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Metro Media says Montreal flyer ban will force newsroom layoffs: 'the local press is dying'

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Métro Média says it be forced to make “significant cuts” to its newsroom as the the City of Montreal prepares to limit leaflet and advertising delivery in May.

“The inaction of the municipal administration is pushing certain press groups, like ours, to make heartbreaking decisions in the coming weeks,” wrote Métro Média’s president, Andrew Mulé, in a Monday press release.

The company owns several local papers, including Metro, read online and distributed with the Publisac – a small package of leaflets which, for years, was delivered to residents’ doors en masse. 

Come May 17, the city will prohibit the delivery of flyers and leaflets to residents without their consent. People will still be able to “opt-in” to have ads dropped off with a green sticker on their mailboxes, but full delivery details have not yet been announced.

The city has justified the advertising ban as a means to eliminate waste – saying a significant portion of Publisacs and other leaflets are left unused and thrown away.

The ban also makes for a significant blow to Metro’s business model. On Monday morning, the company made a “final cry” in a press release, declaring “the local press is dying.”

LISTEN ON CJAD 800 RADIO: Metro Media's Andrew Mulé on Publi-Sac ban affecting local newspapers



Metro, which recently launched a digital transition plan, says its paper edition was made unprofitable by the bylaw, cutting distribution and forcing advertisers to jump ship.

“Fearing being associated with a distribution method that had too bad a reputation, some advertisers deserted the local newspapers, thus causing a major drop in revenue that was as sudden as it was unforeseen,” wrote the company in the release.

“Métro Média was forced to abandon paper much earlier than expected.”

Métro Média says its in talks with provincial and federal governments “in the hope of finding a solution” to allow a transition to “new business models.” 

In October, the city announced it would deliver lump-sum payments to local media dealing with digitization costs. 

Métro Média says that funding did not contribute to its digital transition. 

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