Sun Media Corp. will close 11 newspapers across Canada and cut 360 jobs as part of a cost-cutting plan, the Quebec-based publisher said Tuesday.
Among the axed publications are the commuter-focused free papers known as 24 Hours in Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton. Versions of that paper in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto will continue to exist.
In addition to the three versions of 24 Hours, these publications will soon cease publication:
- L’Action Régionale in Montérégie (Québec).
- The Lindsay Daily Post (Ontario).
- The Midland Free Press (Ontario).
- The Meadow Lake Progress(Saskatchewan).
- The Lac du Bonnet Leader (Manitoba).
- The Beausejour Review (Manitoba).
- Le Magazine Saint-Lambert (Québec).
- Le Progrès de Bellechasse (Québec).
The plan is expected to save $55 million. Sun Media laid off 500 employees and shuttered two publishing facilities as recently as November 2012.
"In recent years, the print media industry has been going through an unprecedented transformation such as it has never seen before," Sun Media's COO Julie Tremblay said.
"The management decisions we are making are difficult and highly regrettable, particularly the job cuts. However, the downsizing is necessary to maintain a strong positioning for our news media outlets on all platforms, and more broadly to secure our Corporation’s future success in an industry that is being revolutionized by the advent of digital."
Sun Media is Canada's largest newspaper publisher, with 15.1 million copies published every week, across 36 paid titles and three remaining free papers.
Sun Media said it made the decision to close the three 24 Hours newspapers because it wants to focus on a single urban newspaper in each market, except Montreal and Toronto. The company will also continue to publish 24 Hours in Vancouver, where it doesn't have another daily newspaper
"We don't have a choice, because if we don't do this we won't survive," said Martin Tremblay, a spokesman for Sun Media's parent company, Montreal-based Quebecor Inc.
"If we want to succeed in the future, we're going to have to invest more money in digital and the website and trying to bring in new, young readers."