Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey says newspapers will survive but with reduced numbers

Postmedia Network Inc. CEO Paul Godfrey says he thinks more Canadian newspapers will close in the next few years but printed news will still exist a decade from now.

Last week, Postmedia and Torstar Corp. announced they would trade 41 newspapers and close 36 of them, mainly in Ontario regions served by multiple publications, at a cost of nearly 300 jobs.

Godfrey says in an interview he doesn’t think Torstar got the better end of the deal, even though it is keeping open four of the seven small daily newspapers it bought from Postmedia, while Postmedia is closing all but one of the community newspapers it bought from Torstar.

He says the companies were very careful not to discuss what each was planning to do with the assets it was buying to ensure there was no hint of collusion, which he pointed out is illegal in Canada.

Meanwhile, he says he applauds the Quebec government for its plan announced Monday to spend about $19 million to help newspapers in the province transition to digital platforms.

He adds Postmedia is looking at following the Globe and Mail’s switch to narrower paper to save money on newsprint but no decision has been made and it’s not clear it would be possible on its printing presses.

“Look, there isn’t a newspaper anywhere in North America that can be smug about the situation as it is,” he says.

“Print advertising is falling and we’re not far enough down the road digitally, although we are on the digital path … We think that if we have the time we will continue to make it and have some form of existence going forward.”

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