Postmedia to lay off 11 per cent of editorial staff amid rising costs, declining advertising

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Postmedia Network Canada Corp PNC-BT will lay off 11 per cent of its 650 editorial staff, the company said Tuesday, as it grapples with rising costs and declining advertising and circulation revenue.

The media company, which has more than 130 brands including the National Post, announced the cuts at a staff town hall. “There is no question that we are in an existential fight for our lives,” said acting senior vice president of editorial Gerry Knott, according to a recording obtained by Reuters. “I think we are changing … it is clear to me that we need to accelerate.”

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Mr Knott said the restructuring would affect all titles in the chain, except for the titles it acquired from Brunswick News last year.

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Postmedia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The details follow a company memo last week that said an unspecified number of roles would be eliminated in the coming months through layoffs and unfilled job vacancies. Sales, editorial, production and distribution departments will all be affected.

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Other cost-saving measures announced last week include moving a dozen Alberta community newspapers to a digital-only format starting in late February, the sale of a building in Saskatoon and the sub-lease of offices in Regina. All employees in Saskatchewan will be working remotely permanently. Separately, the company said last week it sold the Calgary Herald Building to U-Hall Company for $17.25 million.

Postmedia also made a deal with Glacier Media to relocate its printing operations to Estevan Printing in Saskatchewan.

The changes are the latest in a series of cost-cutting measures at Postmedia amid profound shifts in reader habits and the business model for news over the past few years. Print advertising and circulation revenue have long been in decline, and newspapers are trying to adjust by boosting digital advertising revenue—an area dominated by Google and Facebook—and by developing new income streams. Postmedia, for example, has a parcel delivery business, and has sought to boost its fortunes through consolidation such as the Brunswick News acquisition.

Despite these efforts, Postmedia implemented layoffs, offered buyouts, discontinued some titles, and reduced the print frequency of others. Last October, it stopped printing Monday editions of nine daily newspapers, including the Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen and Montreal Gazette. Since 2015, the number of employees is slated to fall by more than half to 2,098 by August 2022, according to a company filing.

The challenges are clear in Postmedia’s latest quarterly results. Earlier this month, the company reported a loss of $15.9 million compared to $4.4 million in the same period a year earlier, along with a decline in revenue from advertising and circulation.

Postmedia President and CEO Andrew McLeod said in an employee address last week that the company has been hit by a “perfect storm” of falling revenue and rising costs due to inflation. “We need to balance our costs with the revenue environment we find ourselves in,” he said.

Postmedia to lay off 11 per cent of editorial staff amid rising costs, declining advertising

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