BCE Inc. is blaming losses in the first quarter of 2017 on CRTC rulings banning simultaneous substitution of SuperBowl ads and another that cut rates large Internet providers can charge smaller competitors for network access. Consolidated revenue in the first quarter increased 2.2 per cent to $5.38-billion. Profit was down 4.4 per cent to $725-million due to costs associated with the acquisition of Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. Net earnings increased 2.4 per cent to 87 cents per share. BCE added 36,000 new contract wireless customers in the first three months of the year, 22,000 FibeTV and 15,000 internet customers, down year-over-year amidst heavy competition from Rogers and Videotron. The company estimates the SuperBowl decision accounted for $11-million in losses for the Bell Media division. BCE also noted it’s planning to introduce a new “over-the-top” or OTT content product in the next six weeks to meet consumer demand.
Shaw TV stations in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton will close on Aug. 15 after Corus Entertainment Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc. announced that approximately $10 million annually will be redirected from local Shaw TV operations toward Global News coverage in those markets. The changes affect approximately 70 positions. Corus says the move will reduce duplication and allow Global to establish city hall bureaus; expand online platform Global News Live to provide more grassroots digital content; cover more university and community sports in Western Canada; and move newscasts out of the studio and into the community to better showcase stories from local neighbourhoods and suburban communities.
Jean Pelletier, senior director of television current affairs and documentaries for Radio-Canada, will be honoured with The Canadian Journalism Foundation’s (CJF) Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual CJF Awards on June 8 in Toronto. Pelletier began his journalism career at Le Devoir, then moved to La Presse in 1976 where he served as Parliament Hill correspondent. A year later, he was named the paper’s first permanent Washington, D.C. correspondent. Transitioning from reporting, he became editor-in-chief of Radio-Canada’s TV public affairs program Le Point and then flagship news show Téléjournal before becoming head of news at Radio-Canada (television). Pelletier took on his current role in 2012.
The inaugural recipients of the RTDNA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Network Programming are CBC News veteran Terry Milewski and Corus Radio talk host Charles Adler. They’ll be presented with their awards during the Awards Gala Dinner on May 27 at the close of the 2017 National Conference & Awards Gala.
The RTDNA Central Region award winners have been announced with 1310 News (CIWW-AM) Ottawa taking home the Byron MacGregor Award for Best Radio Newscast (Large Market). The Bert Cannings Award for Best Television Newcast (Large Market) went to CTV News Toronto: CTV News at Six. You can view the complete list of winners here.
This year’s RTDNA BC Region awards have been handed out. CBC Vancouver won for Best Radio Newscast (Large Market) for its coverage of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion. Best TV Newcast (Large Market) went to Global BC, while News 1130.com won the Digital Media Award (Large Market). You can view the complete list of winners here.
The Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC) has written a letter to Governor General David Johnston, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly expressing concerns about racism at the CRTC. The letter asks that the CRTC implement anti-racism education and training among its staff and appointees and calls for the appointment of an Indigenous or racialized person to the commission. You can read the full letter here.
Bell says its LTE wireless network is now the first in North America capable of delivering Quad Band LTE Advanced (LTE-A) service. With the addition of 256 QAM technology, Bell says it can deliver broadband speed of up to 750 Megabits per second. Also known as 4-carrier aggregation, Quad Band technology leverages multiple bands of wireless spectrum to boost top Tri Band LTE-A mobile data speeds from 335 Megabits per second (expected average download speeds of 12 to 100 Mbps) to 550 Mbps (expected average 18 to 150 Mbps). Bell says its new Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones will be the first devices able to take advantage of the new network capability and will automatically upgrade to operate on Bell Quad Band 256 QAM LTE.
Press freedom is on the decline in Canada according to the 2017 World Press Freedom Index from Reporters Without Borders. Canada falls to #22 from #18 last year. The report cites police surveillance of several members of the press in Quebec in an attempt to uncover internal leaks; the case of VICE News reporter Ben Makuch who is currently fighting a court order compelling him to hand over communications with his source to the RCMP; and online journalist for The Independent, Justin Brake, who is facing up to 10 years in prison for his coverage of protests against a hydroelectric project in Labrador.
Sylvain Bourassa, news director at TVA News in Trois-Rivières, was arrested last week, accused of luring minors over the internet. Bourassa, 46, was immediately suspended without pay. He was previously press secretary to Liberal Cabinet Minister Laurent Lessard and a former assistant to Quebec Tourism Minister Julie Boulet.
Kevin O’Leary has dropped out of the federal Conservative leadership race and is endorsing MP Maxime Bernier. The businessman and reality TV star (Shark Tank, Dragons’ Den) was considered a front-runner in the race and withdrew just hours before Wednesday night’s final debate.
The 2017 Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards were handed out Apr. 20 at the 35th Annual Canadian Music Week. Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush were on hand to receive the 2017 Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award in recognition of the band’s contribution to worthy causes. Jann Arden, 54•40 and Arthur Fogel were also in attendance as 2017 inductees to the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame; and Marilyn Denis received the Allan Waters Broadcast Lifetime Achievement Award.
This year’s Broadcast Industry winners were:
MUSIC DIRECTOR MAJOR
Lynch – X929 – Calgary and Wayne Webster – Boom 97.3 – Toronto
MUSIC DIRECTOR SECONDARY
Barry Stewart – Live 105/Hot Country 103.5 – Halifax
MUSIC DIRECTOR SMALL
Scott McGregor – 98.1 The Bridge – Lethbridge
ON AIR MAJOR
Garner Andrews – Sonic 102.9 – Edmonton
ON AIR SECONDARY
Biggs & Barr – HTZ-FM – St. Catharines
PROGRAM DIRECTOR MAJOR
Christian Hall – X929 – Calgary
PROGRAM DIRECTOR SECONDARY
Sarah Cummings – K-Lite/105.7 EZ Rock – Hamilton/St. Catharines
PROGRAM DIRECTOR SMALL
Jenn Dalen – Real Country 95.5 – Red Deer
May The Best Friends Win – Indie 88 – Toronto
99.9 Sun FM – Kelowna
BX93 – London
99.9 Virgin Radio – Toronto
98.1 CHFI – Toronto
INDIE 88 – Toronto
STATION CLASSIC GOLD
Boom 97.3 – Toronto
CHIN – Toronto
STATION NEWS TALK SPORTS
680 NEWS – Toronto
104.9 The Wolf – Regina
You can view the complete list of winners, including Music Industry winners here.