Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The Weekly Briefing

REVOLVING DOOR:

Jason Pires

Jason Pires has departed CTV Vancouver to cross the street to Global BC’s Global News Morning. Pires had been with CTV since 2001, first on Vancouver Island, before joining the Vancouver bureau as sports director and an anchor and reporter in 2008. He’d been the co-host of the local edition of CTV Morning Live since 2017, alongside Keri Adams, up until changes at Bell Media in June that saw him moved to the noon anchor desk. Read more here.

Jean-Simon Bui is joining the team of anchors on Bell Media’s Noovo, alongside Michel Bherer, Marie-Christine Bergeron and Lisa-Marie Blais, where he’ll helm the news for Saguenay, Mauricie and Estrie. Maxime Landry also joins the Noovo Info team as Senior Information Manager, starting Sept. 25. Landry was previously with TVA Group for 27 years, most recently as an Executive Producer.

David Corey

David Corey is returning to Bell Media as a Radio Programming Management Consultant. Most recently Director of FM Programming for Cumulus Media, Corey previously served as VP of Radio Programming and PD of CHUM-FM Toronto from 2006-17.

Drew Suriano

Drew Suriano has been named Assistant Program Director of Evanov Communications’ flagship station Z103.5 (CIDC-FM) as it “integrates” with Proud 103.9 (CIRR-FM) Toronto. A homegrown talent, who joined the company 20 years ago as an intern, Suriano most recently held the title of Music and Programming Assistant. Danny Raponi (DJ DannyD) will now assume some of these responsibilities. In his new role, Suriano will work directly with PD Matt Wreggitt “to keep the station a listener favourite and to expand elements and features that inspire listener loyalty,” the company said in an announcement.

Meredith Shaw

Meredith Shaw has departed CHUM 104.5 Toronto after almost nine years. Shaw initially joined the station in evenings, before moving into afternoons and acting as a fill-in host for Marilyn Denis on the morning show. Shaw is also the host of Double Your Dish with her partner, Chef Rodney Bowers, on CTV’s platforms, and has contributed to The Social and The Marilyn Denis Show. She is leaving Bell Media for a yet-to-be revealed opportunity.

Brad Gibb

Brad Gibb, Program Director at FM96 (CFPL-FM) London, 103.1 Fresh Radio (CFHK-FM) St. Thomas and Country 104 (CKDK-FM) Woodstock, is among those caught up in the recent restructuring in Corus Entertainment’s audio division. Gibb had been with the station group since 2011 after serving as PD at CKWS-FM Kingston. He had previously served as music director and APD at FM96 between 2001-08.

Jon “Gonzo” Mark

Jon “Gonzo” Mark, afternoon drive announcer at Corus Radio’s boom 99.7 (CJOT-FM) Ottawa, has parted ways with the company. Gonzo had been with the station the last eight and a half years. He previously did two separate on-air stints with 97.7 HTZ FM (CHTZ-FM) Niagara and spent seven years in swing at Q107 (CILQ-FM) Toronto.

Cam Sullivan

Cam Sullivan, Assistant Program Director at Country 105 (CKRY-FM), is no longer with Corus Entertainment. Sullivan had been in the role the last nine months, following the company’s move in December to drop its Classic Rock format and abandon the Q107 brand where Sullivan was formerly midday host and APD.

Emily Czerwinski

Emily Czerwinski is joining The Zone @ 91.3 (CJZN-FM) Victoria in middays, starting Sept. 5. Czerwinski, who was formerly with Pattison Media’s The Peak (CKPK-FM) Vancouver, will be covering Kirsten James’ maternity leave.

Ken Connors

Ken Connors, host of the weekend morning show on Montreal’s CJAD 800, has announced he’ll retire at the end of the year. Connors secured his first radio job in Kirkland Lake, ON in 1984, followed by stops in Guelph and Ottawa, before landing at CHOM 97.7 in 1989. After hosting turns on Mix 96 (CJFM-FM), 940 News (CINW-AM) and Q92 (CFQR-FM), he joined CJAD seven years ago when he took over weekends from Dave Fisher.

Don Vail

Don Vail is moving on from Bell Media’s Bounce 92.3 (CJOS-FM) Owen Sound to take on a new role with the Canadian Mental Health Association. Vail has served as the station’s program director, music director and afternoon host for the last five and a half years. Prior to that, he did 13-year stints with both Larche Communications and Bayshore Broadcasting.

Fred Wallace

Fred Wallace has entered semi-retirement, signing off from Bayshore Broadcasting’s CFOS Owen Sound after 40 years in broadcasting. Wallace got his start in radio in his hometown of Midland, ON at 1230 CKMP after graduating from Ryerson. He initially joined CFOS as a DJ in 1984 before taking over the sports director role four years later. Wallace also served as the voice of the Ontario Hockey League Owen Sound Platers, starting in 1989, which have since rebranded as Owen Sound Attack.

Brian Perkin

Brian Perkin has retired as General Manager of Lake 88.1 (CHLK-FM) Perth, ON, the station he and partner Norm Wright founded in 2007. Perkin and his wife Jennifer had been sole owners since 2014 until selling to My Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) in 2021. Perkin’s 42-year broadcasting career includes stops at CHOO Ajax, CJOY/CKLA Guelph, CFRA/CFMO, CFGO and CHEZ Ottawa, as well as a 14-year stint as Operations Manager/PD at CJET/CHEQ Smiths Falls. Perkin continues to host weekends and the Sunday Café at Lake 88.1.

 

Spencer Hall

Spencer Hall has signed off from 100.1 Moose FM (CKFU-FM) Fort St. John, BC and its web portal Energeticcity.ca after almost two years as a reporter with the station. Hall first joined Moose FM in 2021 right out of the BCIT Radio Arts and Entertainment program as a summer cruiser host. He’s accepted a civic reporter position at The Rocky Mountain Goat in Valemount.

Todd Lubin

Todd Lubin has been appointed President, Boat Rocker Studios, Unscripted. In his new role, Lubin will lead the company’s creative unscripted efforts, including series and documentaries, overseeing Boat Rocker’s Matador Content, Maven, and Proper Television production shingles. Lubin, formerly President and Co-Founder of Matador Content, takes over from Jay Peterson, who has decided to step down from the role. Peterson will remain with Boat Rocker as an executive producer for several months, to support Lubin’s transition and delivery of current projects.

Beth Janson

Beth Janson has stepped down as Chief Operating Officer of TIFF less than a year and a half after joining the festival. Janson was previously the CEO of The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television for six years and has also held roles as the Executive Director of the Tribeca Film Institute and Director of Programming for the Newport International Film Festival.

Jess Murwin

Jess Murwin is joining Nunavut-based Isuma Distribution International as Distribution Coordinator. Based n Montreal, Murwin is a filmmaker, curator and educator, who has programming experience with the Atlantic International Film Festival and TIFF, among other festivals. Murwin will support distribution for new releases and catalogue titles, and undertake festival and touring outreach and development initiatives.

Richard Kraemer

Richard Kraemer has left his Canadian Sales Manager position with Riedel Communications’ to join Calgary-based IT consulting firm, Evolution AV. Kraemer joined Riedel in March of 2022 after holding roles with Genesis Integration, Canon Canada and Hitachi.

 

 

 

RADIO & PODCAST:

Image Credit: Alamy

The CRTC says it will defer new applications or complaints relating to radio for the next two years as it focuses on implementing its regulatory plan to modernize the broadcasting system. Each year, the commission considers hundreds of radio-related complaints and applications, filed by both the public and industry stakeholders. With the Online Streaming Act to bring major changes to the Canadian broadcasting ecosystem – impacting everything from current and future licensees to conditions of service – the CRTC says that process will require considerable resources, resulting in anticipated delays. The commission says it does not anticipate receiving any applications or complaints during the two-year deferral period, “unless exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated that would justify, with supporting evidence when filing the request, the need to process them.” It will continue to process applications for changes in ownership or effective control of radio undertakings. Read more here.

Gary Slaight is among the 2023 Canada’s Walk of Fame inductees. Slaight, 72, is the President and CEO of Slaight Communications, Slaight Music, and The Slaight Family Foundation. He started his professional career in promotions at Quality Records and Warner Music, eventually landing at Q107 (CILQ-FM) Toronto as program director. Working alongside his late father Allan Slaight, he became president of Standard Radio in 1987, growing the radio group from seven stations to 63. He was named CEO in 2000. Slaight is among five newly-announced Walk of Fame inductees, including Roots Canada founders Don Green and Michael Budman (Entrepreneurship & Philanthropy), award-winning actress Tantoo Cardinal (Arts & Entertainment), and pop superstar Avril Lavigne (Arts & Entertainment). Read more here.

YouTube performs at significantly higher satisfaction levels than Spotify, according to a Coleman Insights and Amplifi Media study unveiled at Podcast Movement in Denver. “The New Rules of Podcasting on YouTube” research study surveyed 1,000 15- to 64-year-old U.S. podcast consumers. Among users of both YouTube and Spotify, YouTube beats Spotify for enjoyability at a ratio of 70%-30%. Sixty-seven per cent said YouTube was easier to use, while 62% said it makes better podcast recommendations. When up against Apple Podcasts, 76% said YouTube was easier to use, 71% indicated the video platform was more enjoyable, while 68% felt YouTube’s podcasts recommendations were better than Apple. 

LISTEN: Josie Fenech, National Talent Director at Stingray and PD at Ottawa’s Hot 89.9, is on the Sound Off Podcast. Fenech joined Hot 89.9 in 2003, initially heard in evenings before joining the morning show until 2019. She and Matt Cundill discuss the new challenges facing CHR radio, what she looks for in a radio demo, and the desire for feedback. 

SIGN OFFS:

Rogers Communications Vice Chair Phil Lind circa 1994 (Toronto Public Library Archives/Bernard Weil/Toronto Star)

Phil Lind, 80, on Aug. 20. For nearly 40 years, Lind was the right-hand man to Rogers Communications founder Ted Rogers, credited with playing an integral role in every major transaction in company history, including the recent Rogers-Shaw merger. A long time director of the company and a member of the Advisory Committee of the Rogers Control Trust, Lind first joined Rogers in 1969 as Programming Chief. With the company for 54 years, he was also instrumental in the creation of the Rogers Group of Funds and was the architect and founder of CPAC (Cable Public Affairs Channel). He additionally led Rogers’ foray into live sports, including its acquisition of both Sportsnet and the Toronto Blue Jays. Among other accolades he received over the years, Lind was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2002. In 2012, he was inducted into the U.S. Cable Hall of Fame, just the third Canadian to receive the honour after Ted Rogers and J.R. Shaw. Read more here and find shared memories from friends, colleagues and competitors here.

Roger Cole

Roger Cole, 62, on Aug. 18, of cancer. The recipient of the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Central Canadian Broadcast Engineers (CCBE) for his outstanding contributions to the broadcast community, Cole was a graduate of the Electronics Technology program at St. Lawrence College. He started his career at CKWS Kingston before moving on to Brockville, Chatham and finally, back to Kingston where he had been for the last 30 years, rising to the position of Chief Engineer of Television and Radio for Kingston and Peterborough at Corus Entertainment. He is remembered by colleagues for his organizational skills and ability to tackle any challenge, no matter how daunting, in an industry of ever-changing technology and resources.

Kim Blue

Kim Blue, 70, on Aug. 1 after a brief illness. Blue discovered his talent for broadcasting while attending the University of Calgary in the 1970s at campus station, CJSW Radio. Among his professional stops were hosting talk at CFCN Calgary. He also served as a manager and host at the CKO news network. He later pursued voiceover work, going on to a successful career in real estate.

 

 

 

TV & FILM:

Bell Media says it will end the operation of its Vrak channel, effective Oct. 1, following a decision by Quebecor-owned Videotron to no longer carry the channel. On-air for 23 years, the French-language speciality channel broadcasts primarily medical and legal drama series like Transplant and Chicago Med. Bell Media said in an announcement Friday that with Videotron’s move to drop the channel, it must “reassess the range of programming offered to its customers to comply with its objective of aligning the offer with its revenue potential,” also noting “an ever-changing operating environment” and an “obsolete” regulatory framework that “does not take current challenges into account.” Videotron is also dropping Bell Media sci-fi speciality channel Z from its cable offerings, while Bell is moving to omit pre-school channel Yoopa, operated by Quebecor subsidiary TVA Group. Read more here.

Top row (l-r): Established Producer Award nominees, Tanya Brunel, Niv Fichman, Fraser Ash, Kevin Krikst, Nancy Grant, Jason Levangie, Marc Tetreault; Middle row: William Woods, Allison White, Kevin Tierney Emerging Producer nominees, Anam Abbas; Bottom row: Michael Tanko Grand, Alona Metzer, Sean O’Neill, Andria Wilson Mirza.

The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) has unveiled the nominees for its annual Indiescreen Awards, recognizing excellence among Canadian independent feature film producers. This year’s nominees for the Established Producer Award, which recognizes a producer or production team’s filmmaking accomplishments over the course of their career, accompanied by a $20,000 prize, are: Tanya BrunelComing Home (Wanna Icipus Kupi); Niv Fichman, Fraser Ash, Kevin Krikst) – Blackberry; Nancy GrantSimple Comme Sylvain (The Nature of Love); Jason Levangie, Marc TetreaultThe Queen of My Dreams; and William Woods, Allison WhiteThe King Tide. Up for the $10,000 Kevin Tierney Emerging Producer Award, celebrating a producer or production team’s early filmmaking achievements and career prospects, are: Anam AbbasIn Flames; Michael Tanko GrandSatan Wants You; Alona MetzerBackspot; Sean O’NeillSwan Song; and Andria Wilson MirzaThe Queen of My Dreams. Read more here.

TIFF has announced additional honourees who will be receiving TIFF Tribute Awards at this year’s festival, including Brazilian filmmaker Carolina Markowicz who will be honoured with the TIFF Emerging Talent Award presented by MGM Studios, awarded in the spirit of Torontonian Mary Pickford. Two-time Academy Award–nominated Polish cinematographer Łukasz Žal will receive the TIFF Variety Artisan Award, which recognizes a distinguished creative who has excelled at their craft and made an outstanding contribution to cinema and entertainment. Both Markowicz and Žal will be honoured Sept. 10 at the fifth annual TIFF Tribute Awards gala fundraiser at Fairmont Royal York Hotel. On Sept. 15, TIFF will also honour Hong Kong entertainer Andy Lau with a Special Tribute Award at the World Premiere Gala presentation of Ning Hao’s The Movie Emperor, in which he stars. 

The SAG-AFTRA picket line in New York City on July 14, 2023. (@sagaftra/Twitter)

ACTRA National and UBCP ACTRA will host solidarity rallies Friday in support of striking Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and Writers Guild of America (WGA) members. SAG-AFTRA National Vice President, Los Angeles, Michelle Hurd will join ACTRA National President Eleanor Noble, and other ACTRA Members and sibling unions, for the 10 a.m. ET rally in downtown Toronto outside Amazon and Apple headquarters. The rally will be streamed live on ACTRA National’s Facebook page. UBCP-ACTRA will also hold a solidarity rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery at 11 a.m. PT to be streamed live on UBCP/ACTRA’s Instagram page.

Corus Studios and Nikki Ray Media Agency have started work on The Love Club Moms, the next chapter of the made-for-tv movie franchise. Set to premiere on W Network and STACKTV in 2024, The Love Club Moms will be represented internationally by Corus Studios. Production is currently underway in the Hamilton area until October. The four-part original movie franchise follows the romantic lives of four strong, successful women played by Ashley Newbrough (Love in Glacier National: A National Park Romance), Rebecca Dalton (Nurses), Genelle Williams (Family Law), and Nazneen Contractor (Children Ruin Everything) – as they juggle motherhood with trying to find their happily ever after. The Love Club Moms also stars Ryan Bruce (Let Him Go), Corey Sevier (Take Me Back For Christmas), Mark Taylor (Beyond Black Beauty), and Joseph Cannata (A Perfect Match).

Jean-François Roberge, Min. of French Language for Quebec, has announced a $4.9 million grant to Télé-Québec to produce a game show promoting the French language. Intended for a family audience, La langue dans ma poche will air weekly starting in winter 2024. Fifty-two half-hour episodes will be broadcast during prime time until Dec. 2025. Building on the success of Le français comme je l’aime, produced in 2021, a network announcement says “the concept aims to bring out the mobilizing side of our language, with its beauty, its thousand accents and its expressions.” The show will be hosted by Anaïs Favron and Mike Clay.

Mary Berg

CTV’s newest daytime addition The Good Stuff with Mary Berg is set to air weekdays at 10 a.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, beginning Sept. 5. Taped in front of a live studio audience, the one-hour, daily talk and lifestyle series promises fun, food, and conversation. Berg’s culinary series Mary Makes It Easy, airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m., also returns to the CTV Life Channel schedule, starting Sept. 5.

Carolyn Taylor

Crave Original docu-comedy series, I Have Nothing drops Sept. 23 at 9 p.m. ET with all six episodes, immediately following a special screening event at the Just for Laughs Festival in Toronto featuring star Carolyn Taylor. Created by Taylor, and produced by Catalyst and Blue Ant Studios, in association with Bell Media, the series follows Taylor (Baroness Von Sketch) on a comical quest to choreograph the perfect, full-length pairs figure skating routine to Whitney Houston’s 1992 iconic hit song, “I Have Nothing.” The series will be available to Crave audiences in English and French. Motivated by a teenaged obsession for the 1988 Calgary Olympics that also sparked Taylor’s queer awakening, I Have Nothing is a nostalgic comedy that morphs into a high-stakes, real-life mission. Among the figure skating legends appearing are Sandra Bezic, David Pelletier, Ekaterina Gordeeva, Brian Orser, Kurt Browning, Paul Martini, Barbara Underhill, Katarina Witt, Tara Lipinski, Kristi Yamaguchi, Adam Rippon, Elladj Baldé, and Elizabeth Manley, as well as award-winning comedian Mae Martin

Crave has announced the return of original series Shoresy for its six-episode second season. The first two episodes drop Sept. 29, followed by one new episode every Friday. Created by and starring Jared Keeso, directed by Jacob Tierney and produced by New Metric Media in association with Play Fun Games, the half hour comedy sees fan favourite Letterkenny character Shoresy (Keeso), and the Sudbury Blueberry Bulldogs of the Northern Ontario Senior Hockey Organization (The NOSHO), continue their quest to never lose again. Joining the lineup this season are Frederick Roy (son of Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy), international pop star Rêve, Catherine St-Laurent (Tu Dors Nicole) and Jordana Lajoie (The Boys).

Global has announced fall premiere dates for its new and returning reality programming and Canadian scripted drama. Survivor is back for Season 45, featuring 90-minute episodes each week starting Wednesday, Sept. 27. Also on Wednesday nights, Robyn Hood, the contemporary re-imagining of the Robin Hood legend, produced by Boat Rocker and from creator Director X, debuts Sept. 27 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Global’s unscripted slate includes new series premieres Buddy Games from Josh Duhamel (Sept. 14), Lotería Loca, hosted by Jaime Camil (Oct. 2), and Raid the Cage (Oct. 13).

CBC has announced streaming and broadcast premiere dates for its fall 2023 slate of new and returning programming on CBC Gem and CBC TV. New Canadian original series include the Telling Our Story documentary series (Sept. 17), a TIFF 2023 selection sharing the perspectives of 11 First Peoples in Quebec; new limited drama series Bones of Crows (Sept. 20); Black Life: Untold Stories (Oct. 18 on CBC Gem and Oct. 25 on CBC TV), a docuseries reframing the complex histories of Black experiences in Canada; new limited series Blackberry (Nov. 9), an extended series version of the feature film; and docuseries Swan Song (Nov. 22) offering a backstage look at first-time director Karen Kain’s new production of Swan Lake for the National Ballet of Canada on the eve of her retirement.

CBC Gem is now available on the Roku platform in Canada. The addition of the public broadcaster’s streaming service gives Roku users access to more than 6,500 hours of free live and on-demand programming, joining Radio-Canada’s ICI TOU.TV service on the platform. Roku says with 76% of Canadians now fully streaming TV and 49% streaming live TV, the partnership underscores the ongoing shift in consumer viewer habits away from conventional television. Read more here.

GESPE’GEWA’GI: The Last Land returns to APTN for Season 2, a 10-part, half-hour documentary series about Mi’kmaq people on the East Coast whose lives are inextricably connected to the water. Season 2 will take viewers to four different First Nations in Mi`kma`ki: Listuguj (QC), Gesgapegiag (QC), Sipekne’katik (NS) and Pictou Landing (NS). The series premiere in English on APTN lumi on Aug. 29 and APTN on Sept. 5.

AMI (Accessible Media Inc.) has unveiled its AMI-tv schedule for the 2023-24 fall broadcast season, with a lineup of new and returning AMI originals available in described video for the blind, partially sighted and disability community. In addition to new seasons of AMI-tv’s live daily shows, NOW with Dave Brown and Kelly and Ramya, AMI invites viewers to join host Bobbi Janzen for a new crop of accessible exercises in Healthy at Home, engage in technology conversations via Access Tech Live, and learn about those driving positive social change through sport in Level Playing Field.

Movie Theatre Association of Canada (MTAC) and the Cinema Foundation, based in the U.S., are once again offering discounted admissions for the second annual National Cinema Day, Aug. 27. National Cinema Day brings together audiences to enjoy a day at the movies at a discounted admission of $4 (plus applicable taxes). The one-day only event will be held at more than 3,000 participating locations with more than 30,000 screens across North America. Participating theatres in Canada include Cineplex, Cinémas Ciné Entreprise, Imagine Cinemas, Landmark Cinemas, Magic Lantern Theatres, and other local independent theatres.

ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:

FRIENDS is leading a 48-hour boycott of Facebook and Instagram this week, in response to Meta’s move to block news on its platforms in Canada. The public broadcasting watchdog and Canadian culture advocate is urging users to “Go Dark” on Meta’s platforms as the digital giant’s news blocking exercise in response to passage of the Online News Act, closes in on the one-month mark. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among those denouncing Meta’s news block earlier this week as thousands of residents of B.C. and the Northwest Territories are evacuated due to wildfires. Trudeau told a news conference Monday that Facebook had chosen “to put corporate profits ahead of ensuring that local news organizations can get up to date information to Canadians…” Read more here. CBC President Catherine Tait, meanwhile, has written a letter appealing to Meta’s President of Global Affairs to end news blocking in Canadian communities affected by wildfires, which made headlines on CNN.

X ( the platform formerly known as Twitter) is changing how news links show up in users’ timelines. Headlines and text will be stripped out of links to display an article’s feature image only. The change, being directly led by X owner Elon Musk, is reportedly being driven by a desire for both better esthetics and a reduction in clickbait articles.

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

Rogers Communications is being sued by former CEO Joe Natale for wrongful dismissal and breach of contract over his ouster during the 2021 family power struggle for control of the company led by Edward Rogers. Natale’s statement of claim, filed in Ontario Superior Court, seeks $24 million in damages, including $4 million related to an unpaid bonus due upon closure of Rogers’ acquisition of Shaw Communications, under terms of his employment contract. A former TELUS CEO, Natale served as Rogers’ CEO from 2017 to Nov. 2021, when current President & CEO Tony Staffieri was appointed to the role. Read more here.

TVO workers, represented by the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), ralllying outside the broadcaster’s headquarters on Yonge Street in Toronto on Aug. 16, 2023 (X/CMG)

TVO journalists and producers, represented by the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), walked off the job at 10:30 a.m. ET Monday. Without a contract since October of last year, the union had warned that its members at the Ontario public broadcaster would be in a legal strike position as of last Friday, with the bargaining team unable to come to agreement with the Ontario government on issues including the phasing out of permanent positions and salaries that CMG says aren’t keeping pace with the rising cost of living in Toronto. “While it is unfortunate that we have not yet been able to come to a collective bargaining agreement with our CMG employees, TVO Media Education Group remains committed to continuing discussions with CMG and finding a resolution,” said Jeffrey L. Orridge, CEO of TVO, in a statement. “We are ready to meet with CMG at any time and we remain confident that we can bring this to a resolution that works for both parties. We look forward to continuing our work together to bring important current affair journalism and educational content to Ontarians.” Read more here.

CRTCThe CRTC has called for comments on its proposed new Broadcasting Fees Regulations. With adoption of the Online Streaming Act, the amended Broadcasting Act broadens the pool of potential feepayers from licensed broadcasting undertakings to all broadcasting undertakings, including a newly-defined class of online undertakings (for the transmission or retransmission of programs over the Internet). It also eliminates some of the fees paid by broadcasting undertakings by abolishing Part II licence fees imposed under the current fee regulations. One important change is that the new regs will require broadcasting ownership groups to pay broadcasting fees, rather than individual broadcasting undertakings. Other changes include setting a threshold exemption level of $10 million (Canadian) for the broadcasting ownership groups, and providing for an upper limit to the amount of fees. Since online undertakings will now be liable for fees under the amended Act, the commission needs to define which online undertakings will be required to pay these fees. Interventions are being accepted until Sept. 22.

BROADCAST TECH & ENGINEERING:

Avid is being acquired by an affiliate of STG in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.4 billion, inclusive of Avid’s net debt. Jeff Rosica, Avid President and CEO, said STG’s expertise in the technology sector and significant financial resources will help accelerate the company’s strategic vision. The acquisition is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2023, subject to Avid stockholder and regulatory approvals. Upon completion of the transaction, Avid will become a privately-held company, and its common stock will no longer be traded on Nasdaq.

Electric Sheep, a UK-based AI tech startup in visual effects (VFX), has announced the close of an oversubscribed pre-seed funding round of half a million dollars, led by Dasein Capital (U.S.), and backed by Spatial Capital (U.S.) and Look AI Ventures (Czech Republic). Electric Sheep is pioneering a solution to automate flawless background removal for TV and film. Known as rotoscoping, the process is essential before adding special effects. Currently, the only way to deliver the detail needed for the big screen is to manually cut around foregrounds frame-by-frame, which takes around six hours for one second of footage and costs the industry over $1.5 billion per year. Electric Sheep’s cloud-native solution, Spotlight, is 360x faster, processing one second of footage in less than a minute.

Image Credit: Alamy

Triton Digital has announced a data integration that will see YouTube views of podcast episodes integrated into Triton Podcast Metrics, one of the first IAB-certified podcast measurement services to do so. Publishers using Podcast Metrics will be able to compare podcast downloads and views of their programming on YouTube within the interface and consolidate video metrics from a variety of programs. A Podcast Metrics Demos+ survey, conducted by Triton Digital and Signal Hill Insights, found 28% of monthly podcast listeners name YouTube as the platform they use most often to consume podcasts. 

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