The Slow Death of Canadian News Print

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Lord Conrad Black, the former Canadian Media Mogul who controlled Hollinger International, (once the world’s third-largest English-language newspaper empire) saw the writing on the wall, er … the print perhaps.

By the late ’90’s Black was convinced the newspaper business had peaked and began selling off many of Hollinger’s small papers in the United States.

In 2000, Lord Black’s Hollinger International Inc. sold most of its Canadian newspapers and half of the National Post to CanWest Global Communications Corp. for $3.2-billion dollars.

At the time, Leonard Asper and his father, CanWest founder Izzy Asper, hailed the deal as a bold move into the world of media convergence.

It is clear now that Lord Black and Hollinger outfoxed the Aspers and CanWest.

By late 2009, CanWest entered bankruptcy protection leading to the sale of the company’s assets. Canwest’s newspaper arm was sold to a group of creditors led by National Post CEO Paul Godfrey, through a newly formed company named Postmedia Network.

The Postmedia then went on to buy Sun Media Corp. a subsidiary of Quebecor in 2015 for 316 million.

The acquisition signalled an unprecedented concentration of the country’s newspapers and digital news sites. Postmedia took ownership of both major dailies in three big cities: The Sun and Herald in Calgary, the Sun and Journal in Edmonton and the Sun and Citizen in Ottawa. It previously owned both The Vancouver Sun and The Province in Vancouver, which it used as an example to make its case to the Competition Bureau.

Then, in early 2016, Postmedia completed a major restructuring of its debt. Under a court-approved corporate plan of arrangement, the company removed $307 million in debt and $50 million in annual cash interest from its books through a debt for equity swap.

However, Standard & Poor’s considered the plan of arrangement a technical default and indication that Postmedia was incapable of paying back its debt.

But the losses keep coming.

This week Postmedia Network Canada Corp., booked a loss of $99.4 million in the three months ending August 31, compared to $54.1 million in the same period the previous year. Check Reuters Canada Article Here.

This downward trend is clear proof that Conrad Black was right. Print media is indeed in a slow death spiral.

How ironic that he remains one of the few still working for the newspaper he founded.

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One thought on “The Slow Death of Canadian News Print

  1. Reading some of Conrad Blacks latest musings make it all that much more clear; the media is only in this for the money now. Non partisan journalism is gone forever in print and mainstream media. Its sad in a way, as it creates small media who are forced to serve their own interests and many are going to be left getting partisan info due to lack of understanding in how new media works. Some of my peers are even in this camp, and they are in their mid 30’s!

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