As many as 40 local television outlets and 200 Canadian radio stations could be forced to close in the next three years as the financial pressures faced by media companies intensify under the COVID-19 pandemic, suggests a new study from an industry advocacy group.
The Canadian Association of Broadcasters issued a report on Wednesday warning of potential closures and widespread job cuts as private TV and radio broadcasters face a cumulative projected revenue shortfall of up to $1.06 billion by the end of 2022.
Most vulnerable are the country’s AM radio stations, the report said, as well as other independent private radio and TV operations in smaller markets across the country.
The study, titled “The Crisis in Canadian Media and the Future of Local Broadcasting,” was commissioned by the CAB, which represents the majority of private broadcasters in Canada, and conducted through Winnipeg-based independent media economics consultancy Communications Management Inc.
The CAB says it’s concerned about the fallout from a substantial erosion in local advertising revenues over recent months.
Radio stations may be hardest hit in the short term, the report suggests, partly due to many advertisers pulling back on their spending in the pandemic and hastening a decline in the media industry’s revenues.
Private radio ad revenues are expected to be $383 million below last year, it said.
The report’s projections suggest that without further government support those declines could mean as many as 50 private local radio stations go out of business over the next four to six months.
Another 150 radio stations could topple in the 18 months that follow, it said, leading to as many as 2,000 job losses.
TV stations could risk a similar fate with roughly 40 of Canada’s 94 private TV broadcasters in danger of closing within one to three years, the research predicts.
The CAB is calling on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to take swift action by establishing a “more fair and sustainable future” for local media.
Last month, the organization sent an emergency application to the CRTC requesting permission for broadcasters to be relieved of certain terms of their agreements, such as spending requirements on Canadian programming, for the broadcast year that ends Aug. 31.
Lenore Gibson, chair of the CAB, said broadcasters have “done their utmost to cut expenses” in areas such as administration, and “the last thing that they want to do is cut into programming costs, but that’s the only area that’s left now.”
The CAB is urging the federal government to provide emergency regulatory relief as well as greater “targeted support” for the industry starting this fall.
Without greater financial measures in place, the CAB says the effects could leave many communities with only national and international media organizations to provide them with most of their news, effectively eliminating most community coverage of local politics, health and education in some regions of the country.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 26, 2020.
Breaking Up Facebook Won't Fix Social Media – Harvard Business Review
There’s political pressure to break up Facebook, but that wouldn’t solve the problems that the social-media giant presents. To begin with, it wouldn’t even increase competition in the long run, because social-media platforms enjoy network effects, which always tip towards monopoly or near-monopoly. More importantly, it wouldn’t do anything to safeguard consumer privacy, protect election integrity, balance the need for free speech against the evils of hate speech, or slow the spread of misinformation. For those, we need structural reform.
The Social Dilemma is one of the hottest films on Netflix. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a wake up call to the dangers of social media — and I’m a big fan. We need to focus attention on this issue; the alarm has been building since films like The Great Hack and books like Surveillance Capitalism and Zucked were published. My new book, The Hype Machine, starts where those movies and books leave off by asking: what can we do, practically speaking, to fix the social media crisis we find ourselves in?
One idea I discuss at length in the book is whether breaking up Facebook will fix the social media morass. Antitrust regulators are certainly eager to dismantle the world’s largest social network. Their argument for doing so cites a litany of real harms, including the erosion of privacy, the spread of misinformation and hate speech, the acceleration of political polarization, and threats to the integrity of elections. Competition, they argue, will force Facebook to fix these problems. However, ill-conceived antitrust action, without structural reform, will not only fail to solve them, it will make matters worse. To understand why, consider the economic logic of these businesses.
Social media markets tip toward monopoly because of network effects: The value of a networked platform is a function of the number of people connecting to it. As more people use the product, its value to everyone increases. The greater the number of people on a network, the greater its gravitational pull. The greater its gravitational pull, the greater the grip it has on current customers. Breaking Facebook up into its component parts might slow that process down — but it won’t change the fact that, in the long run, network effects create monopolies or near-monopolies.
The people running social media companies bolster the tendency toward monopoly by making it difficult for users to walk away: they make the their platforms incompatible with each other and keep an iron grip on the data we upload to them (and that they collect about us). If we leave Facebook or Instagram, we lose our pictures, our conversations, our very memories. We don’t want to give those things up — and we also don’t want to lose the relationships involved. These high-tech walled gardens, which are so difficult to leave, combine with network effects to tip these companies even further toward monopoly.
Creating competition in the social media economy is essential: imagine the positive effects for consumers if social media giants were competing to safeguard consumers’ privacy, for example. But while competition can help force platforms to compete for our attention with designs that protect our societal values, the market forces that push social media companies toward monopolies will remain even if Facebook is dismantled. Breaking up Facebook does nothing to promote the market conditions needed to sustain competition because network effects will simply push the next Facebook-like company into a dominant position. Breaking up one company won’t change the underlying market economics.
There’s a cost to getting this wrong. Network effects create substantial economic benefits for billions of people around the world. As those benefits depend on the connections we make through social media, dismantling the networks will reduce the benefits without addressing the economic forces that drive the social economy towards concentration. Economic measures like GDP and productivity growth don’t capture the consumer value that Facebook creates, because users don’t pay to be on Facebook. (And because they’re not captured, they’re easy for regulators to ignore.) But the value is real: researchers at MIT and Stanford have investigated how much people would need to be paid to give up Facebook; it turns out that ordinary people put a very high value on the service. The research estimates Facebook generates about $370 billion a year in consumer benefits in the U.S. alone. Now, imagine those benefits worldwide.
The antitrust case against Facebook ignores these economic conditions, and it does nothing to directly protect privacy, distinguish free speech from hate speech, ensure election integrity, or reduce fake news. In fact, it will make addressing these harms more difficult by creating more social platforms to regulate and oversee. Rather than politically expedient trust busting, we need structural reform — first to catalyze the competition that a breakup will fail to achieve and then to unwind the market failures wrought by the social economy, one by one. Let’s look at a few structural reforms that would helps us achieve the promise — and avoid the peril — of social media.
Making social networks interoperable and giving consumers the right to export their data. To foster competition, we need legislation that makes social media networks interoperable and allows consumers to take their data and their social networks to competing companies, as happens in the telecommunications industry. Number portability made cellular services more competitive: When the European Union insisted on the ability to take your mobile number, and thus your network of contacts who knew you by that number, to other services in the early 2000’s, the policy increased economic welfare by 880 million euros per quarter across 15 EU countries, accounting for 15% of the observed increase in consumer surplus from 1999 to 2006. Interoperability also leveled the playing field in chat messaging. When the FCC forced AOL to make AIM interoperable with Yahoo, MSN Messenger, and others in 2002, AOL’s market share in instant messaging fell from 65% to 59% one year later, to just over 50% three years after that. In 2018, AIM ceded the entire chat market to Apple, Facebook, Snapchat, and Google. Legislation like the bipartisan ACCESS Act would do the same for social media, forcing platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, to make their social networks interoperable and giving consumers the right to export their data.
Safeguarding election integrity. Congress should pass targeted legislation like the FIRE Act, the SECURE Our Democracy Act, and the Voting System Cybersecurity Act to harden our elections. In addition to fighting fake news, social media companies must make firm, verifiable, and enforceable commitments to make data available for research into social media’s effects on democracy. Risk-limited election audits should safeguard against attacks on our outdated voting systems. The details could be worked out in a bipartisan National Commission on Democracy and Technology.
Protecting privacy and data. Federal privacy legislation must harmonize ad hoc state policies and balance the moral, practical, and utilitarian importance of privacy with the need for data sharing to support investigative journalism, scientific research, commercial applications of machine learning, audits of election integrity, and the economic surplus generated by the advertising economy.
Attacking the spread of misinformation. To slow the spread of misinformation, the platforms must use algorithms, employees, and the crowd to label fake news, make sources transparent, prohibiting advertising next to false content, limit resharing (as WhatsApp did to slow the spread of Covid-19 misinformation), and demote verifiable health or political misinformation in search results. Meanwhile public and private education should reemphasize media literacy and critical thinking.
Finding a better balance between free speech and hate speech. To protect free speech while curtailing harmful speech, we must draw sensible boundaries around the protection from civil liability afforded to the social media platforms by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Section 230 makes a free and open internet possible. Removing it would limit internet freedom and make many of the world’s largest online businesses unworkable. However, regulations can limit the cases under which 230 applies. Rather than have politically appointed commissions like the FTC or the FCC deciding under executive orders when 230 should apply, representative, deliberative legislative boundaries, similar to FOSTA-SESTA, should be drawn to balance free and harmful speech.
Breaking up Facebook could take 10 years. By the time that happened, the landscape of social media would look nothing like it does today. Forward-looking legislation that ensures competition, open markets, and a level playing field, alongside market and legislative remedies for misinformation, privacy, free speech, and election integrity, will chart a more productive path than backward-looking attempts to unwind networks and companies that already exist.
Clarion calls are great. But it’s time we moved past them to real, practical solutions. We don’t have time to waste debating whether social media is good or evil. By now we know it has tremendous promise and the potential for significant peril. We must shift the conversation from how fast we are approaching the impeding rocks to how we steer this ship toward calmer waters. The time for action is now.
Social Media Campaigns Can Improve Engagement with Revenue-Generating Content
Many associations judge the success of their social media campaigns by likes, rather than whether that content leads users to engage further on their site. Changing how social media is used and measured can improve engagement and help generate revenue.
In today’s COVID-19 world, all associations are looking for ways to maintain revenue and membership. Social media can help, but only if you use it right, contends Dan Stevens, president of WorkerBee.TV, Inc.
“Social media is a really a low-cost recruitment tool, advocacy tool, and marketing tool, if used effectively,” Stevens said. However, “if you are publishing full stories, full videos, full anything on social media, you are accelerating your own demise.”
The problem with using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even LinkedIn to publish your content is that it leaves your members and prospects on the social media platform, rather than drawing them to your site, where they can dive deep into all your association has to offer.
“I always joke that likes are for losers,” Stevens said. “It’s about awareness and conversion, not likes.”
So, how does an association use social media as a jumping off point to pull people into their content, particularly paid offerings? Stevens recommends a drip approach, where you offer a tiny snippet—micromarketing—to pull people to your site.
“Micromarketing gives awareness and pulls people into the full story on your ecosystem and your brand, where you can monetize with advertising or pay per view,” Stevens said. “They may say, ‘This is good, and I’m going to sign up and do something for free.’ And that’s how the internet works: People have to try before they buy. What you [as an association] have to do is create those experiences to pull people in.”
The good news is that associations are poised to easily create these experiences because they have awesome content. Stevens noted that in a typical year most associations only get about 15 percent of their members to attend their annual meeting. “When you interview members, they always say the meeting is a top benefit and has the best content,” Stevens said, noting the association’s best content should go wider than 15 percent of members.
But this year, with most associations moving to virtual conferences, they now have recorded sessions chockfull of good content they can use to draw people into their ecosystem.
“Why not take that great one-hour session and produce a three-minute version for your website and a 30-second social media version,” he said. Then post the 30-second version on social, where people can click through to see the three-minute version on your site. Associations can then charge for access to the full session or place it behind a member paywall. “We are seeing incredible conversion rates, when you go from micromarketing to microlearning to full learning,” Stevens said.
That said, Stevens notes that every interaction doesn’t have to be about pulling members back to your platform. Staying on platform and engaging can be useful at times. “Social media is a great way for you to have a two-way conversation in real time,” Stevens said. “It is a great way to test ideas, test themes, and see if people in a specific category care about topics. It’s a chance to post content and take a pulse of what’s important to the audience you are attracting and that may influence your programming mix.”
Whatever mix you use on social media, the key is to make sure that it makes sense from a revenue-generating perspective. “If you can’t convert, you’ve basically built another cost center, not a profit center,” Stevens said.
If an association finds its members aren’t as active on social media and wonders if devoting limited resources to this is a good idea, Stevens said that social media is also where you’re going to find your future members.
“If my future recruitment is based on attracting the young demographic who views content as free and thinks ‘I can find everything online, why do I need to pay?’ then you really have to engage to get them,” he said. “You have to get them to engage in your environment, so they can say, ‘This is worth paying for.’”
What social media techniques are you using to engage with your audience? Share in the comments.
Source: – Associations Now
InvestorChannel's Media Watchlist Update for Wednesday, September 30, 2020, 16:30 EST – InvestorIntel
InvestorChannel’s Media Stocks Watchlist Update video includes the Top 5 Performers of the Day, and a performance review of the companies InvestorChannel is following in the sector.
Sources Include: Yahoo Finance, AlphaVantage FinnHub & CSE.
For more information, visit us at InvestorIntel.com or email us at [email protected]
– Lingo Media Corporation (LM.V) CAD 0.10 (16.67%)
– Stingray Group Inc. (RAY-A.TO) CAD 5.92 (10.24%)
– ZoomerMedia Limited (ZUM.V) CAD 0.07 (8.33%)
– Glacier Media Inc. (GVC.TO) CAD 0.21 (5.0%)
– Zoom Video Communications Inc. (ZM) USD 470.11 (0.99%)
– Adobe Inc. (ADBE) USD 490.43 (0.22%)
– GVIC Communications Corp. (GCT.TO) CAD 0.15 (0.0%)
– Media Central Corporation Inc. (FLYY.CN) CAD 0.01 (0.0%)
– Network Media Group Inc. (NTE.V) CAD 0.14 (0.0%)
– Postmedia Network Canada Corp. (PNC-A.TO) CAD 1.60 (0.0%)
– Quizam Media Corporation (QQ.CN) CAD 0.52 (0.0%)
– QYOU Media Inc. (QYOU.V) CAD 0.06 (0.0%)
– Thunderbird Entertainment Group Inc. (TBRD.V) CAD 2.04 (0.0%)
– Wix.com Ltd. (WIX) USD 254.85 (-0.25%)
– Slack Technologies Inc. (WORK) USD 26.86 (-0.41%)
– MediaValet Inc. (MVP.V) CAD 2.13 (-0.93%)
– HubSpot, Inc. (HUBS) USD 292.23 (-2.46%)
– Corus Entertainment Inc. (CJR-B.TO) CAD 2.89 (-2.69%)
– WOW! Unlimited Media Inc. (WOW.V) CAD 0.36 (-5.26%)
– Moovly Media Inc. (MVY.V) CAD 0.07 (-13.33%)
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