Saturday, August 22, 2015

A good - and bleak - look at Postmedia's drift toward the rocks

The Globe and Mail’s James Bradshaw has a good piece on Postmedia today, confirming the bleak future and lack of any real plan for Canada’s largest newspaper company.
No one can see an end to revenue declines that have come every quarter since Postmedia scooped up Canwest newspaper properties as they headed to bankruptcy, the article confirms.
And Postmedia management has no idea what to do about it and no vision for a sustainable future for the company, at least based on Bradshaw’s piece.
I especially liked CEO Paul Godfrey’s comments on the cuts that have damaged the quality of the newspapers and service to advertisers.
“We’ve said over the last five years, three or four times, God we can’t go any further [with cuts], we can’t go any further. And yet we always have been able to,” he said. But at what cost? “That’s the big question,” he said. “I don’t think anyone knows when they’ve gone too far until they’ve gone too far.”
Candid, I suppose. But hardly suggesting management with a plan.
Godfrey also confirmed Postmedia’s attempt to build digital audiences and revenues with tablet and smartphone products hasn’t worked.
“Mr. Godfrey is pressing ahead with a “four-platform” revamp, which has built new apps for smartphones and tablets and redesigned print editions and websites at the Calgary Herald, Montreal Gazette and Ottawa Citizen. The rollout has been on pause while the company retools some aspects – “We learned a lot; everything we did wasn’t great,” Mr. Godfrey said – but will resume soon with the Edmonton Journal and Windsor Star.  According to figures from the Alliance for Audited Media, however, daily circulation of digital editions on phones and tablets at the Citizen and Gazette are about 11,000 for each paper, excluding copies used for education, compared with about 65,000 and 55,000 copies respectively for print.”
But “pressing ahead” hardly seems accurate. Godfrey announced that four-platform plan in the company’s 2012 annual report, promising "a laser focus on accelerating the transformation.”
Three years later, only three papers have implemented the plan, apparently without much success.
There are no magic solutions for newspapers. But Bradshaw’s piece paints a bleak picture of the future for Postmedia and its network of papers.
I’ve written about Postmedia’s woes and lack of direction before. Just search on Postmedia on the blog, or check out my recent piece for The Tyee here.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Postmedia today killed a Margaret Atwood piece.

People are turning their backs on the permanent advertorials that Canadian corporate media has become.

Have a look at The Economist for a success story.

Ray Blessin said...

Samuel Clemens:
"If you don't read newspapers, you are uninformed.
If you DO read newspapers, you are misinformed."

e.a.f. said...

newspapers aren't loosing readership because of other media or the internet. Newspapers are loosing readers because there is nothing in the papers of interest to readers.

Stopped buying the Sun and Province 15 yrs ago and all I miss are the comics. Now in the past few weeks I've picked up some national papers because the head lines grabbed me as I walked by.

For newspapers to be relevant they have to inform, investigate, not be so partisan.

Life has also changed. At one time people had time to read the paper before going to work. now the commutes are so long, who has time. Same with going home. Most people no longer have the luxury of sitting down to read for awhile.

The quote from Samuel Clemens is good!

Anonymous said...

So how long does the Canadian newspaper industry have left?

astrom47 said...

e.a.f., I agree. They nothing but yes men for the corporate sector. There is no honest appraisal in BC newspaper and we haven't had it since Majorie Nicols. Actually the BC Liberals work for them.

astrom47 said...

e.a.f., I agree. They nothing but yes men for the corporate sector. There is no honest appraisal in BC newspaper and we haven't had it since Majorie Nicols. Actually the BC Liberals work for them.

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