WatchMojo CEO Slams ‘Arrogant’ Canadian Media and Online News Act


Ashkan Karbasfrooshan, CEO of WatchMojo, has criticized Canadian news organizations and lobbyists for their “misguided and arrogant” approach to online content. He expressed his views in a recent post, questioning the effectiveness of forcing platforms like Meta and Facebook to pay for news content, as part of the Online News Act.

Montreal-based WatchMojo calls itself “one of the top digital media companies focused on the production and distribution of video programming in entertainment.”

“Hearing those very same [organizations] now run ‘woe is us’ ads begging consumers to do their bidding is even more pathetic,” Karbasfrooshan said on LinkedIn (via @mgeist). “Listening to these ads you’d think an apocalypse was imminent, when in fact, no one cares.”

Karbasfrooshan argues that the Canadian media landscape is plagued by an outdated mindset, particularly when it comes to appeasing the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and other regulators. “The web is global, the cat is out of the bag, accept it or become obsolete,” he stated.

He also pointed out that the issue with “Canadian news” is more complex than it appears, requiring segmentation by international, national, provincial, municipal, and hyperlocal news, as well as by verticals like politics, sports, entertainment, travel, and lifestyle.

“If these [organizations] had any self-awareness, they would realize that in 2023, they’re not even the ones who cover any quadrant the best,” Karbasfrooshan added. He cited examples like The Athletic’s superior coverage of the Montreal Canadiens compared to the Montreal Gazette, and the potential for international outlets like The Economist or BBC to offer more objective political analysis than Canadian sources.

Karbasfrooshan concluded by blaming Canadian media for “two decades of mismanagement,” questioning whether their online usage levels have actually increased since Meta blocked their content. “Everyone thinks they are worth a lot, but the reality is… online, out of sight… out of mind,” he said. “Considering the mindless decisions that have led these organizations where they are today, this is anything but surprising.”

Earlier today, Canadian Heritage announced an online technical briefing will be held on Friday for media to discuss proposed regulations to implement the Online News Act.

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