Following through on commitments made when Transcontinental bought Quebecor’s entire slate of community newspapers in Quebec, the company has received Competition Bureau approval to sell 14 community newspapers to smaller companies. And Transcontinental has responded by announcing it is shutting down 20 more, laying off 80 people.
The papers being sold, a mix of those previously owned by TC and Quebecor, are among 34 papers that Transcontinental was ordered to put on the market because they compete with other papers also owned by the company. (One of those papers, Le Courrier du Saguenay, which includes the Courrier du Fjord, Courrier de Jonquière and Courrier de Chicoutimi, was later removed from that list.)
Sold to Les Médias de la Rive-Sud:
- Le Journal de Saint-Hubert (QMI)
- Rive-Sud Express in Longueuil (TC)
Sold to Serge Langlois, Michel Langlois, Claude Langlois, Carole Côté and Pierre-Marc Langlois, who also own Les Éditions Blainville Deux-Montagnes:
- L’Echo du Nord in Saint-Jérôme (QMI)
Sold to Néomédia, a division of iClic Inc., where they will become online-only publications:
- Agri-Vallée in Valleyfield (QMI)
- Chambly Express (TC)
- Le Journal de Joliette (QMI)
- Le Point du Lac-Saint-Jean in Saint-Félicien (QMI)
- Le Réveil in Saguenay (QMI)
- L’Echo de la Rive-Nord in Sainte-Thérèse (QMI)
- L’Echo de Laval (QMI)
- L’Echo de Trois-Rivières (QMI)
- Pub Extra Magazine in Laval-Laurentides (QMI)
- Sorel-Tracy Express (TC)
- Vallée du Richelieu Express in Mont-Saint-Hilaire (TC)
The remaining 19 community newspapers are now Transcontinental’s to do with as they please. Of them, 18 are on the shutdown list:
- Abitibi Express – Rouyn-Noranda (TC, competed with Quebecor’s Le Citoyen)
- Abitibi Express – Val d’Or (TC, competed with Quebecor’s Le Citoyen)
- Le Progrès Écho, Rimouski (QMI, competed with Transcontinental’s L’Avantage)
- Le Rimouskois, Rimouski (QMI, competed with Transcontinental’s L’Avantage)
- L’Impact de Drummondville (QMI, competed with Transcontinental’s L’Express)
- L’Écho de Victoriaville (QMI, competed with Transcontinental’s La Nouvelle Union)
- Édition Beauce Nord, Sainte-Marie (TC, competed with Quebecor’s Beauce-Média)
- Le Journal de Magog (QMI, competes with Transcontinental’s Le Reflet du Lac)
- La Voix de la Matanie, Matane (QMI, competed with Transcontinental’s L’Avantage out of Rimouski)
- La Voix Gaspésienne, Matane (QMI, competed with Transcontinental’s L’Avantage out of Rimouski)
- Le Riverain, Sainte-Anne-des-Monts (QMI, competed with Transcontinental’s L’Avantage out of Rimouski)
- L’Écho de Repentigny, Repentigny (QMI, competed with Transcontinental’s Hebdo Rive-Nord)
- Point de vue Laurentides, Mont-Tremblant (TC, competed with Quebecor’s L’Information du Nord)
- L’Écho de Shawinigan, Shawinigan (QMI, competed with Transcontinental’s L’Hebdo du St-Maurice)
- Châteauguay Express, Châteauguay (TC, competed with Quebecor’s Le Soleil)
- Roussillon Express, La Prairie (TC, competed with Quebecor’s Le Reflet in Delson)
- Valleyfield Express, Valleyfield (TC, competed with Quebecor’s Le Soleil)
- L’Écho de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (competes with Transcontinental’s Le Canada Français)
Also being shut down are:
- Le Saint-Laurent Portage, Rivière-du-Loup (QMI)
- L’Echo de la Lièvre, Mont-Laurier (QMI)
The only paper that was put on the market and left unsold but will be kept by Transcontinental is Le Courrier du Fleuve in Rimouski.
Transcontinental is now left with 105 weekly papers, five biweeklies, six monthlies and one bimonthly in Quebec, plus the Métro Montreal daily, or 118 total newspapers.
UPDATE: The FNC-CSN union isn’t happy with the job losses, and worries about Néomédia, which it believes is more interested in advertising than maintaining editorial integrity.
Meanwhile, Radio-Canada’s eastern Quebec bureau gets some reaction to the closing of six papers in that region. And the FPJQ’s regional offices denounce the cuts in the Montérégie and Gaspésie regions
According to http://www.lelezard.com/communique-4749752.html , TC will actually close 20 newspapers, not 19 according to the Competition Bureau release.
Interesting on so many levels.
This is a perfect example of under-the-radar Davids and the “Art of Battling Giants.”
A community radio powerhouse FM 103,3 is behind Les Médias de la Rive-Sud.
(Yes, French-language community radio does have some bright stars in Quebec).
An independent 3rd generation family-run newspaper group (who also have “le fameux Mot mystère” under their belt) are capturing the last piece of what will become a “five-established-publications” regional powerhouse.
(Yes, independent French-language community print still has a few bright stars in Quebec).
And the most successful pure-play digital player who found a way to take the “Texas-like” attitude of “La Beauce” to digital-only profitably before ANYBODY in Canada (let alone Quebec) is finally going to get the opportunity to flex some online muscle and risk punching above their weight.
(“To boldly go…” when you look it up in the dictionary should have a photo of these digital Stealth Warriors as a replacement for any Shatner-image of James T. Kirk).
The future is never easy to predict, but, wow, this news should provide some very interesting local media synergies to come to life.
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