Metroland ends print editions of community papers, keeps regional dailies


Published September 15, 2023 at 1:27 pm

Metroland Media Group plans to end the print editions of its community newspapers and will exit the flyer business as it seeks protection under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act as part of a restructuring plan.

The move, announced Friday, will mean the loss of 605 jobs or about 60 per cent of its total workforce.

Metroland said the decision is a result of unsustainable financial losses stemming from the changing preferences of consumers and advertisers.

“The media industry continues to face existential challenges, largely because digital tech giants have used their dominant positions to take the vast majority of the advertising revenue in Canada,” the company said in a statement.

“The decline of the print and flyer distribution business was significantly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and by the reduction of flyer usage both by readers and advertisers as a marketing vehicle.”

Under the plan, Metroland’s community publications will move to a digital-only model, such as Ancaster News, Dundas Star News, Mountain News and Stoney Creek News.

Meanwhile, the company’s six daily newspapers, including the Hamilton Spectator, Peterborough Examiner, St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review, Welland Tribune, and the Waterloo Region Record, will continue both in print and online.

Metroland is owned by NordStar Capital, which also owns the Toronto Star newspaper. The Star is not part of the restructuring.

The changes follow the failure of talks earlier this year between NordStar and Postmedia concerning a potential merger.

The two companies were in talks regarding a possible deal that would have seen Postmedia and Metroland Media Group combine forces, while the Toronto Star would be managed by a new company.

News outlets have been under pressure for years as online giants like Google and Facebook owner Meta have scooped up advertising dollars.

Earlier this year, Ottawa passed the Online News Act, which will force digital giants to pay media outlets for content they share or repurpose on their platforms.

Meta and Google responded to the legislation by announcing they will block content from Canadian news publishers from their services before the law comes into force.

The Canadian Press

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