General + Regulatory + Telecom + Media NewsRegulatory, Telecom & Media News - Canadian Heritage hands down final policy...

Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – Canadian Heritage hands down final policy direction on C-18

Canadian Heritage Min. Pascale St-Onge has released the final policy direction around the Online Streaming Act to the CRTC, clarifying that social media, digital creators, podcasts and video games will be exempt from regulation. Canadian Heritage has set out a two-year timeline for the commission to make any changes to its regulatory framework necessary to implement the order. The next phase of consultations – a three-week hearing that will hear from at least 130 intervenors – is slated to get underway in Gatineau on Nov. 20. Read more here.

APTN has undertaken a reorganization, citing the need to remain financially viable following the CRTC’s automatic three-year administrative renewal for television broadcasters, through August 2026. APTN CEO Monika Ille said the Indigenous network has not been immune to the challenges facing the industry, saying that “in real dollar terms, APTN’s revenue has declined substantially” since its last licence renewal in 2018. To remain economically sustainable, the broadcaster has been looking for cost-saving initiatives that include a reorganization of its Saskatoon news bureau and the elimination of two positions. It has also decided not to fill a vacated director-level position. Read more here.

Rogers Communications has announced unaudited financial and operating results for the third quarter ended Sept. 30. Total revenue and total service revenue increased by 36% and 40%, respectively, driven by growth in Cable and Wireless, including year-over-year gains due to the July 2022 network outage-related credits of $150 million issued to customers last year. Wireless service revenue increased by 15%, primarily due to growth in the mobile phone subscriber base, revenue from Shaw Mobile subscribers acquired through the Shaw transaction, and the impact of the July 2022 network outage-related credits. Cable service revenue increased by 105%, primarily as a result of the Shaw acquisition. Media revenue was up 11%, primarily as a result of higher sports-related revenue, including at the Toronto Blue Jays. The company says Shaw integration targets are ahead of schedule with synergies realized year to date now at $188 million and the company anticipating a $600 million run-rate by year-end.

Quebecor has reported consolidated financial results for Q3 2023. Further to the acquisition of Freedom Mobile, Quebecor recorded revenues of $1.42 billion in the third quarter, up $271.7 million (23.8%), adjusted EBITDA of $624.4 million, up $106.4 million (20.5%), and adjusted cash flow of $482.4 million, up $79.3 million (19.7%) compared with the same period in 2022. The Telecommunications segment increased its revenues by $287.9 million (30.6%) and its adjusted EBITDA by $100.0 million (20.4%), reflecting, among other things, the contribution of the Freedom acquisition. TVA Group generated adjusted EBITDA of $16.5 million in Q3, an unfavourable variance of $1.7 million, and negative adjusted EBITDA of $11.3 million for the first nine months of 2023, an unfavourable variance of $23.0 million. Quebecor says even though TVA Group increased its market share by 0.5 points to 40.6% in the third quarter of 2023, ad revenues continued their sharp decline. 

The Jack Webster Foundation has announced the 2023 Webster Award winners, recognizing excellence in B.C. journalism. Global BC was among the multiple winners, including Best News Reporting of the Year, a new category this year, presented in memory of Keith Bradbury, won by Sarah MacDonald and Clayton Little for “Failed in Life and Death: The Story of Noelle O’Soup.” Global BC’s Paul Johnson and Cody Chaban won in the Excellence in Health Reporting category for “Diversion of Drugs.” The Narwhal picked up three awards, including Excellence in Legal Journalism, Excellence in Environment Reporting and Excellence in Multimedia Journalism. Find the full list of winners here.

The Sidney Hillman Foundation is now accepting nominations for the 2024 Canadian Hillman Prizes, honouring excellence in investigative journalism in service of the common good. The Hillman Prizes celebrate print, digital and broadcast reporting that exposes social and economic injustice and leads to meaningful public policy change. For the first time, the Foundation will award three annual Hillman Prizes instead of one. Previous Canadian Hillman Prize winners include The Walrus, The Globe and Mail, the Crackdown podcast, CBC’s fifth estate, the Calgary Herald, CBC/Radio-Canada, and TVO.

FRIENDS is calling on Canadians to submit their essays on the topic of media and democracy for the 2024 Dalton Camp Award. The $10,000 prize is presented annually by FRIENDS with the winning essay also to be published by media partner, The Tyee. The Dalton Camp Award is open to any Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada. An additional Student Journalism Prize is open to recent graduates or students currently enrolled in journalism, broadcasting, media studies or communications programs at a recognized Canadian post-secondary institution. The winner of the Student Journalism Prize will receive a prize of $2,500. Submissions are open.

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