The newspapers are in economic crisis all around the world and many are victims of changes that call into question their basic existence.
No newspaper is protected from the shock of Internet.This is in part the fault of publishers who were open to free information, entering the wolf into their fold, but they must now deal with the situation.
Historians believe that the evolution of media since the early 1900, was a perpetual transfer of expertise from a platform to another. So newspapers owners funded radio to increase their influence within the community. Later, owners of radio stations have funded television and they created the first television network. If there is an element to remember is that those who funded changes in the media until now were always those whose corporate mission was to exploit the communications industry. In a sense, the Internet is a normal byproduct of newspapers, radio and television.
Montrealers are currently experiencing upheaval as their two main newspapers are facing serious economic difficulties. In one case, the Journal de Montreal, the owner Quebecor is a specialist in communications and it dominates the market with its Internet transport Vidéotron subsidiary. Le Journal de Montreal was the basis for the establishment of the empire but it acted as a catalyst and it is no longer the raison d’être of the company Quebecor. If Le Journal de Montreal was the rationale for the work of Pierre Péladeau, it is not the case anymore. The child has left the nest … Quebecor management must now manage a labor dispute (lockout) and according to me, it is clear that the final solution will be a merger of the Journal de Montreal with another subsidiary compatible to increase convergence and especially reduce operating costs. The free daily 24H is the best suited to welcome LeJournal de Montréal.
The situation at the other major Montreal newspaper La Presse, is a different reality . The company is a little empire in itself and the daily is also important and significant for Montreal as are the New York Times, The Globe and Mail or Le Monde (Paris) for their respective cities. Is this ensures his immortality? Any thing come to an end one day but I do not think the Press will cease its activities.
However, I am convinced that its owner, the Power Group Corporation wants to sell it to focus in companies joining best its corporate mission which is finance. To understand the thinking of Paul Desmarais Sr., and consequently that of Power Corporation, read the interview he had given the magazine Le Point in June 2008 (French). Everything is written there in black and white. Power Corporation do not want to operate enterprises but be in the management of high finance. (See the interview link below)
But to sell a business, it is better to be profitable and the current rationalization by management of La Presse is very much normal procedures before a sale…
The question remains: who will buy La Presse (Gesca)? Three possibilities:
1. Transcontinental Group is the current printer of The Press and operates as several consumer magazines. The convergence would be excellent.
2. The group Rogers Communications, which owns several magazines in Quebec in addition to being present on the Internet.
3. Finally there is also Quebecor … Pierre Péladeau had purchased the TV network TQS. After his death, his son Pierre Karl has done a hit by selling the small network to acquire Videotron who owned TVA, the leader inQuebec. It will not be surprising if he repeated the move and bya corporate deal if he was acquiring The Press to get rid at a discount priceof Le Journal de Montreal. The employees in locked out should even offer to buy it andthen, co-financed by the major trade union confederations, merge the acquisition with their creation, the site Rue Frontenac.
In conclusion, the future of newspapers is not compromise but nothing will ever the same. As the poet said: “Everything changes and nothing lasts …”
Photo 1: Mademoiselle X LeStudio1.com in front of La Presse;
Photo 2: Paul Desmarais Sr. and his sons, Paul Jr. et André;
Photo 3: Bernard Bujold with Le Journal de Montréal in Paris (1991)