Sun axes community newspaper

OBJ Staff
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Canada’s largest newspaper publisher just got smaller after announcing plans to shut down its Ottawa-based community publication.

(Stock image)

Capital City News was launched in March to replace Sun Media’s Smart Shopper publication, which predominantly contained lifestyle editorial content wrapped around flyers.

Sun Media reported Monday that this week’s edition of Capital City News would be the last, and that Sun Media management will instead focus its efforts on other core local products including the Ottawa Sun and 24 Hours.

The news comes less than a month after Quebecor Inc., the owner of the Sun Media newspaper division, announced that it is cutting 500 jobs and closing two production facilities in Ottawa and Kingston.

The downsizing is part of the Montreal-based media group's efforts to reduce annual costs by more than $45 million.

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 Media have both aggressively competed to capture market share from the Citizen in recent years.

Last year, TorStar Corp. subsidiary Metroland bought Smiths Falls-based Performance Printing, publisher of the EMC newspaper chain, for $22.5 million

Some industry observers said the fact that both Metroland and EMC coexisted for years suggested there was room in the local community newspaper market for Sun Media to launch a new paper.

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, predominantly in Ontario.

Organizations: Sun Media, Metroland, Capital City News EMC Quebecor Inc. Ottawa Citizen TorStar Corp.

Geographic location: Ottawa, Kingston.The, Ontario

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