Calling it an industry first, CityNews announced today it will begin producing its local and national newscasts in portrait mode — 9×16 instead of 16×9.
The switch to portrait mode will allow the news segments to more easily be ported to platforms of the future — Facebook video and TikTok in particular, the company said in a statement.
But what about those of us who still like to watch the news on our big-screen HDTV?
Citytv recommends those people rotate their television screens 90 degrees for the duration of the local newscast.
“We considered doing a pillarbox format for broadcast, but you lose more than two thirds of the screen real estate that way,” said Citytv spokesperson Ngay Cathangtu.
Mathematically, a vertical HD image on a horizontal 16×9 screen would use up 607×1080 pixels, or a third of the 1920×1080 screen, so City’s suggestion makes sense. Unlike cellphones and tablets, televisions and cable boxes don’t come with automatic orientation detection that allows it to adjust video accordingly.
With a newscast that does pretty poorly in the ratings here, there’s not much for City to lose by trying this.
They call them “driveway moments”, the segments so compelling that drivers will stay in their cars after they’ve parked because they have to hear the end of them.
For Ziua Pacalelii, who goes by “Zoo” on The Beat 92.5, one of those moments came earlier this week.
During a seven-second break between songs from 3:43:06 to 3:43:10 pm on Tuesday, Zoo gave the station ID, made a pun about Will Smith at the Oscars, asked people for their thoughts on Smith’s apology and teased music coming up from Doja Cat and Shawn Mendes when he felt an almost out-of-body experience. “It just felt like poetry pouring out of my mouth,” he said. “I could tell this segment was something special.”
Some of the text messages that came across after a particularly touching seven-second on-air segment this week.
“The part where I asked people what they thought really resonated with a lot of listeners,” Zoo told me the next day. “People were like ‘wow, no one has ever cared this much about what I thought before.’ That’s the best thing to hear.”
Zoo says he’s looking forward to a shift in a few weeks when the program director thinks he can allow up to 20 seconds of chat between songs. “I’m spending every waking moment preparing what I’m going to say. If I’m going to keep someone in their driveway for 20 whole seconds, I gotta make it worth it.”
Montreal’s police department said on Friday it feels vindicated after officers savagely beat an affluent white man and kept him in jail for a week after mistaking him for a criminal suspect.
“I think this proves quite clearly that this department doesn’t engage in racial profiling,” said Capt. Manuel Di Adosbobos. “We treat everyone equally here.”
Richard Marc Lebanc was arrested on March 22nd while standing next to his car in an Outremont parking lot. Police said they were searching for a man fitting his description who was suspected of engaging in acts of fraud in the area.
“We didn’t give him the benefit of the doubt just because he was white,” Di Adosbobos said. “We said someone said it was him, we physically restrained him to protect ourselves, and we sent him to jail without a second thought.”
The actual suspect in the string of crimes, Mark R. White, was arrested a few days later and confessed to the crimes after a 37-hour interrogation. Two days after that, Leblanc was let go.
The police department said they were sorry that, for reasons beyond their control, Leblanc was the tragic victim of circumstance.
Introducing what it calls “new blood” into the online streaming space, Corus announced today the launch of RACKTV, a companion service to its existing STACKTV service, but with adult content.
“We’re combining the trusted quality behind STACKTV with Canadians’ insatiable thirst for the naughty stuff with our new RACKTV,” the announcement reads. “With thousands of hours of professional, tasteful, titillating and verified consensual content, we expect demand for this service to drive up … hard.”
RACKTV starts at $6.69/month, but with a free 30-day trial. Its content will be mostly exclusive to the service, not the kind of low-grade stuff you find on free websites. … Or so I’m guessing. I don’t watch porn, so I don’t know how it works.
Corus gave a long list of porn stars and services that are joining RACKTV on launch, none of which I recognize but I don’t watch porn, but at least three are misspelled.
I’ve been invited to review Corus’s new offering, which is available on Amazon Prime Video and Roku. I see it as a duty to try it out even though I don’t watch porn.
We’ll see how well it does, but then I’ll stop because I don’t watch porn.
Janet Possendevrille says she feels a little embarrassed that her post-pandemic return to the office didn’t go quite as planned. Instead of finding her desk with a layer of dust and maybe a rotting apple she forgot in a drawer, she found a notice on her desk telling her she was being laid off effective March 1, 2021.
The long-time Bell Media administrative assistant said she should probably have paid more attention a year ago when she lost access to her work email and didn’t have much work to do every day. “I just figured I’d get a notice when IT fixed the email problem, and without anyone working in the office I guess I thought there wasn’t much for me to do.”
After checking the voicemail on her office desk phone, she found several messages, including one reminding her of a mandatory virtual meeting on Feb. 28, and another from HR about her severance.
“I guess that’s why my bank account has less money than usual,” she quipped.
She said she holds no ill will toward her previous employer. “They wished me well in my future endeavours. How could I be mad at that? It’s so thoughtful.”
A Montreal man was arrested on Thursday after repeatedly refusing to watch a video that he was told multiple times was “must see”.
Police have charged Mel Agi? Diena with two counts of failure to watch a mandatory video and one count of resisting arrest. She is expected to appear in court Friday.
In a Facebook post recounting his ordeal, Diena said she wasn’t interested in some video of a dog doing something cute and had better things to do with her time. “Who cares about some stupid dog?” she wrote.
That explanation didn’t do much to assuage Facebook users, even some close friends, who insisted that she had to watch the video even if she didn’t like it.
“They said it was must-see Mel! They don’t joke about that,” one comment read.
The Crown prosecutor’s office said it will be asking the judge to order Diena to watch the video because “it’s just so adorable, you have to see it.”
One of the lesser-known items in the provincial budget announced in March is a new source of revenue for the province: Quebec plans to sell non-fungible tokens for all 243,837 named cities, lakes, roads, parks, rivers, bridges and other places tracked by the toponymy commission.
Details are still to be worked out. Quebec plans to sell the NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain, and hold a public auction for the sales starting in a few months. But no estimate has been made on potential sale prices or the potential windfall for the government.
Quebec’s digital and cybersecurity department stresses that the NFTs are symbolic and that owning the NFT for say, the city of Laval does not confer ownership of that city.
Among the NFTs expected to fetch the highest prices are large cities like Montreal and Quebec City, geologic features like the St. Lawrence River and Île-d’Orléans, and for-the-lulz places like Saint-Louis-du-Ha!-Ha!
A professor at the University of Eastern Ontario has been suspended after a student’s complaint that he used the U-word in class. The university has launched an investigation to determine the circumstances of the incident, including figuring out what the “U-word” is.
“We took swift action to protect students from offensive academic material,” university president Goby Jasyrundy said in a statement. “We intend to fully investigate this incident, and invite the student in question to meet with our special panel to tell them what the U-word is and why it is offensive.”
Initial Google searches and checks with Urban Dictionary and the Scrabble Dictionary suggest the U-word may be an antisemitic slur or possibly a degrading term for people from Uruguay, but neither would seem to apply to this context.
“What’s important is that students learn in a safe environment, free from racial slurs or ethnic slurs or sexist terms or maybe just a word with too many consonants?” Jasyrundy said.
“We’ll get to the bottom of this,” he continued before apologizing for using the B-word.
The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television is struggling to figure out how it can stop an automated system stuck in a recursive loop that is creating thousands of new Canadian Screen Awards nominees every day.
The academy had wanted to expand this year beyond its usual 141 categories into something “a bit more comprehensive,” spokesperson Oscar Nisansakagunu said Wednesday. “With the help of artificial intelligence and blockchain, we created an algorithm that generated new nominees for us, but … things got out of hand.”
People at the academy noticed something was wrong when the algorithm reported an error message indicating it was running out of disk space. By that point, more than 3.9 million Canadians had received nominations in 1.2 million categories. Within a month, it is expected all Canadians, and at least 10% of the world’s population, will have been nominated for at least one award. Within two months, 30% of the world’s computing power will be devoted to creating Canadian Screen Awards categories so more people can be nominated for them.
Plans are still being finalized as the academy does not know how many awards there will be in the end, but the expectation is that the awards will be given through a series of daily broadcasts starting May 1, with about 3,500 awards being given out every evening at a rate of about 23 per minute.
Schitt’s Creek creator Dan Levy leads the nominations with 94,310.
Saying its financial future is under threat and it doesn’t know where it will find the money to pay off news producers for its use of their content, Facebook Canada launched a GoFundMe campaign so its users could chip in to help.
“It’s embarrassing to have to do this, but we have no other choice,” Facebook Canada VP Dory Paenga-wh?wh? said in a heartfelt post announcing the campaign. “If you believe in the future of Canada’s news business, we implore you to contribute what you can.”
Facebook has been under fire recently for brazenly making money while other people make less money, and recently it acknowledged things need to change. “The lack of subscriptions to Canadian media outlets is as much your fault as it is ours,” Paenga-wh?wh? said in her post, “so it’s incumbent upon you to help make that right. For the price of a cup of coffee a day, you can help pay for a journalist’s cup of coffee.”
Perks offered to those who contribute to the GoFundMe campaign include being listed on a thank-you page and access to that feature where you can see who looks at your profile.
Quebecor is expanding its QUB-branded streaming empire, which includes talk radio service QUB Radio and music streaming service QUB Musique, to include a new soft-talking brain-tingling channel called QUB ASMR.
Following in the footsteps of successful YouTube streamers, QUB ASMR proposes to “leverage QMI’s media resources to provide a euphoric information environment that will stimulate the brain both mentally and physically,” explained Dab de Yebrir, one of the new hosts brought on to the service, as host of the new show Rubix QUB.
Among other programs QUB ASMR proposes are a daily show where philosopher Mathieu Bock-Côté soothingly explains how Quebec’s cultural heritage is under constant threat from immigrants and anglophones while slowly scratching a piece of felt, and another featuring Richard Martineau just whispering “hein?” over and over directly into a microphone for an hour.
QUB ASMR will be free to Videotron Mobile customers and $5 a month for everyone else.
Fed up of poor working conditions, low pay, lack of respect and literally being abandoned on the street, Montreal’s orange traffic cones announced on Thursday they have been certified as a bargaining unit and will attempt to negotiate a collective agreement with the city.
Though salaries will probably be a sticking point, union leaders say their primary focuses are working conditions and mental health.
“Our cone members are out there 24/7 in the most unforgiving weather,” said Greeneye Onerah Tokha, a member of the bargaining committee. “And despite their unwavering dedication to their jobs, all they get from people is frustration and hate.”
Among the proposals are winter coats, more frequent shift rotations and paid sick and family leave.
The city said it is willing to negotiate, but that coning remains an essential service and it will not accept putting non-cone citizens at risk.
Rogers is continuing to innovate as it begins the second half of its 12-year $5.2-billion rights contract with the National Hockey League. Today, it announced a new premium service for Rogers Ignite and Rogers Wireless customers called NHL GameVote™, which gives them unique new ways to influence gameplay.
GameVote™ will allow members to vote on things like which players will engage in the next on-ice fight, which way a video review gets decided, which players are made a healthy scratch and what line combinations to use.
“Hockey fans love to debate how coaches should manage their games and how referees call them, so we’re thrilled to put them in the driver’s seat with this new functionality,” said Rogers spokesperson Devario Ebrill. “If they don’t like a call, now they’ll have no one to blame but themselves.”
In order to not delay gameplay, GameVote™ subscribers will be given a game feed three minutes ahead of its TV broadcast, which Rogers is marketing as an additional perk. And though these decisions will be entirely up to fan voting for now, the NHL has given itself the power to override the vote if it feels it goes against the spirit of the game.
So far, Rogers NHL GameVote™ is only available to Rogers customers, but Ebrill said they are looking at making it a premium feature on Sportsnet NOW+.
Simon-Jolin Barrette, Quebec’s minister responsible for the French language, said Thursday he’s almost completed his word-for-word review of the Larousse dictionary and will be announcing proposed changes to the language in the coming weeks.
“I’m at zéro right now, so should be finally done by the end of the week,” the disheveled minister said as he downed a Red Bull to keep his eyes open. He estimated he would have recommendations on changing the spelling of more than 10,000 words and the pronunciations of about 3,000 more. He also said he plans to have several hundred words deleted, as they are offensive, too English or no longer serve their purpose.
“Soon, we will have a dictionary that truly reflects our society and will set us on the path to a more enlightened future,” he said.
New Larousses would be distributed to families across the province by fall. New bescherelles will have to wait a bit longer as a review of every conjugation of every verb will take some time.
Canada’s largest media company showed its innovative spirit once again today by launching a new system whereby its employees can lay themselves off from the comfort of their homes.
Avril Barbeau, a former employee at Bell’s 103.1 The Bass in Nanaimo, B.C., was one of the first to use the system to self-terminate her employment after 23 years at a company acquired by another company acquired by Bell. “Rather than burst into tears and embarrass myself at the office, I could cry about my life being ruined from the comfort of my own home,” Barbeau said. “It’s a much less painful experience.”
The self-layoff system is controlled through a website, where surplus employees can do everything from schedule a listen-only 90-second conference call where they’re insincerely thanked for their service to hiring a bailiff to come to their homes and confiscate any company-owned equipment. They can also digitally sign non-disclosure agreements and set up automated reminders threatening them if they talk about their layoff on social media.
“We expect self-layoff will do for the firing process in our industry what self-checkout did for the grocery store industry,” said Bell Media CEO Wayne Schusterman, shortly before he was informed he would be retiring at the end of the month to spend more time with his family. “We expect significant synergies with this system that will help us strengthen for the future.”
Bell expects to save several thousand dollars a year in human resources costs, and dozens of HR employees have been invited to use the system as they become redundant over the coming weeks.