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YouTube is facing another brand-safety crisis, and agencies see it as an opportunity to get the video platform to pay the brand safety tab





Another brand-safety crisis has hit YouTube, and this time advertisers think they could use it as leverage over the video platform.

On February 17, blogger Matt Watson posted a 20-minute video showing how YouTube videos featuring children included inappropriate comments that linked to pornography. By Wednesday, big brands like McDonald’s, AT&T and Nestlé that ran ads alongside the videos had pulled or paused their ad spend with YouTube.

While the videos only represent a sliver of advertisers’ YouTube spend, the advertisers that pulled spend are some of the biggest advertisers on the platform and make up its core, according to analytics company MediaRadar. The episode also is the latest example of how brand-safety concerns continue to plague YouTube.

This week, Google set up an hour-long conference with holding companies and a handful of its executives including Philipp Schindler, SVP and chief business officer, and YouTube’s chief product officer Neal Mohan to go over the steps that it has taken to protect minors on its platform, according to one holding company exec.

The brand-safety issue comes at a critical time as agencies and YouTube are negotiating 2019 contracts. Two weeks ago, Business Insider reported that YouTube recently notified holding companies that it would stop paying for third-party brand safety fees. Tech firms like OpenSlate and Pixability provide software that allows brands to make sure that their ads only appear on a vetted group of videos.

Read more: YouTube quietly stopped paying the bill for brand safety, and a battle with agencies could be escalating

“They’ve been communicating heavily every day — lots of detail [about] short-term, long-term plans,” the exec said. “They spent a lot of time going through the actual step-by-step process.”

During the call, YouTube execs told agencies that it has shut down 400 channels and removed comments on millions of videos. Execs also detailed some longer-term changes to the platform like comment-moderation software that allows creators to control comments and updates to a strike system that YouTube uses to determine if a creator can serve ads alongside their videos.

“Any content including comments that endangers minors is abhorrent, and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube,” said a spokesperson for YouTube. “We took immediate action by deleting accounts and channels, reporting illegal activity to authorities and disabling comments on tens of millions of videos that include minors. There’s more to be done, and we continue to work to improve and catch abuse more quickly.”

YouTube execs on the call also talked about the possibility of requiring videos creators to approve comments on their videos before the comments could be posted on YouTube. However, the massive number of videos that are uploaded to YouTube makes vetting videos and their comments resource-intense. The agency exec said that YouTube is encouraging creators to “police their own feed.”

“If you think about the ratio of videos to comments, the order of magnitude of reviewing comments in a pre-screen mode is just too daunting,” an agency exec said.

YouTube’s snafu represents a small amount of ads

The snafu may not amount to a lot in terms of advertising dollars, but it has affected some of the largest spenders on the platform.

Only $8,000 in advertising was spent on the videos in question in the past two months, according to a knowledgable source.

The agency exec said a couple of its clients had only spent an average of $3 advertising on the videos in question since the beginning of January.

“It’s very limited exposure. That doesn’t change the concern about the content and the comments,” the exec said. “The underlying issue is that these things aren’t happening periodically. It’s the nature of the beast.”

MediaRadar crunched data for seven companies that have pulled their ads this week. They include YouTube’s biggest advertisers: Disney, AT&T, Epic Games, McDonald’s, Nestlé, Clorox and Hasbro. The data tracks ad spend between January and February 17, when Watson posted the video.

Five of the seven companies spent up to 70% less on the platform versus a year ago, according to MediaRadar. Nestlé was the only one of the seven that pulled its spend during last year’s issue, though the company came back two weeks later.

In other words, the impact of this episode on YouTube could be large if those brands’ actions are any indication.

MediaRadar said that these advertisers typically buy ads on YouTube’s homepage and on popular channels like The Ellen Show and WWE.

“It will be interesting to see how many of these advertisers truly discontinue their advertising with YouTube,” said Todd Krizelman, CEO and co-founder of MediaRadar. “This is not YouTube’s first brush with brand safety concerns, and in previous cases, the majority of advertisers returned to the platform within weeks of the breach.”

Agencies could gain leverage with YouTube

For more than a year, YouTube reimbursed agencies who used third parties’ brand safety protection in the form of refunds or credit. In December, YouTube notified agencies that it would stop picking up the bill in 2019.

Agency sources said YouTube believed it made significant progress in cleaning up its platform in the two years since brand-safety issues started getting a lot of marketers’ attention. YouTube also added new ad-tech vendors like DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science to its platform in recent months and sources speculated that YouTube didn’t want to look like it favored one vendor over another.

Deals are still being negotiated and the agency exec said advertisers could use the latest outcry over brand safety to get YouTube to pick up the brand safety cost again.

“Unfortunate events like this demonstrate the need for greater third party oversight — no question,” the source said. “It’s hard to imagine that this would not give us more leverage.”

Not all brands are pulling spend

Not all brands are pulling away from YouTube. Burger King, Johnson & Johnson, and Anheuser-Busch InBev told Business Insider they are sticking with the platform.

While brand safety is important to Burger King, it is satisfied with YouTube’s efforts to tackle the issue, Burger King’s CMO Fernando Machado told Business Insider.

YouTube dedicated 10,000 employees across Google to vet videos, rolled out tools that catch questionable content through artificial intelligence, and significantly raised the requirements for creators to make money from their videos.

“The most important part is that they seem to be committed to solving the problem,” Machado said.


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The 3 Best Canadian Tech Stocks I Would Buy With $3,000 for 2021





The majority of the Canadian tech stocks went through the roof in 2020 and delivered outsized returns. However, tech stocks witnessed sharp selling in the past 10 days, reflecting valuation concerns and expected normalization in demand. 

As these high-growth tech stocks shed some of their gains, I believe it’s time to accumulate them at current price levels to outperform the broader markets by a significant margin in 2021. Let’s dive into three tech stocks that have witnessed a pullback and are looking attractive bets. 

Lightspeed POS

Lightspeed POS (TSX:LSPD)(NYSE:LSPD) stock witnessed strong selling and is down about 33% in the last 10 days. I believe the selloff in Lightspeed presents an excellent opportunity for investors to invest in a high-growth and fundamentally strong company. 

Lightspeed witnessed an acceleration in demand for its digital products and services amid the pandemic. However, with the easing of lockdown measures and economic reopening, the demand for its products and services could normalize. Further, it faces tough year-over-year comparisons. 

Despite the normalization in demand, I believe the ongoing shift toward the omnichannel payment platform could continue to drive Lightspeed’s revenues and customer base. Besides, its accretive acquisitions, growing scale, and geographic expansion are likely to accelerate its growth and support the uptrend in its stock. Lightspeed stock is also expected to benefit from its growing average revenue per user, innovation, and up-selling initiatives.     


Like Lightspeed, Shopify (TSX:SHOP)(NYSE:SHOP) stock has also witnessed increased selling and has corrected by about 22% in the past 10 days. Notably, during the most recent quarter, Shopify said that it expects the vaccination and reopening of the economy to drive some of the consumer spending back to offline retail and services. Further, Shopify expects the pace of shift toward the e-commerce platform to return to the normal levels in 2021, which accelerated in 2020.

Despite the normalization in the pace of growth, a strong secular shift towards online commerce could continue to bring ample growth opportunities for Shopify, and the recent correction in its stock can be seen as a good buying opportunity. 

Shopify’s initiatives to ramp up its fulfillment network, international expansion and growing adoption of its payment platform are likely to drive strong growth in revenues and GMVs. Moreover, its strong new sales and marketing channels bode well for future growth. I remain upbeat on Shopify’s growth prospects and expect the company to continue to multiply investors’ wealth with each passing year. 


Docebo (TSX:DCBO)(NASDAQ:DCBO) stock is down about 21% in the last 10 days despite sustained momentum in its base business. The enterprise learning platform provider’s key performance metrics remain strong, implying that investors should capitalize on its low stock price and start accumulating its stock at the current levels. 

Docebo’s annual recurring revenue or ARR (a measure of future revenues) continues to grow at a brisk pace. Its ARR is expected to mark 55-57% growth in Q4. Meanwhile, its top line could increase by 48-52% during the same period. The company’s average contract value is growing at a healthy rate and is likely to increase by 22-24% during Q4. 

With the continued expansion of its customer base, geographical expansion, innovation, and opportunistic acquisitions, Docebo could deliver strong returns in 2021 and beyond.

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Manitoba to invest $6.5 million in new systems





WINNIPEG – The province of Manitoba is investing $6.5 million over three years to replace technical systems used in healthcare facilities, including replacing current voice dictation and transcription services with more modern systems and upgrading the Provincial Health Contact Centre (PHCC)’s triage, call-recording and telephone systems, Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson (pictured) announced.

“Our government is investing in the proper maintenance of information and communications technology to ensure digital health information can be safely stored and shared as needed,” said Stefanson. “These systems will ensure healthcare facilities can continue to provide high-quality services and allow Manitobans to get faster access to healthcare resources and information.”

Dictation, transcription and voice-recognition services are used by healthcare providers to write reports. There are currently approximately 80 healthcare sites across Manitoba using some combination of dictation, transcription and voice-recognition services. Many of these systems are nearing the end of their usable lifespans.

“Across our health system, radiologists and nuclear medicine physicians use voice-dictation services to help create diagnostic reports when reading imaging studies like ultrasound, nuclear medicine studies, X-rays, angiography, MRI and CT scans,” said Dr. Marco Essig, provincial specialty lead, diagnostic imaging, Shared Health. “Enhanced dictation and voice-recognition services will enable us to work more efficiently and provide healthcare providers with quicker access to these reports that support the diagnoses and treatment of Manitobans every day.”

The project will replace telephone-based dictation and transcription with voice-recognition functions, upgrade voice-recognition services for diagnostic imaging and enhance voice-recognition tools for mobile devices.

“Investing in more modern voice-transcription services will help our health-care workers do the administrative part of their jobs more quickly and effectively so they can get back to the most important part of their work – providing top-level healthcare and protecting Manitobans,” said Stefanson. “The transition to the new system will be made seamlessly so that services disruptions, which can lead to patient care safety risks, will not occur.”

The new systems will be compatible with other existing systems, will decrease turnaround times to improve patient care and will be standardized across the province to reduce ongoing costs and allow regional facilities to share resources as needed, Stefanson added.

The PHCC is a one-stop shop for incoming and outgoing citizen contact and supports programs such as Health Links–Info Santé, TeleCARE TeleSOINS and After-Hours Physician Access, as well as after-hours support services to public health, medical officers of health, home care and Manitoba Families.

The current vendor that supplies communications support to the PHCC is no longer providing service, making it an opportune time to invest in an upgraded system that will provide better service to Manitobans, the minister said, adding the project will provide the required systems and network infrastructure to continue providing essential services now and for the near future.

“The PHCC makes more than 650,000 customer service calls to Manitobans per year to a broad spectrum of clients with varied health issues. This reduces the need for people to visit a physician, urgent care or emergency departments,” said Stefanson. “The upgrade will also allow Manitobans in many communities to continue accessing the support they need from their home or local health centre, reducing the need for unnecessary travel.”

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Telus and UHN deliver services to the marginalized





Telus’s Health for Good program has launched the latest of its specially equipped vans to provide medical services to the homeless and underserved, this time to the population of Toronto’s west end. The project relies not only on the hardware and software – the vans and technology – but on the care delivered by trained and socially sensitive medical professionals.

For the Toronto project, those professionals are working at the University Health Network’s Social Medicine program and the Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre. The city’s Parkdale community, in the west end, has a high concentration of homeless and marginalized people.

First launched in 2014, Telus’s Health for Good program has delivered mobile clinics to 13 Canadian cities, from Victoria to Halifax. Originally designed to deliver primary care, the program pivoted to meet the needs of patients in the COVID-19 pandemic, said Nimtaz Kanji, Calgary-based director of Telus Social Purpose Programs.

Angela Robertson of the Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre (CHC) asserted that marginalized people are particularly susceptible to the spread of COVID-19, as they don’t have access to the basic precautions that prevent its spread.

The clinic is located near a Pizza Pizza franchise; homeless people shelter under its overhang on the weekends, she said. Some have encampments under nearby bridges.

“The public health guidelines and requirements call for things that individuals who are homeless don’t have,” Robertson said. “If the response calls for isolation, that suggests people have places to isolate in.”

And in the shelter system, pre-COVID, the environment was very congregate, with many people in the same physical space, said Robertson. Some homeless persons, in order to keep themselves safe, have created encampments, and the city has opened up some hotel rooms across the city to create spaces for physical distancing.

Even proper hand-washing and hygiene becomes a challenge for the homeless.

“COVID calls for individuals to practice constant hand-washing. Oftentimes, individuals who are homeless use public washroom facilities that may be in restaurants or coffee shops, and many of those spaces are now closed. So there are limitations to accessing those facilities. It’s not like they’re in a community where there are public hand-washing facilities for people who are homeless.”

The mobile health clinic allows the CHC to take “pop-up testing” into communities where there is high positivity and where additional COVID testing is needed. The CHC can take testing into congregate sites and congregate housing to provide more testing, Robertson said.

“The other piece that we will use the van to do is, when the vaccine supply gets back online, and when the health system gets to doing community vaccinations … we hope that we can be part of that effort.”

COVID has contributed to a spike in cases of Toronto’s other pandemic: opioid overdoses. Some community members are reluctant to seek care because of the stigma attached to substance abuse; and COVID has a one-two punch for users.

The first rule of substance abuse is, don’t use alone; always be with someone who can respond to a potential overdose, ideally someone who can administer Nalaxone to reverse the effects of the overdose, Robertson said. “It’s substance abuse 101,” and the need for social distancing makes this impossible.

Secondly, COVID has affected the supply chain of street drugs. As a result, they’re being mixed increasingly with “toxic” impurities like Fentanyl that can be deadly.

The van itself is a Mercedes Sprinter, modified by architectural firm éKM architecture et aménagement and builder Zone Technologie, both based in Montréal. According to Car and Driver magazine, the Sprinter line – with 21 cargo models and 10 passenger versions – is “considered by many to be the king of cargo and passenger vans.”

Kanji said the platform was chosen for its reputation for reliability and robustness.

While the configuration is customized for each mobile clinic, it generally consists of two sections: A practitioner’s workstation and a more spacious and private examination room, so patients can receive treatment with privacy and dignity, Kanji said. The Parkdale clinic is 92 square feet.

“While the layouts vary across regions, they typically include an examination table and health practitioners’ workstation, including equipment necessary to provide primary healthcare,” the Telus vice-president of provider solutions wrote in an e-mail interview. The Parkdale Queen West mobile clinic is designed for primary medical services, including wound care, mobile COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts, harm reduction services, mental healthcare and counseling.

The clinic equipped with an electronic medical record (EMR) from TELUS Health and TELUS LTE Wi-Fi network technology.

Practitioners will be able to collect and store patient data, examine a patient’s results over time, and provide better continuity of care to those marginalized citizens who often would have had undocumented medical histories.

The EMR system is Telus Health’s PS Suite (formerly Practice Solutions). It is an easy-to-use, customizable solution for general and specialty practices that captures, organizes, and displays patient information in a user-friendly way. The solution allows for the electronic management of patient charts and scheduling, receipt of labs and hospital reports directly into the EMR, and personalization of workflows with customizable templates, toolbars, and encounter assistants.

But like others tested for COVID, it’s a 24-48 hour wait for results. Pop-up or not, how does the mobile team get results to patients who have no fixed address?

The CHC set up a centre for testing in a tent at the Waterfront Community Centre. Swabs are sent to the lab. “We are responsible for connecting back with community members and their results,” Robertson said.

“This is the value of having Parkdale Queen West being in front of the testing, because many of the community members who are homeless we know through our other services, and there is some trust in folks either coming to us to make arrangements to collect their results, or we know where they are.”

This is a key element of the program, said Kanji – leveraging community trust. In Vancouver downtown east side, for example, where there is a high concentration of marginalized members of the indigenous community, nurse practitioners are accompanied by native elders in a partnership with the Kilala Lelum Health Centre.

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