Innovation, Science and Industry Canada has handed down its final policy direction to the CRTC, which stays the course on prioritizing competition across wholesale Internet access and mobile wireless service, improved reliability of services and consumer rights, and accessibility of telecom services for Canadians with disabilities. It also directs the CRTC to increase the transparency and clarity of service plan pricing, making it easier and affordable for Canadians to change or cancel services. Additionally, it calls on the commission to continue to implement and adjust the Broadband Fund to encourage network investment.
CRTC Chairperson and CEO Vicky Eatrides has responded to Canadian Heritage Min. Pablo Rodriguez and Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne’s welcome letter, highlighting what the commission will focus on in the near future. Eatrides writes that to promote greater competition in the marketplace, the commission will proceed with implementation of its new approach to mobile wireless services and review the wholesale Internet framework, launching a public consultation in the coming weeks on enhancing the reliability of Canada’s telecommunications networks. Eatrides also looks ahead to the anticipated passing of new broadcast legislation, saying the commission “will be ready to build the regulatory frameworks required to ensure the timely and effective implementation of Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act, and Bill C-18, the Online News Act, if adopted by Parliament.” “We are mindful of calls for improvement to our processes, and are seeking ways to enhance our timeliness, accessibility, and openness,” writes Eatrides.
The Narwhal and photojournalist Amber Bracken have filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court against the RCMP for the violation of their Charter rights after Bracken was arrested and detained while covering the enforcement of an injunction in Wet’suwet’en territory in late 2021. The Narwhal and Bracken are suing for damages related to her alleged arbitrary arrest and detention. The lawsuit is also seeking acknowledgment that The Narwhal and Bracken’s press freedom rights, pursuant to Section 2(b) of the Charter, were breached. Bracken was on assignment for The Narwhal on Nov. 19, 2021 when she was arrested while covering the contentious construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline through unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. The lawsuit claims RCMP officers used an axe and chainsaw to break through the door of a tiny house where Bracken was working and then arrested her and six other individuals at gunpoint. She, along with documentary filmmaker Michael Toledano, were charged with contempt for violating the terms of the injunction and jailed for three days before being released on bail.
Media Technology Monitor (MTM) has released two new reports looking at newcomers’ perceptions of news media. Key findings include that the vast majority of newcomers to Canada are keen news consumers and are more likely to say they use social media as their main platform for news than those Canadian-born. Two-fifths who consume news say they get it primarily from social media. A small majority consume news only in English or French, while two in five (43%) say they get news in additional languages, just 4% exclusively in languages other than English or French. When asked to rate their trust in Canadian news media on a 5-point scale, 28% give it the highest trust rating of 5, and 65% either 4 or 5. Newcomers also feel Canadian media does a good job of representing a diversity of opinions. More than half of newcomers (57%) agree news and information provided by Canadian media outlets reflects a variety of opinions.
Stingray Group has announced financial results for Q3 2023 for the three months ended Dec. 31. Revenues increased 18.9% to $89.2 million, year-over-year, credited primarily to the acquisition of InStore Audio Network. Broadcasting and Commercial Music revenues grew 35.1% to $54.2 million in Q3 with radio revenues up 0.4% to $35.1 million, attributed to higher digital revenues. Canadian revenues improved 0.4% to $49.4 million in the quarter, attributed to digital signage installation and higher radio revenue. U.S. revenues were up 111% year-over-year to $26.6 million with other international revenue stable at $13.2 million.
TELUS has released its unaudited results for the fourth quarter of 2022. Consolidated operating revenues and other income increased by 3.8% year-over-year to $5.1 billion, or 13% excluding the $410 million pre-tax gain arising from the disposition of the company’s financial solutions business, as reported in Q4 2021. Growth was driven by higher service revenues at TELUS technology solutions (TTech) and digitally-led customer experiences, TELUS International (DLCX). Net income of $265 million decreased by 60% year-over-year and Basic earnings per share (EPS) of $0.17 were down by 64%, driven by higher financing costs, goods and services, and employee benefit expense. In the fourth quarter, TELUS added 301,000 net customer additions, up 29,000 over the same period last year, and inclusive of 112,000 mobile phones and 106,000 connected devices, in addition to 42,000 internet, 28,000 security and 17,000 TV customer connections.
Western Association of Broadcasters (WAB) has opened registration for its 87th Conference in Banff, June 7-8. Submissions are also open for WAB’s 2023 Gold Medal Awards until March 31. Nominate your station for The Gold Medal Award for Community Service, recognizing the efforts of broadcasters to make positive change in their communities or The Gold Medal Award for Digital Innovation, applauding creative use of non-traditional platforms to support radio and/or television. WAB is also accepting nominations for the Leaders of Tomorrow Award, honouring an exemplary employees of WAB member stations under the age of 30, and inductees for the Broadcasters Hall of Fame.