The Weekly Briefing

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REVOLVING DOOR:

Scott Roberts will succeed the retiring Gord Steinke as co-anchor of Global News Hours at 6 in Edmonton, beginning Sept. 1. Roberts, who’ll co-anchor alongside Carole Anne Devaney, was most recently at CTV Vancouver. He had been co-anchoring the station’s flagship newscast since the fall of 2018, alongside Mi-Jung Lee, until getting caught up in layoffs at Bell Media this past March. Born in Ontario, the Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) graduate launched his television career in Edmonton with CTV News as a weekend anchor and reporter, following time as a print journalist. Read more here. Meanwhile, as Steinke approaches his retirement, he caught up with longtime former co-anchor Lynda Steele, with whom he shared the Global Edmonton desk for 15 years.

Sangita Patel

Sangita Patel has been promoted to host at ET Canada after 10 seasons as a reporter on the entertainment news program. Patel will co-host the nightly broadcast alongside longtime host Cheryl Hickey, when ET Canada’s 18th season premieres Sept. 12 on Global. In addition to her work with ET Canada, Patel hosted HGTV Canada’s Home to Win in 2016, for which she was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award. Read more here.

Tim Parent

Tim Parent has parted ways with CityNews 660 (CFFR-AM) Calgary where he’d been News Director since 2019. Prior to joining Rogers Sports & Media, Parent produced The Morning Show out of Global Toronto. He’s now freelancing as a content specialist for Calgary-based ag media company, Rural Roots Canada.

Randene Neill

Randene Neill has left CityNews 1130 (CKWX-AM) Vancouver where she’d been co-anchoring the morning news for the last 10 months. Neill was previously with Global BC for 18 years, before moving into public relations in 2016 for Anthem Properties Group and Providence Health Care.

Denise Wong

Denise Wong is leaving CityNews Vancouver after 12 years to move on to another opportunity outside of journalism. Wong started with the station as a web editor and anchor in 2010. She had been Managing Editor of Digital since late 2020.

Krissy Vann

Krissy Vann has announced her departure from CTV Morning Live Vancouver. Vann has been a Community Host & Producer with the show since 2018. Prior to joining CTV, she was with The Weather Network for six years, first as a host in Oakville before relocating to the West Coast in 2015 to serve as the Vancouver bureau video journalist.

Shawn Churchill

Shawn Churchill, CTV Saskatoon’s Assignment Editor, has joined the Saskatoon Tribal Council as a Corporate Communications Specialist. Churchill was formerly the sports director at CTV Winnipeg for 19 years, prior to relocating to Saskatchewan in 2019. Also a contributor to TSN over the years, Churchill was inducted into the Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Media Roll of Honour in 2016. 

Ed Lawrence

Ed Lawrence, the resident gardening expert on CBC Radio’s Ontario Today, is retiring. Lawrence, who oversaw the greenhouses at Rideau Hall and the residences of the Prime Minister and Opposition Minister from 1977 to 2006, has been contributing to the call-in show for the past 40 years. Ontario Today will celebrate Lawrence’s legacy with a special show Monday, Aug. 29 from noon to 1 p.m. ET. You can send your tribute to ontariotoday@cbc.ca.

David Fraser

David Fraser is leaving CBC Ottawa to join the Parliament Hill bureau at The Canadian Press (CP). Fraser, who previously reported in Alberta and Saskatchewan, will serve as CP’s justice reporter and helm the wire service’s coverage of the Emergencies Act inquiry, set to start in September. Fraser has carved out a reputation for his dogged reporting on the “Freedom Convoy.” 

Dylan Robertson

Dylan Robertson is joining The Canadian Press, covering international affairs, trade and development out of the Ottawa bureau. He arrives from the Winnipeg Free Press where he’d been Ottawa Bureau Chief since 2017.

Alana Cameron

Alana Cameron and Aaron Tompkins have stepped in to host the MIX 97 (CIGL-AM) Belleville morning show as Orlena Cain ends her 13-year run as co-host and Sean Kelly takes time off to seek a second term on Belleville City Council. Cain has relocated to Vancouver to work with XL The Band as their social media editor, in addition to pursuing other TV, movie and voice work. Cameron was formerly part of the MIX Morning Crew from 2016-20.

Derek Watson

Derek “Watty” Watson is joining Harvard Broadcasting’s 96.3 CRUZ FM (CFWD-FM) Saskatoon after a two-year absence from radio. Watson, who’ll host the station’s evening show, was previously in-market as a member of the Rock 102 (CJDJ-FM) morning show for 13 years. Prior to joining Rawlco, he helmed afternoon drive at Harvard’s 104.9 The Wolf (CFWF-FM). Watson has most recently been working as videographer and editor.

Alison Mullock

Alison Mullock, who has been part of the FM Promotions team at Corus Radio Vancouver since 2020, has parted ways with the station group to move on to another opportunity. Mullock worked in promotions with both Pattison Media and Bell Media, prior to joining Corus.

Sadie Chung

Sadie Chung has left Vancouver all-traffic station AM 730 (CKGO-AM). The traffic reporter and anchor had been with Corus since July 2021. Chung has joined Freeman Casting in Burnaby as a Casting Assistant.

Marie-Christine Jean

Marie-Christine Jean is joining MELS’ management committee as Vice President, Postproduction & Business Development. With over 17 years of experience in the cultural and media industries, including four as a director at MELS, Jean will be responsible for three MELS divisions: sound and picture postproduction; distribution services; and business development and sales. Her appointment comes on the heels of Geneviève Brodeur’s appointment as VP, Studios & Business Development in April. They will work together closely to promote MELS full range of integrated services.

Stephanie Azam

Stephanie Azam has been hired by Disney+ Canada as Director of Content. Azam was most recently Vice President, Development and Acquisitions at Montreal independent distributor, MK2|MILE END. Prior to that, she spent 13 years at Telefilm as National Director of Feature Film.

Eric Ellenbogen

Eric Ellenbogen’s contract as Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chair of WildBrain has been extended for another three years. Ellenbogen joined WildBrain in August 2019. As part of the company’s overall succession planning, the contract includes an option to transition Ellenbogen to Executive Chair in the second half of the term. He was previously President of Broadway Video Entertainment, Golden Books Family Entertainment, and Marvel Enterprises before its acquisition by Disney. He also co-founded Classic Media in 2000, which became one of the largest private owners of branded kids’ and family entertainment and was acquired by DreamWorks Animation (DWA) in 2012. At DWA, he became Co-Head of DreamWorks Classics and DreamWorks International Television.

Julie Adam, President, News & Entertainment, Rogers Sports & Media, is now Chair Elect of the board of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS). Adam has served as a board member for The JUNO Awards and MusiCounts for the past five years, in addition to serving as an adjudicator for MusiCounts’ scholarship and grant programs.

RADIO & PODCAST:

Bill Evanov

Bill Evanov will be posthumously inducted into the Ontario Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame this October. The Evanov Communications founder and president passed away in March 2020 at age 77. Nominated by the board, the Ontario Hall of Fame Award is annually presented to individuals who’ve demonstrated a commitment to the highest standards of broadcast excellence. Evanov was previously inducted into the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame in 2011. The presentation will take place during CONNECTION 2022, at the OAB Awards Luncheon on Oct. 19. Read more here.

The CRTC has found that the Winnipeg market cannot support an additional commercial radio station at this time. The commission is returning an application filed by 888 Enterprises Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate a new commercial ethnic FM radio station, however, the commission is publishing an application filed by U Multicultural Inc. for a broadcasting licence to operate a community ethnic FM radio station in this market as part of the non-appearing phase of an upcoming public hearing.

The CRTC finds that the market of Lunenburg County, NS, can sustain a new radio station at this time. Accordingly, the commission will publish the application filed by Scott Clements on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated for a broadcasting licence to operate a new English-language commercial FM radio station in the market as part of the non-appearing phase of an upcoming public hearing. Clements is the owner of national country music database, Trax Report, and Principle Projects Label Services. He’s previously held various roles in radio with Rawlco and Harvard Broadcasting in Saskatchewan, Corus Entertainment in Hamilton, and MBS Radio and Acadia Broadcasting in the Maritimes.

RNC Média is launching a new French-language sports talk network in Quebec. BPM Sports will launch Aug. 29 on 91.9 Sports (CKLX-FM) Montreal, as well as current Vibe music stations, 100.9 (CHXX-FM) Quebec City and 96.5 (CFTX-FM) Gatineau. Jean-Charles Lajoie will helm the morning show, joined by names in other dayparts like Gilbert Delorme, Benoît Roger, Georges Laracque, Maxime Truman, Maxime Van Houtte, Martin Lemay and Paul Houde. Other contributors include Tony Marinaro, Réjean Tremblay, former Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, and former Montreal Alouette Matthieu Proulx, among others. The network holds the broadcast rights to CF Montreal and the Montreal Canadiens’ American Hockey League affiliate,  Laval Rocket, among other sporting. events. 

Jim Hughson

The BC Hockey League (BCHL) has renamed its Broadcaster of the Year award The Jim Hughson Award. Hughson, 65, retired last September from Hockey Night in Canada after 42 years of sports broadcasting that began in 1979 calling South Peace Hockey League games on CKNL Radio in his hometown of Fort St. John, B.C. Hughson is currently serving as the Chairman of the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame.  

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) has announced its AMI-audio lineup for the 2022-23 broadcast season, including four new podcasts. New AMI-audio podcasts available on YouTube include Tripping On Air, hosted by Fashion Dis host Ardra Shephard, along with Alex Hajjar, who adapts her confessional blog as a podcast on what it’s really like to live with MS; Raising Kindness with Becki Zerr features the former RN and her son, Bennett, performing acts of kindness in shelters, community centres and nursing homes in southern Saskatchewan; Blind Golf Canada, hosted by Gerry Nelson and Darren Douma, champions the evolution of the AMI-supported sport, including its recent partnership with ParaGolf Canada; Shaun of the Shed, hosted by Double Tap’s Shaun Preece from his shed, gives those new to the world of technology a helping hand with everything from using a screen reader or smart speakers to unboxing and starting up a new computer. Also new to YouTube are The Pulse, an in-depth discussion on issues impacting the disability community and Low Vision Moments with Jennie Bovard which presents funny experiences that happen when you are blind or partially sighted.

Edison Research’s quarterly “Share of Ear” study says agencies and advertisers underestimate AM/FM radio shares and overestimate Pandora and Spotify audiences. The just released Q2 2022 report reveals a gap in agency/marketer perceptions of audio audiences. A study of 300 media agencies and marketers, conducted in August 2021 by Advertiser Perceptions, found the perceived share of Pandora/Spotify is a combined 45%, much greater than the perceived share of AM/FM radio (28%). Edison says AM/FM radio’s actual share is three times larger than advertisers perceive with its Q2 report indicating AM/FM radio’s 18+ share of ad-supported audio is 75%, 13 times larger than Pandora (6%) and 19 times greater than Spotify (4%). 

LISTEN: Arguably one of the biggest radio stunts of the last decade happened earlier this summer with the launch of Rogers Sports & Media’s SONiC RADiO format in Metro Vancouver. A stunt that saw Rage Against The Machine’s Killing in the Name enable the transition from the former KiSS format. In the 30-hour space between, the ensuing theories about why went viral. On this episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast, alt rock radio veterans Christian Hall, SONiC RADiO’s Content Director and the National Content Director for JACK FM, and Angela Valiant, the host of the SONiC Vancouver morning show, take us behind the scenes of the launch. We also get into the nuances of alt rock programming, algorithm fatigue, and why Hall believes Vancouver just became the most exciting radio market in the country. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

LISTEN: Jeff Winskell is a bit of an anomaly in radio, going from film student to radio show producer in just a few years. Winskell joins the Sound Off Podcast to talk about his lengthy award-winning radio career that’s taken him from Vancouver to Ontario, including 14 years with Bell Media. He and Matt Cundill discuss the path he took across the nation, the differences he found between the East and West, and the logistics of being in charge of 21 radio stations at the same time. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here:

SIGN OFFS:

Ian Power

Ian Power, 63, on Aug. 23, at Richmond General Hospital, from advanced Glioblastoma. Power’s broadcast career started in 1978 at CFUN Vancouver as part of the cruiser team. By 1980, he was hosting evenings and weekends at CISL Vancouver, followed by stints at CISQ-FM and CISW-FM Squamish/Whistler, CJVB Vancouver, and CIOF/CKXY Vancouver. He joined Rogers in the late 1980s as a creative consultant for several years, before returning to an on-air role at Pattison Media Vancouver in 1994 where he hosted weekend/swing on JR FM (CJJR-FM) and afternoon drive on CKBD. After 15 years with Pattison, Power moved over to 980 CKNW weekend program, The Home Discovery Show, in 2009 where he was a host and producer for seven years. More recently, he’d been hosting the morning show on 107.7 Pulse FM (CISF-FM) Surrey.

Gerald Potterton (right) and Buster Keaton

Gerald Potterton, 91, on Aug. 23. Born in London, England and a student of the Hammersmith Art School, Potterton emigrated to Canada in 1954 to work alongside the pioneers of NFB animation. He created animation for NFB films throughout the ‘50s before directing his own shorts, including Stephen Leacock adaptation My Financial Career (1962) and Christmas Cracker (1963, co-directed with Norman McLaren, Jeff Hale and Grant Munro), which were both nominated for Academy Awards. He made his mark in live-action comedy with The Ride (1963) and the The Railrodder (1965), starring Buster Keaton in one of his last film roles. In 1968, Potterton returned to England to work on the Beatles animated feature Yellow Submarine, followed by a collaboration with Harold Pinter on NBC TV special Pinter People. Upon his return to Canada, he formed independent production company, Potterton Productions, which turned out projects including Oscar Wilde adaptation The Selfish Giant (1972), an animated short that netted him a third Oscar nomination. In 1981, he directed animated cult classic Heavy Metal for Columbia Pictures, supervising more than 65 animators in Canada, England and the U.S. In later years, Potterton took up painting, also continuing to develop film and TV projects from his home base in Knowlton, Que. A member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, he was selected by the World Animation Celebration in 1998 as one of “Ten Men Who Have Rocked the Animation World.” There have been over a dozen retrospectives and lifetime honours for his work in recent years, including at the Ottawa Animation Film Festival (1994) and Seattle Film Festival (1997).

Nelson Branco

Nelson Branco, 48, on Aug. 22. Originally from Winnipeg, Branco graduated from Ryerson University’s Radio & Television Arts program in the mid-’90s, starting his career working with publications like Soap Opera Update and Xtra Magazine. He continued in entertainment journalism with In Touch, where he helped launch the magazine in 2003 under editor Richard Spencer. Around the same time, he started writing for TV Guide, Weekly Scoop, and Hello! Canada. Branco also ventured into television with short stints as a writer on The Marilyn Denis Show and CTV News Channel, and as a segment and chase producer at Breakfast Television. He went on to serve as the senior producer on Sun News Network’s “Straight Talk with Adrienne Batra” from 2013-15. He then took up the role of Editor at Postmedia commuter paper, 24 Hours. Since 2017, he’d held the title of National Video & Digital Lead for the Toronto Sun and Canoe. Branco was caught up in layoffs this past June when his position was eliminated. Over the years, he was also a contributor to HufPost, Closer, and Zoomer Magazine, among other publications.

TV & FILM:

Eternal Spring (長春), a feature documentary about Chinese comic book artist Daxiong from director, writer and producer Jason Loftus, will represent Canada in the nomination process for Best International Feature Film at the 95th Academy Awards. Set for release in Canada on Sept. 23, the animated documentary highlights the work of the Chinese illustrator, who was forced to flee his homeland after taking part in a 2002 rebellion by Falun Gong practitioners to take over a state television station to protest human rights abuses. The first-person account of Daxiong’s escape to North America is detailed in 3D animated re-enactments, inspired by his work. Already screened at several international festivals, Eternal Spring won both the Rogers Audience Award for Best Canadian Feature at Hot Docs, in addition to the Hot Docs Audience Award. Read more here.

Netflix has greenlit two Canadian unscripted series – marblemedia’s Drink Masters and Insight Productions’ Cook At All Costs – which will debut on the streamer this fall. Drink Masters, set to premiere Oct. 28, sees 12 mixologists from across North America compete for the title of Ultimate Drink Master. Cook At All Costs is set for a Dec. 16 premiere. Hosted by Canadian chef and restaurateur Jordan Andino, the cooking competition features three home cooks who bid on ingredients to use in a cook-off.

Jay Baruchel

Jay Baruchel is set to star in Blackberry, a feature film chronicling the rise and fall of Waterloo, ON-based Research in Motion (RIM) that will be introduced to buyers at TIFF. Adapted from the 2015 book, Losing the Signal: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Blackberry, Baruchel stars alongside Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) as company co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, respectively. Directed by Toronto’s Matt Johnson, who also plays RIM’s third co-founder, Doug Fregin, the cast is rounded out by Cary Elwes, Saul Rubinek and Michael Ironside. Filmed in and around Hamilton, as well as Waterloo and London, Blackberry has now wrapped production.

Ryan Cooper

Farpoint Films has signed filmmaker Ryan Cooper’s Back to Space Productions to a multi-year first look producing deal. Winnipeg-based Farpoint will have a first look at all of Cooper’s new shows with the two companies already working together on projects including Alter Boys for CBC Gem, written and directed by Jonathan Lawrence and produced by Cooper. Cooper’s past projects include Freedom Road (NFB), When the Children Left (National Screen Institute – Canada), and Daybreak People (Bell MTS).

CBC original family dramedy Moonshine (8×60) will return for a third season in 2023, with production now underway in Nova Scotia. Created by Sheri Elwood (Lucifer, Call Me Fitz) and produced by Six Eleven Media and Entertainment One (eOne), the Canadian Screen Award-nominated series follows the Finley-Cullens, a dysfunctional clan of adult half-siblings battling for control of the Moonshine, a ramshackle campground on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. The second season will premiere Oct. 2 on CBC and CBC Gem, with the entire first season now available to stream. Guest stars set to join Season 3 include Jonathan Silverman (Weekend at Bernie’s) and Kirsten Howell (Trailer Park Boys).

Top Chef Canada, Season 10 Key Cast. (L-R): Janet Zuccarini, Mark McEwan, Eden Grinshpan, David Zilber, Chris Nuttall-Smith, and Mijune Pak. Photo Credit: Mike Ford / Food Network Canada. (CNW Group/Corus Entertainment)

Food Network Canada’s Top Chef Canada returns for a milestone 10th season. Dubbed Top Chef Canada X, the new season makes its debut Sept. 26. Top Chef Canada welcomes acclaimed chef and fermenter David Zilber to the judging panel, joining returning cast: chef and cookbook author Eden Grinshpan as host, along with judges Mark McEwan, chef and owner of The McEwan Group; restaurateur Janet Zuccarini; food writer and personality Mijune Pak; and food journalist and critic Chris Nuttall-Smith.

UNINTERRUPTED Canada, the Canadian Football League (CFL), Bell Media and OK Tire have started production on new feature documentary, Rivalries: The QEW Series, chronicling the longstanding rivalry between the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The documentary will present the teams’ up-and-coming and veteran stars, while contextualizing the historical tension between the clubs. Set to air on TSN this fall, the doc will also feature the personal stories of Argos quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson and linebacker Henoc Muamba, and their respective Ti-Cats counterparts, Dane Evans and Simoni Lawrence.

Kenzie Lalonde

TSN will deliver coverage of the 2022 IIHF Women’s World Championship, Aug. 25 – Sept 4, with live coverage of all games from Group A as well as the Medal Round, including the Quarter-finals, Semifinals, and Gold Medal Game. TSN’s coverage features play-by-play commentator Kenzie Lalonde, alongside analyst and six-time IIHF gold medallist Cheryl Pounder. From the TSN studio will be IIHF gold medallist Tessa Bonhomme, alongside analysts Jayna Hefford and Sami Jo Small. BarDown’s Julia Tocheri will contribute behind-the-scenes social content and report rinkside throughout the tournament.

CTV has confirmed fall premiere dates. Joining the schedule are new series including The Rookie spinoff, The Rookie: Feds (Tuesdays, beginning Sept. 27), starring Niecy Nash-Betts (RENO 911!); cop drama East New York (Sundays, beginning Oct. 2) with Amanda Warren (NCIS: New Orleans) and Jimmy Smits (Sons Of Anarchy); and Alaska Daily (Thursdays, beginning Oct. 6), starring Hilary Swank as a journalist seeking a fresh start in Alaska. Also coming to CTV this fall is Celebrity Jeopardy! (Sundays, beginning Sept. 25), hosted by Mayim Bialik.

CBC Gem original series launching in September include the world premiere of the Vancouver shot and set comedy FAKES (Sept. 1) which follows two teenage best friends who accidentally build one of the largest fake ID empires in North America; TIFF 2022 selection LIDO TV (Sept. 23), hosted by Colombian-Canadian musician and artist, Lido Pimienta; VIRGINS! (Sept. 27), a dramatic comedy created by Aden Abebe about four Toronto women of East African descent stumbling through adulthood as millennials; and the animated Dreams in Vantablack (Sept. 29), a poetic anthology of 12 short films featuring Black youth poets. In recognition of National Truth and Reconciliation Day on Friday, Sept. 30, CBC Gem will feature new documentaries including Bimibatoo-Win: Where I Ran (Sept. 27) and The Passionate Eye – The Pretendians (Sept. 30). 

APTN has unveiled its fall lineup that includes new reality series Bears’ Lair (Sept. 11) that offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to 18 aspiring Indigenous entrepreneurs. The nine-episode competition show will see contestants pitch their best ideas to a panel of business moguls in hopes of winning a $100,000 grand prize. Also new is Ghost Hunters of the Grand River (Oct. 26), following a group of First Nations ghost hunters investigating paranormal occurrences. APTN will also air Celebrating 50 years: The Beachcombers (starting Oct. 3), broadcasting a selection of episodes from the iconic series across its channels.

APTN series, Moosemeat & Marmalade, returns for Season 6 this fall with 13 all-new episodes. The popular B.C.-produced food docuseries, which won a 2022 Leo Award for Best Cinematography Documentary Series, reunites co-hosts Art Napoleon and Dan Hayes for another season of inter-tribal food exploration and cultural discovery, focusing on their own backyard: Western Canada. Season 6 premieres on APTN in English and French on Sept. 6 with new episodes airing weekly. Since first premiering in 2015, Moosemeat & Marmalade has aired in multiple languages across the U.S., France, Russia, and New Zealand. 

Brendan Fraser

Brendan Fraser will receive the TIFF Tribute Award for Performance for his work in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale, which will have its North American premiere at the festival. The TIFF Tribute Awards will return to an in-person gala fundraiser during the 47th edition of TIFF on Sunday, Sept. 11 at Fairmont Royal York Hotel. The Whale tells the story of a reclusive English teacher living with severe obesity who attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption. The A24 film is based on the play by Samuel D. Hunter and also stars Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins, and Samantha Morton.

Jason Reitman

TIFF has revealed that Jason Reitman’s Live Read will return to the festival for an all-star event featuring a surprise cast on Sept. 9. This year, the Montreal-born filmmaker will present a surprise screenplay in honour of his father, Ivan Reitman. The live read is a unique event in which classic movie scripts are read by contemporary actors in one-take with Reitman narrating stage direction. This year’s cast and film title will be announced in the coming weeks. TIFF has previously welcomed Reitman and all-star casts for live table reads of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights, Alan Ball’s American Beauty, John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club, and William Goldman’s The Princess Bride. 

OYA Black Arts Coalition (OBAC) and the Canadian Film Centre Media Lab, in partnership with Dark Slope, are calling on founders of Black-owned content creation companies to apply for the second cohort of Scale Up Immersive, an accelerator lab aimed at increasing the capacity of Black content creators and/or producers working in the immersive media space. Applications for the second cohort of Scale Up Immersive open Aug. 26, with the deadline to apply on Oct. 7. The accelerator is slated to start in mid-November, funded by the federal government through the Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP) Ecosystem Fund, delivered by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). Throughout the five-month virtual/in-person hybrid accelerator lab, 10 founders of Black-owned media production companies will receive hands-on mentorship and networking opportunities, and intensive workshops, including access to Dark Slope’s state-of-the-art immersive media production facilities in Toronto.

ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:

MiQ has announced an exclusive partnership with Bell Media, to access its programmatic advertising marketplace, Bell DSP. The programmatic media partner will leverage Bell DSP’s TV consumption insights and premium TV inventory to drive its Advanced TV product, as well as the company’s sustainability offering, which helps brands offset the carbon footprint emitted by their digital advertising campaigns. MiQ released an intelligence report in May, in conjunction with eMarketer, predicting that the digital ad spend in Canada will be more than double that of traditional ad spending for the first time this year, accounting for 68.3% of the total ad market. Headquartered in London, UK, MiQ has been staffing up in Canada as one of the company’s fastest-growing markets. Canada is among the highest digital ad spending nations, ranking fourth among the 30 countries included in eMarketer’s global forecasts, only eclipsed by China (81.5%), the UK (77.2%), and the U.S. (71.9%). Read more here.

Frost & Sullivan have released their Global SVOD Services Market analysis that predicts the SVOD market will reach $151.49 billion by 2028 from $87.30 billion in 2021, registering growth at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2%. Frost & Sullivan says COVID-19 presented a unique expansion opportunity, finding that the general growth of digital media consumption encouraged companies from the sports, film, and television industries to create their own platforms, providing people with more streaming choices and SVOD services. Lara Forlino, ICT Research Analyst at Frost & Sullivan, also notes that artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and virtual reality are changing the way customers interact with SVOD platforms, creating market opportunities to enhance user experiences and unlock new revenue streams.

REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA:

Image Credit: Alamy

Bell Media says it will launch an “independent third-party internal workplace review” of its newsroom, in the wake of the public backlash over the termination of CTV Chief Anchor and Senior News Editor Lisa LaFlamme. Bell issued a statement Friday morning, signed by Wade Oosterman, President of Bell Media, and Karine Moses, Senior Vice President, Content Development and News, saying that “CTV regrets that the way in which her departure has been communicated may have left viewers with the wrong impression about how CTV regards Lisa and her remarkable career.” As insinuations abound on social media about the role ageism and sexism may have played in LaFlamme being released from her contract, Bell’s statement follows a memo sent to Bell Media newsroom staff on Thursday in which Moses countered media coverage “filled with false narratives,” clarifying that LaFlamme was given the opportunity for a formal goodbye, but turned it down. She also expressed her support for VP of News Michael Melling. The memo was followed by a town hall at which Melling and Moses were present to answer questions from staff. Read more here.

Lisa LaFlamme’s departure is still making headlines with a North Bay, ON man’s petition to bring the anchor back now at 158,000 signatures. LaFlamme’s predecessor in the Chief Anchor role, Lloyd Robertson, expressed his support for her at a weekend event in Stratford, while LaFlamme’s premature exit from CTV also spurred retired Lieutenant-General and former Senator Romeo Dallaire to chime in about institutional sexism. Dove Canada has also jumped in to capitalize on the perceived role LaFlamme’s move to go grey may have had in her release from the network.

CRTCThe CRTC’s newly-released broadcast sector highlights for 2020-21, indicate commercial profitability during the 2021 broadcast year was mostly flat year-over-year. The commission’s analysis says that can be at least partially attributed to COVID-19 subsidies and the broadcasting industry’s move to adapt to downward pressure on revenues, noting that since the start of the pandemic, operating expenses have been reduced across all commercial sectors of the industry. The CRTC says since the start of the pandemic, average traditional radio hours per listeners per week have further declined, while digital media broadcasting undertakings (DMBU) audio services have grown at a compound annual rate of 12.4% since 2013. Listening to traditional radio has decreased over the same period at a compound annual rate of 4.7%. The average time spent watching traditional television services has decreased by a compound annual rate of 2.2% or a total of 16.5% since 2013. Read more here.

CRTC Chair Ian Scott

The Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner says it will not initiate an examination into CRTC chair Ian Scott’s alleged bias related to meetings with telecom service providers, according to the commissioner’s report on the matter. It was alleged Scott had several meetings with large telecom providers while they had open and active files before the commission, thereby failing to avoid apparent conflicts of interest in breach of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and CRTC practices. One of the meetings cited in the referral took place in an Ottawa pub in Dec. 2019 with Mirko Bibic, who was then Chief Operating Officer of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada and became President and CEO in Jan. 2020. The week before, Bell had filed an application with the CRTC to review and vary a 2019 Telecom Order. Scott was on the CRTC panel that issued the subsequent decision. While Bibic was characterized in a Feb. 2020 article as a friend of Scott’s, the commissioner found Scott and Bibic’s relationship “was not one of friendship within the meaning of the Act since it remained exclusively professional despite both having worked in the same industry for over two decades.”

Diversity Minister Ahmed Hussen has announced that the government has cut the funding it awarded to the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC) to develop an anti-racism strategy for Canadian broadcasting after concerns were raised about a consultant on the project. The project, which was awarded $133,822 by the federal government, has also now been suspended. In April, CMAC launched a series of consultations as part of the project, which aimed to develop an Anti-Racism Strategy that would “reduce barriers to participation in media and broadcasting policy-making for Racialized Canadians.” Consultations have already taken place in Montreal, Vancouver and Halifax. Three more were scheduled to take place in Calgary, Winnipeg and Ottawa over the next few months. However, since the funding was awarded, there have been numerous reports of antisemitic tweets from a Twitter account belonging to Laith Marouf, a senior consultant with CMAC. Read more here.

The CRTC has renewed OUTtv’s licence, granting the channel must-offer status in English-language markets. The renewal falls short of OUTtv’s request for must-offer status in both French and English, as well as pricing and packaging terms. Known for its original first-run Canadian LGTBQ2+ programming, OUTtv argued that the terms should apply to all BDUs who serve over 2,000 subscribers to ensure those in smaller markets have access to LGBTQ2+ content. It’s application also argued that in the current market, vertically integrated entities have an advantage because they control the distribution of their programming services themselves, unlike independents like OUTtv that must negotiate their distribution terms with BDUs. CRTC Commissioner Claire Anderson submitted a dissenting opinion, saying while she agrees with the decision to grant “must-offer” status to OUTtv, she believes the channel should be mandatorialy included in cable packages with the highest penetration rates, whereas the decision sets an “expectation.” Read more here.

Unifor Bell Clerical bargaining unit

Bell Clerical workers have ratified a new four-year deal that includes a 3.25% wage increase retroactive to Dec. 1, 2021 and then a 2.5% increase on Dec. 1 each year until 2024. Among the gains for the union are reclassifying temporary employees to permanent status at 24 months instead of 36 months; for over 350 employees, reclassifying from part-time status to full-time status; and securing the teleworking program in a memorandum of agreement. The agreement also means a commitment from Bell to hire 200 new employees and a racial justice advocate – one for each province – with 400 hours paid by the company. Bell Clerical members previously voted in favour of strike action in June. Approximately 4,200 workers in the clerical bargaining unit perform clerical and other duties, and live and work across Ontario and Quebec.