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O'Leary: Takeaways from Randy Ambrosie's media availability –



At the painful end of a months-long saga to try to save the 2020 CFL season, Randy Ambrosie admitted that the thought of not playing football this season stung.

“From my perspective,” the CFL commissioner told reporters during a 30-minute conference call on Monday, “I could spend a lot of my time focused on being negative and angry. I’m just not going to do that.

“I more feel a sense of sorrow and disappointment (in the cancellation of the season), but tomorrow we’re going to get up and take this league to a better, bigger, stronger place. That’s the attitude we’re going to take. Today we’ll reflect on what might have been but tomorrow it’s back to business and building this great league of ours.”

For the first time since 1919, the Grey Cup will not be presented. The 2020 CFL season couldn’t get past COVID-19, which poses many of the same challenges to the league as it does to businesses around the world right now. Without being able to bring fans together, without federal government assistance that aligned with the league’s needs, the CFL’s board of governors voted on Monday morning to cancel the attempted season, popping a would-be bubble in Winnipeg before it could ever form.

As it eyes the 2021 season, the league faces its share of challenges. In his call with reporters on Monday, Ambrosie attempted to answer some of the most pressing questions that the league faces. Here are some of the key takeaways from the call.


» CFL will not play shortened season in 2020
» Bob Young pens letter to Ticats fans
» Als, Cecchini issue statement after season cancellation
» More on the CFL and COVID-19

CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie, seen here at the 2019 Grey Cup in Calgary, wants to use this down time to grow the league for 2021 (Johany Jutras/

Bringing the league back stronger than ever

“I had a chance to have a call with our governors this morning and around that table was a great deal of resolve that we make the announcement, that we come back together after we get through announcing the disappointment of the lost season, but that we find a way to make this work,” Ambrosie said.

“We’ve been working on our financial model, looking for ways to create more efficiency in our business. We’re combining ways to work more and do more together and finding a way to share more together to make our business stronger than it has been in the past.

“There is no magic answer to all of the challenges that we’re going to face. But I have the good fortune of waking up every day with a remarkable group of governors and a remarkable group of owners. I get a chance now to go back to them with some time that we’ve never had before to really work on a long-term plan.

(We can) think about how we can accelerate our plans to become more international and look for other revenue opportunities that can open doors for us to a bigger and stronger future. I simply believe in the people that I work with, I believe that we will rise to this challenge and with the support of our fans and our sponsors, I believe that this league can be positioned for the best future possible. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, but I believe that together we will see 2021 be the year of a great comeback for our league.”

A new year with all nine teams

Ambrosie admitted that there were challenges in front of the league, but he was confident that all nine teams would remain in the league for next season.

“What has become obvious to us is that we have an opportunity to run the league differently than it’s been run in the past. A more cooperative ecosystem off the field, more sharing of resources that we haven’t done in the past,” he said.

“I’m confident that if we look for ways to be a more unified organization off the field, it will allow us to be as competitive as we’ve ever been on the field. My optimism is high, I’m feeling confident.”

In Montreal on Monday, Alouettes president Mario Cecchini stressed that their ownership — Toronto businessmen Gary Stern and Sid Spiegel — remain fully committed to them and the city. The duo bought the team in early January.

Toronto Argonauts GM Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons issued comment Monday afternoon in response to the CFL’s decision not to play a shortened season in 2020, in which he said said,  “Champions embrace the challenge, so I know you’ll join me as we remove the barriers, reset our priorities, and reclaim our game. 2021…here we come!” … READ MORE.

What happened with federal government funding?

“It was never brought to our attention that there was a lack of transparency (in dealing with the government), quite honestly,” Ambrosie said.

“I think we were as clear and concise and transparent as we could possibly have been. We tried hard, we worked really hard and there were a couple of times where there were really bright spots that we saw an opening and a willingness and an interest by the government to work with us.

“Those moments really gave us confidence that something could be done. I don’t know why it didn’t happen. They did show us a couple of opportunities that we were clear with them wouldn’t work for us and then new ideas surfaced and those looked even more promising, but they never materialized. I don’t believe the problem was a lack of transparency.

“It just seemed in the end that they couldn’t get done what we thought they would and what we hoped that they would.”

Learning from the experience

Ambrosie was asked how much responsibility he took in the season not happening this year.

“The honest answer is in all things, there are things that we can learn. I can look back and I have looked back on how this all unfolded and there are things that I would like to have done differently, to try to learn from those things and move on,” he said. “But in that, you also have resolve. I don’t believe in this league any less than I believed in it when I left Calgary after Grey Cup 2019.

“I do feel that I am responsible for the fact that we aren’t on the field this year but I’ve resolved to learn from what we’ve experienced and I’m looking forward to a bright future. The commitment I’ve made to my governors is to work tirelessly with our presidents, to work tirelessly with our football operations, partners, our coaches, our GMs and to work with our players in a way that, frankly I think can bring credit to this league. Learn from our mistakes and move on because frankly, that’s life.”

Managing losses in 2020 and 2021

“I think it’s safe to say that we expect that our losses will be larger in 2020. Obviously, our single biggest source of revenue is ticket sales,” Ambrosie said.

“Our teams are going to begin (on Tuesday) reaching out to their season ticket holders and talking about 2021 and some other…exciting plans that we’ve got that we will reveal in the days ahead. We’ll be talking to our fans directly about how they can help us get through this period of uncertainty and into a better 2021.”

Part of that includes targeting markets and fans across Canada that have been untapped by the CFL.

“I think we’ll plan that 2021 will be a softer year for revenue,” Ambrosie said.

“But if we can expand our fan base…if we use this time to reach into the communities or to newer Canadians that may not have had an opportunity to know how amazing it is to sit in a CFL stadium and cheer on your local team, how much you’ll feel more Canadian when you do these things. Using our stadiums to celebrate being Canadian, using our stadiums to celebrate our diversity are just some of the things that we’ve been talking about in the weeks and months ahead as a way to really broaden our fan base and through that lens, making 2021 a bigger, better, stronger year for our league.”

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InvestorChannel's Media Watchlist Update for Thursday, September 24, 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 or email us at [email protected]

Watchlist Companies:
– Lingo Media Corporation (LM.V) CAD 0.09 (20.0%)
– QYOU Media Inc. (QYOU.V) CAD 0.07 (16.67%)
– MediaValet Inc. (MVP.V) CAD 2.13 (5.97%)
– Network Media Group Inc. (NTE.V) CAD 0.14 (3.85%)
– Stingray Group Inc. (RAY-A.TO) CAD 5.47 (1.86%)
– Slack Technologies Inc. (WORK) USD 26.59 (0.83%)
– GVIC Communications Corp. (GCT.TO) CAD 0.15 (0.0%)
– HubSpot, Inc. (HUBS) USD 283.18 (0.0%)
– Media Central Corporation Inc. (FLYY.CN) CAD 0.01 (0.0%)
– Postmedia Network Canada Corp. (PNC-A.TO) CAD 1.60 (0.0%)
– Quizam Media Corporation (QQ.CN) CAD 0.49 (0.0%)
– Thunderbird Entertainment Group Inc. (TBRD.V) CAD 1.95 (0.0%)
– WOW! Unlimited Media Inc. (WOW.V) CAD 0.36 (0.0%)
– ZoomerMedia Limited (ZUM.V) CAD 0.07 (0.0%)
– Adobe Inc. (ADBE) USD 467.67 (-0.58%)
– Ltd. (WIX) USD 248.46 (-0.7%)
– Corus Entertainment Inc. (CJR-B.TO) CAD 2.77 (-0.72%)
– Zoom Video Communications Inc. (ZM) USD 464.98 (-7.1%)
– Glacier Media Inc. (GVC.TO) CAD 0.20 (-11.11%)
– Moovly Media Inc. (MVY.V) CAD 0.07 (-18.75%)


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Surrey-born Trybe social media app's award system connects with Nickelback singer – Cloverdale Reporter



Dan Swinimer helped gather a tribe to launch a new app he hopes will disrupt the world of social media and websites where things are bought and sold.

Currently beta-tested for public launch, the Trybe platform counts Nickelback singer/guitarist Chad Kroeger among its four “founders/angels,” along with Swinimer, his father Bill and fellow Surrey-area musician/construction company boss Felipe Freig.

“We set out to try and monetize social media, while making it a safer and more positive experience,” said Swinimer, who lives in the Clayton area of Surrey. “We felt it unfair that social media users do all the work, provide all the content but make none of the profits.”

Trybe is based on an award system that sends as little as 10 cents per “like,” coupled with a built-in “win-win” for users, as Swinimer describes it.

“Every time you award someone else’s post, you get exposure for your own post which gives you a better chance of your post being seen and also making money in awards,” he told the Now-Leader.

“It’s turned into a thing, it really has,” added the Ontario-raised Swinimer. “We sold shares and raised almost $2 million, we have head offices in Toronto, a CEO (Thomas Jankowski) and staff of 10 coders. It’s turned into so much more than we originally conceived.”

In the late-2000s, Swinimer and Freig were members of the rock band Jet Black Stare when they met Kroeger, who shared a manager at the time.

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Today, Swinimer is a songwriter/producer with his own Manicdown Productions, and Frieg runs Langley-based Versa Homes.

A couple of years ago, Frieg told Swinimer about an issue involving his teen son, Jadis, who’d been posting video of his scooter-riding tricks to social media.

“You can’t even believe the tricks that this kid can do on the scooter, it’s amazing,” Swinimer said. “His son didn’t have any sponsors at that point, but he was spending hours and hours every day practicing, getting really, really good, and then he spent his own money buying all this video equipment and editing software. So he’d spend four or five hours a day practicing, learning tricks, videoing them from multiple angles, then he’d edit these videos just so that he could post them on social media. And what does he get for that? The ‘likes,’ and that’s it. He’d been doing this for awhile, and we realized that with the social media model, everyone is providing the product and getting nothing in return.”

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After Swinimer and Freig talked some more, they clicked on the idea for Trybe as a way to monetize social media.

“It’s a platform where if you post something, you have a chance to make money on that post,” Swinimer elaborated. “When people post to social media, the most important thing is content, connecting with people and receiving validation from others. So imagine if you mixed in the possibility of making money and also having complete control over how many people will see your posts.… The more people I reward, the more people will see my posts, and the more chance I have of making money on my posts. If the content is good and views-to-engagement ratio is high, it also drives exposure to the post, so that lights a little fire under the post.”

• RELATED STORY, from May 2020: Arm surgery for Nickelback’s Surrey-raised drummer Daniel Adair.

Out of the gate, Kroeger had the level of celebrity pull sought by Swinimer and Freig for Trybe.

“We discussed it with Chad and right away, he was excited about it because he could see how it could transform the music business,” Swinimer recalled. “It could completely disrupt the entire distribution chain, because it’s a pain in the ass going through iTunes, which takes a lot of the proceeds. So what about a world where you post new music on Trybe and you just say, if you give anyone who rewards this post a dollar or more, gets a download code, and now you’re keeping all the money that comes in, as opposed to just half of it.”

Right now, to get early access to the app, users join a waitlist by downloading the iOS or Android app from

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On Wednesday (Sept. 23), Nickelback raved about Trybe’s launch to the band’s 738,000 followers on the rival Twitter platform: “No more giving away your creativity and time to social media giants. The new way — Social. Be yourself, be with your people, get rewards. See you on there.” A day later, Avril Lavigne posted the same message for her 21 million followers on Twitter.

Swinimer says Kroeger is “very involved” in the project, and likes to be in the meetings when and where he can, including the time when the four Trybe founders flew in Kroeger’s private jet to Silicon Valley.

“We didn’t tour with Nickelback (with Jet Black Stare) back then, but toured with a lot of their friends, like 3 Doors Down, Hinder and Staind,” Swinimer recalled. “For someone of his level of recognition, Chad is very accessible to musicians. He’s not hard to find and he’s happy to talk to people. One night he took us out to celebrate our record deal when we first signed it, so that was kind of our first foray. He took us out to the Commodore Ballroom because Kid Rock was doing a special invite-only show there. So we’re in his little VIP section, and then we went to some penthouse suite afterwards to hang out. It was weird, man, because to that point it was all independent music, never getting anywhere, and all the sudden we’re partying with Kid Rock. It was a wild ride.”

In the decade since those rock-band days, after Jet Black Stare’s record deal with Island Def Jam had collapsed, Swinimer turned his attention to country music and launching the careers of musicians including Madeline Merlo and Jojo Mason. “I’ve been living in Surrey for 20 years,” he noted. “I built my production company here and have written/produced upwards of 40 hit songs since startup.”

• RELATED STORY, from March 2020: Surrey’s JoJo Mason brings mom along for Saturday song during Diesel Bird Digital Music Festival.

As for Trybe, the app’s public release should be in a month or so, he said.

“We’re doing a system where we are making it very exclusive and making people excited about it, to get in early. We have multiple celebrities on board to get behind this new idea once we are public. It’s exciting.”

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'Absolutely huge': Media groups optimistic after Liberal pledge to make internet giants pay for content – Financial Post



Article content continued

A way to ensure that people pay a fair fee to producers of the content, not a penalty, nothing punitive

Daniel Bernhard, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting

Canada’s stab at a law might follow Australia’s proposed effort based on fair trading. Canberra legislators may have a final draft of it within weeks, Rod Sims, chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, told the Associated Press this month.

Facebook warned Australia that it might simply bar local news rather than pay for it, while Google said it could impact its search results and user data, according to the AP report.

Efforts in Europe to rein in the tech giants through copyright laws so far haven’t been successful.

“There’s a real virtue in the Australian model in that it’s very fast and it’s direct negotiations with the government,” Hinds said. “The European model is a little more complicated.”

The best option is to adopt a pay-for-use fee structure, Bernhard said, so the money goes directly to creators, not as a tax on tech companies to the government — something similar to how music is billed to radio stations. He cited a study by Jean Hugues-Roy, of Université de Québec à Montréal, saying Facebook alone costs Canadian newspapers $135 million a year in lost revenue.

“This is about market power and finding a way to ensure that people pay a fair fee to producers of the content, not a penalty, nothing punitive, just a fair compensation,” Bernhard said.

Zimbel said he recently chanced upon old sales slips showing the band’s income from as recently as 2007 and how they dwarfed today’s receipts because of online streaming. “You don’t get rich playing in a nine-piece jazz band,” he said. “But I could not believe the numbers. They were huge compared to what we see now.”

The musician said he typically sees a rate of $50 for 250,000 streams, whereas the first month of a record release 13 years ago netted $7,800.

“It’s not only that you’re not making money from streaming,” Zimbel said. “It’s that all physical sales and downloading sales have evaporated now as well because people are only streaming.”

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