The Weekly Briefing

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

Numeris’ PPM release for the 13-week period covering Aug. 26 to Nov. 24, 2019, reveals that CBC Radio One is still number one A12+ in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. In Montreal, CHMP 98.5FM ranked number one with Franco listeners, while CJAD 800 was tops with Anglo audiences with a 25.1% share. In Edmonton, Jim Pattison Broadcast Group’s NOW! Radio (CKNO-FM) was in first place. Read the full breakdown, courtesy David Bray, here.

The Hill Group of Companies, the parent company of Harvard Broadcasting, has acquired Regina-based agency Carbon Marketing to form Harvard Media. Harvard Media will provide marketing solutions in both traditional and digital advertising spaces, according to a news release, with new and existing clientele to “benefit from the synergies between radio and digital.” Founded in 2008 as the internal marketing department for Capital Automotive Group, Carbon Marketing has previously worked to help build the digital brand of Harvard Broadcasting’s Regina radio stations and executed national campaigns for the Friends of the RCMP Heritage Centre, among others. Read more here.

The Gulf Islands Community Radio Society has applied to the CRTC to return CFSI-FM Salt Spring Island, BC to the airwaves after a four-year hiatus. The community station was first launched in 2009 before it was sold to South Asian broadcaster Satnam Media Group. The commission revoked its licence in 2015 for non-compliance. The proposed originating station transmitter would be located at 107.9 MHz (channel 300A) with an average effective radiated power (ERP) of 313 watts (maximum ERP of 850 watts). A rebroadcasting transmitter would be located at 102.1 MHz (channel 271A) with an average ERP of 4 watts (maximum ERP of 18 watts). The commission has issued a call for comments due to the limited availability of spectrum in the region with interventions due Jan. 15.

Giant FM (CIXL-FM) Pelham, ON has received a Corporate Recognition Award from the Town of Pelham. Awarded at the town’s annual Volunteer Recognition Awards, the honour is based on nominations from local volunteer groups and organizations. Giant FM was recognized as the most-nominated business for its support of community efforts.

Michael Newman and Larry Gifford

980 CKNW Vancouver’s annual Kids’ Fund Pledge Day on Dec. 3 raised a total of $2,656,230. Broadcast live from the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, this was Pledge Day’s 75th year, in line with the station’s milestone anniversary, celebrated in August. Formerly known as the CKNW Orphans’ Fund, the Corus Radio station charity has been supporting BC kids with physical, mental and social challenges since 1945.

Bayshore Broadcasting’s 560 CFOS Owen Sound held its 80th Annual Christmas Fund Broadcast on Dec. 1, raising more than $22,000 by the end of the broadcast. The seven-hour live-to-air show from Owen Sound’s Roxy Theatre featured local bands, solo performers and choirs, while pledges were solicited to support over 20 local charities and non-profit organizations in Grey and Bruce counties. CFOS and local newspaper The Sun Times have partnered to put on the event every holiday season since 1940.

iHeartRadio Canada has launched The Munk Debates Podcast – a new iHeartRadio Original Podcast from Antica Productions. The 40-minute weekly podcast is an extension of the Munk Debates’ forums tackling issues facing Canada and the world. Taped in-studio in Toronto, the podcast features brand-new debates, in addition to recuts of classic Munk Debate stage events on topics such as religion, “the end of men”, and political correctness. Hosted by Rudyard Griffiths, debaters featured include Stephen Fry, Steve Bannon, Bret Stephens, Niall Ferguson, Bari Weiss, and Jordan Peterson, among others. 

Expect Theatre and CBC Podcasts have launched a new season of PlayME, the podcast that turns Canadian plays into audio fiction. Thriller Butcher by Governor General Award-winning writer Nicolas Billon kicks off the season, which will also feature The Boy In The Moon by Emil Sher, adapted from the memoir by journalist Ian Brown; Crawlspace by Dora Award winner Karen Hines; Take da Milk, Nah? by Jiv Parasram; and drama carried away on the crest of a wave by David Yee. Each play will be recorded in three episodes, followed by an in-depth interview with the respective writer.  

LISTEN: On the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, we welcome Jeff Vidler of Audience Insights Inc. back to the podcast to talk about the findings of the 2019 Canadian Podcast Listener Study. We cover what Canadians are listening to, why on-demand audio is the next destination for advertisers, and his advice if you’re an independent podcaster trying to monetize.

The Canadian Podcast Listener (CPL) study says one in 10 monthly podcast listeners in Canada purport to have donated money to a podcast through a crowdfunding service. Among Power Listeners – those who listen to podcasts 5+ hours a week – that number nearly doubles to 18%. Four in 10 Power Listeners say they’ve contributed directly to podcasts either through crowdfunding services like Patreon or Indiegogo, buying merchandise or going to a live show. CPL says men and younger demos are most likely to contribute via crowdfunding, peaking at 15% among men aged 18-34. Quebec podcast listeners are also more likely than others to toss a few dollars into a podcast “tip jar.” Read more here.

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SiriusXM has announced a new creative partnership with U2 to launch U2X RADIO, which will include a dedicated SiriusXM channel and exclusive content available to SiriusXM subscribers and Pandora listeners. U2X RADIO will launch in 2020 with the band themselves taking to the airwaves and will feature music from the band’s decades-long career; never before heard interviews and live concert recordings; and band curated playlists. The partnership joins similar exclusive content deals with LeBron James’ UNINTERRUPTED, Drake and comic book giant Marvel Entertainment.

SIGN-OFFS:

Greg Schmaltz

Greg Schmaltz, 85, on Nov. 28. Schmaltz’s broadcast engineering career started at CFCN Radio Calgary, following his graduation from the SAIT Radio & Electronics program in 1956. From 1957-60, he was one of four technicians who built CHCA-TV (later CKRD-TV) Red Deer from the ground up. Schmaltz moved to Winnipeg in 1960 as a studio transmitter technician to help launch CJAY-TV. In the mid-1970s, he returned to Alberta to work with the CITV-TV engineering department for its sign-on. Schmaltz retired from broadcasting in 1997 and was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Half Century Club in 2007. He was also one of the founding members of the Edmonton Broadcasters Club. 

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

Baroness Von Sketch Show has won the coveted Rose d’or prize for Comedy. The award is shared by CBC, Winnipeg prodco Frantic Films, and international distributor Banijay Rights. Winners hailed from 10 countries at this year’s awards gala, held in London for the first time in its 58-year history. A jury of more than 70 leading industry professionals from around the world, chaired by Swedish actor Sofia Helin (The Bridge), voted for titles across 10 categories. HBO and Sky Atlantic’s limited drama series Chernobyl was this year’s big winner claiming the prestigious Golden Rose trophy as well as Best Drama

Wildbrain/CBBC’s Creeped Out and Odd Squad (Sinking Ship Entertainment, Fred Rogers Productions/CBBC) were among the Canadian co-productions that took home awards at the BAFTA Children’s Awards Dec. 1. The Creeped Out production team was recognized in the Drama category, while Odd Squad claimed the award for International Live Action. Find the full list of winners here.

The National Film Board (NFB) will be undertaking a series of cross-country consultations with creators and professional associations within the Canadian audiovisual sector between January and March. The consultations will discuss the issues and priorities that will inform the NFB’s 2020-23 Strategic Plan, in partnership with the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC), Directors Guild of Canada (DGC), Association des realisateurs et realisatrices du Quebec (ARRQ), and ONF/NFB Creation. The preliminary tour schedule includes Winnipeg (week of Jan. 13), Edmonton and Vancouver (week of Jan. 20), Toronto (week of Feb. 10), Montreal (week of Feb. 24), and Halifax and Moncton (week of Mar. 2).

Food Network Canada has announced its newest culinary competition series Wall of Chefs (10×60). Host Noah Cappe (Carnival Eats) puts four home cooks through intense rounds of culinary skill-testing as they battle in a state-of-the-art kitchen under the towering shadow and watchful eye of “The Wall” – a revolving panel of 33 notable Canadian chefs that includes Lynn Crawford, Susur Lee, Rob Feenie, and Joël Watanabe, to name just a few. With a $10,000 prize up for grabs, the series makes its debut Feb. 3.

Dennis Prescott, Karin Bohn, and Nick Liberato

marblemedia, in association with OutEast Entertainment, will launch new unscripted series Restaurants on the Edge on Blue Ant Media’s Cottage Life channel Jan. 2 with two back-to-back episodes. Each hour-long episode invites viewers into a new restaurant located in a stunning location, but struggling to create an experience that lives up to their incredible surroundings. A team of experts led by chef Dennis Prescott, designer Karin Bohn and restaurateur Nick Liberato work to transform not just the restaurant, but the owners’ outlook as well. The 13-episode series is co-produced by marblemedia, with executive producers Matt Hornburg and Mark J.W. Bishop, and OutEast Entertainment with executive producers Courtney Hazlett and Steven Marrs. 

Hollywood Suite is available in nationwide free preview through Jan. 5, including the first-ever Hollywood Suite original series A Year in Film. A Year in Film explores the art of film and filmmaking, with insight into how films reflect the events, mood, politics, and culture of their eras. Featuring rare archival footage, interviews and long-forgotten commercials, among the years to be featured are 1978, which will explore Grease, The Deer Hunter and Canadian film The Silent Partner, among others. Hollywood Suite programming through the holidays will also feature a series of movie marathons, including the X-men movies, and Sally Field, Bette Davis, Tom Hanks and Mel Brooks double- and triple-bills.  

Animal Planet’s nationwide freeview, through Jan. 2,  is anchored by the return of MADE-in-Canada series Dr. Keri: Prairie Vet which follows rural Manitoba veterinarian-on-wheels Dr. Keri Hudson-Reykdal. Other returning series include Season 2 of Crikey! It’s the Irwins, and Season 7 of North Woods Law, which follows New Hampshire conservation officers and their K-9 companions.

Encore International and Quebecor Content have secured a new scripted comedy adaptation of their hit TV series Les Beaux Malaises with Serbian producers Fresh Production and Blekbuk. Commissioned by Telekom Serbia for broadcast in the Balkans, all three seasons (33 half-hour episodes) of the original series have been adapted under the title “Slatke Muke.” Filming started last June in Belgrade with the streaming premiere on Telekom-owned Superstar TV set for Dec. 9. The series was previously picked up by Netflix and adapted in France for M6 with French celebrity Franck Dubosc as the lead character.

Asian Television Network, Canada’s largest South Asian producer and broadcaster, has launched ATN’s Tribute to 100 Years of Indian Cinema on Prime Video in the U.S. and UK, as part of the Prime Video Direct Self-Publishing Service. The 300-episode series features exclusive interviews with stalwarts of the Indian film industry, produced at ATN’s High Definition Studios in Markham, ON. The series draws from ATN’s vast original Canadian production archives. Among the legends featured are Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Jitendra, Tanuja Mukherjee, Priyanka Chopra, and Kulraj Randhawa, among many others.

Thunderbird Entertainment Group reported Q1 2020 consolidated revenue for the three months ended Sept. 30 of $17.1 million, compared to $14.4 million year-over-year, an increase of $2.7 million. The majority of the first quarter revenue increase was related to growth in the animation division. The company’s adjusted EBITDA for Q1 2020 was $3.0 million compared to $4.2 million for the first quarter of 2019, a decrease of $1.2 million. The decrease was due to lower net income of $0.7 million due to an increase in direct costs from the company’s productions, offset by decreases due to the amortization of right-of-use assets related to the adoption of IFRS 16. During the first quarter, the company had 21 programs in various stages of production, and deals with Netflix, NBCUniversal, Nickelodeon, PBS, WGBH, Bell Media’s Discovery, APTN, Corus Entertainment and CBC, among others. Throughout Q1, 37-half hour episodes and 18-hour-long episodes were delivered collectively from the Factual, Scripted, and Kids and Family Divisions.

Super Channel has acquired the eight-episode half-hour comedy-drama, Upright, from Entertainment One. Recently launched to rave reviews in both Australia and the UK, the series will make its Canadian broadcast premiere Jan. 19 on Super Channel Fuse. Each episode will also be available on Super Channel On Demand the day following its weekly linear broadcast. The series is produced by Lingo Pictures Australia.

Family Channel’s holiday lineup kicks off Dec. 21 with the exclusive return of Peanuts winter classics A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown, followed by I Want a Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown (Dec. 25) and Happy New Year, Charlie Brown (Dec. 31). Family Channel will also air holiday-themed episodes of series like Gilmore GirlsInspector Gadget, and festive flicks through Jan. 5, among other seasonal programming.

CTV’s December programming includes new original special David Foster: Off The Record (Dec. 5) and Nick Cannon’s Hit Viral Videos – Holidays 2019 special (Dec. 16). The network will also air the three-night Ellen’s Greatest Night of Giveaways (Dec. 10-12), with the Marilyn Denis Show bringing back its 10 Days of Giveaways. Additional network year-end specials include The Social Year in Gossip 2019 (Dec. 19), ETALK Rewind 2019 (Dec. 23) and Canada’s Walk of Fame Awards (Dec. 15). CTV seasonal programming is available on demand on CTV’s Holiday Hub at CTV.ca and the CTV app.  

CTV Toronto’s annual Toy Mountain campaign was launched with help from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Nov. 29, who joined anchor Michelle Dubé and weather anchor Tom Brown at Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto. Toy Mountain has a goal to collect 150,000 new, unwrapped toys by Dec. 20. Its online portal features a list of drop-off locations, a live-on-location broadcast calendar, social media updates, and more.

Global Winnipeg will air a one-hour special Sunday, Dec. 8 exploring the City of Winnipeg’s unprecedented increase in crime. The investigative special, hosted by Lisa Dutton, will speak with those directly affected by the crime wave, explore what’s driving the violence, and travel to Minneapolis – Winnipeg’s nearest big city neighbor – to see how that city is tackling crime.

ONLINE/DIGITAL:

CBC Indigenous has launched Original Voices, an immersive exploration of Indigenous languages in Canada. It offers a place to listen to and learn from language keepers, explores how Indigenous languages are being revitalized, and highlights how they’re being preserved. Created to celebrate the United Nations’ International Year of Indigenous Languages, Original Voices includes an interactive map showing 30 of the over 80 Indigenous languages spoken across Canada, and a series of original video and audio storytelling designed to immerse users in each language experience. Going forward, Original Voices will be the hub for all CBC Indigenous language content.

Groupe Média TFO, Ontario’s French-language multi-platform public broadcaster, has reached more than a billion views on its YouTube channels. To mark the milestone, it launched the “Proudly Educational, Proudly Francophone” campaign Dec. 3 alongside Ontario Education Min. Stephen Lecce and Caroline Mulroney, Min. of Francophone Affairs. Since launching in 2010, Groupe Média TFO has continued to increase its digital presence through its YouTube network, which now features 22 channels. It has won two YouTube awards, including a Silver Play Button for Mini Dorémi and a Gold Play Button for Mini ABC.

Media Central Corporation has acquired alt-weekly NOW Magazine and nowtoronto.com in a $2 million dollar deal. NOW Magazine becomes Media Central’s second property, boosting its reach to approximately 25 million annual readers. Brian Kalish, CEO of MediaCentral, says the acquisition of NOW is part of a strategy to consolidate 100 alternative publications and unify their creative class-focused readership within MediaCentral.

GENERAL:

The Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) year-end report indicates complaints from Canadian telecom and TV customers were up another 35% for 2018-19, with CCTS ending the year having received nearly 19,300 complaints. An all-time high in the organization’s 12-year history, Canadians complained most often about their wireless service, followed by internet, TV and local phone service. CCTS says it received 20,000 complaints alone in regards to billing issues, with complaints up 65.9%, followed by issues related to disclosure of information about a service. Complaints about information not being clear or fully provided were up 21.4% this year after a 125% increase last year. Bell Canada was the target of more than 39% of all disclosure complaints, up from 38% last year (2,163 issues raised). Overall however, Bell’s share of all complaints declined from 33% to 30% (almost 5,900). Rogers’ share also declined from 10% to 9% (just over 1,800), while complaints about TELUS increased by 1.5% to 8%. Read more here.

The CRTC has launched an online survey as part of its review of mobile wireless services, which began in February. The results will help determine if the needs of Canadians are being met in the mobile wireless market. Canadians have until Dec. 31 to complete the survey. The CRTC will hold a public hearing starting Feb. 18, 2020 as part of the review, which is also examining whether mobile virtual network operators should have mandated access to the networks of the national wireless providers (Bell, Rogers and TELUS) until they can establish themselves in the market, and whether regulatory measures are needed to facilitate the deployment of 5G network infrastructure in Canada.

Quebecor is asking the CRTC to outright deny Bell Media’s application to acquire the French-language V network. In its intervention to the commission, filed Friday, Quebecor stated its opposition to the proposed acquisition “in view of Bell’s national dominance across Canada and the damaging repercussions of the acquisition, including fragmentation of the advertising market, the bidding up of content acquisition costs, and deterioration in the general quality of French-language television in Québec.” Bell Media currently owns 30 television stations and 29 specialty channels, in addition to 109 radio stations in 58 markets. V Média owns and operates TV stations in Montreal, Quebec City, Saguenay, Sherbrooke, and Trois-Rivières. The network’s Elle Fictions and Max specialty channels aren’t included in the deal, first announced in July, however it does encompass V’s related digital assets and ad-supported VOD service Noovo.ca. A CRTC hearing on the proposed acquisition is set for Feb. 12. Read more here.

The CRTC has released the third instalment of its Communications Monitoring Report 2019. The report finds that private commercial radio revenues fell 0.5% in 2017-18 to $1.5 billion, operating at an 18.3% profit margin, down 0.1%. Revenue from Canadian-owned internet-based audio services soared 16.6% to $423 million. The average weekly number of hours Canadians 18+ spent listening to traditional radio decreased slightly from 15.0 to 14.6 from 2017 to 2018. The average weekly number of hours spent listening to streamed audio services grew from 7.2 to 8.1 during the same period (up 12%). TV revenue in 2018 dropped 1% to $6.9B, with private conventional television stations reporting a drop in revenue of 4.2%. Internet-based video revenue rose to $4.3B, up more than 38% from 2014. In 2018, Canadians 18+ watched on average a total of 29.4 hours of television per week, with traditional television representing 89% of the viewing and Internet-based television only 11%.

Ian Scott

CRTC Chair Ian Scott addressed the Cable TV Summit of the National Communications Commission in Taipei City, Taiwan on Nov. 28. Scott’s message explored the theme that “paradigms have shifted. New thinking is needed. Regulators must adapt.” Scott told the gathering that while content has never been more abundant from a consumer perspective, for regulators that abundance creates challenges and that “new approaches are needed for a new era.” Read his full speech here.

CBC/Radio-Canada is proposing several changes to its existing regulatory commitments as the CRTC undertakes a review of its broadcast licences. In its renewal application, the public broadcaster says by 2020, more Canadians will subscribe to digital streaming services than traditional television. CBC says to meet the challenges of the evolving broadcasting and digital environment, and ensure Canadians see themselves reflected in its digital services, it’s proposing enhanced programming commitments across programs of national interest (PNI), children’s and youth, and local; renewed and expanded commitments for independent production in audio-visual content; new consultation and reporting commitments on content created by and for Indigenous people; and new reporting commitments for reflecting diversity on-air in content production and across the CBC workforce.

CBC/Radio-Canada’s 11th Environmental Performance Report indicates that from April 2018 to March 2019, the public broadcaster shredded and recycled 95 metric tonnes of paper, equivalent to saving 1,800 trees; recycled 130 metric tonnes of electronic waste (up 30 metric tonnes from last year); and donated or recycled 89% of unneeded furniture (diverting 65 metric tonnes from landfills), as part of nine renovation and consolidation projects in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Winnipeg. Other ongoing green initiatives include beehives at the public broadcaster’s stations in Fredericton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg, which produce honey that is sold to employees, with proceeds donated to local food-based charities; vegetable and flower gardens in Yellowknife and Sherbrooke, planted and maintained by employees; and allowing local farmers to use land near CBC transmission towers for livestock grazing and haying, as well as planting grains, soybeans and other crops.

TELUS Health is expanding its LivingWell Companion personal emergency response service (PERS) nationally, through the acquisition of DirectAlert, a Quebec-based, bilingual PERS company. The acquisition makes TELUS the largest Canadian-owned PERS provider. By early next year, all TELUS PERS customers will be backed by the LivingWell Companion brand nationally. The service, featuring optional fall detection, provides immediate access to emergency assistance 24 hours a day and allows users to speak live with a trained operator in the event of an emergency.

Bell Media garnered 18 wins at the 2019 Media Innovation Awards, which recognizes the role media plays in the marketing mix while celebrating those deploying and implementing breakthrough media programs. Winners included Hershey’s Canada for bringing Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) to the masses with Reese The Movie: A Movie About Reese, which had its streaming premiere on Crave in June. Other winners included GE for the “Bring your kitchen to life” campaign in partnership with The Marilyn Denis Show and iHeartRadio’s partnership on the “Telus x SonReal” anti-bullying campaign. Corus Entertainment earned the award for Best Media Company for its work with the John Frieda hair care brand.

RTDNA Canada is now accepting submissions for Regional and Network programming awards, recognizing the best in Canadian television, radio, and digital news journalism. Find more information on entry guidelines here. The early bird submission period closes Jan. 12, with the final entry deadline on Jan. 23. National and Network winners will be announced at the RTDNA Canada National Conference in Toronto, May 8-9.

BROADCAST TECH NEWS:

CBC/Radio-Canada says the new Maison de Radio-Canada (MRC) is on track for Dec. 31 completion, with relocation to the new facility to begin this spring. CBC says by next year, it will be one of the first broadcasters in the world to rely on IP (Internet Protocol) technology end-to-end from production to distribution, across all of its platforms. The new MRC will also be compliant with the strictest environmental and sustainability standards, equivalent to LEED Silver certification, with its design incorporating green roofs, reflective materials and underground parking, as well as a heat recovery system to improve energy efficiency. Built at a cost of $112 million for fit-up of the workspaces and production infrastructure, CBC/Radio-Canada has also earmarked $175 million over several years for technology upgrades for a total project cost of $287 million. The broadcaster will be a tenant of the new MRC under the terms of a 30-year lease, with annual costs, including a fixed rent and running costs, of $22 million.

 

Vividata, a Canadian leader in consumer and cross media research, and Manifold Data Mining have partnered to deliver market insights within Manifold’s newly updated Polaris Intelligence platform. Applying collaborative filtering and supervised deep learning techniques to Vividata’s Survey of the Canadian Consumer and post-legalization Consumer Cannabis Study, Manifold has extrapolated the survey to the six-digit postal code level. For each six-digit postal code, estimates can be generated on what products consumers buy, where and how often they shop, how much they spend, which media channels they use, and their attitudes.


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