Stephen LeDrew gonged by Bell
Stephen LeDrew gonged by Bell

Media Beat: December 13, 2017

Stephen LeDrew fired from CP24

The former Toronto mayoral candidate and lawyer was so sure he would be back on his popular CP24 Live at Noon show he had two special guests lined up for the day of his return following a one-week suspension.

TTC boss Andy Byford and former foreign affairs minister Peter MacKay were booked. LeDrew had his coloured glasses and bow tie picked out.

The comeback didn’t happen. Instead, he says, he was called into an office where “people were snarling at me.” It turns out the suspension for his appearance on Tucker Carlson’s FOX News program is not the only punishment.

“I was fired!” said LeDrew. “Fired for cause for violating our competition clause. Merry Christmas.”

CBC doubles its digital reach

The pubcaster is claiming the fact two and a half years ahead of schedule.

In a news release, the Corp reports that “the latest data from comScore shows that 18 million Canadians visited our digital sites, on average, each month between April and October 2017. That's almost half of all Canadians, and double what it was when we launched our digital transformation.”

Melanie Joly waffles on Netflix tax

The federal heritage minister says she never agreed to exempt online streaming giant Netflix from any sales tax on its service as part of a deal that has been a political nightmare in her home province of Quebec.

She now says that anyone with concerns about the lack of federal taxes on online streaming services should voice their opposition to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, redirecting any provincial unease in his direction.

“I’m in charge of culture,” Joly told Canadian Press in Montreal. “Mr. Morneau is finance minister and in charge of taxation.”

Disney’s $60B Deal

Walt Disney Co. is expected to be the acquirer of 21st Century Fox assets put up for sale by Fox's Murdoch family as it streamlines Fox's holdings and focuses on the news business.

The asset sale, which may be worth up to US$60B in a deal CNBC says could come Thursday, would shift some Fox television- and movie-making studios to the acquirer as well as rights to some characters from the Marvel comic book universe that Fox now holds.

Such a deal would bulk up the kinds of shows Disney can provide viewers over one of its forthcoming streaming networks, essential as Disney gets ready to yank its shows off Netflix in 2019. It could give Disney a bigger stake in television-streaming service Hulu, and give it part-ownership of an international network to distribute movies like "Beauty and the Beast."

Deloitte predicts increased reliance on tech

The professional services org predicts that live broadcast and events will generate over US$545B in direct revenues in 2018. By 2020, there will likely be over 680M digital subscriptions, with consumers increasingly willing to pay for content. China will likely remain the largest market for live streaming at $4.4B in 2018, an 86% increase from 2016.

In many cases, live content’s performance has been made more productive and profitable by digital. This indicates an increasing willingness from consumers to pay for digital content. Deloitte also predicts that by the end of 2018, 50% of adults in developed countries will have at least two online-only media subscriptions, and by the end of 2020, the average will have doubled to four.

Sports media rights revenue topping ticket sales in 2018

The North American sports business is expected to grow 3.7% to $71 billion in 2018 as media rights become the most prominent ticket item, surpassing gate revenue for the first time, according to a new report by PwC.

Longer term, the PwC Sports Outlook sees the industry growing to $78.5 billion by 2021.

Revenue from media rights will rise 5.6% to $20.135 billion in 2018, and hit $22.667 billion by 2021.

That tops the other categories of revenue tracked by PwC. Gate revenue will rise 2.1% to $19.159 billion in 2018 and hit $20.902 by 2021, according to the report. Sponsorship revenue will grow 5.7% to $17.614 billion in 2018 and climb to $19.976 billion in 2021 and Merchandising will increase 1.1% to $14.554 billion in 2018 and $15.087 in 2021. (Broadcasting & Cable)

Why brands, agencies should care about net neutrality

Not that I needed a reminder about this week’s vote on Net Neutrality, but today I saw a ragtag group of protesters down the street from our agency holding signs and soliciting honks for solidarity against its repeal. This prompted me to consider what exactly the end of Net Neutrality might mean for the brands our agency serves. Or for our agency, our industry, in general.

The central question surrounding Net Neutrality is simple: Is the internet a public utility (like water) or a service (like an airline travel) that can be infinitely up-sold to consumers? 

Repealing Net Neutrality has complex implications for everyone from consumers to marketers to the agencies and other digitally based service providers who service advertisers. Despite that experts agree it would be a while before any changes occur (arguably long enough that a new administration could come in and revert to the status quo), this is a big enough techno-philosophical issue that I believe we should be discussing it in the advertising/marketing world. 

After all, our clients stand to lose quite a bit.

On the most basic level, brands will end up paying more to have their content/ads published online. If Internet Service Providers like Comcast and Verizon begin to charge website “tolls” for being able to deliver the websites’ experience, those costs will ultimately be passed onto brands through increased cost-per-thousand (CPM). Brands with any content—from video to games, to microsites — could be required to provide payments to ISPs to enable the quick access to their content. With increased CPMs comes lower ROI, which leads to shrunken budgets, over time. 

Of course, brands with deeper pockets will have a better ability to pay to make sure their content is seen, but even a massive brand will see a return on ad spend that is much less than what it is in the current climate of Net Neutrality.

Beyond the increased costs that marketers will incur, however, is the tangled mess of having to navigate online advertising placement in a post-Net Neutrality environment, in which, say, Verizon has a stake in news sites like CNN.com (but not FoxNews.com). 

Brands also need to pay attention to how the repeal of Net Neutrality might impact viewability rates—the metric that is a standard throughout our industry to track impressions that are seen. 

A slower internet connection means that ads may not load at proper speeds. Since ads are the last call to most websites, the outcome post-Net Neutrality may be that the ads brands pay for do not load, or they load so slowly that they don’t meet the standard definition of “viewable” – continue reading Media Post guest columnist Elizabeth Bleser’s guest column here

Data, power and war

That our largest technology companies have cornered the market on the data that powers our society’s most essential functions are not in question. Who better than Amazon understands at-scale patterns in commerce (and with AWS, our demand for compute-related resources)? Who better than Google understands what products, services, and knowledge we want, and our path to finding them? Who better than Facebook understands our relationships to others and our interaction with (often bad) ideas? And who better than Apple (and Google) understand the applications, services, and entertainment we choose to engage with every day (not to mention our location, our ID, our most personal data, and on and on)?

These companies also dominate two crucial assets related to data: The computing power necessary to translate data into actionable insights, and the human talent required to leverage them both. Taken together, these three assets — massive amounts of data, massive compute platforms, and legions of highly trained engineers and data scientists — represent our society’s best path to understanding itself, and thereby improving all of our lives.

If anything should be defined as a public good — “a commodity or service provided without profit to all members of a society” — it should be the ability to study and understand society toward a goal of improving everyone’s lives.

But over the past decade, the most valuable data, processing power, and people have become concentrated in a handful of private companies that have demonstrated an almost genetic unwillingness to share their platform as a public good – John Battelle, NewCo Shift

Fred Jacobs: Three techie tales

Digital technology seems to know no bounds.  Every time you turn around, there’s another innovation, a cool gadget, or an app that performs miraculous feats.

Paul and I are amping up our talks with the team at the Consumer Technology Association – the group we work with that puts together our CES/CEO Tours.  We’re finalizing our plans for all the stops in and around the convention centre, highlighted by visits to Amazon and Google.

But one thing we’ve learned – especially from our visits to “Eureka Park” at CES: it’s not just the big companies experimenting with cool new technology.  Many smaller startups and working hard to develop “the next big thing” – continue reading here

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