The Weekly Briefing

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REVOLVING DOOR:

Steve Pratt & Chris Boyce

Steve Pratt and Chris Boyce have announced their respective departures from Pacific Content, the Rogers Sports & Media-owned branded podcast studio they co-founded. Pratt, who was formerly Director of Digital for CBC Music for a decade, founded Pacific Content in 2014 with fellow CBC alum Jennifer Ouano. Boyce, the former Executive Director of Radio & Audio, for CBC English Services, came on board in 2016 as an owner and principal, in addition to business consultant Rob Leadley. An early entrant into the branded audio space, the company quickly established itself with big name clients like McAfee, Dell, Charles Schwab, Slack, Shopify and Facebook. Rogers acquired Pacific Content in 2019. Boyce says with Pacific Content now employing more than 50 people, he has an opportunity to get back to his startup roots and in the short term will be helping his wife Suzanne build her Mail Order Mystery business, which creates mystery experiences for kids. Pratt told Broadcast Dialogue that their respective decisions to leave within weeks of each other was purely coincidental. Read more here.

Pattie Lovett-Reid

Patricia Lovett-Reid is stepping away from her on-air duties at CTV after a decade as a financial commentator for the network. The former TD Bank SVP started hosting The Pattie Lovett-Reid Show on CTV News Channel in 2012, in addition to discussing the markets, economy and personal finance across CTV properties, including CTV Your Morning. She’ll continue to contribute online columns.

Nicole Lampa

Nicole Lampa has left CTV Kitchener after 18 years as a reporter with the station to move on to CTV Edmonton. Prior to joining the network in 2004, she started her career as a producer at BNN right out of Ryerson.

Colin D’Mello

Colin D’Mello will join Global News as the network’s new Queen’s Park Bureau Chief. He’s held the same position with CTV for the last four years and been with Bell Media since 2011. He started his career with Rogers Sports & Media’s all-news stations News 91.9 (CKNI-FM) Moncton, 1310 News (CIWW-AM) Ottawa and 680 News (CFTR-AM) Toronto. 

Ted Chernecki

Ted Chernecki has signed off from Global BC after 50 years on-air. He started his career as an operator at CKX-TV in Brandon, MB and then headed to Australia, working as a newsreader and host on 4CD Gladstone and 7BU Burnie, before returning to Canada and joining CKCK-TV Regina as a reporter and later CKNW Vancouver. Chernecki then worked for CBC-TV Vancouver, as evening news anchor and then a writer/producer for CBC NewsWorld. He also did a stint as a reporter for The National in London in the late ‘80s. Chernecki returned to BC in 1992 to work with BCTV (now Global) as an anchor and producer. 

Lisa VanderMey

Lisa VanderMey has left Global BC after 20 years as a Director, among other roles. VanderMey also freelances under the banner of VanderMedia Productions, including working as an Associate Director on Vancouver Canucks broadcasts for Sportsnet.

Avis Favaro

Avis Favaro will be the first journalist in residence at McMaster University’s Faculty of Science, starting this fall. Favaro will spend four weeks on campus, with an eye to strengthening the communication skills of faculty, postdoctoral fellows and students. Favaro, who received an honorary doctorate from McMaster in 2018, announced in March she was leaving journalism full-time. Favaro has been in broadcasting for 40 years, initially at Global News for a decade, and for the last 30 years at CTV as the network’s national medical correspondent. 

Reshmi Nair & Scott MacArthur

Reshmi Nair and Scott MacArthur have been named the new co-hosts of Newstalk 1010 (CFRB-AM) Toronto afternoon drive show, The Rush, starting Monday, April 11. Nair arrives from CP24 where she’s been anchoring CP24 Tonight for the last year, following a brief stint as one of the anchors of Bell Media’s Quibi content. Prior to that, she was a CBC News Network anchor for a decade. MacArthur was most recently co-hosting The Leadoff with Ziggy and Scotty Mac on Sportsnet 590 The Fan (CJCL-AM), up until last September. Read more here.

Mahnoor Yawar

Mahnoor Yawar is leaving CityNews Toronto where she’s been a producer on the supper hour newscasts since 2019, to join CBC News Network’s Morning Live. Yawar was a producer and reporter for OMNI prior to joining CityNews. 

Monika Gul

Monika Gul has left her morning reporter gig at CityNews 1130 (CKWX-AM) Vancouver to move over to the television side full-time. Her first day as a videojournalist with CityNews Vancouver is April 11. Gul has been with Rogers Sports & Media since late 2017.

Laurie Carr-Hall & Jessica McCool

Laurie Carr-Hall is retiring after 30+ years with CHEK-TV Victoria. Carr-Hall started with CHEK in 1989 as a producer, studio director, and graphics artist. She transitioned into promotions in 1993 and has also handled traffic and community relations, among other duties. Jessica McCool has been hired as the station’s new Community Relations Coordinator. 

Al Tompson

Al Tompson has parted ways with Stingray after a combined 17 years with Stingray/Newcap. Up until restructuring last March, Tompson had served as Director of FM Programming for Calgary and Edmonton, as well as Operations Manager for Calgary and Program Director of XL 103 (CFXL-FM). He had most recently been assigned to a corporate Director of Programming role. 

Heather Prosak

Heather Prosak, former Program Director and morning show host at Stingray’s XL 103 (CFXL-FM) Calgary has launched Knowledge Media, a podcast and newsletter sharing her perspective on current events. Prosak, a 20-year radio veteran, posted a series of live reports from Ottawa in February in support of the “Freedom Convoy.” Up until last month, she’d been hosting the morning show at XL 103 since 2017. She had also handled PD duties since April of last year.

MK Bowyer

MK Bowyer is the new swing announcer at 102.1 The Edge (CFNY-FM) Toronto. Bowyer has most recently been filling in on middays at CFOX Vancouver during Carmen Cruz’s maternity leave. Prior to that, she was the afternoon drive host and music director at Harvard Broadcasting’s X100.7 (CKEX-FM) Red Deer.

Nicole Welsh

Nicole Welsh, who currently hosts afternoons on Pattison Media’s 98.3 CIFM Kamloops, has announced she’s leaving to join the new Power 97 (CJBK-FM) morning show in Winnipeg, with a yet-to-be announced co-host. Her last day on-air will be April 22.

Daniel Beddome

Daniel Beddome aka “DJ Blitz” is the new host of afternoons on Corus Entertainment’s 104.5 Fresh Radio (CFLG-FM) Cornwall, ON. Beddome was previously heard on 103.1 Virgin Radio (CKMM-FM) Winnipeg and was a mixshow DJ on Evanov’s Energy 106 (CHWE-FM) Winnipeg. He boasts a following of more than 235K followers on TikTok.

Lyndsay Armstrong

Lyndsay Armstrong is joining The Canadian Press on a year-long fellowship in Halifax as a reporter-editor. Armstrong has been a reporter with Halifax alt-weekly The Coast for the last year and prior to that was with allNovaScotia.com.

Jean Bureau & Cynthia Kennedy

Jean Bureau is stepping down as President and CEO of Incendo after 21 years at the helm of the Montreal film and television content producer and distributor. Jean-Philippe Normandeau will stay on as Chief Operating Officer and will maintain continuity in the development of Incendo. Acquired by Quebecor Media in 2019, the company announced this week that to optimize operations, Incendo and Quebecor Content are establishing a new distribution unit. Cynthia Kennedy steps into the role of Vice-President, Distribution of Incendo and Quebecor Content. Kennedy is a native Montrealer with a 25-year track record working with international broadcasters and distributors, including Talpa Global, BBC Studios, A+E Networks, Channel 4 International and Keshet International. She began her career with Canadian animation company, Cinar.

Phil King

Phil King, the former president of CTV, Sports and Entertainment, is retiring from Sony Pictures Television Canada where he’s been Senior VP of Distribution since 2016. Victoria Valius and Stephanie Shinkoda have been named Co-Territory Managers. Valius has been with Sony since 2012, while Shinkoda joined the company last October from Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment where she was Director, Content Distribution.

Marcia Douglas

Marcia Douglas has been promoted to the position of Vice-President, Industry and Business Affairs at the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA). Douglas joined the CMPA as Director of Digital Strategy and Business Affairs in 2015, bringing experience as an analyst at the Cogeco Fund, Independent Production Fund, and Program Manager at the Bell Fund. In 2018, she was promoted to Senior Director, Business Affairs.

Norm Wilner

Norm Wilner has left NOW Toronto, where he’d been the Senior Film Critic since 2008, to join TIFF as a programmer in digital releasing. Wilner is also the host of the Someone Else’s Movie podcast on the Frequency Podcast Network, which each week features an actor, director, or other industry figure discussing a film they admire, but had no hand in making. 

Alan Black

Alan Black, Director of Operations for the Hot Docs Festival and Managing Director of Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, is stepping down following this year’s festival. Black first joined Hot Docs in 2003, starting out as Box Office Manager. He’s held the Managing Director role for the last 10 years. Black is also a documentary filmmaker, including 2009’s Jackpot about regulars at a Toronto bingo hall.

Martha Cooley

Martha Cooley is the incoming Executive Director of FIN Atlantic International Film Festival, effective April 25. Cooley has been with AFCOOP (Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative) for the past 14 years, the last nine as Executive Director. She succeeds Wayne Carter, who retires after a decade at the helm of the festival.

 

 

RADIO & PODCAST:

CBC/Radio-Canada and Toronto not-for-profit station JAZZ.FM91 (CJRT-FM) are among the global broadcasters shortlisted in the New York Festivals Radio Awards competition. Among the CBC productions to make the list are CBC Podcasts’ Life Jolt, White Hot Hate, The Village (Season 2), and Boys Like Me. CBC Radio programs shortlisted include The World at Six for Best Newscast; Cross Country Checkup’s coverage of the “Freedom Convoy” for Best Coverage of a Breaking News Story; and Quirks & Quarks Black in Science Special, nominated for Best Documentary: Science & Technology. Radio-Canada’s René Homier-Roy was shortlisted for Best Radio Personality: Network/Syndicated, while its Battle Of The Books For Young Audiences was shortlisted for Best Children/Young Adult Program, among 11 nominations for French radio. JAZZ.FM91 received four nods, including Best Jazz Format; Best Writing for its Black History Month Vignettes; Best Music Special for Caribbean Christmas Mixtape; and Best Music Podcast for its In The Land Of The Misty Giant episode featuring Grammy-winning keyboardist Shaun Martin. Read more here.

Bell Media and Desjardins have launched a new radio campaign to raise awareness for the GoodSpark Grants initiative, highlighting the grant recipients and what their businesses are doing in their local communities. The initiative has provided a total of $3 million to 150 small businesses across the country who applied for a grant based on projects that support sustainability, employment, and innovation in their local communities. A collaboration between Bell Media, Desjardins, Glassroom and Bleublancrouge, the campaign features live reads, promos, and social media content integrations across iHeartRadio Canada, Orbyt Media, Stingray Radio, and Central Ontario Broadcasting stations. “Tell Me Something Good” segments are also airing on iHeartRadio Canada’s Talk and Virgin Radio Network, as well as Stingray radio stations, featuring local, good-news stories aimed at inspiring listeners to engage in acts of kindness within their own communities.

SiriusXM will again provide comprehensive coverage of the 2022 Major League Baseball season, offering subscribers access to live play-by-play of every regular season and postseason game, as well as 24/7 news, talk and analysis on the MLB Network Radio channel. The SXM App offers 30 play-by-play channels dedicated to streaming the official radio broadcasts of every MLB team, giving fans the choice between the home and visiting team announcers for every game. All 30 MLB play-by-play channels are also available on vehicles equipped with SiriusXM with 360L radios. The 2022 MLB season begins on Opening Day, April 7, with a slate of nine games. Find the full schedule here.

Steve Young

Canadian Music Week (CMW) and Friends of Steve Young are once again posthumously saluting the late broadcaster with the Steve Young Broadcaster of the Year Award. Anyone working in the industry can nominate any worthy broadcaster under the age of 30 (to make up for a lost year due to COVID, they will honour those who are under 31 years of age as of Dec 31, 2021). The winning candidate must work in the programming department: On-Air, Programming, Promotion, Production or Creative. The deadline for entries is Friday, May 13. Read more here.

Luminate, formerly MRC Data, has released a preview of its Canada Music 360 report. Among its findings are that 60% of Canadian music listeners still discover new music via radio, with 7% growth in music listeners tuning radio vs. 2020. 90% of music listeners are now streaming music online with 33% saying they plan to subscribe to a music streaming service in the next six months.

Maureen Holloway, who parted ways with Toronto’s CHFI in October, announced on Standing By: The Terry & Ted Podcast this week that she is collaborating with former CBC News personality Wendy Mesley on a new podcast called “Women of Ill Repute” featuring guests that have “pushed the envelope.” Set to launch in June, the podcast will be produced by Matt Cundill and fall under the umbrella of the Sound Off/Dean Blundell Podcast Network. Read more here.

BuzzFeed Culture Writer Scaachi Koul and Toronto writer Sarah Hagi, who boasts bylines for VICE and The Guardian, are co-hosting a new podcast for Wondery called Scamfluencers. It explores the world’s most insidious Scamfluencers from the worlds of social media, fashion, finance, health, and wellness. The first two episodes are available on Wondery now, with the podcast debuting on other platforms, starting April 11. 

 

SOCAN’s total annual collections for licensed music for 2021 are expected to exceed $416-million, a 3% increase over the previous record of $405.6-million set in 2019. SOCAN attributes most of the $25-million year-over-year growth to $135-million collected for the use of music on digital platforms – an increase of $32-million over 2020. Despite the continuing positive growth in digital music licensing and the popularity of online streaming services, a SOCAN writer member who earned royalties in 2021 earned an average of only $67.14 from domestic digital sources for the entire year. Revenue from international sources continued to show strength at the historically high mark of $106.1-million, demonstrating that Canadian music creators and publishers continue to outperform on a global level.

Francis Currie

Francis Currie of audio and radio research firm Currie Nordén is running a short, anonymous, online talent survey asking current announcers and presenters about their coaching experiences. The survey is in preparation for a conference session at Radiodays Europe, and promises to be the biggest survey on audio talent coaching ever undertaken.

LISTEN: On the latest Sound Off Podcast, Jeni Wren Stottrup, the coach behind The Podcasters Forum and host of Gritty Birds. She helps podcasters find their voice as a coach, through content marketing, speaker training, tech training and mindset coaching, bringing experience from over 20 years in the music industry as a singer, festival producer, journalist and content creator. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

TV & FILM:

The Canadian Screen Awards have announced winners this week in Broadcast News, Documentary & Factual, Sports Programming and Digital & Immersive, and Children’s & Animation and Lifestyle & Reality. Among the big winners so far this week is Canada’s Drag Race, which picked up six awards, while CBC and Obsidian Theatre collaboration 21 Black Futures, claimed four. The awards continue Thursday with the Drama & Comedy Crafts Awards and the Scripted Programs & Performance Awards. The week culminates in Sunday’s 2022 Canadian Screen Awards broadcast on CBC and CBC Gem (8 p.m. ET).

Corus Entertainment, Radio-Canada, Shine Light Entertainment and Avanti Groupe are among the Canadian content producers shortlisted in the 2022 New York Festivals TV & Film Awards competition. Corus earned eight shortlist nods for its promotion of shows like Rock Solid Builds, STACKTV Sharkfest 2021, its Cheese: A Love Story launch, and the Nelvana/Kids Can Press BLACK WRITE Talent Incubator. Three Radio-Canada documentaries made the list, including COVID-19: Origins of the Virus, shortlisted in Health/Medical Information. Montreal independent production house Avanti Groupe was nominated for On Duty 24⁄7 ⁄ De garde 24⁄7 in the Documentary: Social Issues category, while Calgary’s Shine Light Entertainment was shortlisted for the Calgary Stampede Rodeo Open 2021 in the Sports Program Open & Titles category. Read more here.

The Canadian Sync Awards are returning to Toronto during Canadian Music Week (CMW), recognizing excellence in music supervision in screen media. Presented during CMW, in partnership with The Guild of Music Supervisors, Canada (GMSC), and with sponsorship from Music Publishers Canada, the Sync Awards will take place on Thursday, June 9 at the El Mocambo from 4:30 – 7 p.m. The Sync Awards span Film, TV, Sports, Gaming, Advertising, Trailers and Emerging Media. Read more here.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) will invest just under $366M in Canada’s television and digital media industries in 2022-23. The CMF says this year’s budget reflects a steady contribution from the Government of Canada and stabilization funding to help mitigate declining contributions from Broadcast Distribution Undertakings (BDUs) to the CMF. Among other changes, the CMF will continue most of the Flexibility Measures it introduced in response to the pandemic to help stakeholders continue adapting to new ways of production. After focusing on Indigenous Peoples to Canada and Racialized Communities in the first year of its Equity and Inclusion Strategy, the CMF will expand its definition of “Diverse Community” and include members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and Persons with disabilities. The CMF will host an information session on program guidelines changes on April 21 at 11 a.m. ET for the French-language market and April 21 at 2 p.m. ET for the English-language market. 

Cineflix contract workers will share $2.5 million in a class action settlement negotiated by CWA Canada and IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees). The suit was filed in 2018 by Toronto law firm Cavalluzzo LLP on behalf of independent contractors for years of unpaid overtime, vacation pay, and holiday premiums – basic minimum standards under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act. Cineflix, which produces series like Property Brothers and Mayday, had a choice between paying $2.5 million or paying $1 million and signing a collective agreement that proposed improvements to wages, benefits and work hours. The class action’s statement of claim was based around the experience of Property Brothers story editor Anna Bourque, who routinely worked 50 to 70-hour weeks without overtime, vacation or premium pay. Read more here.

Cineflix Media has announced the acquisition of Back Alley Film Productions, along with the company’s award-winning library of content IP. After a three-decade collaboration creating and producing TV series for Canadian and American networks, Back Alley Films co-founders Adrienne Mitchell and Janis Lundman have decided to explore new opportunities. Cineflix will absorb Back Alley Films’ operations and acquire its programming assets, including the company’s ownership interest in shows like Bellevue, Bomb Girls and Durham County. The acquisition also includes Back Alley Films’ stake in CBC’s Coroner, which Back Alley Films and Muse Entertainment have co-produced with Cineflix since 2019, and for which Cineflix Rights is the global distribution partner.  

Sphere has unveiled a new brand image that will see all of its units rebranded under the Sphere banner. Sienna Films, led by Jennifer Kawaja; BGM, led by Marlo Miazga; and GO Films, led by Josée Vallée, will become Sphère Média, which will oversee the creation, production and distribution of all television content. Oasis Animation, directed by Jacques Bilodeau, and Sardine Productions, directed by Ghislain Cyr, will become Sphère Animation, while WaZabi Films, directed by Anick Poirier and Lorne Price, which distributes feature films, will become Sphère Films. The company says its new architecture is designed to simplify communication with its customers and the industry, and accelerate collaboration and synergies between its teams to enable the realization of a greater number of projects.

The Directors Guild of Canada, B.C. District Council (DGC BC), has called a vote for a strike mandate following a breakdown in collective agreement negotiations. Talks have been ongoing for a year between DGC BC and bargaining representatives from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the Canadian Media Producers Association. DGC BC members encompass over 5,000 creative and logistical personnel in the B.C. film and television sector from entry level Production Assistants to Directors. The labour organization says sticking points in the negotiations include minimum wage differentials; payment terms for COVID testing; retroactivity of wage increases; and employer clawbacks to the current collective agreement. Read more here.

Netflix is extending its lease agreement with Martini Film Studios in Langley, BC for an additional five years. The lease extension will provide the streamer with continued access to eight stages and more than 260,000 sq. ft.  of total space. Recent Netflix productions filmed at Martini Studios include Space Force (Season 2), Mixtape, Another Life (Season 2), Ivy & Bean and Grendel (Season 1). Among other initiatives the studio and Netflix have partnered on are the installation of 20 electric vehicle charging stations and providing the use of stage space for professional training programs to increase capacity for the province’s growing production sector.

Boat Rocker Media has reported its financial results for the three months and year ended Dec. 31, recording record Adjusted EBITDA of $19.0 million in Q4 2021 versus $7.4 million in Q4 2020, an increase of 155%, and $31.6 million for the full year versus $14.1 million in 2020, an increase of 125%. Revenue growth for the full-year period was mainly driven by a 241% revenue increase in Television. Kids and Family, which also delivered 32% growth while Representation delivered 33% growth.

Network Media Group has reported annual results for the year ended Nov. 30, including revenues of $3,534,288, a net loss of $2,496,328, and Adjusted EBITDA loss of $1,859,482. Network CFO Darren Battersby says due to COVID-related filming restrictions and subsequent production delays, Fiscal 2021 was a year of development, and preparation to resume filming with safety protocols in place. While Network’s revenues were comparatively lower than the previous year, the company says it’s in production on multiple projects this summer onwards, and is optimistic about the development pipeline. Network says it has contracted future revenues of $16.6M with $3.0M expected to be recorded in the next six months and $13.3M expected within seven to 12 months.

CBC/Radio-Canada has secured the exclusive broadcast rights in Canada for the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026, Los Angeles 2028, Olympic Winter Games 2030 (the host of which is yet to be selected) and Brisbane 2032. Including the Olympic Games Paris 2024, for which the public broadcaster has already been awarded the rights, CBC/Radio-Canada will continue to serve as Canada’s Olympic network for the next five Olympic Games, acquiring rights across all media platforms, including television and digital. The agreement includes a commitment to broadcast at least 200 hours of the Olympic Games and 100 hours of the Olympic Winter Games on free-to-air television.

Rugby Canada and CBC Sports have extended their partnership agreement ensuring the public broadcaster remains the home of international rugby sevens in Canada for the next two years. The extension includes the broadcast rights for the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 (Sept. 9-11) and the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. As part of the agreement, which has been in place since Dec. 2017, CBC Sports will deliver multi-platform live streaming coverage of rugby sevens in Canada via CBC Gem, cbcsports.ca and the CBC Sports app, as well as select broadcast coverage on CBC TV. CBC Sports’ coverage includes this weekend’s Singapore Sevens (April 9-10) before Canada’s Men’s Sevens team makes its much-anticipated homecoming for the HSBC Canada Sevens in Vancouver (April 16-17), followed by Canada’s Women’s Sevens team’s return for the HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens in Langford (April 30-May 1).

TSN and CTV will deliver coverage of the 2022 Masters Tournament, airing April 7-10. The networks’ Canadian coverage includes the opening rounds on April 7 and 8, with the third and final rounds airing Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10. French-language coverage is available to RDS and RDS Direct subscribers. James Duthie hosts live on-site from Augusta National alongside TSN golf analyst Bob Weeks and Canadian PGA Tour competitor Graham DeLaet. Along with delivering daily news updates and analysis for SPORTSCENTRE, the Masters Panel recaps each day of the Tournament with Masters PrimeTime. As well, TSN’s Lindsay Hamilton is joined in-studio with Golf Talk Canada co-host Mark Zecchino to contribute reports over the course of the week.

The CW has acquired eOne drama, Family Law, which premiered on Global last fall. Shot in Vancouver, produced by SEVEN24 Films and Lark Productions, and written by Susin Nielsen (Degrassi, Robson Arms), the one-hour legal drama stars Jewel Staite, Victor Garber, Zach Smadu and Genelle Williams. The CW has also renewed The Flash (Season 9), Kung Fu (Season 3), Nancy Drew (Season 4), Riverdale (Season 7), Superman & Lois (Season 3), All American (Season 5), and Walker (Season 3).

Breaking Character cast member Alexia Vassos

AMI, in partnership with Winterhouse Films, has announced the debut of Breaking Character, on April 27 on AMI-tv. The 10-part documentary series follows the journey of mold-breaking performers, who are legally blind, hard of hearing, deaf, or who use a wheelchair, as they navigate the entertainment industry in Hollywood North. In the past decade, less than three per cent of films featured a character with a disability and, often, these rarest of roles have been taken by neuro-typical and able-bodied actors. 

National Canadian Film Day, coming up on April 20, has named Mary Simon, Canada’s Governor General, as its Honorary Patron. With the 2022 Spotlight on Celebrating Indigenous Voices, presented in association with imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival, more than 25 Indigenous-made features will be presented throughout the day. With a return to in-person screenings, programming highlights include: A conversation with filmmakers Alanis Obomsawin (Abenaki) and Jeff Barnaby (Mi’qmaw) presented in-person at the opening of the new Alanis Obomsawin Theatre at the National Film Board in Montreal; over 10,000 high school students from more than 300 schools from every province and territory will engage in RCtv, an interactive livestream featuring CSA-nominated Night Raiders writer-director Danis Goulet and cast member Brooklyn Letexier-Hart (Cree/Métis). Broadcasters including APTN, Bell Media, Corus and Super Channel are also participating, led by Hollywood Suite with a full 24 hours of Indigenous programming.

Telefilm’s Made in Canada Spotlight is back, following its launch last year. Formerly known as the Canadian Movie of the Week, the 12-week promotion highlights a recently released or classic Canadian film available to rent for $0.99 on the Apple TV app. The series begins on April 5 with Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz and concludes the week of June 21 with The Tragically Hip documentary Long Time Running. The week of May 24 celebrates the French modern classic C.R.A.Z.Y., by Jean-Marc Vallée, restored in 4K. Telefilm and Apple will also toast Francophone gems with a Made in Québec Spotlight month-long series, beginning May 31 with Xavier Dolan’s Laurence Anyways.

CTV has launched on the Roku platform. Now the #1 TV streaming platform in Canada, based on hours streamed, according to a recent study conducted by the Hypothesis Group, Canadian Roku users will now have access to live and on demand programming from CTV on their Roku streaming player or Roku TV. Viewers can enjoy full episodes of  CTV shows, series and movies from across CTV Comedy Channel, CTV Drama Channel, CTV Sci-Fi Channel, and CTV Life Channel, as well as Discovery, Animal Planet, Discovery Science, Discovery Velocity, Investigation Discovery, E!, and MUCH. CTV Throwback, CTV Movies, and MTV are also available with no subscription or sign-in required.

ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:

Sportsnet and TSN are moving into the sports betting space, as Ontario’s new iGaming online gaming market officially went live Monday. Sportsnet is launching programming across its TV, audio, digital and social channels with Wager Week, running through April 10, introducing audiences to the network’s new sports betting content brand, SN Bets. FanDuel Group also announced Monday it had reached a multi-year agreement with TSN to become the network’s official sportsbook partner, acting as the exclusive provider of sports odds across TSN programming, integrating sports betting alongside sports content. Read more here.

Media Central Corporation, the parent company of The Georgia Straight and NOW Magazine, has filed “an assignment in bankruptcy,” voluntarily agreeing to sell off assets to pay down its debt. The publicly-traded company says the filing does not affect the operations of its Toronto and Vancouver alt weeklies, which will continue regular publication. Kirk MacDonald, formerly President of Media Central, will remain President of subsidiaries, Vancouver Free Press Publishing Corp. and Now Central Communications Inc., which publish the Georgia Straight and NOW Magazine. It acquired both subsidiaries in 2020 and 2019, respectively. Media Central also operates digital cannabis platform CannCentral.com and eSports outlet ECentralSports.com. The company announced in March, it was in default in the amount of $1,026,000 to its debenture holders and attempting to negotiate an agreement. Read more here.

St. Joseph Communications (SJC) has entered into an agreement to acquire Victoria-based Assembly Digital, a digital media technology company that employs data and machine learning systems to scale audience growth and advertising solutions. Co-founded by Tobyn Sowden and Marco Pimentel, and part of the Redbrick portfolio of companies, Assembly’s proprietary tech analyzes billions of data points to optimize content experiences and ad placement based on real-time reader behaviour. The platform will be the newest addition to SJC’s multi-platform strategies for content creation and distribution. SJC Media publishes media brands including Chatelaine, Toronto Life and Maclean’s, touting 19 million monthly views across its digital network.

The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) has announced the shortlist for the annual CJF-Meta Journalism Project (MJP) Digital News Innovation Award, which recognizes news organizations powering journalism’s future through digital journalism. The three finalists for the $10,000 prize are: CBC for Black On the Prairies, an interactive project to ensure that the experiences of Black people in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba were included in the global and national discourse on anti-Black racism. The project has since been adapted into a teacher’s guide for all grades across the Prairies; New Canadian Media (NCM) for its Collective Membership Model. Through an alliance with the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) and affiliation with the National NewsMedia Council, NCM members gained access to pre-publication advice and professional development opportunities. The alliance resulted in an increase in NCM-CAJ members, 33% growth in its newsletter audience and an increased capacity to publish five articles a week; and Taproot Edmonton, for its innovative coverage of Edmonton’s 2021 municipal election, including an interactive survey that allowed voters to find which candidates best aligned with their values. The winner will be announced at the CJF annual awards ceremony on June 7.

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

Canadian Heritage Min. Pablo Rodriguez has introduced Bill C-18, the Online News Act, which would establish a new legislative and regulatory framework aimed at ensuring fairness in the Canadian digital news marketplace. Bill C-18 would require tech giants, like Facebook and Google, to make fair commercial deals with outlets for the news and information shared on their platforms. The bill, modeled after similar legislation in Australia, allows media outlets, big and small, to bargain collectively. Companies that already have a deal in place would apply to the CRTC asking to be exempted from mandatory negotiation. Digital platforms could face penalties of up to $15 million per day for repeated non compliance. The federal government says in 2020, online advertising revenues in Canada reached $9.7 billion, with two companies taking in more than 80% of that.

CRTC Chair Ian Scott

CRTC Chair Ian Scott addressed concerns about Bill C-11 in a speech to Media Growth and Innovation students at Ryerson University on April 1. Currently at the second reading stage, Scott says while critics argue C-11, in its current form, leaves too much for the CRTC to figure out, he also warns against being too specific in the fast-changing digital landscape. He also addressed concerns about the regulation of user-generated content, saying it’s clear to the commission, the Bill’s intent is to exclude individual users from regulation.

Jack Nagler

CBC Ombudsman Jack Nagler has weighed in on Ginella Massa expressing her personal opinion on Islamophobia. Massa, who has the distinction of being the first Canadian to anchor in hijab, discussed the climate for Muslims with host David Common during the public broadcaster’s coverage last June 8 of a vigil for the victims of an attack on a Muslim family in London, ON. A complainant suggested that following the report, it would be difficult for Massa and Common to ask politicians questions about Quebec’s Bill 21 (the law that prohibits religious symbols from being worn by some civil servants) in an objective fashion. Nagler concluded there was no violation of CBC’s journalistic standards, writing “it should be recognized that Ms. Massa faced a particular challenge in being asked to blend her own personal experiences with her insights into the Muslim community as a whole. I suspect that is a burden that racialized journalists experience more often than their colleagues, and makes it harder to avoid stepping over the line into opinion. I encourage programmers to search for ways to mitigate that, and in doing so they should listen to the views of journalists from underrepresented groups.”

The Jack Webster Foundation has announced the recipients of its Professional Development Fellowships for 2022. They include Kelsie Kilawna, Cultural Editor/Senior Aunty, IndigiNews, Vernon, BC; Shalu Mehta, Lead Reporter, The Discourse, Victoria, BC; Janis Cleugh, Reporter/Copy Editor/Paginator, Tri-City News, Coquitlam, BC; and Nora O’Malley, Reporter/Photojournalist, The Westerly News, Ucluelet, BC. All four will take part in courses offered by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. Read more here.

Shelley Fralic

The Jack Webster Foundation is accepting nominations for the new Shelley Fralic Award, in honour of the Vancouver Sun columnist who died in 2021. The award celebrates a B.C. journalist, who identifies as a woman, and exemplifies Fralic’s legacy of making her community a better place. Nominations are to be made by someone other than the nominee by July 3.

The Western Association of Broadcasters (WAB) has opened submissions for its annual WAB Awards. Stations have until April 15 to submit entries in the following categories: Gold Medal Award for Community Service, Gold Medal Award for Digital Innovation, Leader of Tomorrow, and Hall of Fame. Winners will be announced at the WAB Presidents Dinner & Awards Gala on June 9 in Banff.

Xplornet Communications has completed the acquisition of Winnipeg-based Full Throttle Networks, which operates a fixed wireless network providing broadband access service to over 1,600 residential and commercial customers in Winnipeg and surrounding communities. The acquired customers are anticipated to benefit from Xplornet’s fibre-to-the-premise and 5G fixed wireless rollout plans in Manitoba. Xplornet is currently expanding its fibre network across the province and upgrading towers with 5G equipment to deliver faster speeds to over 350 rural and 30 First Nation communities. 

The Commission for Complaints for Television-Telecom Services (CCTS) Mid-Year Report indicates complaints were down 26% for the period from Aug. 1, 2021 – Jan. 31, 2022. Almost half of all issues raised by consumers were about wireless (mobile) services. Internet issues were the second biggest irritant for consumers, representing almost a third of all issues raised. Bell accounts for 17.7% of all complaints accepted by the CCTS (down 36% from Mid-Year 2020-21), followed by Rogers at 15.0% (down 16.5%), Fido at 11.3% (down 20%), TELUS at 8.0% (down 17%) and Virgin Plus at 7.6% (down 10%).

BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:

Sabio Holdings, through its newly-formed subsidiary, Vidillion Corp., has completed the acquisition of Vidillion Inc., a U.S. based Streaming TV supply side platform (SSP) and technology provider for content creators. The acquisition will expand Toronto-based Sabio’s access to premium Streaming TV inventory, leveraging Vidillion’s direct relationships with publishers, which is expected to provide advertising opportunities within the expanding Streaming TV market. Vidillion’s technology stack includes tools for ad break optimization, server-side ad insertion (SSAI), content recognition and dynamic ad insertion (DAI) with demand side partner integrations. The tools are aimed at helping find new ways to monetize Streaming TV inventory by allowing advertisers to precisely target viewers based on content, context, usage and geography. Sabio’s analytics platform, AppScience, powered by its proprietary household graph of 300 million opt-in mobile devices and 55 million validated Streaming TV households, stands to further strengthen its capabilities with the integration of unique data sets from the acquisition. 

The 2022 NAB Show will explore the latest technologies and techniques reinventing the storytelling process through several sessions, April 23–27 in Las Vegas. On Sunday, April 24, Creative Camera Conversations: Nightmare Alleywill feature Toronto-based camera operators Gilles Corbeil and Doug Lavender discussing the challenges and creative solutions in making the Academy Award-nominated film. During the session, produced in partnership with Createasphere and Society of Camera Operators, Corbeil and Lavender will discuss working with filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and the unique artistic collaboration created on his sets.

The 8K Association, the cross-industry group dedicated to promoting the growth of the 8K ecosystem, will be at NAB Show 2022 to demonstrate its evolving maturity. The organization will have a booth in the Futures Park in the West Hall where three state-of-the-art demonstrations will be featured: Benefits of 8K captured from the filmmaker’s perspective, 8K encoding in the cloud, and Seeing is Believing – demonstrating how Intel facilitated the encoding, packaging and distribution of live 8K content from the Tokyo Olympics. The 8K Association will also discuss their recent report detailing the state of 8K codecs, encoders and decoders for live production.

WorldCast Systems has unveiled a new security feature in its Ecreso FM transmitter range to protect from cyberattacks. With the rise in the trend impacting broadcast infrastructure, many devices, initially designed for closed networks, such as RDS encoders or FM transmitters, are now directly exposed to public internet networks, making them vulnerable to cyberattacks which can result in blocked access, program interruptions, and hacked content. With the latest version of Ecreso FM transmitters (1.10.1), the security policy on the FTP access has been improved to limit the risk of cyberattacks. As a result, only one user account, with a reinforced password is now available and limited to audio file management. The update is the first milestone of a global approach to integrate advanced security features into transmitters and help customers protect their Broadcast chain from network attacks.