Monthly Archives: January 2015

CRTC Superbowl Decision

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The CRTC decided today that Canadian media companies will be prevented from blocking out Superbowl ads starting as early as the 2017 NFL competition.

Historically, Canadian stations and broadcasters were able to run a split simulcast of the big game and interrupt Canadian viewers with ads that were created as part of Canadian media buys.

Sporting events, prime-time television, live events like the Oscars and Grammy Awards and other occasions always had some hint of Canadiana associated with it.

While this was to the great annoyance of nearly all Canadians watching the events like the Superbowl, it resulted in decades worth of indirect subsidies to a now-massive business that exists in the marketing and agency world.

Every year, billions of ad dollars are spent in Canada by Canadian and international companies and organizations that target a Canadian audience.

As someone who spent many years in the media business, I had first-hand visibility of the ‘TV is God’ when it came to media buying and planning advertising campaigns.

Adding to the ‘sting’ of the situation was that I focused on digital media buying, always making do with scraps from TV and print and having to go through endless hoops and efforts to prove the worth of a digital media buy, despite print and TV slobs sitting on their asses offering nothing more than comments about ‘reach’ and ‘frequency’ or ‘circulation’.  All the while, people were only buying newspapers to start fire in the winter and unplugging their TV in favour of internet services.

Yes, this article is a bit of an ‘I told you so’ for the massive, bloated and incredibly inefficient industry that was built up around simultaneous substitution.

The ad agency world in urban centres like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver will suffer the biggest blows from this decision, as they will no longer be able to use revenue from TV buys and subsidize other activities, like limos, glitzy awards galas and a raft of extremely well-paid positions.

It’s not quite doom and gloom yet for the companies that used to benefit from these rules – Rogers and Bell in particular, but also companies like Videotron and Corus – as they will probably survive a couple of years on the last fumes of the industry that they’ve milked for decades.  However, the CRTC has clearly chosen to move away from the big media conglomerates in favour of consumers.

Much like how the Harper government uses the military but then spits on the needs of veterans, the Harper government seems to be turning its back on ‘big media’ just so they can get out a few soundbites in the 2015 election.  Through the actions of the CRTC, they seem to be disrupting the status quo in favour of more consumer options and flexibility. The Harper government will announce a victory for all consumers and consumers (stupid as they are) will fail to understand the implications of these changes.

In other words, don’t weep for Bell or Rogers.  They’re already raking it in with massive load restrictions on content viewing, miniscule and stingy data plans and the most expensive wireless and internet services in the world.

As Canadians are being promised more options, they’ll be paying significantly more for the content that they used to get for nominal prices.

And Harper will get what he always wants:  a good F-U to urban workers with decent jobs in creative industries in exchange for drooling loyalty from goons that want to watch the ‘Bud Bowl’ or monkeys sniffing their own butts.

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Another Rate Cut? The Cons Are That Desperate.

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Shortly after taking an unprecedented move of lowering interest rates when the economy doesn’t need a cut, rumours abound that there’s a possibility that the Bank of Canada may cut the prime lending rate.

Again.

Yes, the Stephen Harper Conservatives are that desperate.

Not only have they interfered with Canadian monetary policy in an extremely obtuse and interventionist way to try to jump-start the Canadian economy, the rumours seem to be stating that they will do it again.

After destroying fiscal policy and recklessly slashing himself into a corner with poorly designed tax cuts for the corporate elite, Stephen Harper doesn’t have any more tricks up his sleeve.

He’s declared war on faceless terrorists, despite already being at war with them.

He’s ruthlessly assaulted Canadian democratic and public institutions, manipulating them in such a horrid and twisted way that no proud Canadian would consider them ‘theirs’.  Stats Can.  The Parliamentary Budget Office.  The Senate.  The House of Commons.  The Canadian Revenue Agency.  The National Energy Board.  Veteran’s Affairs.  The Department of Finance.

He’s created propaganda agencies to lie to Canadians about how it’s important to buy medical marijuana and stay away from illegal marijuana or debunking 5 ‘myths’ about GMOs.

He’s spent billions in ad dollars on Canada’s largest media conglomerates.

He’s broken most of his own rules, let alone defy any moral or ethical priorities that the bulk of Canadians have.

He’s about to introduce the most ridiculous, controlling and anti-democratic legislation concerning ‘terrorism’ in Canada, which will no doubt result in the shutting of conversations on a national scale.

And much, much more.

And now, the Bank of Canada is his new economic bastard child.

The last economic device he has at his disposal will also be sullied by his ignorant and arrogant hand.  No low in the Canadian dollar will be low enough if it doesn’t provide an economic CPR session.

Unfortunately, these so-called economists are desperate and will stoop to new, unprecedented lows in order to stay in control of Canada.

Stephen Harper is like Greg Stinson in The Deadzone, holding up a baby to save himself from his political end.

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Fiscal Policy In Shambles, Cons Now Screw Up Monetary Policy

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The Cons have prorogued their budget and will likely have to hold off on disclosing financial results until the spring.

In a desperate attempt to squeeze some life into Canada’s anemic economy – an ailing economy because of the reliance on Alberta oil revenue and neglect of our manufacturing industry – the Cons have turned to manipulating Canadian monetary policy.

In a breach of common sense, the Bank of Canada has reduced the key lending rate by a quarter of a percent yesterday.

Bond markets were stunned.  The dollar took a hit.

This move will push the dollar further into a spiral, drive up the cost of doing business with American suppliers, and ultimately fuel economic activity in the heartland of industry – Ontario and Quebec.

In theory.

However, in taking this drastic and ill-chosen action, the Cons will also stimulate inflationary pressure and push people into unmanageable debt loads.

But that doesn’t matter.

The Cons are desperate.  They have failed miserably with their fiscal policy and now they’re about to fail miserably with their intervention with monetary policy.

The banks will likely stuff the extra cash into their pockets before lowering mortgage rates, shifting more money from working-class Canadians into the hands of the 1%.

In effect, this shift in monetary policy is a nice little cash grab for Canada’s elite, leaving regular Canadians with higher debt loads than ever, less after-tax dollars to spend and less faith in the economy.

The only thing the Cons will manage to do properly?

Blame the Liberals.

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What do Canada, Pulau, the US and the Ukraine have in common?

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Apparently, we’re all Nazis.

That’s the (admittedly) superficial conclusion to be drawn from the fact that Canada was one of just FOUR nations to oppose a declaration of Anti-Nazism presented by the UN shortly before the end of 2014.

Which begs the question:  what’s at play here?

Russia brought the move forward to the UN, mainly to try to undermine extreme right activities in Ukraine.  If we’re to believe a number of different sources, the Ukraine is being run by a group of neo-Nazis and Canada and the US may find themselves on the wrong side of history, despite the ridiculous behaviour of Putin.

A UN resolution would immediately draw attention to those groups, should they exist.  If they don’t – which many in our Western world claim to be the truth – then there’s nothing to the resolution and you can support it, knowing that you’re doing your bit to stamp out Nazism.

Apparently, our government’s only response is to claim that the resolution is too extreme and will result in the invasion of privacy, but that’s really the soft, sad argument that also leads people to believe it’s OK to bully online or to post misogynistic comments on Facebook pages.

I’m left scratching my head about this because some 150+ countries agreed to do what they could to moderate the growth of neo-Nazism and Canada simply did not, regardless of the excuse that they have in the can.

What is the Stephen Harper government afraid of?

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