The Weekly Briefing

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

Numeris says there were no surprises in its first Continuous Measurement (CM) diary market release last week, incorporating new methodology. The release was a transition between the sweeps method and full CM method, with approximately half the sample made up of CM respondents (measured over six weeks between Aug. and Nov. 2019) and half from the last survey in which each market participated (either Spring 2019 or Fall 2018). At the market level, Numeris said fluctuations are in line with past trends (from Fall 2016 to Spring 2019). Additionally, fewer markets saw large fluctuations (greater than +/-5%) when comparing Fall 2019 to Fall 2018 than when comparing Fall 2018 to Fall 2017,  or Fall 2017 to Fall 2016. All 80 markets reported, however Numeris did flag Timmins CTRL with a low sample warning. David Bray breaks down the ratings for Victoria, Halifax, Ottawa, Hamilton & Winnipeg here. Find the Top-line Radio Stats for all markets here.

Pacific Content’s Dan Misener, who heads strategy and audience development for the Vancouver-based branded podcast company, has determined that podcast episodes got an average of two minutes shorter in 2019. Based on a sample of 18,809,402 episodes published between June 2005 and Nov. 2019 (representing 637,793 distinct podcast series), the mean average episode length was 41 minutes and 31 seconds. That’s almost two minutes shorter than the overall mean average length Misener calculated last year. Check out his blog here.

The 25th Annual Q104 Toy Drive, supporting children and their families in Halifax through the Parker Street Food & Furniture Bank, has raised over $25,000 in toys, gift cards and cash donations. With support from the Halifax Professional Firefighters, Moxie’s Grill & Bar Halifax and Dartmouth and Metro Self Storage, this year’s Toy Drive was the most successful to date.

89.5 the Lake (CJRL-FM) Kenora, ON held its 29th Annual Miracle Marathon Nov. 22-23.  The 19-hour live broadcast saw over $25,000 in cash donations and 1,750 kilograms of food and toys collected during the event, which the Salvation Army will distribute to those in need in the Kenora area. 

 

boom 97.3 (CHBM-FM) Toronto’s 5th Annual Make-A-Wish fundraising effort is on its way to a goal of raising $150,000 dollars this year. The Stu Jeffries’ $1000 Make-A-Wish Minute encourages boom listeners to donate $25 or more for a chance to play weekdays at 6:45 or 7:45 a.m. Every dollar won by playing the Stu Jeffries’ Make-A-Wish Minute is matched by boom 97.3 and donated to Make-A-Wish Toronto and Central Ontario. As part of the effort, every year the station auctions off an autographed guitar signed by visiting musicians, with this year’s featuring Lou Gramm, Lisa Loeb, Kim Mitchell, Randy Bachman, Kim Mitchell, Corey Hart, OMD and many more. With the cost to grant one wish about $10,000, so far the campaign has raised a total of over $500,000.

Global News Radio 770 CHQR’s Annual Pledge Day Radiothon raised over $240,000 on Dec. 6. Money raised during the 13-hour radiothon goes to the Calgary Children’s Foundation which supports a number of smaller children’s charities in the Calgary area.

 

SIGN-OFFS:

Jean Pagé

Jean Pagé, 73, on Dec. 9, of prostate cancer. Pagé, who grew up Chicoutimi, got his start in broadcasting at the age of 18 when local radio station CJMT gave him a shot at hosting shows on weekends and during summer holidays, while he was going to university. In 1976, he joined La Soirée du Hockey, which he hosted for 17 years, going on to serve with Radio-Canada as a sports announcer and commentator for three decades. From 1996 to 2002, he hosted radio show C’est bien meilleur le matin, and later TQS flagship show 110% and L’Attaque 5. He also served as lead anchor or host during 11 different Olympic Games, including Sarajevo (1984), Los Angeles (1986), Seoul (1988), Atlanta (1996), Sydney (2000), London (2012), Albertville (1992), Nagano (1998), Salt Lake City (2002) and Vancouver (2010). Over his career, Pagé won eight Métrostar trophies, in addition to two Gemini awards.

Jessie McLean

Jessie McLean (née Geldart), 78, on Dec. 1, after a short battle with cancer. McLean’s four decades in broadcasting started in 1960 when she was hired by New Brunswick Broadcasting to handle Accounts Receivable at CHSJ Radio and TV in Saint John, NB. She left the station group in 1972 as Accounting Department Supervisor. McLean then joined the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) as an accountant in Ottawa, also taking on duties related to staging the CAB’s annual conventions. In 1978, she was named Director, Administrative Services, managing the office staff and membership mailouts, among other duties, and in 1982 was promoted to Director of Finance and Administration. McLean was inducted into the CAB Hall of Fame in 1996 and retired in 1997.  From 1980 to 1995, she also served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Communications Foundation. 

Joan Farquhar

Joan Farquhar, 74, on Nov. 28, of Parkinson’s. Farquhar started her broadcast career at The Big R (CKXR-FM) Salmon Arm and went on to spend 13 years at Kelowna’s CKIQ, now AM 1150 (CKFR). She moved to Calgary in the early 1980s to work at CBC in the sales department where she remained for over 20 years. A Celebration of Life is planned for Feb. 2020 in Salmon Arm.

 

 

 

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

Schitt’s Creek has earned five Critics Choice Association (CCA) nominations, including Best Comedy Series, Best Actor in a Comedy Series for Eugene Levy, Best Actress in a Comedy Series for Catherine O’Hara, Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Daniel Levy, and Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Annie Murphy. Netflix series When They See Us topped the TV nods with six, while Martin Scorcese’s The Irishman led the film nominations with 14. The CCA is the largest critics organization in the U.S. and Canada, representing more than 400 television, radio and online critics, and is a reliable predictor for the Oscars. This year marked a formal merger of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, recognizing the blurring of distinction between film, television, and streaming content. The awards will be handed out Jan. 12.

The Costume Designers Guild (CDG) has unveiled the nominees for its 22nd annual awards celebrating excellence in film, TV, and short form costume design. Among the Canadians nominated are Debra Hanson (Excellence in Contemporary Television) for Schitt’s Creek: “The Dress”; Natalie Bronfman (Excellence in Sci-Fi / Fantasy Television) for The Handmaid’s Tale: “Household”; and Cynthia Summers, in the same category, for A Series of Unfortunate Events: “Penultimate Peril: Part 2.”  The winners will be announced Jan. 28 at a ceremony at the Beverly Hilton, hosted by Mindy Kaling.

Jean Yoon

ACTRA Toronto will present its 2020 Award of Excellence to Jean Yoon on Feb. 22. The playwright, actor and advocate is best known for playing Umma on Kim’s Convenience for which she received the ACTRA Award for Outstanding Performance Female in 2017 and two Canadian Screen Award nominations. Yoon has been an inclusion advocate, and has addressed the CRTC on behalf of ACTRA to argue that private TV broadcast licences should continue to be tied to a commitment to Canadian programming. Most recently, she served as an ACTRA Toronto Councillor in 2018-19.

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television has announced its full list of 2020 Special Award recipients to be honoured during Canadian Screen Week, Mar. 23-29. They include David Suzuki (Lifetime Achievement Award), Alex Trebek (Academy Icon Award), Dan Levy (Radius Award), Tina Keeper (Earle Grey Award), and David Shore (Margaret Collier Award). Read more here.

Alex Trebek

CTV will broadcast an exclusive one-hour interview special A Conversation with Alex Trebek, Dec. 18. The longtime JEOPARDY! host opens up to CTV News’ anchor Lisa LaFlamme about his Stage 4 pancreatic cancer battle, his future on JEOPARDY!, and his family life. The interview was conducted at Trebek’s alma mater, the University of Ottawa, with excerpts previously featured on CTV National News and W5 in October.

DHX Media (doing business as WildBrain) has notified NASDAQ of its intention to voluntarily delist its shares from the American stock exchange. WildBrain shares will continue to trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). The children’s content producer and distributor says with the majority of its shares trading on the TSX, the company believes the cost and administrative requirements associated with maintaining a dual listing are no longer justified. The decision is in line with the Nova Scotia-headquartered company’s ongoing efforts to find cost savings to re-invest in growth areas of the business. Its shares are expected to cease trading on NASDAQ on or about Dec. 24, 2019. 

Toronto Raptors star Serge Ibaka

Bell Media has struck a partnership with Uninterrupted Canada, the athlete empowerment brand now helmed by former Sportsnet president Scott Moore. Bell and Uninterrupted have announced a new long-term exclusive partnership on athlete-driven, long-form content to air in Canada on TSN, Crave, and the CTV-branded platforms. That partnership will kick off this week with the premiere of Anything Is Possible, an original documentary featuring Toronto Raptors star Serge Ibaka. The doc will air Thursday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET on TSN4. Read more here.

Scott McGillivray, The Reklaws, Cindy Sampson, Dallas Smith, Brett Kissel

Entertainment Tonight Canada kicks off a week of special guest co-hosts, starting Dec. 16, as part of the show’s 15th season celebrations. The week begins with Scott McGillivray of HGTV Canada’s Buyers Bootcamp and Income Property, followed by Stuart and Jenna Walker of The Reklaws, Cindy Sampson from Global TV original series Private Eyes, and country star Dallas Smith. The week wraps up with JUNO Country Album of the Year winner Brett Kissel.

Steven Hodge, Anna Olson and Cynthia Stroud

Great Chocolate Showdown, a new serialized dessert competition series that puts 10 home bakers to the test each week makes its debut on Food Network Canada Feb. 4. The show’s judges include television personality and best-selling cookbook author Anna Olson, award-winning British cake designer Cynthia Stroud, and pastry chef and chocolatier Steven Hodge. Following a North America-wide search, 10 home bakers have earned a ticket to compete for a $50,000 grand prize. Purdys Chocolatier is the show’s official chocolate sponsor.

Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana has launched its first original musical shorts series Toon Bops. The 21×90 second animated shorts have made their international debut on Nelvana’s Treehouse Direct YouTube channel and will be featured on the YouTube Kids’ App homepage in all English-speaking territories worldwide this month. Building on preschoolers’ love of music, the animated shorts feature upbeat original songs surrounding themes like family and friendship.

Citytv’s new series joining the mid-season lineup, include Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector (Jan. 10), based on the best-selling book series by Jeffery Deaver and starring Russell Hornsby as an NYPD detective and forensics genius. Also joining returning series Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Bachelor, and Manifest, is half-hour animated comedy Duncanville (Feb. 16), produced by Amy Poehler. It centres around a spectacularly average 15-year-old boy named Duncan (played by Poehler) with a rich fantasy life in which he’s never anything less than amazing.

TekSavvy Solutions and its affiliate cable company Hastings Cable Vision Ltd. have launched its Cloud PVR service. TekSavvy TV Cloud PVR enables customers to securely store their recorded content in the TekSavvy TV Cloud, allowing subscribers to watch, pause and rewind their recorded shows across all of their authorized devices. The TekSavvy TV Cloud PVR starts at $10/month for 50 hours of recording time, with an additional 100 hours available for $15/ month. TekSavvy has also announced new advanced viewing features Look-Back and Restart. Customers who miss the beginning of their favourite shows or games can now go back no matter when they tune in with Restart. Look-Back allows customers to go back up to 30 hours in the electronic programming guide and select shows that have previously aired and watch them in their entirety.

Telefilm has extended the deadline to register for the Canada Now USA 2020 First Look Export Initiative, which provides a preview of 10 films in post-production to the acquisition community in New York (Feb. 12) and Los Angeles (Mar. 5). Eligibility has been expanded to all Canadian films (narrative and documentaries). The new deadline is Dec. 15. Find submission info here.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) and Shaw Rocket Fund (SRF) are renewing their partnership to fund the production of Canadian digital animated series for children and youth that encourage the use of new technology. The second round of financing through the CMF-SRF Kids Digital Animated Series Program will have a total budget of $5.06M, a $1.76M increase from last round’s $3.3M budget. An eligible project must be an original, animated series, in its first season, created initially for digital distribution – including subscription video-on-demand services – on a platform meaningfully available to Canadian audiences. Applications must be submitted to SRF by Jan. 17. Click here to access the program guidelines.

Women in Film & Television Vancouver (WIFTV), in association with the Whistler Film Festival (WFF), has announced that Joy Haskell is the recipient of the 2019 WIFTV Whistler Film Festival Film Market Preparation Mentorship Program for her project Cookies or Crack. Haskell is an Indigenous screenwriter, director and producer who has previously worked on APTN series Tribal as an associate story editor, and produced TELUS Storyhive comedy piece Cuzzin’. She’ll receive industry immersion at the Whistler Film Festival, as well as personalized coaching sessions with Camille Beaudoin, co-founder and CEO of Mosaic Entertainment. The mentorship program is going into its 8th consecutive year.

Dave Daigle, Vice-President Radio and Local TV, Bell Media, joined Rich Goodman, Head of Capital Development, Toronto Stock Exchange & TSX Venture Exchange, to open the market on Dec. 5 in celebration of the 53rd CP24 CHUM Christmas Wish campaign. Established in 1966, the city-wide toy drive and charity event provides financial assistance to hundreds of agencies, ensuring that hundreds of thousands of children across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) enjoy a holiday experience.

The 56th annual Christmas Daddies Telethon raised over $510,876 on Dec. 8. The Christmas tradition, which airs on CTV in the Maritimes is powered by the energy of hundreds of volunteers – including CTV personalities and local musicians – and benefits children and families in need.

ONLINE/DIGITAL:

YouTube Canada has shared its list of the top trending videos of 2019. Gordon Ramsay’s appearance on Hot Ones topped the list, while the most-viewed music video in both Canada and the U.S. was Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus’ Old Town Road. Find the complete list of what trended in Canada in 2019 and this year’s YouTube Rewind video here.

 

Glacier Media’s Vancouver Is Awesome (VIA) has made updates to its website, in partnership with Village Media, that will see the news and lifestyle site bring in more content from its sister publications. Historically averaging about 25 stories a day, VIA has added up-to-the-hour National News, National Sports, National Business and World News sections featuring content from The Canadian Press. It’s also initiating a new top stories daily newsletter, a lowest gas prices tool, and a “Mood Meter” at the bottom of stories that allow readers to react based on emotion. Additionally, VIA has plans to introduce classifieds, obituaries, and business directories.

Media Technology Monitor’s latest release on the impact of fake news in Canada, reveals that 64% of online Canadians have a high level of concern about how fake news is affecting politics. About 88% reported some level of concern, with that heightened in older Anglophones and women. Over half of respondents were also concerned about the impact fake news had on the 2019 election. The report says TV and internet are the two most common platforms for news content, with one-sixth of Canadians also subscribing to a newspaper, either print or online.

Complex Networks, the global lifestyle brand and media company, and Bonsai, the Canadian commerce platform for publishers, have launched Complex SHOP, an e-commerce destination that merges the Complex brand voice with a curated selection of products from streetwear to accessories and sneakers. The Complex SHOP enables audiences to discover and purchase products as they engage with Complex content, without leaving the Complex SHOP experience. In addition to Complex’s collaborations and merchandise, Complex will have access to the Bonsai network of integrations with brands and retailers built-in to its previous iteration as a streetwear shopping and news app. Complex struck a content and ad sales partnership with Corus earlier this year.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has announced that 10 digital media projects will receive a total of $7.1M in funding through the second round of financing of its Experimental Stream’s Innovation – Production Program. This round of funding features a variety of new digital content including seven games and three software applications. Find the latest projects that received production support, here.

GENERAL:

Finance Minister Bill Morneau

The Government of Canada will move forward with a plan to tax large, foreign digital companies like Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook, according to Federal Finance Min. Bill Morneau. Morneau’s comments this week make good on a Liberal campaign promise to impose a 3% tax on global tech giants with worldwide revenue of at least $1 billion and Canadian revenue of more than $40 million. The tax, proposed to take effect in April, would apply to revenue from online ads and user data. France is planning to implement a similar tax regime in the face of threats of retaliatory tariffs from the U.S. 

The CRTC has taken further steps to combat caller ID spoofing and determine the origins of nuisance calls. Telecommunications service providers are being ordered to implement a new framework called STIR/SHAKEN by Sept. 30, 2020 that will enable them to certify whether a caller’s identity can be trusted by authenticating and verifying the caller ID information for Internet Protocol-based voice calls. The commission hopes the measure will reduce the frequency of caller ID spoofing.

The CRTC’s Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer has issued a penalty of $100,000 to John Paul Revesz and Vincent Leo Griebel, partners operating under the business name Orcus Technologies, for developing, selling and promoting malware. An additional penalty of $15,000 was issued to Revesz for operating a secure dynamic domain name service that was allegedly used by hackers to communicate with infected machines. An investigation found that Orcus Technologies marketed and sold a Remote Administration Tool under the name Orcus RAT – a Remote Access Trojan that enabled hackers to install the program and take full control of a victim’s computer without their consent or knowledge. The CRTC says it’s estimated that the malware has infected thousands of computers worldwide.

vLex, an AI-powered legal information platform, and the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic at the Centre for Law, Technology and Society, University of Ottawa (CIPPIC), are aiming to increase public participation in communications policy through a new initiative. Using its Iceberg intelligence tech, vLex is developing a free and public communications law and policy research platform, that will see thousands of documents analyzed across hundreds of proceedings and make them available for advanced data mining. David Fewer, General Counsel of CIPPIC, says the impetus for the project was the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review, which alone is comprised of more than 2,000 submissions. The first public beta version of the research tool should be available in early 2020, and a comprehensive and permanent research tool within a year. Read more here.

TELUS Corporation, through TELUS International, has agreed to acquire privately-owned Competence Call Center (CCC), a Berlin-headquartered customer relationship management and content moderation provider operating in 11 European countries, for approximately CAD $1.3 billion. TELUS President and CEO Darren Entwhistle says the acquisition brings the organization’s estimated enterprise value to approximately CAD $5 billion. Entwhistle says the move also bolsters TELUS International’s growth strategy by positioning it for a potential future initial public offering in the next 12-24 months.

Quebecor has acquired a minority stake in Montreal events company Multicolore. The company will continue to be managed and operated by Pascal Lefebvre and his team, and will maintain its head office on Gaspé Street. Multicolore has been staging Quebec culture and events for 17 years, including Piknic Électronik, Igloofest, the MEG Festival, and the new Super Fête. It also boasts a production division, Matane Productions.

Desiree Brightnose and Shelby Emro

Jim Pattison Broadcast Group’s Prairie Equity Scholarship recipients for 2019 are Desiree Brightnose, a second year student in Assiniboine Community College’s Interactive Media Arts Program in Brandon, MB, and Shelby Emro, a second year radio student in the Radio, Television, & Broadcast News program at SAIT in Calgary. During her first year, Brightnose – a member of Manitoba’s Chemawawin Cree Nation – developed a love for broadcasting that motivated her to volunteer for campus and community stations, work for local commercial stations and develop her own podcast. Emro has a passion for audio production, having already completed a Digital Audio Certificate program, and has a long volunteer resume, including the National Music Centre, Beakerhead (an art, science and engineering education festival), and Otafest (Calgary’s premiere Japanese animation festival). The Equity Scholarship was instituted in 2009 to address the shortage of broadcasters from four underrepresented groups: Aboriginal Peoples, Persons with Disabilities, Members of Visible Minorities, and Women. 

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) Awards, recognizing the best in Canadian investigative journalism work, are officially open for submissions. Enter your best stories, published or broadcast in 2019, for consideration in 17 categories by Jan. 17. Winners will be announced in Montreal on May 30 at the CAJ’s annual national conference.

Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario’s (RNAO) annual Media Awards are inviting submissions from Ontario journalists who published or broadcast stories in 2019 on health or nursing. Nominations must be received online no later than Friday, Feb. 14. Winners will be announced in the spring with the awards to be handed out at the President’s Banquet during RNAO’s Annual General Meeting in June.

BROADCAST TECH NEWS:

William F. White International is being acquired by UK-based equipment rental firm Ashtead Group. Ashtead is buying the Canadian production equipment and services company as film, TV and digital production on this side of the border continues to boom. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. White has 13 locations in Canada and 400 employees. It also has six production studios contracted in Vancouver and Toronto. Ashtead’s Sunbelt Canada rental business, which has 69 locations, reported a rental business increase of 21% in the last quarter.

Wattpad, the Toronto-headquartered platform for readers and writers to find and publish original stories, is set to open a second headquarters in Halifax in early 2020. The company plans to establish a team in Halifax’s Volta Innovation Hub, which offers space for startups. Wattpad also has teams in Los Angeles, New York, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Jakarta, Manila, and the UK. The move to establish a second Canadian headquarters comes as the platform reaches 80 million monthly users and has launched publishing arm Wattpad Books, in addition to a first-look deal with Sony Pictures Television and prior deals with Netflix and Hulu optioning stories published on the platform.

Catherine Warren, CEO of the Vancouver Economic Commission, at the Analog conference in Vancouver on Dec. 3.

LISTEN: Telefilm Canada and the Canada Media Fund (CMF) brought their Analog conference for audiovisual professionals to Vancouver and Toronto last week exploring the theme of creativity and artificial intelligence. The Vancouver event featured David Usher, Moist frontman and founder of Reimagine.AI, a creative studio specializing in AI, and Catherine Warren, CEO of the Vancouver Economic Commission, which works across the Tech, Digital Entertainment and Green Economy sectors. Usher and Warren are our guests on Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, discussing the future of AI in the Creative Industries.


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