Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Head office for Postmedia Networks in Toronto on March 12, 2018.

Fred Lum/the Globe and Mail

Canadian media companies are split over the industry-defining issue of how to get tech platforms such as Google, Facebook and Apple to pay for news content.

The chief executive of one of the country’s largest publishers, Andrew MacLeod at Postmedia Network Canada Corp., wants to see the Canadian government emulate Australian regulators and create a framework that forces tech platforms to pay all news organizations for access to their work. Postmedia owns more than 120 news brands across Canada, including major daily newspapers in six provinces.

“We need an outcome for the industry, and the country, that benefits every platform,” Mr. MacLeod said in an interview on Thursday. The federal Liberals have repeatedly promised policies to support the news industry, but did not bring forward any legislation concerning the relationship between tech firms and the news sector. Mr. MacLeod said government intervention is needed to address the disparity in size and resources between domestic news platforms and global tech companies, which wield “monopolistic dominance.”

Story continues below advertisement

“These are tech companies that routinely negotiate as equals with sovereign nations, and win,” said Mr. MacLeod. He said that by negotiating collectively, Australian news platforms showed they could strike more lucrative agreements with tech companies than any player could achieve on its own. Mr. MacLeod said: “It’s comparable to athletes negotiating with wealthy team owners. The athletes’ power comes from negotiating together.”

The divide between news platforms was starkly illustrated last month, when Google Canada announced a partnership with eight news organizations, including The Globe and Mail, that will see the tech company pay for content on a platform called Google News Showcase. The program is part of parent Alphabet Inc.’s US$1-billion global commitment to media platforms. Postmedia did not participate in the project.

When the Google partnership was announced, industry group New Media Canada chair Jamie Irving said: “Until news media in this country can negotiate collectively with Google and Facebook, the two multinationals will continue to divide and conquer, using their power and market dominance to drive terms that are in their favour.” Postmedia and The Globe are members of News Media Canada.

Postmedia announced quarterly financial results on Thursday, with revenues flat year over year at $112-million. The Toronto-based company turning a $8.7-million profit compared with a $13.8-million loss in the same period last year.

Postmedia’s print advertising sales fell by 8 per cent in the quarter compared with a year ago. Historically, print ads were the company’s most significant revenue source, but the company’s digital advertising and digital subscription revenues both increased by 22 per cent in the quarter compared with the same period a year ago. Mr. MacLeod said these are business lines that will carry the company forward.

“We’re cautiously optimistic in our outlook,” Mr. MacLeod said. “Our customers’ desire for quality content continues to be extremely high as we emerge from the pandemic.”

In May, Postmedia took a minority ownership stake in personal investment platform Wise Publishing, which runs MoneyWise-branded websites. Mr. MacLeod said the two companies are now working on ways to earn more revenue from their combined audiences. The MoneyWise platforms attract more than 10 million visitors each month.

Story continues below advertisement

Five years ago, Postmedia went through a financial restructuring that left the company with $225-million of first lien debt. Mr. MacLeod said paying down debt and strengthening the balance sheet remain a priority. Over the past nine months, Postmedia paid down $16.9-million, partly through asset sales. Since 2016, the company has cut first lien debt by 70 per cent to $66.9-million, and it held $53.4-million of cash at the end of the most recent quarter.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies