Sun Media is currently advertising two Ottawa-based job postings for editorial staff to generate "community content for a new publication."
A spokesperson for parent firm Quebecor could not immediately be reached for comment, but sources confirm the company is preparing to unveil a new Ottawa title.
The move comes barely six months after Metroland Media, a subsidiary of TorStar Corp., bought Smiths Falls-based Performance Printing, publisher of the EMC newspaper chain, for $22.5 million.
Prior to the acquisition, Metroland printed 15 titles in Ottawa and the surrounding communities, while EMC said it reached 27 eastern Ontario communities. Metroland has since laid off dozens of employees and eliminated titles in communities where the two companies previously competed.
Some industry observers say the fact that both Metroland and EMC coexisted for years suggests there is room in the local community newspaper market for Sun Media to launch a new paper.
Sources say the new print product could replace Sun Media's Smart Shopper publication, which predominately contains generic lifestyle editorial content wrapped around flyers.
Observers say the Ottawa Citizen holds the lion's share of the city's flyer distribution market, which is generally more profitable than display advertising. Sun Media and Metroland have both aggressively competed to capture market share from the Citizen in recent years.
According to the company's website, Sun Media publishes paid daily newspapers in eight major urban markets as well as six free commuter dailies, including 24 Hours Ottawa. It also publishes daily newspapers in 29 smaller markets, predominately in Ontario.
In 2010, Quebecor launched 10 new community newspaper in Quebec. Slightly more than a year ago, Sun Media acquired the Les Hebdos Montérégiens weekly newspaper group, which was previously owned by Michel Auclair Ltd.
Third-quarter revenues in Quebecor's news media division declined 1.4 per cent to $235.2 million in the three months ended Sept. 30. Excluding acquisitions, community newspaper revenues fell 3.3 per cent.