Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Canadian Home & Country closed;
Transcon cuts back

Transcontinental is closing Canadian Home & Country magazine as part of a company-wide "rationalization" that will mean that 1,500 jobs are being eliminated across North America, saving the company some $50 million this year. According to a posting in Mastheadonline, 28 magazine jobs are being eliminated in Toronto.

A company press release says that a company-wide hiring freeze has been instituted and that further unpaid leaves, reduced work weeks and other measures are being implemented.
For their part, the Corporation’s senior managers have decided to take two weeks of unpaid leave but to work throughout that period. In total, these measures will cut costs by about $75 million on an annualized basis, including $50 million in 2009....“It’s a difficult situation for everyone affected, but we are acting in the interests of all of our employees and our shareholders,” said François Olivier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Transcontinental. “In the short term, this rationalization comes at a cost, but in the medium term it will protect the Corporation’s financial health.”
Canadian Home & Country was at one time considered one of the most successful turnarounds in Canadian publishing. Bought by Avid Media as Century Home and brought along when Avid was purchased by Transcon, it was a mom-and-pop book with a circulation of less than 20,000 later completely rebranded and redesigned into a glossy, and apparently successful, shelter magazine with more than 125,000 circulation. The February/March issue just unveiled a bold new design. (The magazine's online rate card and media kit has already been pulled from its website.)

Transcon is Canada's largest consumer magazine publisher and one of North America's largest printers and publishers of community newspapers. In 2008, the company had sales of $2.4 billion.

According to a report on, the cutbacks were largely driven when customers canceled or delayed direct-mail projects and magazine advertising. The story noted that immediately after the cutback announcement was made, Transcontinental fell 30 cents, or 3.3 percent, to C$8.69 at 11:51 a.m. in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange; shares have dropped 43 percent this year through yesterday.



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