Because apparently things happened in the media universe this week that didn’t involve Patrick Lagacé…
News about news
- In case you haven’t seen Lagacé’s face everywhere, the New York Times can summarize the story for you.
- The Boston Globe is trying something new: Getting a consortium of non-profit interests to financially support them maintaining a classical music critic. The paper says it will pay close attention to any conflicts, but if this becomes a trend, future media outlets may not be as scrutinizing.
- Radio-Canada has a story about a freelance photographer on the South Shore working for the local newspaper but also the city government it covers. The paper knew about the arrangement and is OK with it because he’s a freelancer. He says he has the ability to switch hats — even when covering the same event for both parties — and he’s a photographer, not a reporter. Expect this kind of thing to become more common as news media reduce their workforce and rely more on poorly paid freelancers who need other jobs to pay the bills.
- The Rebel will get to go to that climate conference as journalists after all.
At the CRTC
- Groupe V Média, which owns V, MusiquePlus and Max (formerly Musimax) has filed a complaint against Bell Canada over the latter’s decision to repackage those two specialty channels. Bell has three packages, Good, Better and Best (Bon, Mieux and Meilleur in Quebec) and is moving them from the Good/Bon ($35/month) to Best/Meilleur ($98/month) in addition to having them available à la carte as the CRTC requires. V looked at the numbers and concluded that this would cost them a lot of subscribers. The exact numbers are redacted, but apparently the vast majority of Bell subscribers who have one of these three packages (many others are on grandfathered packages) have the lowest level. And not like slightly more than half, more like about 95%. This could cost them hundreds of thousands of subscribers. The CRTC has ordered Bell to keep MP and Max in their lowest-tier package until this is resolved. (You can download the complaint letter here. The CRTC has expedited the process and the deadline to comment is tonight at 8pm ET.)
- The commission is holding off on imposing accuracy rules for closed captioning after broadcasters formed a working group that will propose an alternative method. They have two years to do so.
- The CRTC has set new standard conditions of licence for TV services. Among the changes, pay TV channels like The Movie Network, Super Channel and Family can now broadcast ads, there is no limit on the broadcast of music videos (since MuchMusic, MusiquePlus et al no longer have genre protection), and pay-per-view and video-on-demand services no longer have to give 100% of revenues from distribution of Canadian feature films to their creators. Other changes could come as a result of a hearing later this month looking at licence renewals for the major broadcasters and a review of local and community programming.
- The commission has released a working document in advance of the hearing on big companies’ TV licence renewals, which outlines some key issues to be discussed. Besides the usual discussions of Canadian programming expenditure requirements, issues include:
- OMNI’s application for mandatory distribution
- Bell’s proposal to shut down 40 rebroadcasting transmitters
- Corus’s requests for exceptions to local programming quotas (though most of those requests have been dropped)
- Local programming requirements for TVA and V stations in Quebec
- A proposal by the CRTC to simplify the process of TV stations changing frequency as a result of the upcoming reallocation of 600 MHz to mobile. The new process would require approval of technical changes by Industry Canada but not by the CRTC so that “tight” deadlines could be met.
- Bell has won the right to appeal the CRTC decision on Super Bowl simultaneous substitution, but the court has turned down a request to suspend the decision until the outcome of the case. This means that Super Bowl LI will likely be available with American ads on Fox.
- Quebecor Media is cutting 220 jobs, including 125 at subsidiary TVA Group, representing about 8% of its workforce. There are few details, other than centralization of advertising sales and the shutdown of two small magazines.
- The New York Times did a profile on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, which plans to expand to the United States next year.
- Radio-Canada has a new strategy for broadcasting Quebec movies, with a weekly window on Tou.tv Extra (Sundays 8pm), ARTV (Sundays 9pm and Thursdays 10pm) and Radio-Canada Télé (Fridays 11pm) showing a movie of the week without commercials. It begins this Sunday with Henri, Henri.
- The final cuts at CBC/Radio-Canada out of those announced in 2014 will be final when production of the drama Auberge du chien noir ends and those involved laid off. It’s the last of these series that is produced in-house.
- Bell Media is producing a documentary on the Tragically Hip’s Man Machine Poem tour.
- Hulu has reached a major deal with Disney (ABC) and Fox to add live streaming of their channels to its service, taking it one step closer to being able to offer a skinny-cable-like over-the-top package.
- Northwest Cable News, a 24-hour regional news channel serving the U.S. Pacific Northwest, is shutting down, which will kill 20 jobs. This could be a bad omen for Global’s BC News 1, another regional news channel that’s still losing millions of dollars a year.
— CBC Digital Archives (@cbc_archives) November 2, 2016
- Some updates since the news that TTP Media purchased the AM broadcasting transmitter in Kahnawake from Cogeco Media. Testing has begun for the 940 AM station, which was transmitting a high-pitched tone (likely to tune the antenna and confirm signal strength at short distances) during the day last week. Industry Canada confirms its status as “on-air testing” and lists a callsign: CFNV. The Kahnawake council also sent out a note confirming the testing at 940. Reception reports have been coming in from eastern Ontario and the northern U.S. Because 940 is a clear channel, its reach should be much farther when it begins testing at night. Still no public statement from the owners, or any news about studios, talent or a launch date. There’s also no news about 600 AM, which has a week until its next deadline to launch (expect a request for an extension).
- CKUT has launched a new show for and by the Inuit community that’s at least partly in Inuktitut.
- Charles Adler is coming back to radio, with a new radio show syndicated on Corus’s AM talk stations, including his former home base of CJOB Winnipeg. He’ll host a U.S. election special next week.
- Business magazine Les Affaires is going from about weekly to about biweekly (42 to 28 issues a year). Les Affaires is owned by TC Media, which among other things plans to centralize page layout at the same place it does layout for all its community newspapers. No word yet on how many jobs will be cut.
- La Presse dug into Groupe TVA’s financial report, and found that its magazine division TVA Publications is not doing well.
- Incidentally, Monday was apparently the deadline to express interest in buying Rogers’s French magazines, according to TVA Nouvelles.
- As part of Quebecor’s triple-digit job cut, TVA Publications will be shutting down two magazines: Chez Soi (home decor, 10x a year, 410,000 average print readers) and Tellement Bon (recipes, 6x a year). TVA Publications has plenty of other magazines whose content overlaps.
- The Toronto Star released its financial results, and while the bottom line is good, just about all the details are bad. Star Touch, the La Presse-like tablet app, has about a third of the expected readers, but the Star is staying committed to it.
- An 18.5% drop in print advertising revenue and a 21.4% increase in digital ad revenue means a third of the New York Times’ ad revenue comes from digital.
- La Presse is cutting eight jobs in photo and video production.
- A major U.S. newspaper takeover, Gannett buying Tronc, looks like it won’t happen after all.
- Goodbye Vine.
- CBC’s Heather Conway defends the broadcaster’s move to put more opinion online in a “get the facts” statement.
- Those “around the web” or “you might also like” or “promoted stories” ads that link to sometimes legitimate and sometimes really sketchy stories elsewhere on the web are getting so bad that publishers are rethinking whether to have them despite the revenue they bring in.
- Gawker has settled with Hulk Hogan, whose lawsuit against it ended up killing the website. Hogan gets $31 million plus a cut of the sale of Gawker to Univision.
- Concordia University journalism students are planning a live webcast news special covering the U.S. presidential election results on Tuesday.
— Mitch Melnick (@HunterZThompson) November 1, 2016
News about people
- Michel Bissonnette has been hired to replace the retiring Louis Lalande as head of Radio-Canada. Bissonnette leaves production company Zone 3 (which produces a whole bunch of Quebec TV series, including Infoman, Les Francs-Tireurs, Code F. and Marina Orsini), where he was president. Richard Therrien summarizes his career.
- Robyn Flynn is the employee of the month at Bell Media Radio in Montreal
- Michel Boyer, a former Bell Media reporter in Montreal whose career took him out to Edmonton, is taking on a new job at CTV’s national bureau in Ottawa.
- Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey has had his contract extended to 2020.
- Serena Thadani-Anthony, a former HR director at CBC, who took over on an interim basis after the Ghomeshi affair, is suing the corporation because she believes it conspired to fire her.