Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – Google strikes $100M deal to meet Online News Act obligations

Canadian Heritage Min. Pascale St-Onge

Google has reached an agreement with the federal government that will see the digital giant contribute $100 million in annual financial support to meet its obligations under the Online News Act. By far the biggest digital advertising dominator in Canada with an estimated 50% market share, Google had been preparing to exclude Canadian news sites from search engine results, starting Dec. 19 when Bill C-18 comes into force. Under the legislation, by government calculations, Google would have been required to pay an estimated $172 million per year to prop up the media sector, equivalent to about four per cent of company revenues in Canada. It’s unclear exactly how the money will be distributed, with a statement from Canadian Heritage indicating Google will have the option “to work with a single collective to distribute its contribution to all interested eligible news businesses based on the number of full-time equivalent journalists engaged by those businesses.” Read more here.

Rogers representatives argued this week at the ongoing Online Streaming Act consultations that if online streamers are not required to commit a base financial contribution to the enhancement of Canadian content, traditional Canadian broadcasters must not be required to do the same. The CRTC is asking whether it should similarly require a base contribution on eligible online streamers, how much that should be, and to which funds those contributions should go. With a number of other parties proposing five per cent, Rogers is proposing a base of two per cent for foreign streamers. The cable giant said it arrived at that figure by examining a percentage of total revenue in the broadcast years of 2021 and 2022, which was close to 2.7 per cent. Read more coverage of the Online Streaming Act hearings in our partner publication, CARTT.ca.

Jody Porter

Jody Porter, the late CBC Thunder Bay reporter and Wawatay News editor, has been posthumously recognized with an Ontario Premier’s Award in the Creative Arts and Design category. Porter, a Centennial College alum, is among seven award recipients recognized at the annual gala honouring outstanding Ontario college graduates. Porter was known for her reporting on social justice issues impacting Indigenous communities. She passed away from ovarian cancer in July 2022, at the age of 50. Her work has been referenced by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission with the documentary she produced on Chanie Wenjack ─ who died after fleeing a residential school ─ sparking a series of events that moved Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip to help share the Anishinaabe boy’s story.

The Michener Awards Foundation is seeking nominations for its Michener-Baxter Award. The award, which has only been presented 11 times since its inaugural year in 1984, celebrates individuals whose journalistic achievements have produced positive impacts on the world of journalism and have benefited Canadian society. Nominations for the Michener-Baxter Award are open until Jan. 12. Find more info and nomination criteria here.

CTAM Canada is organizing its second annual Stream Safely Day on Dec. 5 to educate Canadians about the danger of streaming entertainment through illegal, pirate services and unauthorized password sharing. According to CTAM, an industry association focused on the advancement of content distribution across multiple platforms, illegal streaming and other forms of digital video piracy account for more than $50 billion in lost revenue for the global TV and film industry. According to CTAM data, piracy rates skyrocketed during the pandemic by 44%, with an overwhelming majority of internet users (70%) believing there is nothing wrong with piracy websites and pirated content. Read more here.

Rogers has released a new video with Toronto Maple Leafs right winger William Nylander using 5G wireless service on the TTC to talk to his family in Sweden. Since launching 5G in the TTC and expanding to all stations and the Vaughan tunnels earlier this month, Rogers customers have used more than 45 terabytes of data in the new sections, which is the equivalent of streaming 6,500 Leafs games in less than a week. Rogers is now transitioning to the next critical phase of the project, expanding 5G coverage to connect the remaining 75% of tunnels. 

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