Transcontinental CEO joins growing chorus of calls for public funding for print

Transcontinental CEO joins growing chorus of calls for public funding for print MONTREAL – The CEO of one of the largest newspaper publishers in Canada is joining the growing chorus of calls for public funding to help the battered print media industry.Francois Olivier, who heads Transcontinental, said the company needs temporary financial help until the digital products it is developing mature.“If not, there’s a good chance that there will be less newspapers and less Canadian local content in my business,” Olivier said in an interview Friday.Olivier declined to say how much he’s seeking from both the federal and provincial governments. But he said even a relatively little amount would send a strong message that local news content is important.The print industry needs relief from rising environmental costs for recycling and tax breaks or subsidies to help hire reporters, he said. He also pushed for more advertising from politicians and tax breaks to help fund digital investments.Olivier said local community publishers have started to feel the pain from lower ad spending that first hurt large daily papers.Just two weeks ago, Transcontinental (TSX:TCL.A) announced the sale of all of its assets in Saskatchewan, including 13 newspapers. The deal with Star News Publishing leaves Transcontinental with 150 newspapers in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.Olivier said Transcontinental was able to initially adjust to a two to four per cent annual decrease in ad revenues by improving efficiencies and consolidating. But annual revenue declines have accelerated to 10 per cent in the last 18 months, cutting $25 million from its bottom line.“So there’s a lot of pressure in the system right now,” he said. “We are talking to the government to try to relieve some of that pressure for the next three to four years to give us the time to build a new digital audience and new digital products.”Oliver is just the latest media executive to make pleas for public funding for the print industry.Last month, Postmedia president and CEO Paul Godfrey told a parliamentary committee studying the industry’s future that Ottawa needs to spend more on Canadian newspaper ads and give greater tax breaks to companies that do the same.Godfrey pointed to federal statistics showing government advertising in newspapers was halved between 2010 and 2015, while online advertising nearly doubled to foreign-owned behemoths like Google and Facebook that produce no original Canadian news content.“We’re asking the government to be an ally, not for a bailout of the Canadian newspaper industry,” he said.Olivier went a step further but said government support, aside from lower recycling costs, should only be short-term.“At some point, the industry needs to be self-sufficient and do their own business model.”He also welcomed a recent study from the Confederation of National Trade Unions in Quebec, which called for urgent involvement by government, including a tax credit on salaries.Despite the challenges facing the industry, Olivier said Transcontinental has begun to play offence by adding flexible packaging operations and winning large new printing contracts, such as one with the Toronto Star that begins next month.In its second quarter earnings released Friday, Transcontinental reported that net earnings fell by 93 per cent to $5.4 million. The company attributed that to a large gain last year from the sale of its consumer magazines, the reversal of pension plan provisions and an impairment charge this year related to its newspapers in the Atlantic provinces.Excluding those items, Transcontinental’s adjusted earnings fell by 12.5 per cent to $34.2 million while its revenue edged up to $497.2 million from $490.5 million. by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 10, 2016 5:51 am MDT Last Updated Jun 10, 2016 at 2:41 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Read More →

Ohio State mens lacrosse looks to break losing streak at Johns Hopkins

OSU sophomore defender Brendan Barger (45) during a game against Notre Dame on March 26 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Cameron Carr | Lantern photographerThe Ohio State men’s lacrosse team is looking to put an end to its five-game losing streak as it travels to Baltimore to go up against No. 16 Johns Hopkins (5-4, 0-1) on Saturday.OSU (5-6, 0-1) has not won since March 6. All five of the games that the Buckeyes have come out on the losing side of during their streak came against teams ranked in the nation’s top 20. OSU coach Nick Myers emphasized the need to not look in the past, however, and instead gear up for what’s next.“We play an incredible schedule, and now we’re in conference play,” Myers said. “The focus is on Hopkins.”OSU junior attacker Austin Shanks said the focus in the midst of the losing streak and upcoming matchup against the Blue Jays is internal improvement.“We’re talking about ourselves. We really need to come together as a group,” he said. “It’s about us — it’s not about Hopkins.”Johns Hopkins comes into the game after losing to Rutgers 16-9 on Saturday. Still, the Blue Jays will likely present a tough test for the Buckeye defense. They rank 13th in the nation in scoring offense, registering 12.56 goals per game.The offense is led by sophomore attacker Shack Stanwick and senior attacker Ryan Brown. Stanwick leads the team in points (42) and assists (28), and Brown leads the team in goals (25) and is ranked 14th in the nation in goals per game.One of the thorns in the Buckeyes’ side this season has been playing away from the friendly confines of Columbus. They are just 1-3 on the road this year. Myers said extra concentration is needed whenever a team goes on the road for an away game, which OSU has lacked so far.“You’ve got to be able to come out in an environment that maybe is uncomfortable and really focus on you,” Myers said. “It brings you together, and I think we’re preparing hard and understand what it’s going to take to … compete for a Big Ten win.”Finding offenseOSU’s offense has struggled as of late. The Buckeyes have failed to score in the double digits the last six games, something Myers said is because of a number of factors.“There’s some youth, there’s some inexperience. We’ve had some injuries. We’ve had to move guys around,” Myers said. “But there’s been no excuses. We’ve just got to do a better job of generating offense.”One player the offense has missed is sophomore attacker Colin Chell, who returned from injury on Sunday against Penn State and provided a goal and two assists in the loss.“He adds another dynamic piece that really helps us offensively. That’s not just scoring goals, that’s ground balls (and) toughness plays,” Shanks said of Chell. “He’s an all-over-the-field kind of guy, and he really brings up the team overall.”OSU is still without junior midfielder John Kelly, who Myers said will again be out of Saturday’s game.What’s nextAfter making their way back from Baltimore, the Scarlet and Gray are scheduled to face off against Michigan on April 16 in the Showdown in the Shoe.The annual event is played in Ohio Stadium prior to the football team’s intrasquad spring game. The game is slated to begin at 11 a.m. Correction 4/12: An earlier version of the story said OSU will be playing Michigan for the first time at the Showdown in the Shoe, when in fact the teams have met before. read more

Read More →