Postmedia cuts more jobs, Sunday editions

Postmedia Network Inc.  is cutting deeply across its operations for the second time this month, slashing newsroom jobs at high-profile daily newspapers and halting publication of Sunday editions in several of its largest markets.

The media company is reeling from a deep freeze in the advertising market, which has seen revenue fall sharply at outlets across Canada. For every $7 publishers are losing in their print editions, a recent study suggests they are only earning $1 of digital revenue – and even that previously stable digital revenue has been in freefall through the first half of the year.

Read the story in the Globe and Mail
Read a Q&A with Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey 

Since Postmedia Network was formed nearly two years ago, our company
and our industry have been undergoing a significant transformation.
Changes we have made so far have come from the review of all of our
operations so that we can leverage the strengths that we have, address
any weaknesses and identify our most competitive areas.

Early on we centralized our finance operations, leveraging our
strengths as a large company, and now provide greater service to our
markets and to our clients while operating more efficiently. More
recently we moved our commodity news requirements out of house having
identified that commodity news is an area where we cannot be
competitive.

While the changes we have been making are about creating the company
we need to be, it also means changing the way we have done many things
in the past. While some areas are expanding, some roles across our
operations will be eliminated. The only way we can be competitive is
to create a new company that leverages its history and moves
aggressively into the future.

We are continuing on this path and looking to further reduce our
print-related infrastructure costs, build out our digital platforms
and invest in growth areas of our business. We know that print
advertising revenue decline is ongoing across the industry. And a lot
of the lost revenue in Canada is going to foreign-owned and controlled
digital companies who, without any regulation, are accessing Canadian
audiences and eroding Canadian media revenues.

The way we produce our newspapers can be a strategic advantage for a
company of our size and over the last few years, Postmedia Editorial
Services in Hamilton (PES) has expanded services to our newspapers by
providing a majority of their pagination and layout. We are now
further expanding our PES operation to accommodate the editorial
production of more of our newspapers’ pages allowing our newsrooms to
concentrate on the creation of local content. Creating compelling
content is still a major focus at Postmedia Network and we are proud
of the exceptional work appearing on our print and digital pages every
day.

Along with moving editorial production out of our local newsrooms,
each of our operations will implement various programs aimed at
reducing print-related infrastructure costs with a focus on investing
our energies and resources in digital platforms. Three of our
newspapers – Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa – will stop producing a
Sunday edition, having identified that subsidising this publication
day is simply no longer practical. National Post, as it has for the
past three years will suspend summer Mondays and look closely at its
publication schedule going forward.

Our audiences move across platforms with great ease and we have seen
continued audience growth on our newspaper websites. Our tablet apps
and mobile optimized sites are gaining traction as we continue to
develop unique experiences for engagement across all of our platforms.

The insights we have gained and the transformation we have undertaken
over the last two years continue as we prepare to enter our new fiscal
year in September. We know that we must accelerate the pace of change
so that the new company we are creating is the strongest, most
future-focused and successful that it can be.

Paul

Memorandum
To:    The Gazette staff
From   Alan Allnutt
Date:   May 28, 2012
Further to Paul Godfrey’s Business Update, I wanted to briefly discuss
how the budgeting process and the changes mentioned by Paul will
affect The Gazette.
As some of you may have read last week, the venerable Times-Picayune
of New Orleans, a 175-year-old newspaper, has decided to print only
three times a week beginning this summer.  This is further evidence
that media companies across North America face major challenges as a
result of significant declines in print advertising.  Their solution
may seem radical to some, but they are simply making a business
decision to focus on their digital platforms four days a week and cut
printing and distribution costs.
We don’t think we are at that stage yet, but we are looking at all
possible options to reduce cost around print and continue the
transition to digital delivery of our products.
Our budgeting exercises in recent weeks have shown us that doing
nothing is not an option.
Yes, we have made very significant progress in cutting our so-called
“legacy costs” by reducing operating costs at the plant and by
reducing unprofitable circulation. But looking out another 12 months,
we feel we must find further efficiencies in order to remain
financially stable and to continue serving our local community.
The editorial department will be undergoing more transformation in the
next few months and more than 20 positions will be removed from the
newsroom.  All roles, from managers on down, will be redefined with a
digital focus. We are also looking at changes to the weekday paper
sectioning, as well as the number of presses we use to print it each
day.
In other departments we will continue our efforts to find new ways of
doing things more efficiently.
As we told members of the Guild executive earlier today, we will be
offering voluntary buyouts in most departments.  More details on this
program will be forthcoming in the next few days.
If The Gazette and Postmedia are going to compete into the next
decade, we must find ways to be more nimble while remaining
profitable.  That means constant change.   And while change can be
frightening for all of us, it can also be exciting and lead us to a
brighter, more stable future.
Please keep the lines of communication open – if you have any
questions, contact your managers or me directly.

Note de service
Au :  Personnel de The Gazette
De :  Alan Allnutt
Date :  Le 28 mai 2012
Pour faire suite au « Business Update » de Paul Godfrey, je voulais
discuter brièvement comment le processus budgétaire et les changements
mentionnés par Paul affecteront The Gazette.
Certains d’entre vous auraient lu la semaine dernière que le respecté
Times-Picayune de la Nouvelle-Orléans, qui existe depuis 175 ans, a
décidé de ne publier que trois fois par semaine à compter de cet été.
Cette décision est une autre indication que les sociétés de médias en
Amérique du Nord font face à des défis majeurs en raison des fortes
baisses de la publicité imprimée. Pour certains, leur solution
pourrait sembler radicale, mais ils prennent tout simplement une
décision d’affaire, celle de se concentrer sur leurs plateformes
numériques quatre jours par semaine et réduire les coûts d’impression
et de distribution.
Nous ne croyons pas en être arrivés à cette phase, mais nous étudions
toutes les options possibles pour réduire les coûts d’impression et
continuer la transition vers la livraison numérique de nos produits.
Nos exercices budgétaires au cours des dernières semaines ont révélé
que ne rien faire n’est pas une option.
Oui, nous avons fait beaucoup de progrès au niveau de la réduction de
nos prétendus « coûts hérités » en réduisant nos coûts opérationnels à
l’usine et en réduisant le tirage déficitaire. Cependant, regardant
vers les 12 prochains mois, nous estimons devoir trouver d’autres
économies afin de demeurer financièrement stables et continuer à
servir notre collectivité locale.
Le service de la rédaction subira d’autres transformations au cours
des prochains mois et plus de 20 postes de la salle de nouvelles
seront supprimés. Tous les rôles, à partir de directeurs en
descendant, seront redéfinis avec l’accent sur la technologie
numérique. De plus, nous considérons des changements au niveau du
sectionnement du journal en semaine et du nombre de presses que nous
utilisons à tous les jours pour imprimer celui-ci.
Dans d’autres services, nous tâcherons de trouver de nouveaux moyens
pour travailler plus efficacement.
Comme nous l’avons indiqué aux membres de la direction de la Guilde
plus tôt aujourd’hui, nous offrirons des rachats volontaires dans la
plupart des services. Plus de détails sur ce programme vous
parviendront dans les prochains jours.
Si The Gazette et Postmedia vont être compétitifs dans la prochaine
décennie, nous devons trouver des moyens pour être plus flexibles tout
en demeurant profitables. Cela veut dire des changements incessants.
Alors que le changement peut être effrayant pour nous tous, il peut
aussi s’avérer excitant et nous mener vers un avenir meilleur et plus
stable.
Je vous invite à maintenir les voies de communication ouvertes – si
vous avez des questions, veuillez contacter vos directeurs ou me
contacter directement.