Major Quebec media companies cut costs as COVID-19 impacts advertising

MONTREAL — Two major Quebec media companies are announcing big cost-cutting measures that they say are necessary to deal with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cogeco Media, which operates 23 radio stations in Quebec and Ontario, said today it was laying off 130 people, representing 25 per cent of its workforce. The company says the decision is due to a drop in advertising revenue.

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Meanwhile Montreal's La Presse said today it would implement a 10 per cent salary cut for its unionized employees and its managers until 2021. The not-for-profit news company says it won't be eliminating any positions.

Thursday's bad news follows a reorganization announced earlier this week of a co-operative that operates six daily newspapers in the province. The co-operative, known as CN2i, said it would suspend the publishing of its printed editions, and it temporarily laid off 143 people.

In response to the financial difficulties of news organizations, the federal government announced Wednesday it would help struggling media companies.

Ottawa said it would purchase advertising space in news outlets across the country to inform Canadians about COVID-19 and said it would fast-track the implementation of already-announced tax credits for the media.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 26, 2020.

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