The all-out war between Quebecor and Transcontinental continues. Only a few months after announcing new community weeklies in Laval and the north shore, Quebecor is opening up two other free weekly newspapers northeast of Montreal:
- L’Écho de Repentigny (59,000 copies), serving Le Gardeur to Lavaltrie and competing directly with Transcontinental’s Hebdo Rive-Nord
- Journal de Joliette (62,000 copies), serving Joliette, Berthierville and St-Michel-des-Saints and competing directly with Transcontinental’s L’Action
Quebecor says it will create 120 jobs with these new papers, which sounds like a lot, even from a company that is looking for creative ways around Quebec’s anti-scab law to get cheap content for the Journal de Montréal.
So far, there’s been no counterattack from Transcontinental in areas that Quebecor has historically covered, like the south shore. It remains to be seen if they will raise the stakes and create real competition in community newspapers, or if they’ll just give up and watch the media giant slowly erode what’s left of Transcon’s readership.
UPDATE: Seems I’ve missed the Rive-Sud Express, which was launched in April and competes directly with Quebecor’s Courier du Sud. Last week, Transcontinental added Point de vue Sainte-Agathe and Point de vue Mont-Tremblant, and Abitibi Express, that compete with Information du nord Sainte-Agathe, Information du nord Mont-Tremblant and La Frontière, respectively.
The Point de vue papers are actually a split-up of the formerly independent Point de vue Laurentides, which Transcontinental has acquired and turned into two weeklies, each running with a single journalist, a freelancer and a shared photographer, and a bunch of people doing ad sales.