The Weekly Briefing

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

Harry Steele and Eric Boyko

Harry Steele, the former chairman and founder of Newcap, has bought $25 million in Stingray Digital Group stock, the Montreal-based multi-platform music entertainment company which just acquired Newcap’s radio and television stations for $523 million. Stingray president and CEO Eric Boyko said in a release that he’s “honoured by the vote of confidence in Stingray and its business model” shown by the Steele family. The company says the net proceeds of the private placement will be used for working capital, including to provide further flexibility for a future major acquisition by reimbursing certain amounts owing under its credit facilities. Read more here.

Anchor has posted data on how people listened to its podcasts in September. Apple Podcasts accounted for 52 per cent of all downloads, driving more listening than all other sources combined, while Spotify had 19 per cent of listener share. Google Podcasts drove just 0.9 per cent of listener traffic, however Anchor speculates that could change quickly with Google in a position “to not only grow their own player’s awareness, but awareness of podcasting in general.”

CBC Podcasts is adding Expect Theatre’s PlayME to its offerings which transforms Canadian plays into audio dramas. PlayME’s first audio drama under the new partnership will be Prairie Nurse by Marie Beath Badian. In total, five plays from some of Canada’s most notable playwrights will be freshly recorded as radio dramas for the new season. The season will also feature Between Breaths by Newfoundland-based playwright Robert Chafe; What A Young Wife Ought To Know by Hannah Moscovitch; The Fish Eyes Trilogy by Anita Majumdar; and Huff by Indigenous writer Cliff Cardinal. Each play will be recorded in three episodes, followed by another episode that features an interview with the respective playwright.

Goldenwest Broadcasting’s Swift Current, SK stations The Eagle 94.1 FM (CIMG-FM), CKSW 570, and Magic 97.1 (CKFI-FM) helped raise $171,813 during the Dr. Noble Irwin Healthcare Foundation Radiothon on Nov. 2. Benefitting Cypress Regional Hospital, the money will go toward the purchase of a portal-digital X-ray machine. The Bank of Montreal matched donations this year up to $25,000.

Country 100 (CILG-FM) Moose Jaw raised $108,350 through its 6th Annual Paws for Pledges Radiothon on Nov. 2. Including this year’s total, the Paws for Pledges Radiothon has raised over $541-thousand dollars for the Moose Jaw Humane Society since 2013.

On this episode of Broadcast Dialogue the Podcast, we talk to Jeff Vidler of Audience Insights about the 2018 Canadian Podcast Listener Survey. Vidler covers everything from barriers to podcast growth and the rise of smart speakers in Canada, to which podcasts Canadians are listening to.


Radioplayer Worldwide has unveiled the “Reference Radio” at the WorldDAB General Assembly in Berlin – a prototype touchscreen radio for dashboards, designed to show how smart ‘hybrid’ technology can transform in-car listening. The ‘hybrid’ prototype is multi-platform, able to play DAB digital radio, FM, and internet radio streams. But unlike most modern car radios, the Reference Radio shows a single list of stations across all those platforms, with the driver simply tapping the station logo to start listening, eliminating the need to select different sources first. Radioplayer says safety and reducing driver distraction were a key factor in the design, with drivers also able to change stations by swiping or using steering wheel buttons. Read more here.

SIGN-OFFS:

Leslie Sole and Terri Michael

Leslie Sole and Terri Michael, on Nov. 5, in Cabo San Lucas. Broadcasting couple Sole and Michael met in 1975 as their stars were rising. Sole started his career with CHOM-FM Montreal and went on to a 25-year career with Rogers Communications. Over his tenure, he oversaw acquisition of five Citytv stations across the country, several specialty channels and expanded OMNI’s footprint. He retired as CEO of Rogers Media Television in 2011. Michael started in radio while completing her English degree at Concordia University in Montreal, beginning her career at CHOM-FM, where the couple met, effortlessly switching between French and English during her show. Over the years, she was a host at CHFI-FM 98.1 Toronto, EZ ROCK 97.3 Toronto; CKFM-FM 99.9 Toronto; CJBK-AM 1290 London; and Q107 Toronto. She also wrote and hosted ‘Famous Faces’ on The Biography Channel for eight years, in addition to serving as the channel’s imaging voice. Most recently, she’d been hosting a weekly radio show on Cabo San Lucas station CaboMil 96.3, where the couple had been living the last three years. They celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary in October and leave behind a grown son.

Brian Sanderson

Brian Sanderson, 77, on Oct. 31. Following a career with Bristol Aerospace, Sanderson started appearing as Santa Claus at Portage Place and Polo Park malls in Winnipeg, beginning in the 1990s, before being cast in several made-for-television movies and films. Sanderson’s acting credits include 2016 Hallmark movie “It’s a Wonderful Wife.” As per his wishes, Sanderson will be laid to rest Friday in his red velvet, white-trimmed Santa suit. Winnipeg’s casting community is holding a toy drive in his memory.

Dave Shearer

David Shearer, 89, on Oct. 24. Shearer had a career with CFAX-AM Victoria spanning 25 years as both an announcer and engineer.

 

 

 

 

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

Bell Media has rebranded The Movie Network (TMN), HBO Canada and CraveTV into one streaming service, simply known as Crave. The new Crave is available through television service providers and direct to consumers at Crave.ca, iOS, and Android. The service will become available on additional platforms in the coming weeks, including the ability to subscribe directly via the Crave app on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Xbox One, Samsung Smart TVs, and Amazon Fire TV. Home to SHOWTIME and VICE programming, as well as a collection of TV series, movies and kids’ content from WOW! Unlimited Media, Bell is making the service available in two subscription tiers: Crave ($9.99/month plus applicable taxes) and Crave + Movies + HBO ($19.98/month plus tax). Read more here.

Tim Gamble

Thunderbird Entertainment Group commenced trading on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker symbol “TBRD” at the open Friday morning (Nov. 2). The animation, factual and scripted content company has gone public following a business combination arrangement that saw B.C.-based mineral exploration company Golden Secret Ventures consolidate its issued and outstanding common shares, change its name to “Thunderbird Entertainment Group Inc.” and acquire 100 per cent of the issued and outstanding shares of Thunderbird. Founded in 2003 by entertainment entrepreneur Tim Gamble, Thunderbird has grown both organically and through acquisitions to become a multi-platform media production, distribution and rights management company. It boasts a staff of over 600 between offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Los Angeles, London and most recently, Ottawa. Atomic Cartoons, Great Pacific Television, Thunderbird Productions and Thunderbird Releasing Limited are among the company’s divisions with recent projects including animated Netflix original series Beat Bugs; Blade Runner 2049; Discovery Channel’s Highway Thru Hell series; and CBC sitcom Kim’s Convenience. Read more here.

L’Atelier Animation Inc., Luckyhammers Entertainment Inc., Eye-In Inc. and Tonic DNA will receive a total of $900,000 in repayable contributions from Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED). With the financial assistance, L’Atelier Animation, specializing in the creation of computer‑generated imagery, special effects and 3D animation, will be able to expand its studio and purchase specialized software and state-of-the-art equipment. Luckyhammers, which has undergone a shift to video games and virtual reality experiences, has set up the first virtual reality room using StarVR technology in Canada. Information technology and marketing firm Eye-In Media will roll out its marketing platform geared towards the future of retailing and expand marketing activities outside of Quebec. Tonic DNA, which provides premium 2D, 3D and stop-motion animation services, aims to develop and break into international markets by purchasing computer equipment and marketing. CED says their respective projects will generate a total investment of over $4.1 million and result in the creation of nearly 160 new jobs in Greater Montréal.

Émile Gaudreault, Sébastien Ravary, Eric K. Boulianne, and Éric Summer

Telefilm Canada has named the winners of its annual Guichet d’or and Golden Box Office awards recognizing the Canadian directors and screenwriters behind the feature films with the highest domestic box office in the previous year in their respective language markets. Director and co-writer Émile Gaudreault and co-writers Sébastien Ravary and Eric K. Boulianne are winners of the 2017 Guichet d’or for their film De père en flic 2. Produced by  Cinémaginaire, the film earned close to $7 million at the Canadian box office. In the English category, Ballerina co-directors Éric Warin and Éric Summer (also co-writer) claimed the Golden Box Office award. Produced by Caramel Films, Ballerina earned $3.6 million. Each award comes with a $40,000 cash prize, shared equally by the director(s) and screenwriter(s). Telefilm says the awards are currently being reviewed with changes to be announced soon.

Tantoo Cardinal

Tantoo Cardinal has won this year’s Technicolor Clyde Gilmour Award from the Toronto Film Critics Association. It’s the first time in the award’s history that the annual honour, recognizing “a Canadian industry figure who has made a substantial and outstanding contribution to the advancement and/or history of Canadian cinema” has gone to an actor. Cardinal will receive $50,000 in services to give to a filmmaker of her choice. Cardinal has appeared in more than 100 film and TV projects, including long-running TV series North of 60, and feature films Legends of the Fall and Dances With Wolves.

Serinda Swan, Sarah Wayne Callies, Shawn Doyle, and Cynthia Dale

CBC has announced its winter 2019 broadcast and streaming premiere dates, set to kick off Sunday, Jan. 6. The public broadcaster’s winter television offerings are highlighted by Season 12 of family drama Heartland; new female-driven procedural drama Coroner, starring Serinda Swan; and a Tuesday night comedy lineup featuring new seasons of Kim’s Convenience, Schitt’s Creek and Workin’ Moms. Other new series include drama Unspeakable, focused on Canada’s tainted blood scandal, starring Sarah Wayne Callies and Shawn Doyle; and new comedy Cavendish, from the creators of Picnicface. Premiering in March, the reboot of Street Legal with Cynthia Dale; new Halifax legal aid drama Diggstown, starring Vinessa Antoine and Natasha Henstridge; and new Arlene Dickinson reality vehicle Under New Management, which matches budding entrepreneurs with the businesses of their dreams. Find the full CBC winter 2019 primetime schedule here.

Khurram and Adeel Suhrwardy

OMNI Television premieres new series Mangoes: A Slice of Life on Nov. 11, based on the popular web series Mangoes. The half hour show follows the adventures of three millennials with South Asian backgrounds as they explore the true potential of life in Canada. The series stars real-life brothers Adeel and Khurram Suhrwardy, who also serve as co-creators and producers. Episodes will be available in English, Urdu, Punjabi, and Hindi. Audiences will have access to full episodes on OMNITV.ca next day, post-broadcast, as well as on Rogers on Demand.

Charles Adler, Dawna Friesen, Dean Oliver, and David Akin

Global News will air Remembrance Day news special No Stone Left Alone at 10 a.m. PT/MT/CT/ET, and at 12:30 p.m. AT. The 30-minute presentation will include stories woven together from No Stone Left Alone events across Canada, and feature students sharing their reflections on fallen soldiers’ stories. The special will also air across the Global News Radio network with audio commentary by host Charles Adler. Following the special, Global National anchor Dawna Friesen hosts Canada Remembers – a live, commercial-free, network news special at 10:30 a.m. ET/CT. Friesen will be joined in Ottawa by special guest Dean Oliver, military historian and director of research at the Canadian Museum of History, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. Friesen will anchor Global National from Ottawa, with Chief Political Correspondent David Akin and Ottawa Bureau Chief Mercedes Stephenson, live from the National War Memorial, while correspondent Mike Armstrong reports from Belgium. Also on Nov. 11, fellow Corus Entertainment network HISTORY dedicates its schedule to a Day of Remembrance with the two-part premiere of 100 Days to Victory, a gripping account of Canada’s pivotal contribution to the last 100 days of the First World War at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Johnny Orlando, Melissa Grelo, Marci Ien, and Kelsey McEwen

CTV will air The Original Santa Claus Parade across the network on Nov. 18 for a ninth straight year. CTV has inked a new three-year broadcasting deal with the event which will be highlighted this year with performances from Johnny Orlando, Serena Ryder, Tyler Shaw and The Tenors. Returning for the second year in a row to anchor the 90-minute show are broadcasting duo Melissa Grelo and Marci Ien from CTV’s The Social. CTV Your Morning meteorologist and host Kelsey McEwen returns as the parade’s roving reporter.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Rod Black, and Tracy Wilson

CTV will premiere original special Thank You Canada on Sunday, Dec. 2. Filmed at the Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa, ON, the two-hour special features some of the biggest household names in the history of figure skating, anchored by five-time Olympic Medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who also perform in the special. Also on board to perform are former Olympians Patrick Chan, Elvis Stojko, Kaetlyn Osmond, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford; and Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje. The broadcast special also features CTV and TSN figure skating analysts Rod Black and Tracy Wilson. Bell Media is the official sponsor of The Thank You Canada Tour which wraps in St. John’s, NL on Nov. 24.

Sandra Oh, Shawn Mendes, Drake, and Ryan Reynolds

The 2018 People’s Choice Awards have added 13 new categories including Most Hypeworthy Canadian. Fans are able to vote for their favourite Canadian from among nominees Sandra Oh of Killing Eve; Olympic gold medal figure skating champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir; multi-platinum recording artists Shawn Mendes and Drake; and film star Ryan Reynolds. E! Will broadcast the awards live on Nov. 11.

Tyrone Edwards

Gusto’s newest original series DNA Dinners, airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET beginning Nov. 15. Hosted by ETALK reporter Tyrone Edwards, the 16-episode series explores how the meals reflect culture, food, and identity. In each episode, participants complete an AncestryDNA test to discover their ancestral origins, and with the help of expert chefs, are introduced to ingredients, iconic dishes, and cooking techniques from each individual’s background.

ONLINE/DIGITAL:

Marc and Craig Kielburger

Canadaland has been served a Notice of Libel by WE Charity, following an article and podcast last month alleging that WE is promoting products made by children. Formerly known as Free The Children, WE is a worldwide development charity and youth empowerment movement founded in 1995 by human rights advocates Marc and Craig Kielburger. Canadaland’s coverage entitled “Craig Kielburger founded WE to fight child labour. Now the WE brand promotes products made by children”, delves into the charity’s partnerships with Hershey, Unilever, and Kellogg’s (the latter a partnership WE denies) – companies known to use child labour in their supply chains. Canadaland cites former employees of the charity among its sources, who the crowd-funded news site says approached it after raising ethical concerns internally. Canadaland says it was also provided with internal supporting documents to back up the allegations. WE’s notice of libel, among other things, alleges Canadaland manufactured evidence, altered documents without disclosing the alteration, and made reckless use of unnamed sources. Read more here.

Ted Chung and Snoop Dogg

VICE Canada has launched new media series Sticky, the definitive guide to legal cannabis in Canada, in partnership with MERRY JANE – the cannabis-focused digital media platform launched by rapper Snoop Dogg in 2015, with media entrepreneur Ted Chung. MERRY JANE features editorial content on the business and politics of the cannabis industry, original video series as well as a database for identifying cannabis strains and dispensaries. Sticky will offer curated and collaborative content from across the VICE and MERRY JANE networks, covering everything from cannabusiness to strain explainers to the best way to spend time while high. Read more here.

Postmedia has announced an investment in Los Angeles-based digital cannabis media company PRØHBTD Media Inc. PRØHBTD, which also has offices in Toronto and Vancouver, focuses on cannabis lifestyle content. The partnership will see Postmedia and PRØHBTD work with Canadian cannabis companies to produce videos and other marketing initiatives. PRØHBTD’s content library will be offered on Postmedia’s cannabis news site The GrowthOp, and other network channels.

Sandra Hannebohm and Tundè Balogun

The Objective News Agency is crowdfunding for support in Halifax. Started by recent University of King’s College journalism grads Sandra Hannebohm and Tundè Balogun, the online news site promises to investigate stories focusing on issues that affect the African-Nova Scotian community. Hannebohm and Balogun say their short documentaries will fill a coverage gap not being filled by traditional media. They’re set to premiere a four-part doc series at Halifax Central Library in February.

GENERAL:

The Western Association of Broadcast Engineers (WABE) 2018 Convention wrapped up Tuesday night in Vancouver with the annual awards gala. Recognized this year was retired Global BC Technical Services manager Phil Keeling (Retirement Award); Stu Buck, Senior Director of Broadcast Systems, DTS, Inc. (Ambassador Award); and Marco Auriti, Chief Engineer at Touch Canada Broadcasting LP in Edmonton (Spirit Award). The event was emceed by JRfm (CJJR-FM) Vancouver morning co-hosts Clay St. Thomas and Karen Daniels. Next year’s convention is set to take place in Calgary.

James Cridland, Sherry O’Neil, Chris Pearson, and Troy ReebThe Ontario Association of Broadcasters (OAB) Connection/18 Conference happens Nov. 8. Among this year’s highlights, radio futurologist James Cridland will moderate a panel entitled “Is Canadian radio fit for the future?” with panelists Sherry O’Neil, director, cairns oneil strategic media inc.; Chris Pearson, president, Acadia Broadcasting Limited; Geoff Poulton, president, Vista Radio; Troy Reeb, SVP, News, Radio & Station Operations, Corus Entertainment; and Susan Wheeler, VP, Regulatory Media, Rogers. Find the full conference schedule here.

The Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel has decided to extend the deadline for submissions to its Call for Comments until Jan. 11. Find more info here.

The CRTC Communications Monitoring Report for 2018 has been released revealing that the average monthly wireless bill in Canada is $70.11. Based on the prices of basic television, basic wireline telephone, internet and wireless (unlimited voice & SMS and 5GB of data) the average, nationwide monthly reported price for the four services combined in 2017 was an average of $207 – 1.6 per cent lower than in 2016. The report says the decrease is attributable mainly to lower average prices for mobile services (specifically, plans that include unlimited voice and SMS, and 5GB of data) across Canada as well as lower internet service prices in the North. Across Canada, except in the Atlantic provinces, average prices decreased slightly or remained constant from 2016 to 2017. The most notable decrease was in the North, where average combined prices decreased by 16 per cent. In the Atlantic provinces, the average combined price increases were largely attributable to a number of providers now offering internet service at minimum speeds higher than 25/3 Mbps, thereby raising the reported price of services meeting these speeds. Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan continued to report the lowest average combined prices. Average combined prices in urban centres ranged from $161 in Quebec to $265 in the North.

BCE Inc. has released its Q3 financial results reporting 3.2 per cent growth in consolidated revenue; 2.2 per cent higher adjusted EBITDA and net additions of 266,000 total broadband wireless, Internet and IPTV subscribers, an increase of 41.5 per cent. Total wireless net additions amounted to 178,000, with growth in wireless revenue of 5.9 per cent and 4.5 per cent in adjusted EBITDA. Broadband Internet and IPTV market share grew with 88,000 net additions, up 8.7 per cent. Wireline revenue growth accelerated to 1.9 per cent on improved organic residential and business top-line results. Net earnings grew two per cent to $867 million; net earnings attributable to common shareholders increased 1.4 per cent to $814 million, or $0.90 per common share; adjusted net earnings of $861 million were up 4.5 per cent, driving a 5.5 per cent increase in adjusted EPS to $0.96.

TVA Group recorded net income attributable to shareholders in the amount of $14.0 million or $0.32 per share in the third quarter of 2018, compared with a net loss attributable to shareholders of $15.3 million or a loss of $0.35 per share in the same quarter of 2017. Third quarter operating highlights included $16,710,000 adjusted EBITDA in the Broadcasting & Production segment representing an unfavourable variance of $3,192,000 due primarily to a 30 per cent decrease in TVA Network’s adjusted EBITDA and an 11 per cent decrease in the adjusted EBITDA of the specialty channels. The company recorded $8,531,000 adjusted EBITDA in the Film Production & Audiovisual Services segment representing an unfavourable variance of $1,313,000 due to lower soundstage and equipment rentals and visual effects. That was partially offset by increased post-production profitability and the addition of mobile unit rental activities. TVA Group’s market share was up 1.0 points year-over-year, largely because of the strong performance of its specialty channels, particularly LCN, which gained 0.7 points.

Xplore Mobile has introduced “Rollover” in Manitoba, allowing customers to rollover their unused data from the previous month. The wireless division of New Brunswick-based Xplornet Communications recently launched by welcoming about 20,000 mobile customers transferred from Bell MTS, as a result of an agreement with the Competition Bureau. Xplore Mobile will start welcoming new customers on Nov. 14. Three Xplore Mobile retail locations in Winnipeg and Brandon are now open, with three more opening this week.

CBC/Radio-Canada has shared its latest Environmental Performance Report, highlighting the public broadcaster’s “green” scorecard covering the period from April 2017 to March 2018. The latest report marks the 10th anniversary of CBC/Radio-Canada environmental reporting. The public broadcaster says over the past decade, it’s recycled 1,450.2 metric tonnes of e-waste and 926.8 metric tonnes of scrap metal; decreased air emissions by 45.5 per cent; and reduced carbon dioxide emissions in fleet vehicles by 35.3 per cent, equivalent to 1,164 passenger vehicles driven for one year. The report is available online at cbc.radio-canada.ca/green.

SUPPLY LINES:

The DAX Audio Advertising platform is now available in Canada, following the acquisition of the digital audio sales division of Canadian audio streaming solutions provider leanStream by Global. With the launch of DAX Canada, the platform’s global reach grows to 165 million people streaming digital audio through premium publisher brands. Chris Nimigon, Chief Revenue Officer of leamStream will now become Chief Revenue Officer of DAX Canada and lead the business. All leanStream sales team members will join DAX while leanStream’s existing business will continue to sell its digital streaming services. As one of the leading audio ad exchanges in Canada, publishers with inventory already on the leanStream roster include TuneIn, 8tracks and Adwave Canada. With the acquisition, Global adds Toronto to its list of office locations alongside its headquarters in London and DAX divisions based in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Hamburg and Paris.

Distributel has partnered with MOBITV, a global leader in app-based TV video delivery solutions. The MOBITV platform will provide Distributel customers with a user-friendly interface that can be customized according to their content and design preferences. The partnership will allow carriers and ISPs to retain their own brand, channels and content rights while using the MOBITV middleware to offer new Tier 1 features at a competitive price point. Localized for Canada in both English and French, the platform will be available to Distributel customers in Quebec and Ontario, with plans to expand across the country in the coming months.

Bell Media’s out-of-home advertising division Astral has announced it’s joining forces with Vistar Media, a U.S.-based leader in programmatic technology for digital out-of-home (DOOH). With the agreement, 240 of Astral’s digital large format and street furniture faces across Canada will be accessible through Vistar’s programmatic platform. Astral president Katrine Moses says the partnership represents a new milestone for Astral, as it now can offer inventory to advertisers in the U.S. who will be able to buy and manage an OOH North American campaign through a single automated platform.


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