Canadian media giant Quebecor said Thursday it will lay off more than 500 employees, nearly a third of its workforce, at its TVA network and completely restructure its news division.
“The deficit situation in which TVA Group finds itself is simply no longer sustainable,” said Pierre Karl Péladeau, president of the group and its parent company Quebecor, in a press release.
The company reported a deficit of almost 13 million Canadian dollars (8.9 million euros) in its television division, compared to a deficit of 1.6 million last year.
The restructuring of its operations in Quebec will result in the elimination of 547 jobs and the cessation of internal production of entertainment content. The group had already announced at the beginning of the year that it would cut 140 jobs.
TVA Group also announced the optimization of its real estate portfolio: the company said it is “considering the next use of its headquarters office building.”
The reason given by the group is a decline in “viewing ratings, subscriptions, advertising revenue”, but also “tough competition and bidding wars” in the area of entertainment and sports rights.
“Foreign platforms also influence the media at the information level by profiting from their journalistic content without paying them a fair share,” the company explains.
Since August 1, Meta – owner of Facebook and Instagram – has blocked access to news media content on its platforms in response to an online information law passed by the Canadian government in June.
Inspired by Australia’s measures in 2021, the new Canadian law initially targets Google and Meta and will allow press companies to receive up to 230 million Canadian dollars (158 million euros), according to Ottawa.
In doing so, the federal government wants to slow the decline of the press in Canada in favor of the digital giants to which advertising revenue has migrated in recent years.
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