The Sessions podcast transcription: Episode 1

This is a transcript of Episode 1 of The Sessions, presented by Playback and The Creative School. The special four-part series examines how Canada’s media industry is leaning into the global, online era with the new legislation called the Online Streaming Act, also known as Bill C-11.

This transcript is intended to increase inclusivity and accessibility, and has been edited for clarity and brevity. We’ve tried our best to accurately reflect exactly what was said on the podcast, while keeping in mind ease of reading. We encourage you to listen to the audio interview, if possible, to experience the full nuance of the conversation.

SPEAKERS: Host Irene Berkowitz; Reynolds Mastin, president and CEO of the Canadian Media Producers Association; Charles Falzon, Dean of The Creative School at Ryerson University.


Reynolds Mastin  00:00

In our world, the industry has changed radically. And the independent production sector certainly has had to adapt to that. You cannot survive, let alone thrive, which is what producers, you know, want to do in their own careers for their companies, if you aren’t able to deliver content that audiences both want and love.

Charles Falzon  00:27

And I think it’s important in this day and age that we keep the public and public demand and public value centre. I know philosophically it’s there, but in a pragmatic way, is it really at the core?

Irene Berkowitz  00:41

Hey everyone, you’re listening to The Sessions, a four-part weekly series where we’ll dive deep into The Online Streaming Act and unpack history being made right now, as Canada’s media industry leans into the global online era. I’m your host, Irene Berkowitz, Senior Policy Fellow at The Creative School. I’ve been watching this space for a decade and so excited we’re finally here, about to take a huge leap forward — or not.

Those two voices you heard at the beginning are today’s guests. They bookend this historic moment. Reynolds Mastin, President and CEO of the CMPA Canadian Media Producers Association. Formerly its chief legal officer, Reynolds was the chief negotiator with key players including Hollywood Studios, Canadian Broadcasters, CMF, CRTC, on key issues such as copyright, terms of trade, and much more. His first legal gig was articling with the CRTC.

Joining him is Charles Falzon, founding chair of the CMPA. Charles has been an award-winning television producer, including Geminis and Emmys, and is now dean of The Creative School at Ryerson University. Charles was in the room back then leading those meetings when groundbreaking agreements such as today’s 10-point system were created.

Together, we’ll discuss where the Canadian media industry is right now, how we got to this moment, and where we’re going — or not. So, let’s dive in. The future of Canadian media is finally here. So, what is your hot take on the Online Streaming Act? Reynolds? Would you like to start?

Reynolds Mastin  02:29

Sure Irene, and I just want to say how honoured I am to be participating in this inaugural podcast with the two of you. So, what’s my hot take? I’m very excited, I feel that this bill has the potential to move the industry forward in a way that enables us to build on the success that we’ve achieved, in no small part due to the foundational work that Charles did 40 years ago in this industry.

And also at the same time, I address some of the challenges that the industry is confronting today and seize the opportunities that we have in front of us.

So, you know, I would say the top three strengths from my perspective, first the bill makes a key policy priority, ensuring that the full demographic spectrum of our country is fully represented in our Canadian broadcasting system, starting with the primordial place of Indigenous peoples in this country.

And of course, including racialized people, those with disabilities, those of different gender expressions, and just the full range of our society today. That’s number one.

Number two, a focus on ensuring equitable treatment between domestic and foreign broadcasters operating in the Canadian marketplace.

And three, a renewed focus on ensuring that IP or intellectual property, the shows, the content that are made by Canadian producers and creators, that that IP also is monetized in Canada, and when a show is a success, that everyone shares in the success of that show. Because ultimately that’s how you build strong Canadian companies that are able to invest in the next great show.

So those are the strengths, I’m happy to talk about maybe an omission or two, but maybe I’ll turn it over to you Charles for your thoughts.

Charles Falzon  04:30

I think for me, and it’s a subject that is a delicate one that I know is close to every independent producer’s heart and certainly close to Irene’s studies, that I still question whether it’s central to it, is the notion of their raison d’etre, right? Is it a birthright to be a Canadian producer? Is it a birthright to have every corner of this country and everybody represented? Is it a birthright to really have that level landscape? No, I don’t think it’s a birthright.

I think what’s missing, and the reason for it, is the central protagonist, the public. And whether the public is a commercial audience that is moving to Netflix or moving to other places, whether the public is somebody who’s interested in narrowcasting a very specific need, whether the public is somebody…it doesn’t matter to me how you define the value relationship with that public.

But I always am cautious about that being forgotten. Because as I have been, you know, I’ve mentioned them in different discussions, I think that some of us who were there in the early days of Canadian content may have forgotten to point that out as loudly back then.

And I think it’s important in this day and age that we keep the public and public demand and public value centre. I know philosophically, it’s there. But in a pragmatic way, is it really at the core? And that’s my only little concern because I’ve seen it gone astray in the past, in my opinion.

Irene Berkowitz  06:10

So, can I follow up with both of you, because I think you both very much underscored the learning from the crisis the whole industry and the whole planet has been through in the past two years, which is the urgent priority to address inequities and diversities across the industry and across our nation and across the world. So that priority is reflected in the Act. Now the longer standing issue of content, both of you sort of approach that a little differently.

So, can I ask, is this Act a visionary paradigm shift that represents the solving of a problem in a shift to a borderless global online era? Charles mentioned the thing that I always write about, which is the shift from supply to demand on audience? Or are we to pick up on some of the things that Reynolds you mentioned?

Are we still looking at a supply driven system in an era when we have cases like Netflix and YouTube really proving the power of a demand-driven system?

Reynolds Mastin  07:25

Well, I think, you know, it’s a very interesting question, because certainly there was a time really not that long ago where we didn’t have much of a production industry to speak of, right? And the focus at that time as a matter of policy was in no small part driven to build an industry and to sort of create a structure and infrastructure, a level of crews and creative talent that prior to that maybe didn’t exist at a critical mass. And that is something I think we can look at with great pride in terms of mission accomplished.

At the same time, of course, our world, the industry, has changed radically. And the independent production sector certainly has had to adapt to that. You cannot survive, let alone thrive, which is what producers, you know, want to do in their own careers and for their companies, if you aren’t able to deliver content that audiences both want and love.

And so, you know, given the level of competition, particularly, I would say, in our sector, where you’ve got many production companies that are still competing for access to a small handful of gatekeepers, if you’re not laser focused on demonstrating the audience that this show is going to deliver, you’re simply not going to get greenlit. That’s just the reality of today.

So, you know, I think that the system has evolved, the industry has evolved to face the fact that now we operate in a global marketplace.

Irene Berkowitz  09:04

So Charles, what’s your take on that? Does the Online Streaming Act really make a visionary shift to reflect the global market, which wasn’t even envisioned in the 1991 Broadcast Act? It wasn’t technologically possible and therefore it wasn’t envisioned?

Charles Falzon  09:21

Yeah, these are tough questions. My whole focus has been for all my life in investing in Canadian talent led by Canadian producers. It’s been a very simple mantra of mine.

From the very first days when I said, ‘You’ve got to make sure that you’ve gotten funding whatever way shape or form, leveling the playing field of ensuring that the supply is happening and maturing and nurturing and let high end Canadian talent make good work that is going to be successful only if the audience clicks with it.’ And so I think that that is still unclear.

I think things like intellectual property rights and management are steps in the right direction. I think the messaging has to be, in my opinion, louder in terms of the empowerment of the audiences as to how we define success.

Because to me, success is not based on percentages. Success is not based on, look, ‘we’ve given X amount of money in tax credits.’ Success is that Canadians are hungry, and the world is hungry for quality content being created by Canadian producers. That’s a very simple equation. And I think it’s broader than in the past.

But you know, I’ll make one last comment. I agree. You said there wasn’t an international scope or international, you know, in the Broadcast Act, or whatever. Isn’t that sinful? When every Canadian producer I knew, was desperately looking at an export market for decades. This didn’t happen because of the internet. And yet there was this myopic, in my opinion, approach to it.

And so hopefully, this is not going to be that here. And I don’t think it can be, I think this thing will be short lived, if the interpretation of it is synced simply from a protectionist, bureaucratic, paint by numbers set approach to creative content. I think it’ll die right away.

But I think what hopefully is going to happen through leadership of independent Canadian producers and Canadian content creators who are passionate about a way to maybe make it a little bit more of a level playing field, because after 40-50 years of doing this, it’s still not fully a level playing field for the producers.

I think the bottom line answer is I feel really good about this, with some philosophical caution as to what we do with it, and why it exists.

Irene Berkowitz  11:48

This is very deep territory. So I think all three of us will agree that the Act does address the urgent priority of achieving equity and diversity, it spells that out, changes the definition of what Canadians…and this is a separate conversation, we may have a huge advantage in telling stories because of our wonderful diversity. But it’s unclear.

I think Charles is saying that whether it addresses the longer standing chronic problem, the omission of the concept and the word audience, and now global audience, from the goal.

So, is it possible that this Act sort of is sufficiently vague that it kicks the can to the CRTC to unhook the old fashioned legacy broadcasters and create and elevate the producers to a platform agnostic producer accessed system? Or that the CRTC will even kick that can to the CMF? Where does this missing shift in the fundamental problem that needed to be solved? That doesn’t seem to be in the act?

Reynolds Mastin  12:58

I think first of all, really, my question is, is that the fundamental problem that needs to be solved? When I was an articling student, my boss would always say to me, when in doubt, just go back to the Act. You don’t need to make it up, go back to the Act. That’s what sort of determines our day job state today.

And so I was just actually looking at Bill C-11, and as you know, there are many objectives enumerated in Bill C-11, as there are in the Broadcasting Act.

So here’s just one, it’s a single sentence, okay? And it’s not a matter of dispute amongst the political parties. It’s in the Act now. It’ll be in the Act afterwards. It says, ‘the Canadian broadcasting system should serve to safeguard, enrich, and strengthen the cultural, political, social and economic fabric of Canada, because this is foundational legislation that contributes to the country in a myriad of ways.’

And so necessarily, our elected members, when they are looking at updating the Broadcasting Act, have to be mindful of how powerful an instrument it is to achieve a range of policy objectives. And then, of course, there are several, you know, many, many other sub objectives of those sort of overriding objectives.

So, I think delivering for audiences, that is the industry’s job, right? What the industry needs from this legislation is to ensure that there is fairness in the system, there’s balance in the system, so that they can deliver on that for Canadian audiences. And I think this bill lays the groundwork for that, even though as you pointed out, and it’s 100% true, a lot of that is going to ultimately be determined by the CRTC and the policies and requirements that it ultimately adopts.

Charles Falzon  14:53

I fully, fully agree with Reynolds on this. I don’t think it’s the job of the bill or any of the organizations you mentioned to determine the relationship with the audiences and how to deliver that success. I think it is the producer, it is the production community, it is the creator.

I think that what I’m hoping for, and what I think is a positive, is that it doesn’t stifle the producer from doing that back in the day, and again, I’m sorry to talk about back in the day, we started international co-production treaties.

And the point of international co-production treaties was to give flexibility to the Canadian producer to make things happen with the internet and access international markets. It wasn’t very complicated, international treaties were pretty straightforward. And we, there were many of us who said, ‘Let’s do international treaties with as many people as we can other than the US’, and it worked. It was an example of something that worked.

I mean, I did 15 or 18 international co-productions over the years, because what we put into that mix was not up to anybody other than the producer and the partner there and the broadcasters in each country. So that’s where I keep going with it in terms of saying, let’s just keep that.

And one last thing. I mean, I think there are so many incredible, independent producers today who really get this. We don’t have your bureaucrats who figured out the system and just, let’s figure out the point system and get our…it doesn’t matter. Let’s get a producer. Most of the production community here that I’m aware of are passionate about success through on. It’s just, let’s not let this bill stifle their ability to do it. And I think it’s how we react to it.

I think it’s a good foundation. I think it’s how we interpret it, how we do it, how we push forward, how bold, how confident funding, and also other partners coming into the mix, in addition to the government. Private venture capital, which is a big beef for me, it’s like why don’t we have more private venture capital going into the system?

So I think that it’s not about somebody controlling it, like the CRTC or the or any of these organizations. I think it’s the producer.

Irene Berkowitz  17:04

I do agree. I think that in some ways, the vagueness of the new bill is really a strength and the Do No Harm aspect. I’m actually really glad you mentioned co-productions because I wanted to move on to ask you about discoverability. One of my favourite lines is by former CBC President Robert Rabinovich, and he says, ‘No one can make anyone watch anything, and no one wants to’. And there is a little specific in this bill about discoverability, which made me say, do they want to make you?

Arguably, great content is the best strategy for discoverability. Meaning content is not king, hit content is king. Global audiences are certainly finding Korea’s Squid Game, France’s Lupin, Spain’s Money Heist, and so on without government intervention.

So, the question for the bill is, can we regulate discoverability? Or what does that really mean? We incentivize great content?

Reynolds Mastin  18:05

Here’s what I would say on that. So let’s just take for example, Lupin, which I love, too. I think you could make the argument that part of the reason why we have Lupin is because France has a very robust regulatory regime that has always been laser focused on supporting a strong domestic industry, its production companies, its creators. And as a result of that, is able then to deliver shows for the international marketplace for global platforms like Netflix.

So I actually think we can identify any number of examples where it’s this magic combination of smart government intervention or regulation specific to the country, the specific country’s needs that we’re talking about, coupled with unleashing producers and creators to do what they do best.

And when we hit that sweet spot, that’s where the magic happens. And that’s where shows like Lupin happen, and how we then get to enjoy them no matter where we happen to be in the world. Right?

And so I think when we’re talking about discoverability, certainly when we’re talking about a platform like Netflix, the policy issue, it doesn’t centre around the question of, can we or should we force Canadians to watch anything?

First of all, I don’t think anyone can actually do that. Maybe if you move to Russia or something, that’s something… I don’t know. But certainly, that can’t and won’t happen here.

But what I think does matter as a policy issue is to enable Canadians to at least be aware that there is great content that their fellow citizens have produced that’s on this platform, right?

And let’s be clear, Orange is the New Black or House of Cards are all of those original productions that Netflix first began putting out in the marketplace on its platform. Those got global traction because Netflix decided it was going to push them, it was gonna push them on its platform, and it was gonna promote the hell out of them like all studios do, right? And broadcasters around the world promote their product.

So discoverability is already being determined by these companies, and they make the decisions and they tweak algorithms to achieve a certain result on the platforms that they control. And I think the debate here is, how do we ensure that Canadians have access to the great content that is coming out of their own country? Doesn’t mean they’re gonna watch it. Hopefully they do. Hopefully, they watch it and love it.

But how is it there’s an awareness that it’s out there? And that that’s a choice that they have that they can make to watch it or not watch it.

Charles Falzon  20:51

You know, going back to your broad question about, ‘is it about your supply or is it about demand?’, and I think it really is about both. You need to have high end supply nurtured that is driven by the demand. Simple. But really, you can’t have one or the other.

You know, it may be a surprise to you based on my approach to thinking of a market driven environment that I’m really in favour of that access to the shelf space for the producer. What I’m not in favour of is that it’s just about filling that shelf space rather than that shelf space delivering to the demand. And what I’m not in favour of is that the shelf space is bigger than the supply can be, so that only the excellent product that does connect with audiences makes it onto that shelf space. So that’s a balance, right?

There was a time in the process of all this where it was hard to build the production industry and to have content. So really, if you filled the points and you made it and it moved, then it was Canadian content. And it was okay, you made it on a shelf space. And really, the success was just getting it produced for a low budget, and the audience numbers were secondary.

Now that’s gone by, we’re not there anymore. But there was a time and I think that that’s sacrilegious. I think that the getting a bit of a push and support for the shelf space and access to make the best product possible.

Again, I look back historically at things like the music industry, right? And if you look at the music industry, and there’s so many complications of it, I don’t mean to oversimplify or complicate it, but the Canadian music industry would not have happened if there wasn’t shelf space on Canadian radio. But it also wouldn’t have happened if the producer, the artists, the label weren’t totally focused on the listener. They were out there making concerts happen, they were all there selling records. And it wouldn’t have happened if they also weren’t going down to New York or LA and trying to sell their records and the labels there.

It was a model that I’ve always been a fan of in the early days because shelf space was needed, this edge, otherwise we would have been drowned by all the other stuff. But the talent had the flexibility to say, here’s how you connect with your audience. And I think that the only group that can do that is those people whose vocation it is to create content for an audience, i.e. producers, artists, directors, talent, only.

It’s not government bureaucracy, it’s not lawyers, it’s not even marketers. It’s the passion of the creator. And as long as that is in the middle of the agenda, then it’s very great to support the bill in getting shelf space for this thing. And Netflix will buy something in any language if it makes sense to an audience. And Canadians will watch your show if they are entertained, regardless of whether it’s Canadian or Japanese.

Irene Berkowitz  23:44

Right. Would you like to see a producer-accessed platform agnostic funding system? Would that bring to life some of the things you’re talking about, and that Charles has been talking about? You know, we have these great producers now. We did it. The 20th century, as you said, done. Done brilliantly, strong producers. Why tie the funding to outdated platforms?

Reynolds Mastin  24:08

I think that is where we’re likely going to head, Irene. Whether that’s going to happen next week? I don’t know. But I absolutely believe that the momentum is building towards that. And it has to, right?

And I think that the quid pro quo in terms of looking at a more platform agnostic producer-centric approach to this is producers at the same time have to demonstrate that they have an audience. Whether it’s literally an audience, or you know, a buyer, I’ll call it quote unquote, that will then deliver that show to an audience, right?

But so long as that quid pro quo is in place, why would we continue to anchor our system and a structure that just doesn’t make sense anymore, right? It just plain doesn’t make sense anymore.

Irene Berkowitz  24:58

So the tricky connected question, maybe this is a false flag, because if we really mean to be pushing for globally popular content, don’t the producers who need to have the broadcasters or the financiers, whoever they may be, have the product on their side, and everybody needs to be pulling in the same direction? That’s the way Hollywood has achieved globally popular content.

Why are we fighting over something which we should be partnering on?

Reynolds Mastin  25:31

Well, you know, I think there’s often a really interesting dichotomy that takes place in the relationship between independent producers and whether it’s, you know, the Canadian broadcasters, the platforms, the global platforms, I do think that there is often incredible symmetry between what the creative production executives at a streamer broadcaster want to achieve, and what the producer and the creative team on a show want to achieve, right? They are vigorously rowing it in the same direction.

Where it diverges is when the deal actually has to be structured in terms of okay, assuming that we hit all the marks and the show is a success, who is going to share in that success? Is there going to be an equitable sharing in that success between the production company and whoever has commissioned that show? And there, because of the structural imbalances, both in the market and in our own system, partly because our system is tethered to broadcast triggers, right?

This creates a huge asymmetry in the bargaining power when the lawyers and the business executives have to work out what the deal is going to be. And what results is, because of the power that these buyers and commissioners have, they just basically say, this is the deal. This is the deal, take it or leave it. Right? And where it is going both in our market dealing with the domestic players, but also the global platforms are reducing the role of the producer to a fee for service model, where essentially our domestic industry gets converted into the service industry.

We have a great service production industry, it’s thriving, I’m not saying that as a criticism of what we have on the service side. But part of the success that we’ve enjoyed as an industry and as a country is we’ve had that balance. And if you move our entire production industry to a fee for service model, at that point, essentially all that we are are factory workers, with no actual Canadian factories. And I think this would be a huge mistake.

And that’s why you do need to have some kind of tool and the regulatory toolkit of the CRTC to enable some kind of baseline rules of the road when it comes to negotiation of these deals, so that the creative people both at the streamer, the broadcaster and the production company, and the creators on the show can continue to do what they do best.

And when the show is a success, everyone shares in that success and creates a virtual cycle for all the key players in the industry.

Irene Berkowitz  28:21

Wow, I’d love to unpack that. But Charles, you weigh in on that. This is a big issue.

Charles Falzon  28:25

First of all, let’s distinguish between IP and upside. IP is a tool to have a share of an upside. And I think just like in the early days, every producer, including yours truly, may not have shared an upside with co-creators or writers or producers or actors. And then we had residuals and we had profit sharing. And we had that. And we realized that to get the best talent, you had to do that.

I fully, fully agree that there’s a difference between producing something that comes and goes and does okay and The Sopranos, or whatever the version of it is, where the producers, the creators, should have an upside and major upside.

And I also agree about the bullying of the bigger partners and being in that position. And I understand why the independent producers say ‘okay, this is a time where the CRTC can really help us,’ saying if you’re going to take advantage of the system, the IP needs to remain in Canada.

I will tell you that I was the owner of a lot of IP that never made any money. Right? Tons and tons of things copyright this copyright…And so I think it’s a question of how you navigate that deal. And they can’t just rely on audience success for that because there’s a lot of middle ground, there’s big successes they want. They want the renewal. There’s a lot of stuff that’s mediocre, but then in the middle, there’s a lot of good stuff that should be an upside.

So, what I would say is that I think the whole industry is going to have to look at the old model of the studio system because the Americans are used to this. The Americans and big independent producers in the States never had distribution companies, never had libraries. They had collaboration, housekeeping deals, partnership, upsides, development deals with the studios of the time, and they still exist.

I think that’s the kind of spirit of a relationship we come to, and how we get there? I’m not quite sure. I’m not sure that the IP regulation is the be all and end all. But I can see how it’s a tool in the roster of negotiating the deals.

Irene Berkowitz  30:18

Maybe we can have a whole session on this, because this is so big. Arguably, in any business, and including the Hollywood business, the person who risks the money gets the large part of the upside. And if you’re a producer that produces a hit, next time you come around, you’ll get a better deal.

Get everyone rowing in the same direction, because it will benefit everybody. And if I guess, if the legacy broadcast arena is in a sunset phase, maybe here’s a new potential role.

Charles Falzon  30:59

Look, I have a passion, because I come from the independent production and distribution world and I am as invested in the Canadian independent scene as anybody you would know. So I know that that’s my vision.

I always think that for me, it’s not about free enterprise in the sense of let’s not have any government support. It’s, let’s let the shopkeeper be connected with the agenda. And the agenda is to sell the stuff to the person who wants it. And the shopkeeper to me is the content producer, always has been always will be. It’s not the lawyer nor the minister in Ottawa.

And so, how do you do that in a world where you still need the government’s support and the incentives, that’s something that we’ve been navigating. I just think that that’s the balance that we need to keep talking about. The more input from young people or young producers or young creators into the mix of this on an ongoing basis, not just a one-time thing, the better. That’s just where I go.

Irene Berkowitz  32:01

Yeah, Charles and I, we’re constantly at that one place where the rubber meets the road, which are the young producers coming up that we work with every day. They just don’t get all these old, old outdated rules and regulations. They are global media citizens, they have YouTube as their role model, and TikTok, and they just get that you produce something great. Everybody wants to watch it. And for them, it’s just not that complicated. Right?

So I do have one final question. As the purpose of this four-part series is to capture this moment where we’re just about to sort of make that turn to acknowledging and endorsing and embracing the global era, a quick question about the Online Streaming Act: Pass or no pass, and why?

Reynolds Mastin  32:53

Strong pass. And why? Because this legislation is 30 years old, and the world has changed. And I’m going to now sort of show my own bias having started, as you mentioned off the top Irene, having started at the CRTC.

One of the things that I truly loved about working at the CRTC is the public hearings process, the public consultation process, where it was sometimes like the whole world was offering its opinion and expertise about where to go on any given issue or file. And that, of course, is where, if this bill is adopted, the conversation will go next. And we’ll obviously, all three of us, I know, be carefully observing and also actively participating in that as I hope Canadians will across the country.

And I’m confident we will, as Charles did working with industry leaders in the mid-’80s to build the foundations for what we have today, we will renew that foundation in a way that makes sense for the future and which your students will say, yeah, this works. This makes sense. And this is something that I can buy into and want to be a part of.

Charles Falzon  34:04

Hear hear, I fully support. I think it absolutely needs to move forward. I just think unlike the last round, we shouldn’t be stuck for so long. It should be a living dynamic thing. And how that happens is yet to be seen, but absolutely…it’s about time we get unstuck.

Irene Berkowitz  34:23

Agreed. Five. Yeah, four commissions in six years and two acts? Let’s move on.

Reynolds Mastin  34:29

Well, if we can’t get it right after all that Irene…(laughs)

Irene Berkowitz  34:33

Well, it’s got a title, a great title! The Online Streaming Act!

Reynolds Mastin  34:37

Good start. (laughs)

Irene Berkowitz  34:37

Yes. Well, if we weren’t virtual, I’d give you a standing ovation. Thank you beyond words for this. It’s been absolutely fantastic. And we should reconvene at the least once we get this Bill to the next stage. Thank you all for listening.

For transcriptions, show notes, and more coverage on the Online Streaming Act, please visit the Playback website. And because our mission with this series is to inform and help push Canada’s media policy into the future, we would love it if you would spread the word about this podcast on social media or recommend the show to your colleagues, your friends and family. Thanks everyone for listening.