Metroland Media Group plans to end the print editions of its community newspapers and will exit the leaflet business as it seeks protection under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act as part of a restructuring plan.
The move, announced Friday, will result in the loss of 605 jobs, or about 60 percent of the total workforce.
Metroland said the move was the result of unsustainable financial losses resulting from changing consumer and advertiser preferences.
“The media industry continues to face existential challenges, in large part because digital technology giants have used their dominance to capture the vast majority of advertising revenues in Canada,” said the company in a press release.
“The decline of the print and leaflet distribution industry has been significantly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the reduction in the use of leaflets by readers and advertisers as a marketing vehicle. »
As part of the plan, Metroland’s community publications will move to a digital-only model.
Meanwhile, the company’s six daily newspapers, including the Hamilton Spectator, the Peterborough Examiner, the St. Catharines Standard, the Niagara Falls Review, the Welland Tribune and the Waterloo Region Record, will continue to appear 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.
These changes follow the breakdown of negotiations earlier this year between NordStar and Postmedia regarding a possible merger.
The two companies were in talks regarding a possible deal that would have seen Postmedia and Metroland Media Group join forces, while the Toronto Star would be run by a new company.
The media has been under pressure for years as online giants like Google and Facebook owner Meta have raked in advertising dollars.
Earlier this year, Ottawa pa*sed the Online News Act, which will force digital giants to pay media outlets for content they share or reuse on their platforms.
Meta and Google responded to the law by announcing that they would block content from Canadian news publishers from their services before the law took effect.
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