The Weekly Briefing

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

Kevin Newman

Kevin Newman is stepping away as a host and correspondent for CTV’s W5 to focus on other projects, including a new podcast for CTV News and Bell Media’s iHeartRadio. Bell Media says details of the new podcast project, which will focus on issues related to technology and democracy, will be released in the lead-up to and throughout the upcoming federal election. Newman will also continue as a contributor to the network. Newman, an Emmy, Gemini and Peabody Award-winning host and reporter, has been with W5 since 2012. Read more here.

Stingray Group reported stellar Q1 2020 growth for the period ended June 30, credited largely to the company’s acquisition of Newfoundland Capital (Newcap). Revenue was up 133.4% in the quarter to $80.4 million, with Radio accounting for 53.6% of total revenues at $43.1 million. Stingray reported recurring Broadcasting and Commercial Music revenues of $34.0 million, an increase of 10.3%. Adjusted EBITDA was up 178.8% to $31.2 million, with a 38.7% margin, compared to 32.4%. Excluding the impact of IFRS 16, adjusted EBITDA would have been $29.7 million. Canadian revenue rose to $56.1 million, accounting for 70% of the company’s total, while international revenues were up 20.3% to $15.2 million. Stingray’s quarterly dividend increased 16.7% to seven cents per share.

The CRTC has approved Golden West Broadcasting’s acquisition of the majority shares of 104.5 More Country (CKOV-FM) Strathmore, AB from Mary McKinnon Mills and Paul Larsen for $350,000. Golden West previously owned 25% of the station.

Dallas Smith

Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Male Artist of the Year Dallas Smith and singer, songwriter and actor Billy Ray Cyrus will co-host the 2019 CCMA Awards. The awards will air live on Global from Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome on Sept. 8 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Global has also extended its broadcast to stream on Twitter and broadcast live on Corus radio stations Country 105 Calgary, CISN Country 103.9 Edmonton, and Country 104 London/Woodstock.

 

 

Native Communications Incorporated (NCI) has received CRTC approval to establish a network rebroadcaster in Dauphin, MB. CIDM-FM will operate at 97.3 mhz, with an ERP of 1,650 watts. It will simulcast programming from CINC-FM Thompson.

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

Amber Bernard

APTN says the broadcaster will pursue criminal charges if there is further aggressive behaviour towards its female reporters. In two separate incidents last month, advisors to two different Indigenous organizations were physically aggressive toward reporters with each instance captured on video. On July 11, Dwayne Bird, communications director for Manitoba’s Peguis First Nation, grabbed APTN producer Beverly Andrews’ microphone at a press conference. In another incident on July 25, Dakota Kochie, a political advisor to Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde, pushed reporter Amber Bernard aside as she tried to ask questions at a public event. The network says Kochie previously grabbed Bernard’s arm and microphone during an AFN election event last year in Vancouver. Last week, the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA), Reporters Without Borders, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) and the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) added their voices to those condemning the incidents, with CAJ calling the behaviour “shameful” and “disconcerting.” Read the full story here.

Christa Dickenson

Telefilm Canada has released an update of its gender parity initiatives for projects funded during the 2018/19 fiscal year, as it works toward a goal of achieving balance in key creative roles (director, producer, and/or screenwriter) across its production portfolio by 2020. The $2.5M+ features category saw an increase in funding across all key roles. Projects with a woman working as the lead producer received $23.8 million (42% of funding in the category), up 11% from 2017/18. In the same budget category, $12.9 million went to projects with a female director (up 5% to 23% of the funding), and $19.2 million to female-scripted titles (up 13% to 34% of funding). Executive director Christa Dickenson says Telefilm would like to give more female directors an opportunity to direct a bigger budget feature, but that a collaborative approach is necessary to get there with support from distribution partners, producers and broadcasters. Read more here.

Stingray has renewed its cable distribution agreement with Rogers. The new three-year deal offers viewers more options to choose services based on music preferences. As part of the agreement, Rogers cable and IPTV customers will have access to Stingray Music audio channels as well as the Stingray Music mobile app and web player for free. Stingray 4K channels will continue to be available including Stingray Festival 4K, and Stingray Now 4K. The deal also grants Rogers rights to distribute new Stingray products.

Helena Marie, Shawn Alex Thompson, Tom Hulshof and Morgan Wigle

DHX Television’s Family Channel, CBBC and Beachwood Canyon Productions (BCP) have started production in Toronto on the new tween live-action gymnastics series Springboard (formerly Up In the Air). Created by Frank van Keeken (The Next Step, Lost & Found Music Studios), the half-hour drama series is scheduled to debut on Family Channel (Canada) and CBBC (U.K.) in 2020. The 15-episode order stars Morgan Wigle, Tom Hulshof, Helena Marie and Shawn Alex Thompson. The series is being executive produced by van Keeken, Andrew Barnsley (Schitt’s Creek, JANN) and Ben Murray (JANN, Working the Engels). International distribution will be handled by DHX Media.

Bloomberg Canada is picking up Globalive Media series Beyond Innovation, a factual half-hour series that looks at how technology is changing the way we live and do business. Already airing in 70 countries, a new distribution deal with Bell Media, will see the series air on BNN Bloomberg, beginning Aug. 10. The debut season features guests like David Hanson, the pioneering engineer behind the lifelike humanoid robot “Sophia”; Jeremy Lin, the NBA point guard investing in a smartphone app promising to help young athletes train; and Dr. David Cheriton, the Canadian-born Stanford University professor who famously made one of the very first investments in Google.

Showcase and W Network have announced their fall schedules. Showcase premieres include hotly-anticipated DC Universe series Swamp Thing (Sept.2-3), Pennyworth (Sept. 4) and Batwoman (Oct. 6). Season 5 of Supergirl also makes its debut Oct. 6. The Vampire Diaries spinoff Legacies premieres Oct. 10. W Network adds Nancy Drew to its schedule, starting Oct. 9, in addition to the debut of Hallmark Channel’s Fall Harvest, beginning Sept. 21 featuring back-to-back movies every weekend. Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas will follow, starting Nov. 1. W Network will premiere the second season of high school football drama All American on Oct. 7 and Season 2 of the Charmed reboot, Oct. 11. 

ONLINE/DIGITAL:

MEDIAPRO’s OneSoccer, the 24/7 digital platform dedicated to Canadian soccer coverage, is streaming exclusive live coverage of the Canadian Championship. The semi-final round began Aug. 7 with Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC taking on Ottawa Fury of the USL Championship, and Montréal Impact (MLS) facing Cavalry FC of the Canadian Premier League in the other draw. The return leg will take place Aug. 14, with the Fury taking on TFC at Toronto’s BMO Field and Impact travelling to Calgary’s Spruce Meadows. Features, interviews and live studio pre-, half-time and post-game shows, are available on the OneSoccer platform with channel regulars Gareth Wheeler and Nigel Reed providing play-by-play commentary in English, while Philippe Germain makes the call in French. The competition is Canada Soccer’s highest domestic professional soccer competition and is the sole direct qualification route for Canadian professional clubs into the Concacaf Champions League and on to the FIFA Club World Cup. OneSoccer subscribers will be able to view all Canadian Championship matches at no extra charge, adding to a growing portfolio that includes 100 Canadian Premier League matches and all home matches of Canada Soccer’s Women’s and Men’s National Teams. 

DAZN is producing its first original series that will see football icons Cristiano Ronaldo, Newymar Jr and legendary manager José Mourinho tell the stories behind the biggest games of their careers. The Making Of (9 x 25’) will also feature interviews with John O’Shea, Rafael Alcántara, Fernando Santos, Roberto Carlos and Julio Cesar, as well as journalists who covered the game and fans. The series will be available in all nine DAZN markets, including Canada, as part of an emerging content strategy combining original programming, alongside premium live and on-demand sport streaming. Read more here.

GENERAL:

The Canadian Debate Production Partnership (CDPP), the official producer of the federal leaders’ debates, has announced that the French and English leaders’ debates will take place the second week in October. CDPP partners include CBC News, Radio-Canada, Global News, CTV News, Toronto Star and Torstar chain, HuffPost Canada, La Presse, Le Devoir, and L’Actualité. OMNI Television is also part of the CDPP and will broadcast live, third-language coverage of the debates in Cantonese, Italian, Mandarin, and Punjabi.

The CRTC says the new 36-month device financing plans in the wireless service marketplace may not be compliant with the Wireless Code since customers may have to pay fees to switch service providers, even after 24 months. The commission has asked all wireless service providers to stop offering device financing plans on terms longer than 24 months until it completes a full review of the practice. The CRTC will publish a Notice of Consultation to examine the issue in greater detail and determine what regulatory action should be taken if the plans are found to be non-compliant.

The CRTC has ordered wireless providers to disclose confidential information so the Commission of Competition can undertake a market analysis as part of a review of mobile wireless services, but will exclude network sharing agreements. Bell Mobility, SSi Micro Ltd., and TELUS had objected to the disclosure of certain confidential responses arguing that information regarding unused spectrum, information or agreements related to network sharing, and capital expenditures were not relevant to the Commissioner’s studies. Bell Mobility, in particular, also argued that forecasted information was not relevant. Bell Mobility, Rogers, Telus, and Videotron voiced additional concerns over disclosure of their network sharing agreements.

The Competition Bureau’s study of competition and consumer habits in Canada’s high-speed Internet industry finds that a growing number of Canadian households are choosing an independent provider for their high-speed internet. The result of a year-long market study, undertaken to evaluate the state of competition in Canada’s broadband industry, 2,005 households were surveyed from May 2018 to June 2019. Among the Bureau’s key findings, 90% report being generally satisfied with their current home internet provider, while customers of independent providers are more likely to be very satisfied; one in three households that considered switching providers in the past two years actually made a switch; and 66% of households bundle their internet with at least one other service, but just 17% of those bundles include wireless phone services. The report also found that in areas of the country where wholesale-based competitors have focused their marketing efforts, they served approximately one in every six households at the end of 2018. That translates into more than 1,000,000 Canadian households that are now served by a wholesale competitor. Read more here.

The CRTC has unveiled its Internet Code for internet service providers, aimed at better safeguarding Canadians against the shady practices of big telecom. While introducing measures like more frequent usage warnings and an extended cancellation period, some public interest groups say the code doesn’t go far enough after a flawed process that saw most telecom researchers and consumer advocacy organizations boycott the proceeding.

On the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The PodcastJohn Lawford, executive director and general counsel for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), who says in the current climate it’s increasingly difficult for groups like PIAC to represent the consumer.

BCE Inc. reported overall profit for Q2 2019 was up 8.2% to $817 million with net earnings attributable to shareholders up 8.1% to $761M or $0.85 per common share. The company credited in part, strong subscriber results at Bell flanker wireless brand Lucky Mobile, reporting 185,667 total wireless, retail internet and IPTV net customer additions. The Media division also posted record broadcast numbers for the Toronto Raptors’ NBA final run as well as the finales of Game of Thrones and The Big Bang Theory. Media revenue was up  6.4% and 23.9% higher adjusted EBITDA. Free cash flow grew 10.0% to $1.09M.

TVA Group is reporting operating revenues of $146.0 million for Q2 2019, a year-over-year increase of $5.8 million. The quarterly net loss attributable to shareholders was $6.2 million or $0.14 per share, compared with a net loss attributable to shareholders of $9.6 million or $0.22 per share in the same quarter of 2018. There was a significant decrease in the Broadcasting segment’s negative adjusted EBITDA with TVA saying that ongoing integration of the Évasion and Zeste channels into the segment having a positive effect on specialty channel business. TVA says even though the Montreal Canadiens failed to advance to the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, TVA Sports registered a slight increase in market share and higher ad revenues than in the same quarter of 2018. TVA Group’s television market share increased 0.3 points to 40.5%. The Film Production & Audiovisual Services segment’s quarterly numbers were down year over year by $675,000. TVA says its soundstage and equipment rental business is suffering from the fact that Quebec’s tax credits are less generous than those of other provinces.

Rogers’ flanker brand Fido has announced that it’s eliminating data overage fees. Data Overage Protection is included in new Fido Data, Talk and Text plans, as of Wednesday. Customers will receive an SMS notification when they reach 90% of their limit and another at 100% when their data is paused. If customers want more data, they can buy 1GB for $15 right from their smartphone. The new plans build on other features Fido has introduced like 5 Extra Hours of Data, giving customers access to one free hour of data, five times a month.

Connect to Innovate funding of $6.9 million has been announced for Valley Fiber Limited and $794,000 for High Speed Crow to bring new or improved high-speed internet access and capacity to 16 communities in rural Manitoba. In addition to the Government of Canada investment, Valley Fiber is contributing $2.3 million and High Speed Crow $264,640, bringing the total investment to just over $10 million. The funding covers the communities of Aubigny, Brunkild, Bristol, Friedensfeld, Greenland, Homewood, La Salle, Mctavish, New Bothwell, Otterburne, Sanford, Silver Plains, Saint Malo, Ste. Agathe, Sperling and Brokenhead Ojibway Nation.

SUPPLY LINES:

Rohde & Schwarz will showcase what the company is billing as the world’s first comprehensive 5G Broadcast solution at IBC 2019. The Rohde & Schwarz solution consists of core network functionality via its new BSCC broadcast service and control center and R&S Tx9 transmitters, which support FeMBMS (Further evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service). The all-in-one solution promises to cover content provider to consumer, enabling broadcasters to efficiently distribute high-quality video to the future 5G ecosystem. Rohde & Schwarz maintains that reaching the billions of smartphones around the world will be the future of broadcasting. As part of Bavarian research project 5G TODAY, Rohde & Schwarz is investigating large-scale TV broadcasts in FeMBMS mode. It says using high-power high-tower (HPHT) transmitters allows broadcasters to distribute video over 5G networks in downlink-only mode with no need for a SIM card in the mobile device.

JVC Professional Video has released an upgrade to its family of GY-HM250 4KCAM compact handheld camcorders that streamlines connectivity to Facebook Live. The free upgrade, available here, includes a new “Facebook Live” menu choice to simplify the connection process, making the GY-HM250 the first fully integrated Facebook Live professional camcorder in the industry. “Pairing” the camera with a Facebook account allows any Pages setup to then appear in the camera’s viewfinder. Live streaming is initiated from the camera by simply clicking on the user’s timeline. While streaming to Facebook Live, users can record high quality video to dual SD memory cards.

Blackmagic Design says Ontario-based Echo Bay Media used two Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4Ks and a Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro to film the new Science Channel series, Legends of the Deep. The Pocket Cinema Camera 4Ks captured underwater shots for the aquatic series, with DaVinci Resolve Studio used for the final colour grade by Marc Bachli of Sim Post Toronto. Legends of the Deep follows Céline and Fabien Cousteau as they set out to explore shipwrecks, strange scientific occurrences and mysterious natural anomalies beneath the sea. Produced by Cineflix Productions, Curve Media Limited, and INE Entertainment L.L.C., the four-part series debuted in June. Shooting on location in Belize, Bermuda, Nova Scotia and Cyprus, Cineflix enlisted Echo Bay producers Scott Wilson and Andre Dupuis, who have extensive experience shooting underwater. They selected the Pocket Cinema Camera 4Ks for their usability, portability, and cinematic footage that easily matched the other cameras in their shooting package. They also relied on the cameras’ low light capabilities and dynamic range, as well as DaVinci Resolve Studio’s noise reduction features.

Matrix, the global ad sales platform for media, has developed the new Matrix Sales Gateway portal aimed at streamlining tech-enabled negotiations and media ad buying and selling. Connecting sales negotiators and sales teams, the portal will provide inventory management across all channels, assist with efficient proposal development and negotiation for agencies and advertisers, and give in-depth reporting and analytics into price optimization, supply and demand forecasting, as well as historical information. Matrix has also begun development on a buy-side demand aggregation platform for ingesting RFP information from software designed for agencies with initial release targeted for Q4 2019. 

Bell Media and independent ad exchange Index Exchange, say they’ve accelerated implementation and execution of a programmatic instream video partnership with Omnicom Media Group (OMG). OMG GM Tom Fotheringham says the partnership allows OMG to offer programmatic deals for high-demand digital video inventory while allowing advertisers to make automated inventory decisions based on a specific audience and increase ROI. Bell says video ad spend continues to mark new milestones in Canada, touting an eMarketer study predicting the segment will grow 23.3% in 2019 to $1.41 billion, more than five times what it was in 2014.


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