The deal announced Monday between Postmedia Network Canada Corp. and Torstar Corp. to exchange dozens of community newspapers, closing most of them, will mean much less competition for print news readers in some regional markets.
Competition from digital media, of course, is still raging, and is part of what has drawn readers away from the printed products, slashing advertising revenue. Even news operations that have built an online presence struggle with the fact that giants such as Google and Facebook dominate the digital advertising market.
"We are trying to pick some areas where we can sustain and stabilize ourselves," Postmedia president and chief operating officer Andrew MacLeod said on Tuesday. "The [alternative] is, you are spread too far and too thin."
Here is how the closings could potentially benefit newspapers that each company already owns, if those companies can indeed persuade readers to switch publications in those markets. If that's possible, they could attract more advertising revenue on which those publications depend. In some cases, the publications are not directly comparable (for example, the former readers of a free weekly may not be likely to pay for a daily paper to replace the former news source.) However, they point to the regions where each company has focused its priorities in this deal.
POSTMEDIA ACQUISITIONS AND CLOSINGS
Closings potentially benefiting the Ottawa Citizen and/or the Ottawa Sun
- Kanata Kourier-Standard
- Nepean/Barrhaven News
- Stittsville News
- West Carleton Review
- Orleans News
- Ottawa East News
- Ottawa South News
- Ottawa West News
- Metro Ottawa
Closings potentially benefiting the London Free Press (or possibly the Woodstock Sentinel Review, the Stratford Beacon Herald or The Londoner)
- Our London
- St. Marys Journal-Argus
- St. Marys Weekender
- Stratford City Gazette
- St. Thomas/Elgin Weekly News
Closings potentially benefiting the Winnipeg Sun
- Metro Winnipeg
Closings potentially benefiting the Kingston Whig-Standard
- Kingston Heritage
- Frontenac Gazette
Closings potentially benefiting the Belleville Intelligencer
- Central Hastings News
- Quinte West News
- Belleville News
Closings potentially benefiting the Brockville Recorder
- St. Lawrence News
Closings potentially benefiting the Simcoe Reformer or Brantford Expositor
- Brant News
- Norfolk News
Closings potentially benefiting the Owen Sound Sun Times
- Meaford Express
TORSTAR ACQUISITIONS AND CLOSINGS
Closing potentially benefiting Metro Toronto
- 24 Hours Toronto
Closing potentially benefiting Metro Vancouver
- 24 Hours Vancouver
Closings that could benefit the Niagara Falls Review, St. Catharines Standard, Welland Tribune or Niagara This Week – or possibly the Hamilton Spectator in some cases
- Fort Erie Times
- Niagara Advance
- Pelham News
- Thorold Niagara News
- Inport News (Port Colborne)
Closings potentially benefiting some other properties of Torstar division Metroland Media
- Barrie Examiner is closed; Metroland owns the weekly Barrie Advance
- Bradford Times readers could pick up the Bradford West Gwillimbury Topic
- Innisfil Examiner closing could benefit the Innisfil Journal
- Northumberland Today closing in Cobourg could benefit the Northumberland News or possibly the Peterborough Examiner
- Orillia Packet & Times closing could benefit Orillia Today, though the latter is a weekly; or possibly the Peterborough Examiner
- Collingwood Enterprise-Bulletin closing could benefit the Collingwood Connection
On Monday, the federal Competition Bureau confirmed it will review the transaction "to determine whether [it] will likely result in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition in any market in Canada."
Any agreement not to compete in a certain market, or to restrict supply of a product, would be considered anti-competitive behaviour under Canadian law. The companies' discussions were about acquisitions, not closings, Postmedia's Mr. MacLeod said on Tuesday. "We didn't know what their plans were, and they didn't know the same for us," he said.
Once all the closings are complete, Canada will have a total of 1,099 community newspapers and 90 daily papers still operating, according to News Media Canada. There have been a number of additional newspaper closings in recent years: from 2010 until February 2017, 225 weekly papers shut down and 27 dailies closed their doors across 210 federal ridings, according to the Public Policy Forum report "The Shattered Mirror: News, democracy and trust in the digital age."