May 19, 2020

Rogers and Shaw Team up to Challenge Netflix

Rogers
Shaw Communications
Joel Cuttiford
2 min
Rogers and Shaw Team up to Challenge Netflix

Rogers Communications will soon launch Shomi, a subscription video-on-demand service that the company has created to compete with Netflix.

In a joint venture between Rogers and Shaw Communications, Shomi will feature 11,000 hours of TV shows, 1,200 movie titles and 340 TV shows ready to be streamed.  The service will be available on several platforms, including tablet, mobile, online, Xbox 360 and set-top boxes.

The $8.99 monthly subscription fee takes aim at Netflix, which currently costs $7.99 per month but is set to raise its prices.

Rogers and Shaw are emphasizing the advantages of the service’s recommendations, with suggestions supposedly mimicking those that video store clerks once provided.

“Yes we have the algorithms, but you can’t create emotion through code,” said Keith Pelley, Rogers Media President, at the service’s launch event in Toronto. “The approach that we’ve taken with our entertainment experts is not something to be taken lightly.”

Netflix has an advantage considering how long it has been providing streaming services to its customers.  But Rogers and Shaw believe that consumers can support more than one subscription service.

Rogers and Shaw have the advantage in regard to content negotiations.  The two companies have direct access to multiple platforms and distribution points.  This enables them to offer a studio a package deal for its content across several platforms, which Netflix cannot do.

The companies are pressing that content advantage, offering titles that already run on Rogers’ channels.  Their existing relationships with content owners or their outright ownership makes licensing easier.  Earlier this year, trade publication Cartt.ca reported that Rogers had spent $100 million on licensing in advance of Shomi’s launch.

“We are major rights-buyers as we speak and significant players in that game, so I think the opportunity to use that leverage and that experience and those relationships and add to it another layer of rights that can be used on Shomi is a logical extension of what we’re doing,” Barbara Williams, Senior Vice President of Content at Shaw Media told Canadian Business News.

Cable TV subscribers account for just under a third of Roger’s earnings and are increasingly tuning out, preferring to get their movies and shows from streaming services.  Enforced cable unbundling by the CRTC would also hurt the company’s profits.

Rogers and Shaw believe that Shomi will complement their existing services.

“The fact that its offered on the set-top box is not only something that consumers were really clear with us that they wanted, but it makes it a very different opportunity than what Netflix is and it actually keeps people engaged in that cable subscription,” said Williams.

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Jun 12, 2021

How changing your company's software code can prevent bias

Deltek
diversity
softwarecode
inclusivity
Lisa Roberts, Senior Director ...
3 min
Removing biased terminology from software can help organisations create a more inclusive culture, argues Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR at Deltek

Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day. 

Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at  and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization. 

Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.

Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?  

We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization

What impact can exclusive terms have on employees? 

Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.    

Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code

Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!

What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?

What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.

What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology? 

My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve. 

 

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