Tag Archives: Pierre-Karl Péladeau

Pierre Karl Péladeau analysis in point form

Pierre Karl Péladeau

To say that Pierre Karl Péladeau’s announcement that he’s running for the Parti Québécois was a bombshell would be an understatement. The announcement monopolized the news cycle on Sunday and again on Monday. We’re still talking about it because of its implications. Canada’s largest newspaper chain is owned by a separatist. A media mogul is running for office, and everyone expects the media he owns to stay objective on the matter. And his selection is a huge risk for the PQ, which can ride his economic bona fides to power or see itself torn apart by ideological differences (whether or not it wins a majority).

His media outlets insist in French and in English that he has no control over them. Sun News handled the news straight, declaring that they too are not under Péladeau’s control. Here’s Brian Lilley and here’s Lorrie Goldstein. (Ezra Levant is fighting a libel lawsuit and hasn’t been on the air.)

There are news stories and analyses of Péladeau all over the place, but here are a few that are worth reading: 

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Tou.tv: Menace to society?

Pierre-Karl Péladeau, the big cheese behind Quebecor, caused a bit of a stink this week when he wrote an op-ed (published in French in Le Devoir and in English in the Financial Post) attacking the CBC over the fee-for-carriage debate, even though the CRTC has already decided that the CBC shouldn’t be able to charge cable and satellite providers for permission to rebroadcast its signals.

The CBC (or, more accurately, Radio-Canada) has been a bug up Péladeau’s butt for quite a while now. He’s angry that the government-funded broadcaster competes with his privately-run TVA network, and similarly how its all-news network RDI competes with TVA’s all-news network LCN.

It’s not that he doesn’t think there should be a public broadcaster. He just doesn’t want there to be one that competes with the private networks, offering popular programming and in particular taking U.S. programs and re-airing them for profit. The Radio-Canada envisioned by Péladeau is more like CPAC, contributing to the public dialogue but not with anything that people actually want to watch. Certainly nothing anyone would want to pay to advertise on.

In a way, I can see where he’s coming from. Imagine if you ran a business, and next door there’s a competing business that gets heavily subsidized by the government. I’m sure the CBC bosses and supporters have a ready-made retort to attack that comparison (CBC boss Hubert Lacroix touched on some of them in the National Post), but even if it’s not perfect, it still makes a strong point.

If only someone who’s not Pierre-Karl Péladeau (or from some government-hating conservative think-tank) would make it, it might carry more weight.

This week, though, Péladeau added another aspect to his anti-CBC rant:

Furthermore, the CBC has launched the Tou.tv website without consulting the industry, a move that jeopardizes Canada’s broadcasting system by providing free, heavily subsidized television content on the Internet without concern for the revenue losses that may result, not only for the CBC but also for other stakeholders, including writers and directors.

By “without consulting the industry”, he means, well, him. Tou.tv has programming from Télé-Québec, TV5, TFO and others. V and RDS aren’t included, but they have their own websites that provide video on demand.

TVA, meanwhile, doesn’t offer shows on demand online, even those shows that you’d think would get a pretty high audience there. Instead, it offers them on Videotron’s Illico on demand (Videotron, by wacky coincidence, is also owned by Quebecor).

Péladeau argues about “heavily subsidized television content”, which is hardly new to Tou.tv. Somehow, I suspect he might be a bit more angry at the fact that Tou.tv has become popular, and might even become a Québécois Hulu, leaving TVA in the dark.

Mind you, Hulu isn’t making money either.

Journal Weeklyish Digest: Péladeau speaks

Today was the annual general meeting of Quebecor shareholders, so Pierre-Karl Péladeau had to come out of his cave and answer questions about how he does business. Lesaffaires.com has video highlights of Péladeau’s press conference.

When asked about the Journal de Montréal lockout, Péladeau’s minions at Quebecor gave the usual response about how the unions don’t understand the seriousness of the financial situation the company is under thanks to the various economic crises it faces (which is forcing it to consider shutting down newspapers).

Of course, that’s not stopping Quebecor from wanting to buy the Canadiens.

Needless to say, locked-out Journal workers were protesting outside,

30 ways to lead your lockout

The Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec magazine Le Trente explores the Journal lockout in its April issue, with an article by Hugo Joncas that talks a bit about the months leading up to the Jan. 24 lockout. It’s mostly union accusations, since the Journal and Quebecor aren’t talking, but it’s clear that Quebecor was planning for a lockout for a long time. Among the things that happened, the Journal:

  • Hired more managers, ensuring most of them were journalists
  • Started up new columns by freelancers who could still write in the event of a lockout
  • Created Agence QMI, a wire service the allows Quebecor-owned media outlets to share stories
  • Setup a system so page layout could be outsourced to another company under Quebecor control (it’s believed this is on the floor above the Toronto Sun newsroom)

Another piece by Florent Daudens looks at Rue Frontenac, the centre piece of the union’s pressure tactics.

Carbo (the other one) soldiers on

Claudette Carnonneau, the head of CSN who is suing the Journal de Montréal over a misquote related to the Caisse de dépôt, isn’t dropping her case. She’s seeking $250,000 in compensation from the newspaper.

Big advertisers fleeing

The Institut de coopération pour l’éducation des adultes pulled a lucrative ad contract from the Journal because of the conflict (as it did last year for the Journal de Québec) and spent more money having their speecial section printed as part of La Presse.

Similarly, the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste has moved a contract to print Fête nationale schedules from the Journal to Transcontinental-owned Metro.

Neither of these are surprising (both had previously expressed support for locked-out workers), but it highlights some of the advertising pain the Journal is facing. The question is whether the money they save from salaries offsets the loss of ads.

Having to pay a $10,000 fine (for a story that appeared years before the lockout started) doesn’t help either.

In other news

And at Le Réveil…

Not much, other than getting some moral support during the fête des travailleurs.

Québec à la une: An advertorial in three parts

I was tuning into TVA this evening to catch the series finale of Vlog, when I stumbled on a documentary about the Journal de Montréal called Québec à la une.

The documentary is an interesting look at the history of the newspaper known for its attention-whoring headlines, spending its first episode concentrating on the October Crisis that brought it into the mainstream and launched its Sunday edition.

But I can’t get over the fact that this is airing on TVA, which is owned by the same company that owns the Journal. In fact, Quebecor is run by Pierre-Karl Péladeau, and his father Pierre Péladeau is the guy getting a posthumous public blowjob in this rather one-sided documentary. (No mention of the Philadelphia Journal here.)

The appearance of the younger Péladeau on screen after the end of the documentary talking about how great Quebecor and the Journal de Montréal are sealed the deal. I’m still not sure if that was a paid advertisement or part of the documentary. Of course it doesn’t matter, because Péladeau would have just been paying himself.

It’s unfortunate, because a look at the big Montreal newspaper upheavals of the 1960s and 70s makes for interesting storytelling.

Québec à la une airs Tuesday, Dec. 4 and 11 at 9pm on TVA. The show is also available for free for Videotron Illico digital TV subscribers on its video-on-demand service (Channel 900, under “TV on demand” -> “TVA on demand”).

Canoe.tv: Clueless

For the first time ever, a Canadian company is going to be broadcasting videos on the Internet.

At least that’s what Quebecor would have us believe. They’re calling their new service Canoe.tv Canada’s first Internet broadcaster. In its newspapers, it clarifies that it’s the first Canadian web broadcaster “to feature specially commissioned programs in English and French“, whatever that’s supposed to mean.

The service, available in French and English, is basically a YouTube clone, only without any of that user-generated content junk that nobody wants. It also includes live content from networks like LCN, though the live feeds use Windows Media instead of Flash like the rest of the site.

On the French side, its content includes Prenez garde aux chiens, as well as interviews from Larocque-Lapierre, Denis Lévesque and others. Curiously, no Vlog despite the fact that Quebecor Media owns the show and the show is about online video.

The English side is even stranger. There’s more content from CBC (Just for Laughs, Rick Mercer, Peter Mansbridge, etc.) than there is from Sun Media’s crappy SUN TV. There are, however, plenty of Sunshine Girl videos.

But aside from their arrogance proclaiming to be the first to do something everyone else is already doing (in fact, the entire site was designed by a company called Feed Room), here’s why I don’t like the site:

  1. There’s no way to embed individual videos in blogs
  2. There’s no way to comment on videos
  3. Videos are referred to as “stories” in the “bookmark” page (that’s how you find out how to link to individual videos), and have 81-character URLs (just long enough to get cut in emails — YouTube’s URLs are half that length, and they have a lot more videos)
  4. Navigation uses some sort of proprietary Flash/JavaScript system which breaks just about every tool my browser has (opening links in new windows, the back button, scrolling)
  5. Videos are undated (probably deliberately, since most of them are old)

If I wanted to design a web video portal that was doomed to failure, it would look something like this. It might get some traffic, thanks to exclusive video (though anything worth watching is available straight from the source), but it’s not going to take off.

In short: FAIL.

UPDATE (Nov. 29/30): Some more reaction from the blogosphere:

InfoPresse points out that the site has virtually no fiction content, because of licensing issues. Le Devoir also has an article with detail about the problem.

UPDATE (Nov. 30): Pierre-Karl Péladeau does a very awkward-sounding presentation of Canoe.tv. In it, he says it’s a “totally Canadian” site, which is laughable because it was designed by an American company.

He also says that Sun Media can do a better job than the Canadian Television Fund at producing Canadian programming. The CTF funds things like Degrassi: TNG, The Rick Mercer Report, Slings and Arrows, ReGenesis, Intelligence and Little Mosque on the Prairie, all of which won Gemini awards this year. Sun Media funds sucker-generated-content show CANOE Live and … uhh … that’s about it.

Also, the Sun Family blog points out that 24 Hours Toronto didn’t even bother to rewrite the press release announcing the network so it conforms to its style.

UPDATE (Dec. 6): CBC tech guy Bruno Guglielminetti (whose name I can spell without looking it up first) interviews Peladeau for an article in Le Devoir.

UPDATE (Dec. 11): Intruders.tv has an interview with Dominique-Sébastien Forest, who has some long title at Canoe.tv. In the overly long interview that sounds more like a press release until the last few minutes, he notes:

  • They’re working on getting a real-time Flash encoder for live feeds, which are currently displayed through Windows Media.
  • Quebecor doesn’t consider CBC as competition online. They’re just another content provider who will share in the revenues.
  • The site is focused on professional content only (you know, like the Sunshine Girls I mentioned above).
  • It doesn’t offer embedding because their content license agreements don’t permit them to.
  • Nobody apparently noticed that there are no dates on the videos.
  • They’re working on adding comments to videos, like Espace Canoë has
  • He’s confirmed that Vlog will be coming back as a web-only show on Canoe.tv.