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Ottawa still undecided on revenue sharing regulations between U.S. digital firms, Canadian media companies – National Post



OTTAWA — The Liberal government is studying regulatory options that would force U.S. tech giants to share their advertising revenues with Canadian media companies but has not yet formed a hard position on the matter, a senior government source says.

The senior official said Ottawa has not made a final decision on whether it would write regulations similar to those introduced in France and Australia, which could force international tech behemoths Facebook and Google to share a chunk of their advertising dollars with local media companies that provide them with news content. Federal officials have been weighing regulatory options ever since a Parliamentary report earlier this year called for them.

Cash flows among media organizations have been stunted in recent years, due in part to a shift to digital advertising that has been dominated by a handful of U.S. tech firms.

Two key decisions in France and Australia in recent weeks could signal a policy shift, some observers say.

In a rare move last week, Australian policymakers called on the country’s competition bureau to draft a mandatory code of conduct between news outlets and digital platforms that would involve sharing a portion of advertising revenues. It would also establish data- sharing agreements and binding dispute resolution mechanisms.

Australia’s move followed a decision by France’s competition authority earlier this month that said Google would have to compensate publishers for using and redistributing their content.

Canadian associations representing news organizations say similar moves could help struggling local firms. In 2017, Google and Facebook accounted for 71 per cent of the $6.7-billion digital ad market in Canada, compared to just five per cent for newspapers and 24 per cent for “other” advertisers, according to data from News Media Canada.

Canadian policymakers are monitoring the shifts in Australia and France, the senior government source said, and have already outlined generalized policy responses.

In January, an independent panel released a report commissioned by Industry Minister Navdeep Bains and Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault that explicitly called for “regulatory intervention to ensure that creators of news are compensated for the use of their original content by online platform providers.”

It’s really heartening that Australia and France have taken a lead on this issue

The report proposed a sweeping regulatory overhaul across the news, broadcasting and telecommunications sectors, as American tech giants increasingly mop up huge pools of ad revenue despite producing a comparably small amount of original content.

“Traditional news outlets are losing both advertising and subscription revenues, compromising their ability to produce quality news, while Canadians are increasingly accessing news content through online social media platforms.”

A spokesperson for Bains said the ministry has been studying the report’s recommendations and said Ottawa is “committed to making sure there is fair competition online.”

Canadian lobby groups representing publishers and broadcasters have called for changes similar to those introduced by the Australian government, but say there has been a hesitation on the part of Ottawa.

“With anything around the digital platform, they have always said we have to wait until there’s an international consensus,” said John Hinds, president and CEO of News Media Canada, an industry association.

“We were always told that to ‘wait until.’ So it’s really heartening that Australia and France have taken a lead on this issue.”

Industry Minister Navdeep Bains

Justin Tang/The Canadian Press/File

News Media Canada represents various news organizations including Postmedia Network, which owns the National Post.

Some observers speculate that Ottawa could be hesitant to target international tech giants after strict privacy measures introduced in various European countries drew heated criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump.

But Hinds argues the regulatory changes around advertising would target a much narrower aspect of the U.S. companies’ operations.

“I think this is a very specific sector, and it’s about compensation for creators,” he said.

The Competition Bureau Canada did not confirm whether it had received a complaint from a Canadian news organizations about U.S. digital giants. It said it was aware of the regulatory changes in Australia, but said a similar direction would have to come from the Industry minister’s office.

“We closely follow the work of our international counterparts, particularly those related to the digital economy, which is a priority for the bureau. In doing so, we remain mindful of the different legal regimes in each jurisdiction.”

It’s about compensation for creators

According to a Reuters report, Facebook said it was “disappointed” in Australia’s decision.

“We’ve invested millions of dollars locally to support Australian publishers through content arrangements, partnerships and training for the industry,” Facebook Australia and New Zealand managing director Will Easton said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

Google said it would continue to “work constructively with industry” on the new mandatory code of conduct, according to the report.

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Eight Common Mistakes Startups Make That Limit Their Media Exposure – Forbes




Armed with a novel concept and exciting product, many startups seem well-poised to explode onto the media scene. However, many inadvertently kill their media exposure in its infancy, costing them dearly in terms of awareness and publicity.

Unfortunately, poorly planned media outreach efforts can not only result in hardly any results but even backfire. It is vital first to understand what the end objective of this outreach is and to shape the media outreach plan accordingly.

Here are eight common mistakes I’ve observed among startups that can negatively impact their media potential:

Not Thinking Twice Before Promising Exclusives

When it comes to major announcements, be it a new product launch or the conclusion of a significant funding round, a common scenario many startups are bound to encounter is the offer of an exclusive feature. This can be a tricky situation to navigate as an exclusive typically limits media potential, with newsworthiness declining significantly after details of an announcement are made publicly available with only one selected outlet, leaving others not wanting to cover the story anymore.

Making Announcements On Informal Channels

As PR practitioners, we understand that achieving a milestone is an exciting time for any entrepreneur. However, under no circumstances should this information be shared prematurely on informal channels such as corporate websites, blogs or social media platforms if a media announcement is in the pipeline.

Before commencing with a story or interview, journalists check for previous mentions. Once an announcement has been made on informal platforms, newsworthiness declines and all bets are off.

Irregular Media Engagement

In our line of work, we frequently come across the misconception that media engagement is only necessary when there is an announcement to be made. That cannot be further from the truth.

What many startups don’t realize is that sustained effort is essential to establish a strong media presence.

Interviews, commentary on relevant news or opinion articles are often relied upon to fill the gaps between formal announcements. This creates an ongoing media engagement cycle that can significantly assist in brand recall and ensures that a brand and its spokesperson remain visible at all times.

An Overwhelming Volume Of Engagement

While a high amount of media engagement activities sounds like a fool-proof strategy, startup marketers need to be aware that more is not always better. Commenting on every subject under the sun may conversely dilute newsworthiness and media attention. This could result in media fatigue — overwhelming journalists with recurring media proposals — or even establish your spokesperson as a jack-of-all-trades instead of a subject matter expert in their respective fields.

Some publications also have policies in place to avoid situations where a single brand or spokesperson is featured too frequently. You could end up getting media coverage for some nice-to-have angles but then missing out for the big hit when you really have a story to tell.

Insufficient Knowledge Of Journalists Or Media Publications

Startups might be tempted to approach every single journalist or publication that seems relevant to their business. Such a move can be quite damaging to your brand reputation among the media, as it may suggest a lack of research and could even lead to your company getting blacklisted.

It is key to do research and strategize on the right media contact to approach. For instance, a brand in the banking and finance sector might not benefit from reaching out to a dedicated banking and finance reporter if said reporter only covers stock market movements.

Inconsistent And Confusing Messaging

Understandably, startup founders are passionate about their business. Often, this enthusiasm translates into their direct and unfiltered interactions with the media, where responses become filled with industry jargon. As the journalist may not possess that in-depth level of knowledge about your company or industry, it is essential to be concise, remove the jargon and be straightforward. We’ve also found that using relatable analogies to illustrate a point helps. However, do take care not to also come across as overly patronizing.

Startups need to remain consistent in their messaging as they can easily be cross-referenced with previous media coverage. Overinflating numbers, embellishing details or even creating controversy can have a long-term negative impact on a brand’s reputation and credibility.

Being Unprofessional

No credible media will want to publish your press release verbatim and not every publication or journalist will entertain an interview request, and that’s perfectly normal. Perhaps the story isn’t in line with their editorial calendar (which determines the topic they focus on), they’ve already dedicated resources to cover a separate announcement, or they just ran a similar story.

In all circumstances, it is key to graciously accept the decision and perhaps speak with the journalist for a better understanding of what the contributing factors were that led to the decision. This would help immensely for future announcements. The worst thing a startup could do is to be unnecessarily persistent, which could irreparably damage the working relationship.

Winging It

This is the biggest faux pas I think a startup could make. Over and over we have witnessed charismatic founders who ended up being unfavorably quoted, letting out company or partner details that were not meant for the public (yet) or under pressure, even making up numbers that might sound impressive. Driven by the ambition to please the media, some interviewees tend to overshare or try hard to have an edgy or controversial opinion for the sake of attention.

Be prepared that whatever information you share with the media, it might get published. And that might stay with you forever.

Interacting with the media should be well-planned and based on a gameplan: What is the story you want to focus on? What are the facts to strengthen your points, and what is your sanctioned view on the industry and competitors? Remember that it is perfectly fine to not have an answer to every question.

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Germany aims to ease distancing, lift European travel warning – media – National Post



BERLIN — Germany plans to ease social distancing steps from June 29, a week earlier than previously planned, and aims to lift a travel warning for 31 European countries from mid-June, German media reported.

The reports come as German regions discuss with Chancellor Angela Merkel how to further ease lockdown restrictions introduced in March to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

The 16 state premiers will try on Wednesday to agree with Merkel on the way forward, balancing the need to revive Europe’s biggest economy, facing its deepest recession since World War Two, with protecting public health.

Merkel has urged caution and warned of a new wave of infections.

However, citing a draft document still to be approved by the regions, the Bild daily said Merkel, under pressure from state premiers, had agreed to bring forward the date that social distancing should be relaxed to June 29 from July 5.

A government spokesman declined to comment, saying he did not want to prejudge the outcome of talks.

Bild said meetings in public places would be limited to a maximum of 10 people or members of two households. While there would be no limit on the number of visitors allowed to visit people in their homes, there would have to be space for everyone to keep their distance and have enough fresh air, it said.

The dpa news agency said Germany would lift a travel warning for 31 European states from June 15, provided the coronavirus situation allows.

Citing a document that cabinet may agree on Wednesday, it said this would include Britain, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein as well as Germany’s 26 EU partners.

A row erupted at the weekend when the premier of the state of Thuringia said he would ditch mask-wearing and distancing rules. Some other states, including hard-hit Bavaria, want to keep stricter measures.

Germany has kept its COVID-19 death rate relatively low, at 8,302 so far, despite a high number of cases. (Reporting by Michelle Martin Writing by Madeline Chambers Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Gareth Jones)

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Wuhan performed 6.5 million coronavirus tests in just 9 days, state media reports – CTV News



The central Chinese city of Wuhan conducted more than 6.5 million novel coronavirus tests in just 9 days, according to state media, a drastic move by authorities to prevent a second wave of infections in the original epicenter of the global pandemic.

Wuhan’s ambitious citywide nucleic acid testing drive came after six new cases emerged in a residential community earlier this month — the first time local infections were reported following the city’s emergence from its months-long lockdown in April.

From May 15 to May 23, swab test samples were collected from more than nine million residents, China’s state-broadcaster CCTV reported, accounting for more than 80% of the city’s total population of 11 million.

Nucleic acid tests work by detecting the virus’ genetic code, and can be more effective at detecting the infection, particularly in the early stages, than tests which examine a body’s immune response, though the latter are easier to conduct.
The mass testing identified 198 asymptomatic cases — people who carry the virus but do not show symptoms, according to the state-run Health Times.

The speed and scope of Wuhan’s testing campaign — hailed as a “10-day battle” by local authorities — appears to have equaled or eclipsed the testing ability of many countries, including that of the United States.

On Friday alone, Wuhan conducted 1.47 million tests, according to CCTV.

In the US, the highest daily number of coronavirus tests conducted across the entire country currently stands at 416,183, according to Johns Hopkins University, which draws on data from the COVID Tracking Project.

In total, the United States has performed 14,131,277 coronavirus tests since the pandemic began, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, that number also includes antibody tests performed in some states, which aren’t used to diagnose current infections but to indicate whether someone has been exposed to the virus in the past.

In Wuhan, sampling booths were set up in neighborhoods across the city, with residents in face masks lining up to take their swab tests. On Saturday, authorities set up 231 extra testing booths for people who had not been able to make the earlier tests, according to the Changjiang Daily, the official Communist Party mouthpiece in Wuhan.

Health care workers also paid door-to-door visits to some elderly and disabled residents to take their samples, the Changjiang Daily reported.

According to Chinese news outlet Caixin, in order to test quickly and widely, Wuhan’s health authorities combined some of the samples taken from multiple individuals together and tested them in a single tube — a method known as “pool testing.”

If a tube of pooled samples was tested positive, extra tests would be carried out on each individual’s sample separately to find the positive sample, the Caixin report said. It was unclear from the report what percentage of samples in Wuhan had been pooled for testing.

In April, scientists in Germany proposed the pooling of coronavirus samples as a strategy to boost testing capacity when large numbers of asymptomatic people need to be screened, according to their research published in the medical journal The Lancet.

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