Some good news for Canadian media

From the Canadian Journalism Project, an interesting economic analysis of the strengths of Canadian media. The usual suspects are there — radio, community weeklies, selected magazines, but I particularly like the view of Leonard Asper: “Canwest chief Leonard Asper has been grumbling to anyone who will listen that his media company earns $500 million a year in operating profit, before the cost of those pesky interest statements.” And I like the author’s response: “He’s right. If bankruptcy eliminated a whack of long-term debt from Canwest properties, the newspapers and television stations would be making money.” As I’ve been saying for some time, bankruptcy might be the best solution for CanWestGlobal.

Canadian Journalism Project, March31, 2009

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Chicago Sun Times latest to file for bankruptcy

It’s now the fifth major US newspaper group to file for bankruptcy, or more accurately creditor protection. This allows the Sun Times to hold off creditors while they try to sell off assets or obtain outside funding. Either way, it’s going to mean more cutbacks and layoffs. This is what Can West Global has been trying so hard to avoid (its creditors have given it another month to come up with a plan; stay tuned.)

Associated Press/Canoe News, March 31 2009

Canadian mags steady (if somewhat declining); Sun increases daily circulation

The latest PMB shows some decline in readership, but generally steady over two years. More interestingly, the Monday to Friday readership of three of the four major Toronto dailies (Globe, Post, Star) declined 5 – 8 per cent from last year, but the plucky Toronto Sun has increased to 822,000 an almost four per cent rise. Perhaps I need to reconsider my prediction that the Sun chain is the most likely to go down, particularly in this harsh economic environment.

Globe and Mail, March 27 2009

Arguments building for fee for carriage for CTV/Global (but not, apparently, CBC)

CRTC released info yesterday that digital/specialty channels made almost $690 million last year, while traditional over the air networks like CTV and Global made about $8 million. In line with the CRTC head testifying Wednesday before a parliamentary committe that fee for carriage (i.e. adding a cost to your cable/saellite bill to receive CTV/Global) “should be considered.” Looks like CRTC is setting up the public for just that move.

Mediacastermagazine, March 27 2009

Newspapers hold their own

The latest NADbank survey shows only four per cent of the public read newspapers exclusively online, showing once again that the new and the old media c0-exist equally, with users dipping into both depending on the mood of the moment. It doesn’t bring in more advertising, which is what is killing all media these days, but if they can get through the Great Recession, newspapers will still be a major media — at least they don’t have to rely on the CRTC for their survival, unlike their TV counterparts.

Windsor Star, March 26 2009

Axe falls at CBC

800 jobs to be lost, property to be sold, no tell what effect it will have on programming, but early reports say that CBC will manage its $171 million shortfall, mainly due to lost job revenue. Of this only 60 “corporate” positions to be effected, and executives only give back half their bonuses. Stay tuned; this is just the beginning.

CP, March 25 2009

God news in Canadian magazines: Tally 2008

Masthead online reports that almost twice as many magazines were launched in 2008 than were folded or disappeared (consumer magazines led both categories.) So, some good media news for a change; unfortunately, the trend for 09 is bleak: we’ve lost almost as many magazines in the first three months of 09 as we did in all of 08. The biggest culprit: declinding ad revenues, which is hitting all media.

Masthead Online, March 19 2009