Metroland Media announced this morning that it has acquired both the Barrie Examiner and the Orillia Packet & Times from Postmedia and plans to close both daily newspapers.
In a news release issued this morning, Metroland cites the "relatively small circulation base" of both newly-acquired publications and says closure was "the only realistic option was to close the affected papers due to their falling advertising revenues and Metroland’s projections of their future performance."
The Examiner was founded in 1864.
Metroland will also close the Innisfil Examiner, Bradford Times and Collingwood Enterprise bulletin, among other community newspapers.
The deal between Metroland and Postmedia will see Metroland publish four former Postmedia daily titles: The St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review, Welland Tribune and Peterborough Examiner.
Reports say Postmedia picked up 24 Metroland titles in the transaction and plans to close all but one.
The following is the full text of a news release issued by Metroland Media:
Metroland Media to publish 4 daily papers purchased from Postmedia
Company will also close 3 daily and 8 community publications
TORONTO, ONTARIO – November 27, 2017 – Metroland Media Group Ltd. announced today it will continue publication of four daily newspapers and cease publication of the print and online editions of three other daily newspapers and eight community newspapers purchased from Postmedia Network Inc.
The four newspapers formerly owned by Postmedia that will now be published by Metroland Media are the St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review, Welland Tribune and Peterborough Examiner. A total of approximately 60 employees work at the four newspapers, which will continue to publish on their current daily schedules.
Metroland Media Group Ltd., a subsidiary of Torstar Corporation, purchased the publications earlier today from Postmedia Network Inc. as part of a transaction between Torstar and Postmedia that involved a number of community and daily newspapers, mainly in Ontario.
Metroland Media will continue to operate the daily newspapers in St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Welland and Peterborough with the aim of improving efficiencies through increased geographic synergies within Metroland Media’s primary areas.
The daily publications that will close are the Barrie Examiner, Orillia Packet & Times and Northumberland Today. Each of them has a relatively small circulation base. The eight community newspapers that will close are the Bradford Times, Collingwood Enterprise Bulletin, Fort Erie Times, Innisfil Examiner, Niagara Advance, Pelham News, Inport News (Port Colborne) and the Thorold Niagara News. All of the publications were bought as part of the transaction between Torstar and Postmedia.
The closure of the newspapers, which is effective immediately, will affect 46 full-time and part-time employees. The employees will receive severance packages.
The decision by Metroland Media to close the newspapers was made after a careful review of the financial performance and Metroland Media’s future projections for all the publications acquired from Postmedia.
Metroland Media concluded the only realistic option was to close the affected papers due to their falling advertising revenues and Metroland’s projections of their future performance. The newspaper industry in Canada is facing challenging times due to declines in recent years in print advertising revenues and the fact that newspapers are now facing increased competition for digital advertising dollars from international giants such as Google and Facebook. Because of that, Metroland Media is seeking synergies and cost reductions where possible.
By acquiring publications within or adjacent to Metroland Media’s primary areas and selling publications outside its primary areas the company will be able to place a greater focus on regions where it believes it can be more effective in serving both customers and clients. This will help allow the company to develop more digital content as well as enhance the operations of the four new daily newspapers that it will continue operating after the purchase from Postmedia.
Metroland Media remains committed to providing local residents with community news and information through its existing publications in the affected communities, including the Barrie Advance, Orillia Today and Northumberland News. Metroland Media operates more than 80 community papers in southern Ontario, as well as six daily newspapers, including the four new papers acquired from Postmedia that will remain open.
About Metroland Media Group Ltd.
Metroland Media Group Ltd., a subsidiary of Torstar Corporation, is a dynamic media company with a long and proud history of creating community connections across Ontario. From its award-winning print publications, some of which date back more than a century, to a steady flow of new digital products, Metroland Media is intensely focused on leadership in local media. Through a combination of marketing solutions, including print, direct marketing, digital and consumer shows, Metroland Media connects tens of thousands of businesses with consumers in their communities. As a trusted Canadian media company, Metroland Media is uniquely positioned to help advertisers of all sizes reach local audiences in innovative and engaging ways.