Some news today from Canadian media as they struggle to keep afloat:
Canwest still ticking
Canwest, which faced a huge debt-related deadline today, got another extension – this time to April 7. It also said it would not make a $30.4 million debt payment scheduled for Friday, taking advantage of a 30-day grace period before lenders start demanding all of their money back. The rest of the release includes a lot of news which sounds kind of good but I don’t understand.
Everyone is understandably nervous about Canwest’s future, including some independent television producers for Canwest’s cable channels who have halted production and are holding their breath.
UPDATE (March 12): DBRS has responded to the delay by lowering Canwest’s credit rating from CCC to C. Canwest Limited Partnership, which is the branch The Gazette falls under, is rated slightly higher because it has more manageable debt.
Quebecor pulls out of CP
The bigger news is that Quebecor, the huge media company that owns Sun Media and the Journal de Montréal/Québec, gave notice to Canadian Press that it plans to pull out of the news-sharing cooperative effective in June 2010 (CP requires a year’s notice before membership is suspended – Sun Media could always change its mind, though that’s probably unlikely). Sun Media is CP’s largest member since Canwest pulled out of CP in 2007. Despite that and the “millions” of dollars that won’t be paid each year, CP is downplaying the significance of the pullout, saying it is restructuring itself to become a for-profit operation, which will allow it to sell its services with more flexibility.
Since pulling out of CP, Canwest and its newspapers (including the Gazette) have relied on competing wire services including Reuters, Agence France-Presse, New York Times News Service and PA SportsTicker, in addition to beefing up its internal Canwest News Service by adding national and international bureaus. Sun Media has already started beefing up its parliamentary bureau in Ottawa and launched its Agence QMI wire service, which notably has been used to provide content for the locked-out Journal de Montréal.
Apparently the notice happened in December, but the news was leaked to the public through a memo to employees by Quebecor head Pierre-Karl Péladeau.
UPDATE: Steve Proulx notes that CP said as recently as a year ago that it was confident Quebecor wouldn’t pull out.
- FP Newspapers, the company that owns the Winnipeg Free Press, reports a $500,000 loss in three months ending Dec. 31, and will lay off the equivalent of 26 full-time jobs at the Press and Brandon Sun.
- Steve Proulx looks at the future of newspapers in general
- David Akin looks at the state of Canwest and CTV, Canada’s largest private television networks and two companies he’s worked for over the past few years.