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‘Fox News North’: Tempest at a Tea Party?

September 16, 2010

Quebecor Inc’s announcement for plans to launch a 24-hour news channel called Sun TV News, aimed at Canadian conservative viewers, set off a fierce debate in the Canadian mediascape, with the plot getting thicker and thicker from its initial June announcement. That was when Quebecor CEO Pierre Peladeau announced that former spokesperson for Prime Minister Harper, Kory Teneycke, would head up the project as VP of Business Development, with an investment from Quebecor estimated to be $100M over five years.   Reputedly to be loosely based on the format of the very right-wing Fox News in the United States, Teneycke was reportedly in talks with various Canadian conservative pundits to serve as hosts for the cable show (Krashinsky, June 14; Chase, June 11).

Teneycke’s youth and solid conservative credentials garnered much press; in a profile by Globe and Mail journalist Steven Chase it was reported that Teneycke wanted to use Sun TV as a way to skewer some of the “bête noires of the Canadian right. ‘If you have a teacher or examples of teachers who are trying to jam lefty philosophy down your throat, please send me an e-mail,’ Mr. Teneycke told a high-school student at the March conference [2010 Manning Networking Conference]. ‘I’d love to make them famous’” (Chase, July 9).

Quebecor Media asked for a must-carry license (Category 1) for their station, citing special consideration as an information and analysis channel; the CRTC rejected this, saying that no top-category broadcasting licenses would be available until October 2011 at the earliest.

Read more…

BCE Makes Bid to Buy CTV

September 13, 2010

BCE Inc. has made a bid to buy CTV Inc. for $1.3B. The deal, if approved by the CRTC, will give control of The Globe and Mail to the Thomson family (who will hold an 85% stake in the newspaper through their holding company, Woodbridge Inc.). BCE is the largest telecom provider in Canada, while CTV is Canada’s largest private broadcaster.

The deal when approved will give Bell 27 television stations, 30 speciality channels, and the Globe. BCE’s strategy is to remain competitive within the mobile media landscape wherein smart phones are increasingly being used for watching content.

The deal also highlights how convergence – itself a term bandied about in the mid to late 1990s with the advent of the ‘information highway’, has now become a reality, particularly because of wireless technologies. This year has already witnessed the merger of Shaw Communications and Global TV ($2B), and Videotron’s recent announcement of a new wireless network also highlights how media corporations foresee the increased use of the mobile for content delivery.

See Steve Ladurantye, Bell Users in New Deal with CTV Deal, The Globe and Mail (September 11, 2010).
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/bell-ushers-in-new-era-with-ctv-deal/article1703754/

A brief history of BCE and CTV, The Globe and Mail
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/bce-and-ctv-a-brief-history/article1702783/

Mediascapes 3 is on Vacation!

July 13, 2010

….and will return late August.

Media Industries in the News This Week

May 15, 2010

Susan Krashinsky, The Globe and Mail (May 12, 2010), Shaw Poised To Control Women’s TV Programming.

Update on the acquisition of CanWest’s television assets by Shaw, and how many of the new speciality cable properties position Shaw as courting the ‘women’s market’: these new channels include Slice, Showcase Diva, Food Network Canada, and HGTV Canada.  The latter, focused on home renovation, gardening, entertaining, etc., is, according to Krashinsky, “Among women age 25-54…the third-most watched English-language specialty channel in the country from January to April, according to data from BBM Canada.”

Quoted  was Kaan Yigit, president of Toronto-based Solution Research Group: “Women Rule the Ad World”… wherein of the approximately $3.3B annual ad revenue in Canada, $2B alone is targeted for women’s interests.
(See Globe and Mail chart on women’s speciality networks and ad revenues, with data from the CRTC Financial Summaries, below).

CanWest Sells Newspapers to Creditor Group for $1.1B, CBC News (May 11, 2010).

In a deal worth $1.1B, Canwest Global Communications has approved the sale of its newspapers to a consortium led by Paul Godfrey, National Post president. The deal is expected to close in mid-July.

Canwest’s newspaper properties include The National Post, Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen, Windsor Star, Regina Leader Post, Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province, as well as 20 community newspapers.

Click here For an interactive google map on daily newspaper ownership in Canada.

Susan Krashinsky, Newspaper Industry Fights Back, The Globe and Mail (May 15, 2010).
An update on the North American newspaper industry, where last year saw the closure of many newspapers and a significant downsizing in advertising revenue, subscriptions, and lay-offs of personnel. Krashinsky: “While they may not be headed for extinction as quickly as many thought, newspapers will have to find new ways to make money beyond the old model of print advertising. Many of the companies that are doing better in recent months also went through aggressive layoffs and other cost-cutting measures last year – a recipe for relief, yes, but not for sustainable growth.”

OPC Consumer Privacy Consultations

May 5, 2010
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Information – schedule of hearings in Toronto and Montreal, discussion papers, and submissions are available on the OPC site: http://www.priv.gc.ca/resource/consultations/index_e.cfm

Shaw Buys CanWest Television Assets

May 5, 2010

May 3, 2010: Susan Krashinsky and Grant Robertson, The Globe and Mail: Shaw Puts Big Bet on TV-Wireless Connection

Shaw pays $2B for CanWest’s television assets, specifically buying out “CanWest’s creditors and the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs Group, which owned a majority stake in coveted specialty cable channels like HGTV, Showcase and the Food Network.”

Gordon Pitts, Globe and Mail, May 3, 2010:Shaw wins battle of media titans

Facebook in the News

May 5, 2010

Facebook efforts hint at growing ad clout: Alexei Oreskovic, Globe and Mail, May 3, 2010.
Facebook’s Open Graph project integrates itself into third-party sites. But, “all that social activity vastly expands Facebook’s trove of data about users — information that can improve marketers’ ability to reach consumers that share specific interests or traits.”

Profile of Jennifer Stoddart, Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jacquie McNish, The Globe and Mail, April 30, 2010.

Privacy police take aim at social media giants, Jacquie McNish and Omar El Akkad, The Globe and Mail, April 21, 2010.
“Seenior officials from 10 international privacy regulators, including Canada, told a Washington press conference that they have agreed to jointly investigate, audit and penalize companies that violate privacy laws across national borders.”

Electronic Frontier Foundation. Facebook’s Eroding Privacy Policy: A Timeline. (April 28, 2010).