General + Regulatory + Telecom + Media NewsRegulatory, Telecom & Media News - Competition Bureau seeks to block Rogers-Shaw...

Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – Competition Bureau seeks to block Rogers-Shaw merger

(Image Credit: SOPA Images Limited/Alamy Live News)

The Competition Bureau has issued notice it will seek to block Rogers proposed $26 billion acquisition of Shaw, as announced by the companies late Friday. The Bureau challenged the merger Monday by requesting an order from the Competition Tribunal to prevent it from proceeding and is also requesting an injunction to stop the parties from closing the deal until its application can be heard. The Bureau alleges removing a strong regional competitor like Shaw will likely result in “significantly higher” wireless prices and threatens to undo progress it has made introducing more competition into an already concentrated wireless market, where “the Big 3” – Rogers, Bell and TELUS – serve about 87% of Canadian subscribers. Rogers and Shaw say they remain committed to their proposed merger and will oppose the application “while continuing to engage constructively” with the bureau. To facilitate that continued engagement, Rogers, Shaw and the Shaw Family Living Trust have agreed to extend the outside date of the transaction to July 31. Read more here.

The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) has launched a new advocacy campaign urging the federal government to update Canada’s broadcasting legislation by passing Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act. The campaign, which includes a microsite, advertising, and social media content, calls on government to “end the free ride” for foreign web giants. It encourages supporters to visit to let their elected official know they support passage of the Online Streaming Act.

OPINION: Brad Danks, CEO of OUTtv, writes that while Bill C-11 has its share of critics, he believes fear over its intent is unfounded. “Those of us in the more traditional broadcasting industry understand that this legislation is critical to ensure that the Canadian audiovisual sector evolves to meet the threats and benefit from the opportunities present in the online streaming environment,” writes Danks. Read more here.

RTDNA Canada has announced regional awards finalists, with the winners to be announced May 24. In the Central Region, CBC Toronto and Montreal lead the finalists. In the East Region, several categories have pre-determined winners including Best Podcast (Global Halifax: 13 Hours), Breaking News (VOCM News: Hurricane Larry), and Best Radio Newscast, won by News 95.7. In the Prairie Region, CBC Saskatchewan was a pre-determined winner for Excellence in Radio Sports Reporting and Best Digital Graphics (Small/Medium Market), as well as News, Live Special Events, and Excellence in Sound in the Video category. CBC Manitoba won for Best Video Graphics (Large Market). In the West Region, pre-determined winners include CBC Kelowna in the Breaking News Audio category for its fire coverage and CBC British Columbia for Excellence in Audio Editing. CBC Vancouver won Best Radio Newscast (Large Market), while CBC Yukon won Breaking News (Small/Medium Market) in the Digital category. 

Ghousuddin Frotan

World Press Freedom Day was marked by the federal government May 3, spotlighting some of the Afghan journalists that have resettled in Canada. Among the more than 12,600 Afghan refugees Canada has welcomed are: Ghousuddin Frotan, an Afghan journalist who was based in Kandahar and covered the southern region of Afghanistan for the Wall Street Journal. Since his arrival in Canada in January, he secured a Dalla Lana Fellowship in Global Journalism at the University of Toronto and has published articles in the Toronto Star; Maryam Sama, a former Afghan journalist and activist who was an outspoken member of the Afghan Parliament, arrived in Canada in March. She continues to fight for freedom of expression, in spite of the widespread censorship in Afghanistan and hopes to expand her career in journalism in Canada; and Wajiha Saidy, a former Afghan journalist who worked as a senior producer with the Moby Media Group, the largest media company in Afghanistan. In August 2021, her film production team was threatened by the Taliban, and she fled, eventually making it to safety in Ottawa in January.

The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) says the CJF Awards will take place in front of a sold-out audience June 7. Among the program highlights is the CJF Tribute honouring Dr. David Suzuki for his five-decade career in science broadcasting and commitment to educating Canadians on climate change and environmental science. The event will also feature remarks by Margaret Atwood and presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Michèle Ouimet, who spent 29 years at La Presse covering wars, humanitarian crises and natural disasters. Matt Galloway, host of CBC Radio’s The Current, will emcee the awards evening at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The first in-person CJF Awards since 2019, the event will draw more than 400 journalists, media executives and business leaders. A livestream will begin at 7 P.M. ET on the CJF Facebook page.

The 2022 Webster Foundation Awards are now open for submissions, recognizing excellence in journalism in B.C. New this year is the Best Breaking News category, which consolidates what was three categories in the past for Print/Online, Radio and TV. All forms of media will now submit in one category. Exemplary submissions will include unique content that uncovers information or aspects of a story that no other media has and thus best informs the public. Submissions can now be uploaded for stories published between June 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022. 

BCE’s Q1 2022 results reflected net earnings of $934 million, up 36.0%, with net earnings attributable to common shareholders of $877 million, or $0.96 per common share. Operating revenue increased 2.5% compared to Q1 2021 to $5,850 million, driven by 4.2% higher service revenue of $5,177 million on strong wireless, residential Internet and media growth. Product revenue was down 8.8% to $673 million, reflecting fewer new mobile device transactions and lower business wireline data equipment sales. Media revenue was up 15.7% on stronger year-over-year TV performance and 84% higher digital revenue, contributing to adjusted EBITDA growth of 45.5%. Ad revenue increased 8.5%, driven by more TV sports programming compared to Q1 2021, including Super Bowl LVI; stronger year-over-year specialty news performance; increased out-of-home advertiser demand as leisure and travel activities resumed; improved year-over-year radio performance, as well as continued digital growth. 

TELUS Q1 2022 results saw consolidated operating revenues and other income increase 6.4% over the same period a year ago to approximately $4.3 billion. Growth was driven by higher operating revenue in TELUS technology solutions (TTech) and Digitally-led customer experiences – TELUS International segment (DLCX). Consolidated EBITDA increased by 7.4% to approximately $1.6 billion and adjusted EBITDA increased by 7.0% to more than $1.6 billion. The growth reflects higher mobile network revenues driven by growth in TELUS’ subscriber base over the past 12 months, in addition to higher mobile phone ARPU. In the first quarter, TELUS added 148,000 net customer additions, up 3,000 over last year, and inclusive of 46,000 mobile phones and 46,000 connected devices, in addition to 30,000 internet, 26,000 security and 10,000 TV customer connections. 

TVA Group recorded operating revenues in the amount of $144.5 million for the first quarter of 2022, a year-over-year increase of $3.7 million. First quarter operating highlights included $9,721,000 in consolidated negative adjusted EBITDA, an unfavourable variance of $11,857,000 from the same quarter of 2021. TVA recorded $15,468,000 in negative adjusted EBITDA in the Broadcasting segment, an $11,886,000 unfavourable variance mainly due to a decrease in profitability at TVA Network, which increased its investment in content. That was partially offset by increased profitability at TVA Sports, which had to absorb significant content costs in the first quarter of 2021 as a result of the change in the broadcast schedule for the NHL 2020-21 season. The Film Production & Audiovisual Services (MELS) segment reported $3,844,000 in adjusted EBITDA, a $216,000 favourable variance stemming primarily from an increase in profitability of soundstage, mobile and equipment rental services and virtual production services.

Broadcast Dialogue
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