Media News Digest: Bell deals with Starz, The Hockey News sold, CTV suspends reporter

News about news

At the CRTC

  • The Super Bowl will not be substituted. The Supreme Court has denied Bell’s request for an emergency stay of the CRTC’s Super Bowl ad substitution decision in advance of next week’s game. But the decision doesn’t dismiss the case entirely, and allows an expedited determination of whether the court will take the case, which means it might be heard in the fall and a decision reached before the 2019 Super Bowl. Barring some miracle, this year’s game will be the same as last one: CTV ads on CTV and U.S. ads on the U.S. network (in this case, NBC). CTV will once again run its watch-to-win contest during the game.
  • Juicebox, Loud, Vibe and Retro, four channels that used to be part of the Much family but were sold to Stingray, have been re-licensed after losing enough subscribers to qualify for licence-exempt status, and then gaining enough to lose that status (200,000 is the magic number). Stingray had asked for a below-normal Canadian content spending quota, and interest groups like ADISQ and the directors and writers guilds asked for higher quotas or special music-related conditions. The CRTC threw out all those requests, noting that the channels are not tied to their formats and deserve no special treatment either way. They are required to spend 10% of revenue on Canadian content.
  • Vintage TV, a 24-hour music network, has similarly applied for and received a licence after passing the 200,000 subscriber mark. Its licence conditions are standard, but the commission was worried about foreign control since 33% of voting shares are held by a U.K. parent company. The licensee must inform the commission of any changes related to its control bylaws.
  • TVA Sports got a minor licence amendment, allowing it to average out the 12-minutes-per-hour advertising limit over a day instead of having to meet it every hour. RDS got a similar condition. This will allow TVA more flexibility when airing content that has fewer chances for commercial interruption (for example, during soccer games).
  • The commission has approved acquisition of CHLW-FM Barriere, B.C., and a new ownership structure for CKOV-FM Strathmore, Alta.





  • TC Media is shutting down its mobile news application on Jan. 31, directing users to its remaining newspapers’ websites. TC Media is in the process of divesting its newspaper holdings, which once measured in the hundreds, and now amount to a few dozen in Quebec.
  • CNN is shutting down Beme, and ending its relationship with Casey Neistat. If you know what those things are, you know more than me.



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