Saltwire Network, the biggest newspaper publisher in Atlantic Canada, is laying off 40% of its workforce for up to three months and temporarily shuttering some publications. Owned by Halifax daily newspaper, The Chronicle Herald, Saltwire joins Quebec’s CN2i, formerly Groupe Capitales Médias, which has laid off 143 staff at six regional newspapers until the COVID-19 crisis passes. Vancouver alt weekly The Georgia Straight, recently acquired by Media Central Corporation, has also laid off reporters, in addition to Halifax independent The Coast, which has temporarily laid off 20 staff and moved to publishing online only.
Daily Hive is offering free social advertising to small, local businesses. Open to businesses in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Seattle and Portland, the online publication is offering free static Instagram posts and stories directing customers to e-commerce, take-out, gift card, pick-up services, or closure messages. The program will initially run until Apr. 6 with a potential extension.
The Canadian Network Operators Consortium, Canadian Communication Systems Alliance, and Independent Telecommunications Providers Association, have sent a letter to Amazon, Netflix and other OTT video providers urging them to adjust offered video bitrates to 1080p or lower to better serve Canadians during the high demand for residential internet. The three organizations say collectively OTT video has contributed to a 20 to 30% increase in aggregate internet transit over the last seven to 10 days. OTT providers in Europe, including Netflix, Disney+, and YouTube have complied with similar requests to reduce traffic by 25% there. YouTube has dropped HD streaming in Europe, while Disney+ has announced it’s delaying its launch in France until Apr. 7.
Netflix has established a $100 million fund to help the hundreds of thousands of crew and cast members now without jobs. Most of the fund will be dedicated toward supporting the hardest hit workers on Netflix own productions around the world. That’s in addition to the two weeks pay the company has already committed to the crew and cast on productions forced to shutdown. $15 million of the hardship fund will go to third parties and non-profits providing emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in the countries where Netflix has a large production base. In the U.S. and Canada that includes $1 million each to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 Disaster Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the Actors Fund Emergency Assistance in the U.S., and $1 million between the AFC and Fondation des Artistes.
Crave is on one-month free trial offer for new subscribers with access to the internet. Available through Apr. 30, the one-time-only offer is for first-time, direct-to-consumer subscribers, and can be accessed via the Crave app or Crave.ca.
CBC is making more content available for children across the public broadcaster’s platforms including CBC Kids, CBC Gem and educational platform Curio. CBC has made access to Curio.ca free across Canada. Available in English and French and ad-free, Curio provides students, parents and educators with streaming access to educational content for primary through post-secondary levels from CBC and Radio-Canada. That includes thousands of programs and resources, from television and radio, documentaries, news reports, archival material and more. CBC Kids programming has been extended by an hour on weekdays, with content for preschoolers aged two to six now airing on CBC TV from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. CBC Kids’ STUDIO K will also continue to operate remotely during the coronavirus crisis, creating entertaining original content for kids, including the recent “Wash Your Hands Dance.” Upcoming segments will feature tips for kids on how to make the best of their current situation, and have fun from home. CBC Kids News, the news site for Canadian kids ages nine to 13, will continue to operate remotely and publish age-appropriate daily updates on the COVID-19 situation and how it is affecting kids across the country. Weekly news show RECAP, featuring host Myah Elliott, will also continue to operate remotely, summarizing the top stories of the week.
Twitch viewership numbers are up by 10%, according to data from StreamElements and Arsenal.gg. While Twitch is primarily for gamers, social isolation has seen many indie musicians turn to the platform. YouTube Gaming also saw a 15% increase in streaming traffic over the last week.
PressReader has launched a new channel called COVID-19, a news feed of all the latest stories from around the world, also made available as a digital newspaper called COVID-19 News on the platform. The digital newspaper compiles news from over 120 countries in 60 languages. Available free on the PressReader app or pressreader.com, the publication uses advanced aggregation and content personalization to bring readers daily news updates pulled from PressReader’s catalog of more than 7,000 publications.
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