A month after our cover story on the state of modern media — another big merger was announced today that really hits home. All provincial dailies you know, The Telegram, The Western Star, The Compass etc, have been bought out. Along with every Transcontinental Newspaper in Atlantic Canada.
A total of 27 Transcontinental papers, as well as The Chronicle Herald and its 7 papers in Nova Scotia, have been amassed into a new mega media identity, SaltWire Network Inc. SaltWire also bought all of the printing facilities Transcontinental owned in Atlantic Canada. 650 Transcontinental employees will receive offers from SaltWire.
In the first quarter of this year, Transcontinental’s media sector revenues fell by $14.7 million, or 18.9 per cent, on account of lower advertising revenues. Plummeting ad revenues is an affliction of every newspaper worldwide, as ads move away from print papers and into the pockets of Google and Facebook who can afford to sell bulk, cheap ads.
This explains the impetus of SaltWire. Mark Lever, president and CEO of SaltWire, says “We had a willing seller and got a good price … [and] This acquisition positions us for growth … We are bringing together 950 talented employees to create a media network that will give national and regional brands access to 71 per cent of the region’s newspaper readers. This gives us renewed relevance in the world of Google and Facebook and, frankly, the CBC.”
Julia Kamula is the Senior Vice President of Local Solutions for TC Media. Of the sale, she says, “We feel this is the best decision for the continued sustainability of these operations, and that this transaction will help foster even stronger connections with the local communities that these publications serve at a time when all media are undergoing profound transformation. We are confident that this organization is well-positioned to carry on the legacy of these brands.”
A quote from SaltWire’s website: “While our presence may be broad – our mission is singular: ensure our local media outlets continue to thrive as vital resources for the communities they serve.”