General + Regulatory + Telecom + Media NewsCRTC, Media, and Telecom News - Quebecor assessing legal options following CRTC...

CRTC, Media, and Telecom News – Quebecor assessing legal options following CRTC ruling

The CRTC has suspended the broadcasting licence for TVA Sports, but says the suspension will only go into effect if its signal is withheld from Bell prior to the resolution of its ongoing carriage dispute. The decision follows a Wednesday hearing to show cause why the commission shouldn’t issue a mandatory order requiring Group TVA to comply with Discretionary Services Regulations after it pulled TVA Sports’ signal for Bell TV customers Apr. 10, just as the NHL playoffs were getting underway. Quebecor says it will abide by the decision, but is assessing its legal options. The company maintains a channel should have the right to withdraw its signal in order to counter the bargaining power of the broadcasting distribution undertakings and that final offer arbitration should be voluntary. Quebecor is calling for a rebalancing of the royalties paid to specialty channels, based not on historical rates on each channel’s fair market value according to objective, but measurable criteria such as ratings, popularity in pick-and-pay plans, and spending on programming.

The CRTC has issued a $100,000 fine against the CEO of nCrowd, for violating Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation in relation to unsolicited, commercial email. The commission found that Brian Conley is liable, under the act, for those violations – the first time it has held an individual accountable for violations committed by a corporation. Between Sept. 2014 and June 2015, the commission received 246 complaints through the Spam Reporting Centre (SRC) in relation to email from the discount deals website, or its subsidiaries. An investigation determined in addition to being unsolicited, unsubscribe links didn’t function properly.

Rogers Communications has released financial and operating results for the first quarter ended Mar. 31. Revenue totalled nearly $3.59 billion, down from $3.63 billion in the same quarter last year. Net income was $391 million or 76 cents per share for the quarter. Total revenue decreased 1% in the quarter, largely driven by 12% decreases in both Wireless equipment revenue and Media revenue. Media revenue decreased due to a distribution from Major League Baseball in the first quarter of 2018, partially offset by strong service revenue growth of 4% in Wireless and 1% in Cable, where Internet revenue growth of 7% continued to drive the segment. In the Wireless division, Rogers reported 23,000 net additions to its post-paid services – down from 95,000 postpaid subscriber adds year-over-year. Churn improved to a company record 0.99 per cent.

Troy Reeb

Troy Reeb has been named as the latest recipient of the RTDNA Canada Lifetime Achievement Award. Reeb was recently named Executive Vice-President, Broadcast Networks at Corus Entertainment, overseeing Corus’ 44 specialty television services, 39 radio stations, and 15 conventional stations and online platforms, encompassing Global TV and specialty channels like HGTV and W Network. Reeb was previously SVP, News, Radio and Station Operations, and oversaw the addition of local newscasts in every Global TV market, in addition to leading the digital-first strategy that has built into the largest, private-sector online news provider in Canada. He’ll be presented with his award during the Awards Gala Dinner on May 11 in Toronto during the 2019 National Conference & Awards Gala.  Read more here.

George Browne

RTDNA Canada will recognize George Browne with its Distinguished Service Award. As the VP of Business Development and Conference Co-Chair, Browne has been on the board at RTDNA Canada for over four years. He also serves as the director of News Content for and Corus Radio, overseeing daily editorial, social, copy desk and investigative content across Global News’ digital properties. Browne began his career in news as a producer at BCTV in Vancouver and is the founding executive producer of Global National.

Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM) Toronto and CTV News/CFRA-AM Ottawa are among the Canadian news organizations to win multiple, regional Edward R. Murrow Awards. Handed out by the Radio Television Digital News Association in the U.S., the regional award winners, announced this week, will move on to national competition. Newstalk 1010 won six awards in the Large Market Radio category, including Excellence in Sound, Feature Reporting and Best Newscast. CTV News Ottawa and sister radio property CFRA-AM earned four awards, while Global BC, CTV Kitchener, and 680 News (CFTR-AM) Toronto came away with three apiece. Find the full list of Canadian honourees here.

Bell Media is warning of upcoming signal frequency changes that will impact CTV Toronto, CTV2 Victoria, and CTV Windsor, starting Apr. 29. The changes are due to government mandated transmitter updates required to free up space in the spectrum to accommodate wireless. Viewers using over-the-air rooftop or indoor antennas to access these channels will need to re-scan their television channels to restore service. Those accessing the channels with direct-to-home satellite, cable, and Bell Fibe will not lose service.

Unifor is questioning technician layoffs as Bell Canada moves to outsource jobs associated with the Wireless to the Home project. The union says 76 technicians received layoff notices from Bell Canada across Ontario and Quebec on Apr. 18. Bell’s Wireless to the Home project is a large-scale investment connecting rural Canadians with wireless high-speed internet, initially launching in Ontario and Quebec.

Xplornet has entered into a lifetime agreement with Hughes Network Systems for satellite broadband capacity on Hughes’ next-generation JUPITER 3 Ultra High Density Satellite. Xplornet says the JUPITER 3 will make internet download speeds of up to 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) available to rural Canadians. Planned for launch in 2021, the satellite is designed to provide coverage to 90% of Canada’s population. Xplornet says the total value of the investment including capacity, gateway equipment, operational support and consumer premise equipment is over $250 million USD.  

Lucinda Williams

The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) will mark the second annual World News Day on May 2. Grammy Award-winner Lucinda Williams and a host of Canadian and U.S. journalists will gather at an event at Toronto’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre, emceed by Brian Stelter, chief media correspondent for CNN Worldwide and host of Reliable Sources. Featured speakers include Robert Fife, Ottawa bureau chief with The Globe and Mail who helped break the SNC-Lavalin story, in conversation with Jayme Poisson, host of CBC’s Front Burner podcast; Connie Walker, host of CBC podcast Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo, and Julian Brave NoiseCat, policy analyst and freelance journalist, on telling Indigenous stories; and Craig Silverman, media editor with BuzzFeed News, on the spread of misinformation. Tickets are available for purchase for $30, with a portion of the event proceeds supporting the CJF-CBC Indigenous Journalism Fellowships.

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