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Hollywood isn’t Thrilled as Netflix Builds its Own Empire



Tara Flynn, a rising star in show development at TV studio Fox 21, walked into her boss’s office in August to announce she was leaving for a job at Netflix.

Her boss said she was under contract, and Flynn replied that she wasn’t asking permission, according to people familiar with the conversation. She had little to lose. Netflix said her contract wasn’t enforceable in California, and promised to cover any legal fees, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

Flynn’s departure is just one of the latest examples of Netflix’s aggressive hiring as it builds its own empire. Netflix plans to release 1,000 hours of original video next year, up from 600 this year, and is taking on dozens of new employees to help it find, produce and market TV shows and movies. That ambition is ruffling feathers in Hollywood, a place where professional jealousies and big egos are the norm.

Netflix plans to spend $6 billion ($8 million Cdn.) on programming next year, up 20 per cent from 2016. Much of that will be spent on shows and movies produced by rival media companies, but more and more is devoted to original shows. Head count almost doubled last year to 3,700, and the company has 36 open job listings for marketing and 24 for public relations, almost all tied to original productions.

The company is about to move into a swanky new office tower in the heart of Hollywood that will serve as one of its hubs for original programming. The 323,000 square-foot (30,000 square-metre) new building, which includes stages and production offices, was the largest office lease in Hollywood history when Netflix signed it last year.

By producing a show from soup to nuts, Netflix controls global rights, which are key as the company attempts to offer a similar library of shows and movies around the world. Companies like have stepped up to start bidding against Netflix for those rights.

“The more they own, the more they control, the more flexible they can be at deploying shows around the world,” said Joe Dennison, an associate portfolio manager at Zevenbergen Capital Management. “It’s a smart investment upfront since the return takes a long time.”

Netflix wants to determine “how we continue to maintain exclusivity, where we’re not seeing the content against our wishes go into other markets, into syndication and DVD and others,” Ted Sarandos, the company’s chief content officer, said on a call with analysts this week. “We’re able to produce it at a very high quality and also much more efficiently.”

FX Chief Executive Officer John Landgraf has warned that Netflix’s ambitions are so great that it could develop a monopoly over content production, just like its Silicon Valley peers have grabbed large market share in social networking, search and mapping. FX just had a banner year, even though it lost out on the rights to a couple hits to Netflix, such as Aziz Ansari’s Master of None.

Parent company 21st Century Fox took its grievances a step further, suing Netflix last month for allegedly encouraging Flynn and a film marketing executives to break their contracts. “Netflix is defiantly flouting the law by soliciting and inducing employees to break their contracts,” the media company said in its statement. “We intend to seek all available remedies to enforce our rights and hold Netflix accountable for its wrongful behaviour.” Netflix declined to comment on the suit. Flynn referred questions to Netflix.

While Hollywood relies on fixed-term contracts, they aren’t enforceable, Netflix has said. The company wants to set a precedent that it can take employees from other companies — if those employees want to leave.

Media company complaints about Netflix have grown much louder as its value has grown along with its user base. It was only six years ago that Time Warner Inc. CEO Jeff Bewkes dismissed Netflix as being as threatening as the Albanian army.

In the past few years, Netflix has offered hefty raises, sometimes double, over many mid-level employees’ salaries if they join the company, according to people familiar with the matter. To develop hundreds of hours of programming in just a few years, the company has had to hire executives away from many of its partners and competitors to satisfy its ever-growing needs.

The company has recruited development executives to identify promising scripts and acquire projects, production executives to get the projects made and marketing and public relations executives to promote the finished product. Most of Netflix’s senior programming executives hail from major media companies.

One of the things that most needles partners is that Netflix can spend billions of dollars without needing to deliver a profit, since it still has the cachet of a hot Silicon Valley growth stock. While HBO, Showtime, FX and others must show consistent growth in both sales and profit to please their parent companies, Netflix is singularly focused on adding customers, and it’s on course to surpass 100 million next year.

To create and license all its programming, Netflix is bleeding cash. The company said this week it will have negative free cash flow of $1.5 billion this year and will soon raise more debt. Making its own shows is more cash-intensive at first, but costs less in the long term than acquiring programming because of lower overhead and more licensing opportunities, the company said.

“Netflix spending is out of control,” said Wedbush Securities Inc. analyst Michael Pachter, a longtime bear on the stock, citing a $40 million deal Netflix reportedly did for two stand-up films starring comedian Chris Rock. “I cannot see how they ever get a return on that ‘investment.’”

The programming budget will grow indefinitely, executives said Monday on an earnings call. Originals like Luke Cage and Making a Murderer could eventually account for half of all the programming on Netflix, Chief Financial Officer David Wells said at an investor conference last month.

Many of those shows are still produced and owned by other companies, like Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel Entertainment and Sony Corp. But Netflix is funding and producing more on its own. Stranger Things, a summer sensation that helped attract millions of new subscribers, is one example of an in-house Netflix show.

Though known for serialized dramas, Netflix has been meeting with top TV producers in search of a hit procedural show like Bones or NCIS, according to people familiar with the matter. Science fiction and supernatural horror programs are also high on its list.

While the Fox suit garnered a lot of attention, executives at most other media companies say losing the occasional employee is par for the course. If they do lose employees, it’s because Netflix is an attractive new company offering gigantic raises.

Nor is Netflix abandoning studios. It worked with Sony to produce The Crown, a drama about Queen Elizabeth II created by Peter Morgan, and works with Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel Entertainment on shows like Luke Cage and Daredevil.

And for urban crime drama Seven Seconds, Netflix is teaming for the first time on a wholly original show with a new partner.

Its collaborator on the project? Fox.

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Beauty Week is back at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto and it’s time to get glam



Beauty enthusiasts rejoice! Beauty Week at Hudson’s Bay is back in Toronto for another year. It’s time to stock up on all of your fall essentials and, maybe discover some new ones. 

From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27, you can expect a truly elevated beauty experience in-store with incredible special offers, limited-time gifts, and exciting activations. 

If you’re a diehard beauty lover, you’ll already know that Hudson’s Bay is the place to shop thanks to its extensive range of over 195 skin and makeup brands from both luxury labels and masstige brands — including Tata Harper, Estée Lauder, YSL, Nars Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, and so much more.

Throughout The Bay’s Beauty Week, visitors can take in some at-counter activations and interactive expert-led tutorials, where there will be chances to get makeup touch-ups from top-tier brands, try a spritz of the most alluring fragrances, and sample tons of new products.

This year’s Beauty Week highlight is the ‘Best in Beauty’ tote, a meticulously-curated selection of 30 deluxe samples from an array of top-tier brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and Shiseido spanning skincare, fragrance, and makeup — all in a super sleek bag.

The tote, which is valued at over $300, is retailing for just $39 and is a fantastic way to explore new products (without breaking the bank). However, there is a limited quantity, so if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll need to be fast.

Wondering exactly what Beauty Week’s free gifts with purchases entail? If you spend over $95 at Lancôme, you will receive a six-piece set valued at $130. Or, you can get an Estée Lauder gift valued at $170 with purchases over $80. (And that’s just to name a few.)

If you’re a Hudson’s Bay Rewards member, you’ll also get $20 in Hudson’s Bay rewards when you spend over $100 on beauty.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are hiring for several non-combat military jobs



The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have several non-combat jobs, some of which do not require a college degree or past work experience.

Life in the forces has several benefits, such as paid education plans (college, university and graduate-level programs), 20 paid vacation days, health and dental coverage for you and your family, maternity and paternal leave, and pension plans. You can learn more about the benefits in detail here.

And to make it easier to gauge if you qualify, the listings also include related civilian jobs to see if it’s your ideal role.

Financial services administrator

Related civilian jobs: Financial records entry clerk, financial manager, accounting technician, bookkeeper, budget officer, cashier clerk, business planner technician, and verification manager.

Description: You’ll help budget resources for all military activities besides providing financial assistance.

Education: You need to have completed Grade 10.

Duties: As a financial services administrator, you’ll be responsible for bookkeeping and managing budgets. You’ll also provide support in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Work environment: Those in this role work at CAF bases, on ships or overseas. You might also be expected to help special operation units, recruiting offices, schools, and medical organizations.

Postal clerk

Related civilian jobs: Mail clerk, mail sorter.

Description: You’ll provide postal services to members and their families at bases and establishments.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: As the postal clerk, you’ll handle mail duties.

Work environment: Besides a postal office, you may work on a ship or a mobile postal van. You might be expected to serve with Royal Canadian Navy, the Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and abroad.

Dental technician

Related civilian jobs: Dental assistant, dental hygienist.

Description: You’ll be helping dental officers provide dental services to CAF members, their families, and dependents.

Education: Level II dental assisting diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate.

Duties: Those in this role will be responsible for various responsibilities, including disinfection and sterilization of dental equipment, applying rubber dams, placing cavity liners, and controlling bleeding. In addition, you’ll assist in laboratory procedures like creating casts, custom trays, and mouthguards.

Work environment: This role will require you to work in a military dental clinic, a Mobile Dental Clinic, an Air Transportable Dental System, or onboard a ship. You might be expected to work on a base in Canada or other operations in other parts of the world.

Human resources administrator

Related civilian jobs: Records administrator, data entry supervisor, receptionist, office manager, executive assistant, payroll clerk, and information management technician.

Description: Provide administrative and general human resources support.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: In addition to human resources administration and services, you’ll be handling pay and allowances, managing automated pay systems, and maintaining personnel records.

Work environment: HR administrators work at all CAF bases in Canada. They also work on ships and overseas to support the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations.

Medical assistant

Related civilian jobs: Emergency medical responder, ambulance and first aid attendant, registered nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, and hospital orderly.

Description: Successful candidates will help treat the sick and injured in CAF units. You’ll be assisting and supporting nursing and medical officers.

Education: Minimum of Grade 11 biology, Grade 10 physics or chemistry, and Grade 10 math.

Duties: You’ll provide initial care and essential life support treatments in trauma cases. You’ll help with health assessments (hearing and vision tests, perform basic lab procedures, etc.) and initiate and manage medical records and reports. You’ll also be expected to provide support and first aid during training exercises.

Work environment: Medical assistants may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. Those in this role are exposed to the same risks as the forces they support.

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Porter’s new loyalty program promises to match Air Canada’s Aeroplan status



Porter Airlines is once again stirring the pot among Canadian airline rivals, now going after Air Canada’s Aeroplan members by offering to match their loyalty status to an equivalent of their own.

The beloved airline, which recently ranked as having the best cabin service in North America, challenged the competition for the second time this year, after previously deploying a similar tactic against WestJet in the spring. 

Earlier in April, Porter presented customers with a limited-time offer to match the loyalty status of WestJet’s patrons with VIPorter levels.

Now, they’re offering Aeroplan members to seamlessly transition to an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller status based on their existing membership tier.

Members can then take advantage of an array of travel perks that come with flying Porter, including seat selection, baggage, and flight changes.

For those currently holding an Aeroplan membership, there are two ways to acquire the Avid Traveller status for the rest of 2023:

Status-Based Match:
  • Aeroplan 25K members = VIPorter Venture
  • Aeroplan 35K members = VIPorter Ascent
  • Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite = VIPorter First
Flight Segments-Based Match:
  • 5 flight segments = VIPorter Passport
  • 8 segments = VIPorter Venture
  • 17 segments = VIPorter Ascent
  • 28 or more segments = VIPorter First

Members will have to first submit their applications on Porter’s website. Registration will remain open until September 6, 2023.

In order to maintain their membership level through 2024, customers will have until the end of 2023 to reach the following reduced qualifying spend (QS) targets:

  • Passport = $500 in QS
  • Venture = $750 in QS
  • Ascent = $1500 in QS
  • First = $2500 in QS

Over the past year, Porter has launched an aggressive expansion strategy, including everything from introducing longer flights on newly-purchased jet planes flying out of Toronto Pearson, free WiFi, and a new all-inclusive economy experience.

With Canadians losing both Swoop and Sunwing as WestJet incorporates both into their mainline business, Porter’s direct competition is welcome to keep prices competitive.

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