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Postmedia Network

Postmedia Network Canada Corp.
FormerlyCanwest Limited Partnership (2000–2010)
Company typePublic
IndustryMass media
PredecessorCanwest
FoundedJuly 13, 2010; 13 years ago (2010-07-13)
Headquarters365 Bloor Street East
Toronto, Ontario
M4W 3L4
ProductsNewspapers, media websites, news content
RevenueIncrease $458.2 million CAD (2022)[1]
Owner
Number of employees
2,006[2]
Websitepostmedia.com

Postmedia Network Canada Corp.[3] (also known as Postmedia Network, Postmedia News or Postmedia) is a foreign-owned Canadian-based media conglomerate[4] consisting of the publishing properties of the former Canwest, with primary operations in English-language newspaper publishing, news gathering and Internet operations. It is best known for being the owner of the National Post and the Financial Post. The company is headquartered at Postmedia Place on Bloor Street in Toronto.[5]

The company's strategy has seen its publications invest greater resources in digital news gathering and distribution, including expanded websites and digital news apps for smartphones and tablets.[6] This began with a revamp and redesign of the Ottawa Citizen, which debuted in 2014.[6]

66% of Postmedia is currently owned by American media conglomerate Chatham Asset Management.[7]

History

The ownership group was assembled by National Post CEO Paul Godfrey[8] in 2010 to bid for the chain of newspapers being sold by the financially troubled Asper family's Canwest (the company's broadcasting assets were sold separately to Shaw Communications). Godfrey secured financial backing from a U.S. private equity firm, the Manhattan-based hedge fund GoldenTree Asset Management—which owns 35 per cent—as well as IJNR Investment Trust, Nyppex and other investors.[8] The group completed a $1.1 billion transaction to acquire the chain from Canwest on July 13, 2010.[8]

On October 6, 2014, Postmedia's CEO Godfrey announced a deal to acquire the English-language operations of Sun Media.[8][9] The purchase received regulatory approval from the federal Competition Bureau on March 25, 2015,[10] even though the company manages competitive papers in several Canadian cities; while the Sun Media chain owns numerous other papers, four of its five Sun-branded tabloids operate in markets where Postmedia already publishes a broadsheet competitor.[9] Board chair Rod Phillips has cited the Vancouver market, in which the two main daily newspapers, the Vancouver Sun and The Province, have had common ownership for over 30 years, as evidence that the deal would not be anticompetitive.[9] The purchase did not include Sun Media's now-defunct Sun News Network.[9] The acquisition was approved by the Competition Bureau on March 25, 2015,[11] and closed on April 13.[12]

In 2016, the company sought to restructure its compensation plans and reduce spending by as much as 20%, after reporting a net loss of $99.4 million, or 35 cents per diluted share, in the fourth-quarter ended Aug 31, compared with a $54.1 million net loss, or 19 cents per diluted share, in the same period a year earlier. This resulted in 90 newsroom staff losing their jobs.[13]

On November 27, 2017, Postmedia and Torstar announced a transaction in which Postmedia will sell seven dailies, eight community papers, and the Toronto and Vancouver 24 Hours to Torstar, in exchange for 22 community papers and the Ottawa and Winnipeg versions of Metro. Except for the Exeter Times-Advocate, St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review, Peterborough Examiner, and Welland Tribune, all acquired papers will be closed.[14][15]

On June 26, 2018, Canadian Press reported that, by the end of August, Postmedia will be closing the Camrose Canadian in Camrose, Alberta, Strathmore Standard in Strathmore, Alberta, Kapuskasing Northern Times in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Ingersoll Times in Ingersoll, Ontario, Norwich Gazette in Norwich, Ontario and Petrolia Topic in Petrolia, Ontario. It will also cease printing the Portage Daily Graphic in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, the Northern News in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, and Pembroke Daily Observer in Pembroke, Ontario while maintaining a digital presence for the three publications. As well, the High River Times in High River, Alberta will go from being published twice a week to once a week.[16]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Postmedia laid off approximately 80 employees and permanently closed 15 community publications while navigating the financial strain of COVID-19. While the company utilized government subsidies, they claim they were unable to offset the decline in revenue.[17]

Postmedia closed 15 community newspapers in Manitoba and Ontario’s Windsor-Essex area as the publications were no longer financially sustainable.[17] The publications included Manitoba’s Altona Red River Valley Echo, Carman Valley Leader, Gimli Intertake Spectator, Morden Times, Selkirk Journal, Stonewall Argus & Teulon Times, Winkler Times, and The Prairie Farmer, leaving Portage La Prairie as the company’s community presence in the province.[17] For Ontario, the closures included the Kingsville Reporter, Lakeshore News (Windsor-Essex area), LaSalle Post, Napanee Guide, Paris Star, Tecumseh Shoreline Week, and Tilbury Times.[17]

On February 17, 2022, Postmedia announced a definitive agreement to acquire Brunswick News Inc. (BNI). As well as several New Brunswick daily and weekly newspapers and "digital properties", BNI's assets included a parcel delivery business and "proprietary distribution software".[18]

In 2023, Postmedia announced it would be moving a dozen of its Alberta community papers to digital-only platforms, aiming for more outsourcing deals and laying off employees. The announcement was made January 18, 2023, during an internal memo to staff that was obtained by The Canadian Press, describing the measures as a part of a "transformation plan geared toward managing costs". Later that day, Postmedia said it had also sold the Calgary Herald building for $17.23 million to U-Haul Co. after trying to sell it for nearly a decade.[19]

In July 2023, Postmedia Network Canada Corp. and Nordstar Capital LP annonce that merger discussion between the two newspaper publishers will not continue.[20]

Operating branch

Postmedia News is the news branch of Postmedia Network, providing similar content to all of its subsidiary news outlets and websites. It is identified as a source on all of its subsidiary newspapers.[21] The news agency provides news, sports, entertainment, photography, financial and feature information and data to Postmedia Network's Canadian newspapers, online properties and a number of third party clients in Canada and the United States.[citation needed]

Criticism

Ties to right wing politics

In October 2018, it was reported that CEO Andrew MacLeod had declared the company "insufficiently conservative". That resulted in Kevin Libin, who had played an active role in defeating a union drive at the paper earlier that year,[22] taking charge of all political reporting and analysis in Postmedia newspapers to ensure the newspapers became more "reliably conservative."[23][24] In June 2019, Kevin Libin, comments editor and editorials editor of the National Post and Financial Post and a founding editor of Western Standard, was assigned “executive editor of Postmedia politics".[4] The role focuses on the coverage of federal politics in the National Post. In addition, it focuses on the coverage of federal and provincial politics in all of the dailies owned by Postmedia.[24]

In November 2019, Postmedia announced that 66% of its shares were now owned by Chatham Asset Management, an American media conglomerate which owns American Media, Inc. and is known for its close ties to the Republican party.[25][26]

Centralization and lack of localization

The creation of the Postmedia Network effectively concentrates more than 90 percent of all Canadian dailies and weeklies in one company, a fact lamented by J-Source, a Canadian media watchdog, in a 2015 online article.[27]

Margo Goodhand, a former Edmonton Journal editor-in-chief, wrote in a 2016 Walrus article that Postmedia executives were behind the outsourcing of Postmedia content to a site within an office in Canada for the sake of producing “Regina Leader-Post sports pages, Arts fronts for the Montreal Gazette, editorial pages for the Vancouver Sun”.[24][28] In a 2020 article by The New York Times, it was reported journalists had attested that since Chatham Asset Management took over, Postmedia had centralized operations and cut staff so that its 106 newspapers were essentially clones of one another.[29]

Relationship with the government

On November 27, 2018, The Competition Bureau applied for a court evaluation contesting Postmedia's claims of solicitor-client privilege, for records seized by the bureau during raids at the company's offices.[30] In March 2018, the Competition Bureau issued a court filing accusing Postmedia and Torstar of structuring the deal they made together with no-compete clauses in an effort to reduce competition in the newspaper industry in violation of the Competition Act.[31][32]

According to Marc Edge, author of The Postmedia Effect, the network received $9.9 million in government financial assistance in 2022. In the same year, Postmedia's operating income was only $13 million.[33]

Treatment of staff

In 2016, Paul Godfrey took a $900,000 bonus during a time when Postmedia laid off staff company-wide.[34] CFO Doug Lamb received $450,000, COO Andrew MecLeod $425,000, legal and general counsel Jeffrey Harr $300,000, and National Post president Gordon Fisher $200,000. Unions representing Canadian journalists wanted the Postmedia executives to reject the total $2,275,000 as the newspaper chain continued to cut staff.[35]

Assets

Advertising

  • The Flyer Force
  • Go!Local

Publishing

Broadsheet dailies and weeklies

Tabloid dailies

Community newspapers

Postmedia owns newspapers that serve smaller communities across Canada, including:

Former assets

Magazines

  • Financial Post Business
  • Living Windsor
  • Muskoka Magazine
  • Kingston Life Magazine
  • Interiors Magazine
  • Backpack Magazine
  • Cannabis Post
  • Muskoka Visitor Guide
  • Ontario Farmer Magazines (Hog, Beef, Dairy)
  • Swerve
  • TVtimes

Online

  • Canada.com
  • Infomart.com
  • Canoe.com
  • celebrating.com
  • connecting.com
  • driving.ca
  • househunting.ca
  • remembering.ca
  • shoplocal.ca
  • SwarmJam.com

In addition, Postmedia Network owns all websites associated with all properties listed on this page either wholly or in partnership.

Software

  • QuickTrac
  • QuickWire

See also

References

  1. ^ "Postmedia Reports Fourth Quarter Results". Postmedia Network Canada Corp. October 21, 2022. Archived from the original on October 26, 2022. Retrieved July 16, 2023. section 14
  2. ^ 2021 Annual Information Form (PDF), Postmedia Network Canada Corp., 2021, archived (PDF) from the original on May 23, 2022, retrieved January 3, 2022
  3. ^ "Federal Corporation Information". Corporations Canada. Archived from the original on August 11, 2020. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "You Must Be This Conservative To Ride: The Inside Story of Postmedia's Right Turn". canadalandshow.com. August 12, 2019. Archived from the original on December 16, 2019. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  5. ^ "Contact Us | Postmedia". postmedia.com. Archived from the original on September 29, 2022. Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  6. ^ a b "Postmedia revamps Ottawa Citizen's digital service" Archived July 8, 2022, at the Wayback Machine. CBC News, May 20, 2014.
  7. ^ "Postmedia Fiscal 2020 Q1 financial report" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on November 24, 2021. Retrieved February 16, 2020. on page 15 under 'Related Party Transactions'
  8. ^ a b c d Olive, David (January 23, 2015). "Postmedia and the heavy price it pays to survive: Olive". Toronto Star. Toronto, ON. Archived from the original on July 8, 2022. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d "Postmedia buys 175-paper Sun Media for $316m" Archived October 11, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. Toronto Star, October 6, 2014.
  10. ^ Competition Bureau will not challenge Postmedia’s acquisition of Sun Media Archived September 23, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Competition Bureau, March 25, 2015.
  11. ^ "Postmedia purchase of Quebecor's Sun Media OK'd by Competition Bureau". CBC News. Archived from the original on August 15, 2020. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  12. ^ "Postmedia-Sun Media deal officially closes". The Globe and Mail. April 13, 2015. Archived from the original on March 27, 2017. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  13. ^ "Five things to know with Canada's news media industry under public policy review - CityNews Toronto". CityNews Toronto. June 21, 2016. Archived from the original on December 22, 2017. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  14. ^ "Postmedia to close community newspapers in Stratford, London, St. Thomas". CBC News. Archived from the original on November 28, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  15. ^ "Torstar, Postmedia swap community papers, most to close". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on November 27, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  16. ^ "Postmedia to close more local newspapers, cut staff by 10 per cent". Ottawa Citizen. Canadian Press. June 26, 2018. Archived from the original on June 26, 2018. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  17. ^ a b c d Sagan, Aleksandra (April 28, 2020). "Postmedia to lay off 80, permanently close 15 newspapers amid coronavirus fallout". Toronto CityNews. Archived from the original on January 11, 2023. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  18. ^ "Postmedia to Acquire Brunswick News Inc. and Extend Maturity of its First and Second Lien Notes". Postmedia. February 17, 2022. Archived from the original on February 18, 2022. Retrieved February 18, 2022.
  19. ^ Deschamps, Tara (January 18, 2023). "Postmedia announces plan to move 12 Alberta papers to digital-only, layoff staff". Archived from the original on January 18, 2023. Retrieved January 19, 2023.
  20. ^ "Merger talks between Postmedia and Toronto Star owner fall apart". Archived from the original on August 6, 2023. Retrieved August 6, 2023.
  21. ^ "Postmedia News | National Post". National Post. Archived from the original on May 9, 2024. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  22. ^ "How Postmedia Defeated A Union Drive At The National Post". CANADALAND. June 6, 2018. Archived from the original on October 24, 2020. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  23. ^ "Postmedia's employees should stand up to their right-wing bosses". National Observer. August 27, 2019. Archived from the original on November 7, 2020. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  24. ^ a b c "The new worry about the next election: your daily news - Macleans.ca". www.macleans.ca. Archived from the original on December 17, 2019. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  25. ^ "Postmedia Fiscal 2020 Q1 financial report" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on November 24, 2021. Retrieved February 16, 2020. section 14
  26. ^ "Behind Trump Tabloid King, a Connected and Flush Hedge Fund". Bloomberg. August 30, 2018. Archived from the original on December 20, 2019. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  27. ^ "Diversity of Media Ownership Literally Non-existent in Canada". November 29, 2013. Archived from the original on July 8, 2022. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  28. ^ Goodh, Margo (February 4, 2016). "Above the Fold". The Walrus. Archived from the original on January 1, 2020. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  29. ^ Lee, Edmund (July 16, 2020). "Under Hedge Fund Set to Own McClatchy, Canadian Newspapers Endured Big Cuts". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 18, 2022. Retrieved May 1, 2022.
  30. ^ "Torstar (Again) Blocks Release of Evidence in Conspiracy Case". The Tyee. Archived from the original on March 6, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  31. ^ "Competition Bureau's concerns over Postmedia-Torstar newspaper swap revealed in court filing". Financial Post. March 22, 2018. Archived from the original on April 6, 2018. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  32. ^ "Torstar, Postmedia and the arrogance of the deal". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on April 5, 2018. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  33. ^ Edge, March (June 13, 2023). "Postmedia is in a crash dive – Ottawa should let it decline". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on June 14, 2023. Retrieved June 15, 2023.
  34. ^ "Postmedia executives receive $2.3-million in retention bonuses". Archived from the original on July 8, 2022. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  35. ^ Woodhouse, Kristin (November 24, 2016). "Unions demand Postmedia executives reject $2.3 million in bonuses". vancouver.citynews.ca. Archived from the original on January 18, 2023. Retrieved January 18, 2023.
  36. ^ a b c d e Telecom; Media (November 27, 2017). "'The alarm bells should go off:' Postmedia, Torstar deal will see 36 community papers closed - Financial Post". Archived from the original on March 24, 2019. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
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