Torstar purchases iPolitics

The site will continue to operate independently, while also providing content for the Star's digital platform and daily papers.
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Torstar has entered into an agreement to acquire Ottawa-based digital news publication iPolitics.

iPolitics focuses on federal and provincial politics with a focus on government policy development.

Following the closure of the deal, Torstar will publish articles from iPolitics on Thestar.com and in its daily papers – namely the Toronto Star, the Hamilton Spectator, the Waterloo Region Record, the St. Catherines Standard, the Niagara Falls Review, the Welland Tribune, the Peterborough Examiner and its StarMetro publications in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Halifax and Toronto.

Once the Star finalizes its digital subscription/paywall model, which it announced following its Q1 financial results, a selection of iPolitics content will be available to subscribers as part of a basic subscription package. Shortly after, when the company launches a premium package, additional iPolitics B2B offerings will be made available. The company says it will continue to serve existing iPolitics readers with content from the site, allowing iPolitics to grow as a revenue stream (it currently operates on an ad-supported model).

In an email circulated to staff Sept. 20, Torstar CEO John Boynton said the purchase is an important step in the company’s evolution “in this increasingly digital-mobile news and information world.”

Boynton described iPolitics as a “complement” to its existing political coverage from its Ottawa and Queen’s Park bureaus. He confirmed that the two publications will retain separate news bureaus in Ottawa (which recently expanded with the hiring of new bureau chief Susan Delacourt), headed respectively by a separate bureau chief and editor. As per Torstar’s recent agreement with The Wall Street Journal, content from iPolitics will not be added into the Star‘s existing coverage.

“Rather, we’re… investing in and broadening our political coverage in ways that will inform audiences across Canada,” Boynton wrote. “Our customers will benefit from coverage of breaking news as well as extra deep-dive coverage of parliamentary and legislative proceedings.”

Adding iPolitics to its roster will present a new opportunity to reach and engage political readers, as well as generate revenue, according to the email.

Boynton pointed out that it is complementary to Torstar’s operation of QP Briefing, a subscription-based digital news source for current news on provincial affairs, which he said is profitable. Alexandria Shannon, manager of QP Briefing, will expand her role to take on management duties with iPolitics. Her new role will be director, business to government products.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal is expected to be completed around Oct. 1.