Media News Digest: CAJ awards, Quebec budget goodies, details of the sale of Comedy Gold

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Gum’mit money

  • The Quebec government announced its budget plan this week. It includes several measures related to culture. Among the changes related to media:
    • Netflix and similar foreign services will be subject to Quebec sales tax as of Jan. 1, 2019
    • $64.7 million over five years to help print media via a 35% employment tax credit for people involved in digital transition or “business intelligence” which I guess means lots of money for consultants. The credit will be capped at $7 million a year per organization and $20 million a year overall. Various conditions apply.
    • Online-only video productions will now be eligible for the Quebec film and television production tax credit. Previously they had to be tied to a TV or movie production. (Cost: $11.6 million over five years)
    • $100 million more over five years to the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Que?bec (CALQ) and Socie?te? de de?veloppement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC)
    • Eliminating the 45% ceiling on labour eligible for the film dubbing tax credit ($3 million over five years)
    • An additional $10.5 million for TV5
    • Télé-Québec’s budget goes up $4 million to $65 million
    • $40 million over five years to “enable cultural enterprises to obtain the tools they need to create modern cultural works and to have the technological means to disseminate them.”
  • The federal government also announced its five-year Action Plan for Official Languages, which includes some new funding for minority-language media:
    • A $10 million Community Media Strategic Support Fund over the next five years to give financial support to projects that help sustain official-language minority community media — both radio and newspapers.
    • A $4.5 million boost to Young Canada Works at Building Careers in English and French, which will create 35 internships at English- and French-language minority community radio stations or newspapers.

At the CRTC

  • Notice of hearing (a formality) for the following:
    • Wow Unlimited Media is acquiring Comedy Gold from Bell Media for $6,866,892 worth of shares in Wow (about 12% of all shares). The deal was first announced last June, but that announcement strangely refused to name the channel involved. Now we have a price tag for the first time. Wow is acquiring only the licence (and distribution agreements) and no physical assets. It plans to turn the channel into a children’s and youth channel. “WOW intends to produce live, hosted, studio programming,” the application reads.  Wow’s chief executive is Michael Hirsh, who helped found or lead Nelvana, Teletoon and DHX Media. As an independent channel, Wow is requesting its Canadian programming expenditure quota be lowered from 30% to 10% and its “programs of national interest” quota be eliminated. Bell’s share of Wow will give it a seat on the board, and it will name Mike Cosentino, President, Content and Programming, to fill that seat. According to Comedy Gold’s 2016-17 financial disclosure, it had $1.59 million in subscription revenue and $1.43 million in ad revenue, $570,635 in programming expenses ($201,979 Canadian), and $2.02 million in net income. It had 616,747 subscribers.
    • Newcap buying CKEC-FM and CKEZ-FM New Glasgow, N.S., from Hector Broadcasting, for $2.7 million
    • Northern Radio Corp. buying CJBB-FM Englehart, Ont., from 1353151 Ontario Inc. for $100,000
    • Rogers buying CJCY-FM Medicine Hat, Alta., from Clear Sky Radio for $4 million
    • A new national pay radio service with 68 channels
    • New radio stations:
      • Lachute, Que.: LS telcom, 300 watts, 101.7 MHz, French Christian music
      • Kipawa, Que.: Kebaowek First Nation, 6,000 watts, 104.1 MHz, English-language Native music and talk (some of which is Algonquin)
      • Esterhazy, Sask: 5777152 Manitoba Ltd., 50 watts, 99.5 MHz, English country, pop and rock music
      • Cochrane, Alta.: Golden West Broadcasting, 10,000 watts, 91.5 MHz, hybrid Country music (replacing a retransmitter of CFIT-FM Airdrie)
      • Saskatoon: International Harvesters for Christ Evangelistic Association, 2,000 watts, 103.1 MHz, Christian music
      • Kelowna and Kamloops: International Harvesters for Christ Evangelistic Association, 4,200 watts, 88.1 MHz, Christian music
  • The commission has approved a schedule for testing of new wireless emergency alerts. The alerts, which begin April 6, will be on all LTE-or-better smartphones. There will be five tests a year, though only one of them, during emergency preparedness week, will be visible to end users.

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2 thoughts on “Media News Digest: CAJ awards, Quebec budget goodies, details of the sale of Comedy Gold

  1. Anonymous

    $10.5 million more for TV5! Are they nuts? Tele-Quebec should be the only service that the province should be provinding funding. Tele-Quebec provides an over the air service. Accessible to most residents in this province. TV5 requires some sort of TV subscription (Cable/Sat/IPTV).

    If there’s any worth while shows on TV5, then Tele-Quebec can buy them and air them. But funding TV5 is crazy. Wasted money.


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