majid, Press Gazette
California’s attorney general filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon on Wednesday, claiming the retailer stifles competition and increases the prices that consumers pay across the internet.
The suit is limited to California, where officials said Amazon had around 25 million customers, but if it succeeds it could have a broad impact across the country. – Karen Weise & David McCabe, The New York Times
US Intelligence officials have declassified a report claiming that Russia spent at least $300 mn to influence the outcome of foreign elections. –
NATO's annual summit in Madrid ended with a declaration naming China as a threat to the alliance's security and values. Beijing accused NATO of wrongly defining its ambitions. What does NATO's Asia expansion mean for the Indo-Pacific? Palki Sharma tells you. – WION News
Did They Look in Mar-a-Lago?
In court records released last week, two senior engineers at Facebook testified that no one there knows where to find all the data they have on us.
According to a report by Insider, a court-appointed tech expert asked these Facebook engineers where the information on a typical user was stored. One engineer said, "I don't believe there's a single person that exists who could answer that question." The other engineer agreed.
Every time you read something new about Facebook you are made to wonder how these people even turn the lights on in the morning. – Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian