Media Crisis: Groupe Capitales Medias Proposes Possible Solutions to the Government

In a precarious financial situation, Groupe Capitales Médias (GCM) is proposing to the government six solutions to respond to the media crisis in Quebec.
Speaking to the National Assembly before the parliamentary commission on the future of the media, Claude Gagnon, President and CEO of Groupe Capitales Médias, responded to parliamentarians’ questions about the “upheavals” that have occurred in recent days.

Questioned by PQ member Sylvain Gaudreault, Mr. Gagnon admitted that one of the group’s “biggest concerns” at the moment is employee retirement funds.

GCM has about 1,000 retirees and beneficiaries of its pension plan, while it has only 400 active employees. The actuarial deficit of the plan is around $ 65 million and its solvency rate is between 75 and 78%, said Mr. Gagnon.

In recent years, the group has tried to respond to the crisis, but it was not enough. “From 2008 to 2019, we reduced our headcount by 53% and significantly reduced our operating expenses to reflect our revenue declines,” says GCM’s submission. “It’s not a problem of crazy spending,” says Gagnon.

On August 19, the company placed itself under the protection of the Creditors Arrangement Act, before obtaining a $ 5 million loan from Investissement Québec a few hours later, allowing it to continue its activities. a few months, waiting for a buyer.

Since then, GCM’s regional newspapers have received several messages of support and encouragement. But for Mr. Gagnon, this wave is likely to run out of steam and he is asking parliamentarians to act and find “a long-term solution”, because otherwise, the exercise will have to start every two or three years, he believes.

The CEO of Groupe Capitales Médias asks members to think about the only thing that has not changed in the media world for 20 years, the media ownership style, with a sole proprietor. According to him, the opportunity is good “to look at other modes of ownership of the media”.

The six solutions proposed by Groupe Capitales Médias

– Offer tax credits on the payroll of press companies

– Create a provincial advertising agency that would bring together all the media in Quebec

– Eliminate the contribution that print media must pay for paper recycling

– Require the Government of Quebec to place a large part of its advertising in Quebec media

– Require municipalities to resume publishing their public notices in their local media

– Tax the multinationals of the web on the revenues they make in Quebec

GCM UNIONS OPEN THE DOOR TO A COOPERATIVE

Employees of Groupe Capitales Médias opened the door Tuesday night to the creation of a workers’ cooperative that could buy regional newspapers. The members gathered at a special meeting voted in favor of developing a business plan that would validate the viability of this model or not.

“We are convinced that a credible revival of these dailies will inevitably involve their participation,” says Pascale St-Onge, president of the National Federation of Communications (FNC-CSN). The union wants to develop a “proactive partnership with potential partners” interested in relaunching these newspapers.

Members of the Sun, the Nouvelliste, the Droit, the Voix de l’Est and Le Quotidien unions are in favor of exploring the idea, while union members at La Tribune, represented by Unifor, have not spoken out. .

Claude Gagnon, CEO of Groupe Capitales Médias, believes the opportunity is good to evaluate all media ownership styles. “All models are valid as we speak.” Patricia Cloutier

Consult the brief of Groupe Capitales Médias

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