Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – Rogers gains 175,000 net wireless subscribers in Q3

Rogers gained 175,000 net new postpaid wireless subscribers in the third quarter, its best subscriber performance in 13 years, according to the company’s Q3 report. Rogers reported net income of $490 million in the quarter, down 4% from $512 million in Q3 2020. The report says service revenue growth in Rogers’ Wireless and Cable business was offset by lower Media and Wireless equipment revenue. Wireless service revenue increased by 3% in the quarter, mainly as a result of a larger postpaid subscriber base and higher roaming revenue as global travel resumed, while Wireless equipment revenue was down as a result of fewer device upgrades. Media revenue decreased by 3% in Q3, primarily as a result of the NHL and NBA completing their seasons late in the third quarter last year due to COVID-19, partially offset by higher Toronto Blue Jays game day revenue. Media adjusted EBITDA decreased by 63%, or $56 million in the quarter, primarily due to higher Blue Jays player payroll and lower Media revenue, offset by lower sports programming and production costs associated with the timing of the NHL season last year.

Corus Entertainment reported Q4 revenue of $361.3 million, up 13% from $318.4 million in the prior year’s quarter. On a consolidated basis, advertising revenue increased 22%, subscriber revenue was up 3%, while merchandising, distribution and other revenue grew 9% compared to the prior year. The increase in ad revenue was attributable to the rebound over pandemic driven lows year-over-year, up 12% in Television and 32% in Radio. Television revenue increased 32% in the fourth quarter and decreased 6% for the year ended Aug. 31. Radio’s segment profit increased by $3.1 million in Q4 and declined $1.9 million for the year. Segment profit margin in Q4 was 17%, up from 6% in the prior year. Segment profit margin for the year was 15%, compared to 16% in the prior year.

Quebecor and Videotron are welcoming the Federal Court’s refusal to grant TELUS’ motion for an interlocutory injunction to halt the award of 3500 MHz spectrum licences in Western Canada. The court rejected Telus’s assertion that Videotron needed to have physical infrastructure in Western Canada to be eligible. Quebecor said in a release that it’s disappointed by “relentless efforts” by Telus to discourage the entry of a fourth player into the wireless market to create healthy competition.

The Competition Bureau has obtained a court order to advance a civil investigation into conduct by Google related to its online advertising business. The Bureau is investigating whether the digital giant’s conduct is harming competition in Canada. An order, granted by the Federal Court, requires Google to produce records and written information, with the Bureau specifically looking to determine whether the company’s practices are impeding the success of competitors; and/or resulting in higher prices, reducing choice and hindering innovation for ad tech services, and harming advertisers, publishers and consumers.

The Centre of Excellence on PTSD (CoE – PTSD) has collaborated with Dr. Rob Whitley of McGill University’s Douglas Research Centre to develop a set of guidelines for journalists reporting on veterans, especially when covering issues related to PTSD, mental health and suicide. The guidelines are available for download, in addition to Whitley’s recently-published paper examining media coverage of the suicide death of Afghanistan war vet Lionel Desmond.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) has opened applications for the autumn 2021 edition of its mentorship program. This round of mentors features 30 Canadian journalists working in radio, television, digital, and print. This round’s roster includes Abigail Bimman, Ottawa correspondent, Global National; Arvin Joaquin, video journalist, OMNI Filipino; Elamin Abdelmahmoud, culture writer, BuzzFeed News and Host, CBC’s Party Lines and Pop Chat; Ka’nhehsí:io Deer, reporter, CBC Indigenous; and Nam Kiwanuka, host/producer, TVO, among others. The deadline for applications is Nov. 12. Find more details and a complete list of mentors, here.

The Jack Webster Foundation has announced its 2021 Student and Indigenous Student Journalism Award recipients. The 2021 award recipients, who’ll receive $2,000 each are: Sadie-Ann Chung, BCIT; Abby Luciano, KPU; Lauren Vanderdeen, Langara; Katarina Sabados, UBC; McKenna Hadley-Burke, UBC; Kayla MacInnis, KPU; and Kiara Collinge, BCIT. The Student Journalism Awards are made possible with the sponsorship of the Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU) and the estates of Don Matheson and Keith Bradbury, both former B.C. journalists. The Indigenous Student Journalism Awards are supported by the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF).  

FRIENDS, formerly Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, has launched a new national ad campaign featuring cameos by actor Yannick Bisson (Murdoch Mysteries), rocker Bif Naked, comedian Vance Banzo (TallBoyz) and the voice of comedian and actor Colin Mochrie. The ads began airing this week in Cineplex theatres across the country as well as on television and online. FRIENDS says it’s renewing its focus on working to ensure Ottawa lives up to commitments to reign in “Big Tech” platforms like Facebook and Netflix, as well as restoring and improving funding to CBC/Radio-Canada.