The Weekly Briefing

RADIO/AUDIO/PODCAST:

The CRTC’s latest financial data shows commercial radio stations in Canada experienced negative growth for the third consecutive year in 2016, especially when it comes to local ad sales (down 5.4 per cent). National ad sales rose 1.2 per cent. Staffing levels for AM/FM stations are down nearly seven per cent with the number of employees falling by 661 in 2016 to 8,885. The average salary rose 2.3 per cent to $71,882.

The CRTC has renewed the broadcasting licence for ethnic radio station CJLL-FM Ottawa/Gatineau through 2024, while also approving an application to reduce its third‑language programming from 92 per cent to 70. Radio 1540 indicated that the change would allow it to better meet the needs of the market’s multicultural community by increasing ethnic programming in English or French to serve the growing numbers of second- and-third generation Canadians. It noted that its 94 per cent ethnic programming requirement for each broadcast week would be maintained.

The CRTC has found that the St. John’s, NL radio market cannot sustain an additional radio station at this time. It’s returned an application by Andrew Green, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a broadcasting licence to operate a commercial FM station. The commission says the St. John’s market has performed poorly since 2012, with flat revenues and low profitability. It also cites unfavorable Conference Board of Canada economic projections with the unemployment rate expected to remain high.

Canadians have until Aug. 18 to vote in the 8th annual SiriusXM Top Comic competition, a nationwide search for Canada’s best comedian. The finalists will battle it out mic-to-mic at the SiriusXM Top Comic Finale this September as part of JFL42 in Toronto. You can view the semi-finalists’ videos and vote for your favourite comedians once a day at siriusxm.ca/topcomic.

From left to right is Todd Fullerton, Regional Planner, Road Safety Marketing Office, Ministry of Transportation, The Honourable Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation and Kelly and Craig Timmermans.

Manitoulin Radio Communication, which operates 100.7 GLOW (CFRM-FM) and Great Lakes Country 103 (CHAW-FM) Little Current, ON, was recently recognized by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation for their work in road safety. Manitoulin Injury Prevention Coalition (MIPC) nominated the radio group for a Road Safety Achievement Award in the category of Media Excellence in Road Safety. The nomination states: “In an era of digital updates, they continue to provide a hands-free listening experience.”

TV/FILM/VIDEO:

CRTC financial data shows private conventional (over-the-air) television in Canada lost $121 million in 2015-16 ($719M over five years). This is the fifth consecutive year conventional television services have reported revenue declines due to a continued decline in ad spending. Private TV stations employed over 5,300 people in 2016, down by almost 500 from 2015. Discretionary and on-demand services generated $4.4 billion in revenues in 2016, slightly higher than the $4.3 billion reported in 2015. That was mainly due to revenue increases reported by sports and movie-oriented services.

The CRTC has extended the deadline for its call for applications for a national, multilingual multi-ethnic television service offering news and information programming, that could potentially replace Rogers’ OMNI as an ethnic channel. Applications will now be received until Nov. 6.

The National Football League (NFL), Unifor, ACTRA, the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) and the Canadian Media Directors’ Council (CMDC) have reaffirmed their support of Bell’s call for the CRTC to suspend its simultaneous Super Bowl ad substitution ban going forward. A Communic@tions Management Inc. report, prepared for Bell Media, says the ban has cost the overall Canadian economy approximately $158 million, finding Canadian businesses have been driven to spend their advertising dollars with U.S. border television stations in an attempt to reach Canadian viewers.

Jem Garrard

TELUS has added its first original scripted comedy to its on-demand library. The four-part series Android Employed, filmed in Vancouver, was created, written and directed by filmmaker Jem Garrard. The co-production between ARTABAN and Red Castle Films with the support of Telus Original, can be watched through TELUS Optik TV on Demand, and online at androidemployed.com.

Discovery’s fall lineup is headlined by six new programs, joining 13 returning original series. Led by Season 2 of Frontier, Season 6 of Highway Thru Hell and Daily Planet, new to Discovery’s production slate are character-driven series Last Stop Garage, airing Monday nights; Rocky Mountain Railroad (Winter 2018); and Hellfire Heroes (Spring 2018). Discovery is also set to air original specials Saturn: Inside The Rings (Sept. 15) and Drain Alcatraz, coming this November.

Global has announced its 2017 Fall premiere dates. The Brave, starring Anne Heche (Men in Trees) and Mike Vogel (Under the Dome) kicks off the primetime schedule on Monday, Sept. 25. Joining Mondays on Oct. 2 is Mark Feuerstein (Royal Pains) with a new comedy inspired by his real life in 9KJL. Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders premieres Sept. 26, starring Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), while David Boreanaz (Bones) returns to Global in SEAL Team, beginning Sept. 27. After 11 years, Will & Grace come home to Global beginning Thurs., Sept. 28, followed by Season 2 of Great News, executive produced by former SNL star Tina Fey and starring Nicole Richie and Andrea Martin. New Sunday night drama Wisdom of the Crowd premieres Oct. 1 starring Jeremy Piven (Entourage) as a father who sets out to solve the murder of his daughter through a cutting-edge crowdsourcing app.

ONLINE/DIGITAL:

Lionsgate and Hemisphere Media Group have launched PANTAYA, the first Spanish-language over-the-top (OTT) streaming service dedicated to premium content for the Hispanic community in the U.S. The service’s slate of Spanish-language classic and current films will be complemented by documentaries, concerts and other original content. In addition to exclusive, first run access to all of Pantelion’s Spanish-language releases, PANTAYA will feature monthly films released “day-and-date” with their debut in Latin American theatres. PANTAYA is available through the web and on iOS, Android and the Roku platform in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, as well as to Prime members on Amazon channels in the U.S.

YouTube is launching a new way for Canadians to discover Canadian content. YouTube Spotlight Canada will showcase Canada’s top French and English stars, alongside emerging Canadian talent. The channel will also feature themed playlists to help Canadians explore trending topics and news stories. Canada is the first country to have its own Spotlight channel with watchtime in Canada growing 30 per cent over last year. YouTube has also launched its popular Creator on the Rise feature in Canada, showcasing those videos in the Trending tab on YouTube.

VIZIO, Inc. has launched VIZIO SmartCast TV in the Canadian market, allowing viewers to access content from popular apps on their TV screens with a tap of the remote. An intuitive home screen greets viewers with content recommendations, along with apps like Amazon Prime Video, Crackle and Netflix.

As Instagram Stories turns one year old, data shows it’s boosted the app’s average usage rate to 32 minutes per day for those under 25, and 24 minutes per day for those over age 25. Instagram Stories now has 250 million daily users, topping Snapchat’s 166 million. Snapchat’s active user growth rate has fallen sharply from 17.2 per cent per quarter to five per cent.

GENERAL:

Hubert Lacroix

The CRTC has renewed CBC’s television and radio licenses to just Aug. 31, 2019. The commission says with the term of current CBC president and CEO Hubert Lacroix set to end in December, and a number of positions on the CBC board of directors vacant, the decision will allow the new president and board to have a material impact on the CBC’s licence renewal plans.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has found that HopeTV (CIIT-DT) Winnipeg breached the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code in its broadcast of Truth of God on Sept. 10, 2016. The paid religious program features the sermons of Pastor Gino Jennings from First Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Philadelphia. The majority of the program consisted of a sermon by Jennings who raised the issue of allowing transgender people to use the public bathroom of their choice. The CBSC has ruled the broadcast contained abusive, derogatory and inappropriate comments about an identifiable group including Jennings’ use of “faggots,” “perversion” and “pedophiles.” You can read the full decision here.

Randy Lennox, Barbara Williams, and Rick Brace

Canada’s three biggest private broadcasters have written an open letter to MPs in The Hill Times, essentially asking parliamentarians to ignore lobbying efforts from the creative community to rescind the CRTC decision on programs of national interest (PNI). ACTRA, the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) and 17 other groups took out their own full page ad last week. Signed by Bell Media president Randy Lennox, Corus Entertainment EVP and COO Barbara Williams and Rogers Media president Rick Brace, the letter states “we have a proven track record of exceeding our spending requirements on Canadian programming and, specifically, drama and documentary programming not because we have to, but because it makes good business sense to do so in a global media environment. There is nothing to suggest that will change going forward.”

CBC/Radio-Canada and its partners have officially signed agreements for the Maison de Radio-Canada (MRC) redevelopment project in Montreal. CBC/Radio-Canada is transferring the eastern part of its lot in the city’s Centre-Sud neighbourhood to Broccolini Group for one dollar. The agreement ensures CBC can lease its new facility for the next 30 years at a cost equivalent to its current maintenance costs of $21 million per year. Preliminary construction work will begin on Aug. 7, with the new facility due to open in 2020. CBC/Radio-Canada is also selling its existing building and western part of its lot to Groupe Mach for $42 million, allowing the public broadcaster to offload an accumulated maintenance deficit on the tower equivalent to $170 million.

Advertising Standards Canada has refreshed its corporate identity. Developed in collaboration with Anderson DDB Health & Lifestyle, the organization will be known as Ad Standards moving forward, and will use a new logo. Ad Standards is also launching a new PSA campaign, highlighting 60 years as Canada’s national, independent, advertising self-regulatory body.

With the support of the Canadian Media Fund, Groupe Média TFO has launched an exploratory initiative to develop a Blockchain prototype offering a solution to credit broadcast and digital rights of audiovisual works. Interested players from the content production and distribution industries are invited to participate in defining the new royalty model. The project is the first presented by a TV broadcaster to be financed by CMF as part of the Experimental Stream Innovation Program.

The Central Canada Broadcast Engineers (CCBE) Conference is set for Sept. 28 – Oct. 1 at the Kingbridge Conference Centre in King City, ON. Michael McEwen, director general of the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA), will deliver the keynote address. You can find the conference agenda here.

SUPPLY LINES:

Wheatstone has begun production of its PR&E DMX digital audio consoles. The announcement marks the first in a new line of studio products intended to restore the PR&E brand. Wheatstone also rolled out an expanded technical support program for existing PR&E customers. In February, Wheatstone acquired the assets and moved manufacturing and support of PR&E consoles and peripheral equipment from GatesAir’s Illinois factories to its plant in New Bern, North Carolina.

 

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