Monday, April 30, 2012

Rogers, Shaw, CBC strike online advertising pact

Three of Canada’s largest broadcasting companies are putting rivalries aside in hopes of attracting more advertising money to their websites.
The media units of Rogers Communications Inc.36.870.120.33%) and Shaw Communications Inc.20.360.351.75%), along with Canadian Broadcasting Corp., have struck a deal that will see the companies join forces in selling online advertising. Their new venture will allow advertisers to bid on advertising space, based on information the broadcasters know about their customers from monitoring activity on their websites.

New web portals launched for Sun Media papers

Hebdos Regionaux Quebecor Media has launched nine new regional Quebec online portals so readers can get up-to-the-minute local information.
The new websites contain areas dedicated to various local publications.
"We are extremely proud to unveil these innovative platforms, which allow us to provide our partners with new and more effective ways of reaching their customer base in a more targeted manner than ever before. This new web offer, featuring rich content and improved functionalities, will quickly become a must-have for all readers who care about local and regional news," Sun Media executive vice-president, Quebec, Lyne Robitaille said.
Sun Media, owner of the Sun newspapers as well as QMI Agency, is Canada's largest newspaper publisher, publishing over 15.1 million copies each week.

French journalist kidnapped in Colombia

Colombia launched an appeal on Sunday to FARC rebels not to harm a wounded French journalist who Paris said had been kidnapped by the leftist rebels during a gun battle with government troops.
Romeo Langlois, a 35-year old reporter who works for global television network France 24, had been accompanying government troops when a firefight with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) erupted on Saturday.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Langlois, who suffered a bullet wound to the arm, had been kidnapped, explaining: "The confrontation was brutal, there were deaths, and the journalist was taken prisoner."
Four security forces were killed and eight wounded in Saturday's clash in the southern department of Caqueta, according to Colombia's military.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dear Ashley Madison: Buy an Ad

It's a journalistic embarrassment how an operation as sleazy and unimportant  as gets editors to turn somersaults by sending a plain brown envelope of postal codes to the City Desk.  Would it be time to assign a reporter to check out the 400,000 people (wherever they reside) as genuine? Apparently not. Hey, adultery is adultery. So what if the ranks of those supposedly seeking afternoon quickies contains classes of giggling freshmen. No adultery in Leaside? Maybe that''s because most of the people there are really married. You still have to be married to commit this act, you know. Dear Ashely, buy an ad.  You belong in the back of NOW with the rest of the non-news sex advertisers.  

Friday, April 27, 2012

"Little Taiwan" fears pro-China media

Interesting story about a pro-Beijing publisher who is living up to the name of his company -- the Want Want Group wants to Buy Buy everything.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Judge denies request to release Bin Laden photos

A U.S. federal judge Thursday denied a request to release photos and video taken of Osama bin Laden during and after a raid in which the terrorist leader was killed by U.S. commandos last year.
"The court declines plaintiff's invitation to substitute its own judgment about the national-security risks inherent in releasing these records for that of the executive-branch officials who determined that they should be classified," wrote U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg in rejecting a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group.
The group, which had sought the records under the Freedom of Information Act, filed an appeal on Thursday.
Boasberg said that the Defense Department didn't turn up anything responsive to the FOIA, while the CIA found 52 responsive records. The agency withheld all of them, citing exemptions for classified materials and information specifically exempted by other laws.

Globe and Star merge distribution

The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star have struck a deal that will see them merge their Ontario distribution networks.
Newspapers around the world are struggling to cut costs as print advertising falls off, and the papers said this deal allows them to “contain overall costs by capitalizing on the economies of scale, leverage best practices and create more efficient operations.”
The papers, which are competitors editorially but share ownership of the Canadian Press wire service, said they would continue to “operate separately in all other aspects of their business, including editorial, advertising, sales, production and other products.”

Rogers CEO warns of moderating growth as competition intensifies

Rogers Communications Inc.chief executive Nadir Mohamed is resetting expectations for the country’s biggest wireless company, and its investors, warning Wednesday that growth will continue to “moderate” owing to persistent competition across the telecom and media giant’s businesses.
Some were already at the exits. Shares in Rogers swooned as soon as trading started as the market reacted to the company’s first-quarter results. Rogers reported late Tuesday its operating profit fell 16% from a year earlier while the company missed tempered expectations on earnings and revenue. By day’s end Wednesday, they had fallen 5.7% to $36.81.
At the annual meeting in Toronto, Mr. Mohamed spoke plainly: “As I look to the balance of the year, I expect this competitive intensity to continue,” said the executive, who succeeded the firm’s founder Ted Rogers after the latter’s passing in late 2008.
 The market place Mr. Mohamed inherited has steadily become a more hostile place.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

British PM caught in Murdoch storm

British PM  David Cameron has been sent scurrying for cover following revelations made by media mogul Rupert Murdoch's son, James, about the closeness between  News Corp and the minister for culture, media and sport, Jeremy Hunt, in the government.

James's testimony before a judicial inquiry into phonehacking and press standards being conducted by Lord Justice Brian Leveson suggested close consultation between him and Hunt in respect of a controversial bid by News Corp to increased its holding in British direct-to-home service provider BSkyB from 39% to
100%. This was based on 163 pages of emails.

Forced to make a statement on the subject in the House of Commons on Wednesday , Hunt claimed he had "strictly followed due process" . He denied News Corp had any "back channel" of influence . Hunt was helped by a statement from Frederic Michel , director of public affairs at News Corp and the author of many of the emails to James, that his references to "JH" in emails were actually shorthand for Smith, and that he had had no direct contact with Hunt.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rogers results miss expectations

Rogers Communications Inc. saw declines in virtually every aspect of its business in the last quarter, as it reported a profit that fell far short of analyst expectations and raised questions about where the company can turn for growth in the future.The company said its consolidated revenue – which tracks the money coming into its cable, wireless and media divisions – decreased by 1 per cent compared to the same quarter a year ago. It reported a profit of $356-million, or 68 cents a share, on revenue of $2.9-billion. Analysts had expected it to earn 76 cents a share. The earnings miss underscores the difficulty the company faces in its two most important business segments – wireless and cable.

James Murdoch testifies that subordinates kept him in dark about phone hacking

James Murdoch blamed subordinates on Tuesday for keeping him in the dark about illegal behavior when he ran his father Rupert’s U.K. newspaper empire, and said he didn’t closely read its ill-fated tabloid the News of the World. The 39-year-old, once seen as the clear heir apparent to his father’s News Corp business, was grilled at a high-profile judicial inquiry into Britain’s press culture, set up in the wake of revelations that the News of the World illegally hacked into phone messages on an industrial scale to get scoops.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Russian tells British phone hacking inquiry press freedom should be cherished

The freedom of the Press to hold the powerful to account should be cherished, the owner of The Independent newspaper said yesterday.
Evgeny Lebedev, whose family owns the London Evening Standard, warned the Leveson Inquiry into Press standards: ‘I’ve seen the other side.’
He said that in his native Russia, corruption went unchecked because editors were constrained by Press barons who were in hock to rich businessmen.
Mr Lebedev said: ‘I was born in the Soviet Union, I come from Russia, and I can see the effects of not having a free Press is having on Russia.’
He claimed more than £180billion had been siphoned out of the country by unscrupulous oligarchs, many of whom were now living in London.
He said: ‘I think one of the extraordinary things about this country is a very robust and diverse Press, and I think that has to be protected.

Television still top dog at Toronto TV Day conference

TV is very much alive, content is king, and broadcasters that secure new models to entice advertisers and audiences on emerging multiple platforms have a future.
That was the prevailing message during the TV CEO panel at the TV Day conference, organized by the Television Bureau of Canada and held last Thursday at Toronto’s Carlu.
The consensus among a panel, made up of Bell Media president Kevin Crull; TVA Group CEO Pierre Dion; Rogers Media president Keith Pelley; Shaw Media president and group VP broadcasting, Paul Robertson; and CBC EVP of English services Kirstine Stewart; was that the TV experience has changed, but it retains strength as a key medium.
And while multiple platforms and social media complement the popularity of TV content, connecting with digital audiences and advertisers requires new and different revenue models and ad integration solutions.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Television show Next Top Model drops three of its stars

Three of the stars of America’s Next Top Model have been dropped from the long-running TV show, after falling ratings. Photographer Nigel Barker, runway coach J. Alexander and photo-shoot director Jay Manuel, won’t be returning when the 18th cycle of the show airs later in 2012, executive producer and former supermodel Tyra Banks said on Friday. There was no information about who would replace them.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

French media question election reporting rules

After months of noisy campaigning in the presidential race, France's politicians and pollsters fell silent at midnight Friday, by law.
Until 8 p.m. Sunday, election day, when the last polling places close in the first round of voting, the country’s 10 presidential candidates may not give speeches or interviews, distribute fliers or update their campaign Web sites or Facebook pages.
And no media outlet, pollster or citizen is to publish voting data of any kind — no leaked exit polls, no hints on Twitter — on pain of a fine of up to 75,000 euros, or $99,000.
Traditionally France discovers the initial results together, all at once, at 8 p.m. on election night. 
This year, however, the great, borderless Internet may disrupt the best plans of the French authorities.
In recent weeks, media organizations in neighboring Belgium and Switzerland — where public interest in the French election runs high, but feelings of civic duty toward France run low — have made known their intent to publish results from districts where polls close at 6 p.m. as soon as they are available, around 6:30 p.m., 90 defiant minutes before authorized by French law.
Those announcements have set off a minor polemic in France about the value of the rules. Some French officials and journalists have argued that they are critical to French democracy. Others call them outdated, ineffectual and absurd, the same words they have used to describe the country’s “equal time” regulations that require each candidate, no matter how marginal, to be given the same airtime on television and radio in the campaign’s final weeks. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

CBC vows to keep NHL broadcast rights from Bell, Rogers

Kirstine Stewart, the chief of the CBC’s English services, said this week she has every intention of bringing back the National Hockey League to the public broadcaster when the current contract with the league comes due two years from now.
“We’re going to,” the executive said forcefully during a panel discussion Thursday with the heads of the country’s networks. “That’s our plan.”
 Both Rogers Communications Inc. and CTV— now Bell Media — were already formidable foes before BCE Inc. bet on TV content to fuel its telecom businesses and acquired the network and specialty-channel operator, a strategy that has raised the stakes for all.
Since being acquired by the telecom giant last spring, the new Bell Media has lapped up sports broadcast rights left, right and centre in a race only Rogers has been able to keep pace with (Shaw Media, formerly Canwest, backed down from a sports network launch last year).
The pairs’ joint $1.3-billion purchase of a controlling stake in Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment Ltd. in December all but guarantees the Saturday night NHL games the CBC has been able to secure from the league for decades will be lost, some analysts say, either entirely or in part.
“The next logical step, now that you’ve teamed up, is to gang up on the CBC and to take away Hockey Night In Canada,” quipped business journalist Michael Vaughn, the moderator of the high-powered panel, which included Bell media head Kevin Crull, Rogers’ Keith Pelley, Shaw’s Paul Robertson and Pierre Dion from Quebecor-owned TVA.
 Still, Ms. Stewart argues the CBC can compete.

Morning news show on Hamilton’s CHCH interrupted by porn movie

CHCH television’s signal went dark this morning shortly after the regular news broadcast was overtaken by a porn movie.
Viewers of the News Now broadcast were confronted with hard-core sex scenes at 9:30 a.m. for about three minutes before the channel stopped broadcasting.
CHCH apologized for what it said was a problem that originated outside of CHCH and outside its owners, Channel Zero.
Reaction to the event was immediate on Twitter.
“Someone hacked CHCH news to play gay porn . . . And every TV in the gym and starbucks was set to it...”
“Watching #chch news when channel cut out and turned into male gay porn.”
CH news director Mike Katryzc told The Spectator “inappropriate content was broadcast and we are investigating.”
“It appears the problem originated at a cable company outside of CH and outside Channel Zero.”
“It involved missed signals but did not originate here or at Channel Zero.”
Katryzc said CH apologized to viewers when it returned to air after about three minutes.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

All the pictures that are fit to print

If there had been modern photography in 1851 one wonders whether the New York Times would now be known for it's motto "All the pictures that are fit to print."  Those were innocent days of course. Much of what is called news today would never have been published in print or pictures under any circumstances. But even with the desensitized news ethic of 2012  most journalists hang onto the notion that some pictures  are  unnecessarily offensive, and therefore unnecessary. Which brings us to the pictures of U.S.soldiers posing with body parts of suicide bombers. It's stupid and primitive behaviour. Not quite so stupid and primitive as slapping a bomb on yourself  in a religious tantrum. But stupid and primitive. What's left to say?  How did those guys possibly manage to pick up and show splattered body parts?  Boy. I'd like to see that? 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

News of the World "only sorry they got caught"

Welsh singer Charlotte Church sears Murdoch tab as she settles phone hacking legal action  for £600,000.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Gee, is it something we said -- we hope?

So, what does Rosie ODonnell have in common with the Toronto Star? Ms O'Donnell and the notoriously chippy Donald Trump battled it out in public over everything from politics to Trump's hair. Trump didn't like the slights delivered on air by the equally caustic Rosie. Now the Toronto Star has revealed Donald Trump refused to invite the Star to his big condo reception yesterday.  The Star, under the leadership of publisher John Cruickshank (right) has been sniping at Trump on matters medium and small from  unhappy buyers of Trump condos to his flip-flop endorsement of Mitt Romney. Mr Trump collects public arguments -- but then so does the Toronto Star. A spat made in Heaven. "Gee, is it something we said?"

Pulitzer winners include old and new media

"Tiny little towns" will lose stations: Bell

In a land where television regulation has always been about nation-building, we can only wonder about Mike Bibic's choice of words as he warned yesterday that Bell Media won't continue to fund chronically unprofitable "tiny stations in tiny little towns". He's the senior vice-president of regulatory affairs for CTV and its owner, BCE Inc. Six of Bell’s 19 CTV television stations are losing money, among them Yorkton, he said during a hearing to address whether subsidization of the conventional TV business should be maintained.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Amateur sports writer Randy Starkman dead at 51

Well known writer succumbs unexpectedly to pneumonia.

Back to the future as Bell seeks fee for carriage

It's an issue almost as old as television itself. Who benefits most from the carriage of broadcast TV on cable? In the beginning, TV was eager to be carried by cable but it was even more urgent to cable so it could recruit customers from among the roof-antenna multitudes.  Inexorably, over the air broadcasters became the captives of cable companies. Now Bell Media no longer sees the relationship between broadcasters (CTV in this case) and cable companies as symbiotic. The matter will be aired again at the Supreme Court this time. 

Lifeclass a lifeline to Opah's OWN Network

The formidable Ms Winfrey is apparently trying to recruit an audience for her flagging network (OWN) by doing personal appearance events known as Lifeclass. The next one is in Toronto tonight and has proven the huge appeal of the daytime TV lady as fans lined up for tickets while the birds were waking. Those who attend will be able to see themselves on OWN Monday night.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Yellowing papers from 1912 still exciting

On April 15, 1912 the Montreal Star got it right in a nine column flare that screamed: "Speed Madness Caused Titanic Disaster". Take a look.

Fox fires mole who snitched on O'Reilly Factor

Fox News says it has fired an associate producer after learning he was the "Fox Mole" hired by the news blog Gawker. The network says Joe Muto (MOO'-toh) was let go, effective Thursday. The associate producer of "The O'Reilly Factor" made his debut as an anonymous columnist on Gawker on Tuesday. He was hired to provide regular posts from inside the network.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Postmedia plans online paywalls, sale of Toronto headquarters

The Ottawa Citizen and Vancouver Sun are putting up online paywalls and the National Post will sell its headquarters as Postmedia Network Inc. struggles in a bleak advertising market that it doesn’t see improving any time soon.
Print advertising has fallen so steeply in the last several quarters that chief executive officer Paul Godfrey said he has been making personal sales calls to bank executives to help him understand why they are spending their money elsewhere.  
Postmedia Network, which publishes the National Post and big city dailies across the country, lost $11-million in the second quarter due to weakness in both print and digital advertising. The newspaper chain said print advertising revenue decreased 10 per cent, to $122-million, in the second quarter compared with the same period in 2011.

Survey wants to know what Canadians think of press councils

In a world where irritated readers can provide instant social media feedback on news stories, the role of Canada’s press councils has become hazy.
The watchdog bodies, which had no powers to impose sanctions, were originally created in the 1970s and ’80s so people with grievances about the media could air their concerns. Newspapers then published press council decisions in an effort to increase accountability to the public.
But after a tough few years for press councils, Ryerson University journalism researchers Lisa Taylor and Ivor Shapiro are looking into what role the organizations play today — and they want to know what the public thinks.
An online survey asks the public to weigh in on how these organizations foster accountability across the country. The study will look at options to ensure public complaints get heard.
Taylor hopes to hear from as many Canadians as possible and encourages all newspaper readers to fill out the survey.
Newspapers Canada requested the study after the Sun newspaper chain pulled its 27 newspapers out of Ontario’s press council in the summer of 2011.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sing Tao Daily lays off Canadian copy editors, translators

Sing Tao Daily has laid off its Canadian copy editors and translators, opting to send the jobs to Hong Kong in a bid to cut costs in a difficult advertising market that has seen newspapers across the country turn to outside agencies to handle their stories. 
 The newspaper is a partnership between Torstar Inc. and Sing Tao’s Daily’s Chinese holding company. It doesn’t release circulation figures, but vice-president of operations Peter Li said Thursday that about 200,000 readers a week flip through its pages.

Memorial for Craig Armstrong on Sunday in Picton, Ont.

A reader advises that a memorial celebration for retired CBCer Craig Armstrong will be held on Sunday, April 15th,  at the Prince Edward Yacht Club in Picton, ON from 2 till 5 P.M. 
Armstrong died in February, aged 86.
He was one of the first CBC TV reporters and then a producer. His last assignment for many years was running the syndication service ENS (Evening News Service).
His big scoop was in the 60s  when he got an interview with the International Longshoremen Union boss Hal Banks by simply walking up to him and asking if they could talk.

Postmedia reports quarterly loss

Coalition of media companies targets CBC’s free music site

A number of Canadian media companies have joined forces to try to shut down a free music website recently launched by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., claiming it threatens to ruin the music business for all of them.
The group, which includes Quebecor Inc.  Stingray Digital, Cogeco Cable Inc. , the Jim Pattison Group and Golden West Radio, believes that will siphon away listeners from their own services, including private radio stations and competing websites that sell streaming music for a fee.

Astral sheds debt in preparation for BCE merger

Astral Media Inc. says it is suspending its dividend and share buyback and will use the free-up cash to help reduce debt as it prepares for a friendly takeover by BCE Inc. expected to close late this year.
The radio, television and outdoor advertising company said it paid down bank liabilities to $475 million in its second quarter ended in February and will see a bump in available cash flow with the absence of the semi-annual dividend that would have been paid to shareholders in August.

U.S. sues Apple, publishers in alleged e-book price fixing; could benefit consumers

Consumers in Canada and around the world could soon be paying less for e-books after the U.S. government sued Apple and several major publishing firms over an alleged price-fixing conspiracy.
The suit, filed in federal court in New York, says Apple colluded with publishers including HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and MacMillan to fix the price of e-books. The government said it had settled with publishers Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, but was going ahead with a suit against MacMillan and Penguin.
The lawsuit said the alleged conspiracy came as Apple was preparing to launch the iPad two years ago. It alleged the conspiracy called for Apple to be guaranteed a 30 per cent commission on each e-book it sold, and kept retailers from selling e-books more cheaply than Apple.
“The publisher defendants teamed up with defendant Apple, which shared the same goal of restraining retail price competition in the sale of e-books,” the lawsuit said.
Protecting readers against price-gouging was the ultimate goal of the suit, said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
“As a result of this alleged conspiracy, we believe that consumers paid millions of dollars more for some of the most popular titles,” said Holder.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fashion Television suspends production after 27 years on air

After 27 years on air, Bell Media has confirmed that production has been suspended on Fashion Television.
Host Jeanne Beker tweeted the news today: “So surreal. This dream is over: After 27 glorious years, FT production ceased today. So sad to see some of my closest colleagues move on.”
The weekly half-hour series roved the globe to collect a mix of news and feature pieces touching on the worlds of fashion, photography, architecture and design.
Through the show, Beker has interviewed virtually every top designer over the years including Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger and the late Alexander McQueen.
Bell Media has confirmed that Beker is staying on with the company, something the fashion pioneer seems very excited about.
“Looking forward to working with Bellmedia + evolving the FT brand,” she tweeted.
“Bell Media remains committed to the fashion genre and will continue to grow FashionTelevisionChannel to deliver a broader appeal for viewers, advertisers, and distributors,” Scott Henderson, vice president of communications at Bell Media, said in a statement.

U.S. magazines move to "Netflix-style" setup

Globe and Mail columnist Simon Houpt describes how U.S. mags are dealing with the Net; Canadians not in sight.
He writes:
"Strange times make for strange bedfellows. Two years ago, as the U.S. magazine industry began to realize its golden years were probably gone for good, five of the country’s largest and most competitive publishers warily put down their weapons and agreed to work together. And last week, their adversity-born experiment produced a magazine lover’s dream.
"That’s when Next Issue Media, a Silicon Valley startup funded by Hearst Magazines, Condé Nast, Meredith Corporation, Time Inc., and News Corporation, rolled out an all-you-can-read digital buffet of some of the publishers’ biggest titles. For $9.99 (U.S.) a month, U.S. readers can purchase access to the full Android tablet versions of 27 monthlies, including Vanity Fair, Glamour, Real Simple, Elle, and Esquire. For another five bucks, they get five weeklies, too: People, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Time, and Entertainment Weekly.
"By the end of 2012, there will be about 100 titles on the list. An iPad app is expected in the next few months.

Richard Stursberg's exit interview from the CBC now available as a book!

The Star's Martin Knelman reviews the unpopular manager's tome in his column:
"To cut to the chase, the liveliest parts of The Tower of Babble, Richard Stursberg’s anxiously awaited new book about his six turbulent years as head of CBC’s English services, are the passages where he goes after his perceived enemies with a hatchet,." Knelman writes.
"Topping the list are several of the biggest names in the world of Canadian broadcasting — Peter Herrndorf, former vice-president and influential CBC board member; Ivan Fecan, who jumped from the public broadcaster to its private rival, CTV; Hubert Lacroix, the exasperated CBC president who inherited Stursberg, and Tony Burman, former head of news."
(Eds note: Will anyone care enough about this to buy the book? Only time will tell.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

CBC cancels Connect and Dispatches in response to federal budget cuts

The axe has come down on CBC Radio’s Dispatches and CBC TV’s Connect with Mark Kelley along with 256 jobs in English-language programming over the next three years.
The details of the cuts — a result of the federal budget that will cut the public broadcaster’s funding by 10 per cent, or $115 million, over the next three years — came in a “town hall” announcement by Kirstine Stewart, the CBC’s executive vice-president of English services.
The 256 job losses, the vast majority of which will take place within months, are part of the 650 positions being eliminated over the next three years. The CBC announced last week that programming and positions would be cut.
Among the more high-profile casualties include Dispatches, which is hosted by Rick MacInnes-Rae, and the television news affair show Connect, which is hosted by Mark Kelley. Both will be cancelled as of June. 
Other cuts include:
  Some 175 fewer hours of original programming — one-quarter of the total — resulting in the cancellation of the equivalent of six primetime television series.
   The closing of news bureaus in South America and Africa and downsizing the broadcaster’s Los Angeles bureau. Staffing will increase in the Washington and London bureaus.
  The elimination of drama on CBC Radio and a major reduction in the amount of live music recordings and concerts on radio, with the closing of recording space in St. John’s, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary and Edmonton.
  A $4 million cut to CBC Sports, resulting in the loss of 14 positions, and airing Sports Weekend primarily during the winter months, though some summer sports events will still be covered.
  The elimination of a cross-cultural fund shared by the CBC’s English and French branches.

Britain's Sky News launching challenge to Al-Jazeera; will employ 400 journalists and have 12 bureaus

Britain's Sky News has announced the launch date for its 24-hour Arabic news channel, which will be based in the United Arab Emirates. The rolling news channel will begin broadcasting on Sunday, 6 May.
Sky News Arabia joins the BBC, Al Jazeera, Al Arabeya and France 24 in providing round-the-clock news in Arabic.

The launch date announcement was made during a press conference held by head of the channel
Nart Bouran in the studios in Abu Dhabi, according to a release.
The channel, which will employ 400 journalists including 16 presenters, "promises a new horizon for news reporting across the Arab world", the broadcaster said.
Sky News Arabia will have 12 bureaus across the region, as well as drawing on those in London and Washington, plus its network of bureaus around the world.

Bouran said in a statement: "Sky News Arabia will offer the MENA [Middle East and North Africa] region a fresh approach to television news with an independent editorial mandate at the heart of everything we do.


John Doyle: On Mike Wallace and wallowing in nostalgia

The Globe and Mail's John Doyle has an excellent column on the death of Mike Wallace.
"It was a time when the theatre of television was being explored and better understood. The lure of the interrogation-style interview, with the interviewee/suspect under the lights, proved irresistible. Especially in the pre-colour TV era. Wallace was good at it, grasping the theatrical mannerisms and exaggerations needed to make it work. That’s what he took to 60 Minutes and he performed in the same style right up to his final interview, with Roger Clemens, in 2008.
"Most of Wallace’s career unfolded in the pre-cable era. A time when Americans and Canadians had few news choices. That made 60 Minutes matter, with a significance and heft that is unthinkable today. Before the 24/7 news cycle, there existed a short list of news events that truly mattered and a short list of TV outlets covering them."

CBC's bet on satellite radio could pay dividends

Amid all the slashing at the CBC, there’s a bright spot: the Corporation has made a small fortune on its investment in satellite radio.
And as the beleaguered broadcaster struggles to cut $115-million from its $1.1-billion in federal funding over the next three years, its decision to get in on the early days of satellite radio could be about to pay dividends – literally. 
 Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., in which the CBC owns a significant minority stake, has an increasingly large pile of cash that has analysts anticipating a quarterly payout to investors that would be a welcome boost to the CBC’s bottom line.
 CBC was one of three investors that paid $12-million each to create Sirius Canada in 2004.Eight years later, the satellite radio company it founded merged with its only competitor last year, earning CBC an $18-million cash payout. It also received a stake in the new company, which is worth about $53-million as of yesterday’s market close. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

CNET wonders why Facebook spent $1billion on Instagram

I didn't know what Instagram was until I visited my daughter who is a bartender in California. One of her friends, sitting on a bar stool, snapped her pic with her iPhone and instantly it was on the Net for me to see as I sat a couple of bar stools away. She uploaded it on Instagram right from her iPhone.
 Today's news is that Facebook bought Instagram and a CNET editors muses about why:
"There's a lot of speculation today about why Facebook would spend $1 billion to acquire the uber-hip photo-sharing app Instagram. To some, it seems obvious; to others, it's the biggest sign yet of a growing Web bubble. To me, it just raises question after question, and the biggest one is "why." What does Facebook gain from buying Instagram? Let's look at some of the possible reasons, shall we?"
You can read the whole column here 
I don't know any more than the columnist but I can testify that the young hip California people are into it. Maybe that's all it takes. (PR)

UK RIM staffer dies after being stabbed at company party; director charged

A man who was attacked during a celebrity-packed Blackberry party in London on Wednesday has died in hospital, Scotland Yard has said.
Married father-of-two Phillip Sherriff was stabbed in the neck with a glass bottle at a party held by Blackberry in London on April 3rd. Sherriff was RIM's UK channel sales manager.
Ashley Charles, a 25 year-old company director from Leicester,  appeared in court Saturday charged with attempted murder. He was remanded in custody.
The Brit-award winning singer Jessie J had been singing at the event, hosted by Blackberry to promote its BBM instant messaging service.

AOL sells patents to Microsoft In $1.056 billion deal

AOL Inc. agreed to sell more than 800 patents and related applications, along with a non-exclusive license to its remaining portfolio of patents, to Microsoft Corp. in a $1.056 billion deal.
The news sent AOL shares surging as the online media company said it intends to return a "significant portion" of the sale proceeds to shareholders. The deal comes as AOL has been feeling heat from shareholders.
Shares of AOL surged 35% to $24.90 in premarket trading, while Microsoft slid 0.8% to $31.28.
AOL recently has felt pressure from activist investor Starboard Value LP, which is mounting a proxy campaign to win seats on AOL's board. The investor has been critical of  AOL's strategy of investing heavily in online-content businesses as a way of building up the company's ad sales.
AOL hasn't said exactly what the patents cover.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

60 Minutes star Mike Wallace dies

 Mike Wallace, the grand inquisitor of CBS’s 60 Minutes news show who once declared there was “no such thing as an indiscreet question,” has died at the age of 93, the network said on Sunday.
 Wallace died on Saturday evening with his family by his side at Waveny Care Center in New Canaan, Connecticut, where he spent the past few years, CBS said in a statement and on its Sunday morning news broadcast.
Wallace left his full-time role at 60 Minutes in 2006 after 38 years and was given the title correspondent emeritus and a part-time contributor role. His last interview was with Roger Clemens, the star baseball pitcher accused of steroid use, in 2008.
A special 60 Minutes program dedicated to Wallace will be aired April 15.

NBC producer fired over misleading edit of shooting victim 911 audio

NBC News has fired a producer following a probe into its broadcasting of a misleading edit of an audio clip of a 911 emergency response call during coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting, two sources at the network said.
The producer, who was not identified by the sources, is Miami-based. NBC News declined to comment when asked about the dismissal, which the sources said took place on Thursday.
Reuters had previously reported that the “seasoned” producer was at the center of the probe.
NBC News executives interviewed more than half a dozen employees during their investigation of the network’s editing of the tape of the 911 call placed by George Zimmerman before he shot the unarmed Florida teenager, sources at the network had said on Thursday. 
The edit made it appear as though Zimmerman told police that Martin was black without being prompted, when, in fact, the full tape reveals that the neighborhood watch captain only did so when responding to a question asked by the dispatcher.
The clip aired on the network’s flagship “Today” morning show last week.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bell gets flak for bullying clients into going paperless

The Star's consumer reporter, Ellen Roseman, writes:
"Many people don’t like being bludgeoned into accepting electronic bills. They want companies to give discounts or incentives for going paperless, instead of adding on extra fees.
Some also feel it’s hypocritical — even nonsensical — for companies to say they’re encouraging e-billing for the sake of the environment.
"It’s just an excuse to cover up what they’re really doing — shifting costs to customers in order to boost their profits.
"Soon you’ll be printing all your bills at home, using your own paper, printer and ink cartridges. No trees or electricity will be saved in the conversion.
"This is some feedback I heard after writing about Bell’s bully tactics in a column last week. Bell plans to charge Internet customers $2 a month to get paper bills.
"Unless they register for e-billing by June 1, they face a new fee added automatically to their statements.
“'It’s one thing for companies to force negative billing on us, but Bell has made it so difficult and confusing as well,' said Michael Kidder.
“'I’ve probably wasted over an hour trying to opt out. The link to log into MyBell didn’t work at first. I managed to log in again and found MyBell is undergoing ‘daily maintenance.’"

Friday, April 6, 2012

Rogers' latest reality venture: Canada’s next broadcast strategy

Canadian supermodel Coco Rocha makes her debut as the host of Canada’s Best Beauty Talent on Sunday night. But you won’t be able to watch highly produced, high-definition reality television show on a traditional television network.
The 12-part series – which pits makeup and hair specialists from across the country against each other in a series of competitions intended to crown one contestant the most skilled of them all – is being filmed by Rogers Media Inc. exclusively for broadcast to the Internet, and is funded directly by an advertiser.
 It’s a novel and potentially profitable approach to reality-television programming that the broadcaster is counting on to drive viewership higher, even as more Canadians cut their cable subscriptions in favour of cheaper online alternatives.

Rupert Murdoch’s TV channel admits hacking emails, says it was in public interest

Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News channel twice authorized its reporters to hack into computers, a potentially embarrassing revelation that could further dent the media tycoon’s hope of acquiring full control over satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

Sky News said in a statement that in one case it broke into emails belonging to Anne and John Darwin, the so-called “canoe couple” who became notorious in Britain after the latter faked his own death in a boating accident as part of an elaborate insurance scam.
The case drew a surge of media interest after John Darwin walked into a London police station in late 2007 and said: “I think I’m a missing person.” He claimed to have amnesia and said he could remember nothing since 2000 but his story unraveled as journalists and police started digging.

“We discovered an email,” the article begins, without giving any explanation of how the message was obtained.
Sky News said the emails were later handed to police. In a statement Thursday, John Ryley, head of Sky News, said that “we do not take such decisions lightly or frequently” and said the investigation had served the public interest. But the public interest defence immediately drew skepticism from British legal experts.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The search for 'truthiness' in today's media

Attempt in to deal with the competing opinions about videos on Joseph Kony. There is much ado here about truth and how journalists insert opinion into their presentation of "the truth". No doubt. But it's good to remember the absolute truth that you're entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts. Find facts guys.    

Andrew MacDougall is PMO media director

Andrew MacDougall is Stephen Harper’s new communications director  Fairly predictable promotion of Mr MacDougall to the position he may well have had de facto prior to this.

Salvaging the Unsalvageable: The Inside Story of Richard Stursberg and CBC TV

Tell all opus from former head of English Television at the CBC is excerpted in the Toronto Star.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Big telcos warn of ‘market shake-out’

BCE Inc., Rogers Communications Inc., and Shaw Communications Inc. which together control two-thirds of the $8.3-billion broadcast distribution market, are lobbying against the so-called “a la carte” model that would allow customers to pick and pay for individual networks, arguing the change would have disastrous consequences for programmers, such as Bell Media and Shaw Media. Financial  Post. 

Yahoo layoffs: Read the e-mail to employees

Yahoo announced Wednesday that it is laying off 2,000 employees as part of a massive restructuring of the ailing tech giant. The company says it will save $375 million a year once the layoffs have been completed. In an e-mail to Yahoo employees, CEO Scott Thompson says the moves announced today "will put our customers first, allow us to move fast, and to get stuff done." USA TODAY

CBC to slash 650 jobs over three years

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is cutting 650 jobs — including 475 this year — and will begin to run ads on CBC Radio in the wake of a $115 million reduction in annual funds from the federal government. National Post

Newspapers: A good news story writ small?

Globe and Mail writer Simon Houpt discovers that local news is like no other. He takes a long time to tell us though.  Maybe it was a shock to him. 

No charges against Sun Media reporter

No charges against Sun Media reporter Eric Yvan LeMay who was raided by police -- QMI AGency

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The future of the CBC needs ‘great debate’

Canadians need to have a “great debate” about the future of the CBC, including options like going commercial-free and using licence fees like those in the U.K. and Germany to fund it, a forum has been told. Speaking to a forum sponsored by the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, Eric Koch, 92, who spent 35 years at the CBC, said the decision to end licence fees in the 1950s removed the “insulation” the public broadcaster had from government interference and — in the case of the recent federal budget — vulnerable to its funding decisions.
Toronto Star

Monday, April 2, 2012

CRTC cracks down on Do Not Call firms

According to a CRTC release, 11 other companies committed more serious offences and now face fines totaling $41,000.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

More informed version of Martin affair

This version of the argument between Don Martin of CTV and former Harper aide Dimitri Soudas doesn't sound very flattering to either party. On the content however the incident should be forgotten by all involved.

Liberty Media out to control Sirius-XM

Sirius XM Radio is trying to block what could be the first move by Liberty Media Corp. to gain control of the satellite broadcaster. Liberty, which has preferred stock convertible into 40% of Sirius shares, has asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to take "de facto" control of the satellite broadcaster, Sirius revealed in an FCC filing on Friday. Sirius has asked the FCC to "dismiss or deny" the application.  Wall Street Joutrnal

Sale of Philadelphia papers, website expected

The sale of The Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and will likely be announced Monday.

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