Why Transcon sold its consumer magazines

President and CEO Francois Olivier on the company's new local strategy and the factors that lead to the shift.

Francois Olivier, president and CEO of Transcontinental Inc. still believes in the audiences and brands from his company’s consumer magazines, but says today’s media landscape has made it increasingly difficult to secure national advertising dollars for the titles.

National advertisers want to buy with media companies that own multiple platforms, and those have increasingly been bought up by telcos in recent years, he says. “At TC even though I think we have the strongest brands we lacked the scale and touchpoints that the telcos could put together.”

Olivier says TC began shopping for a buyer for its consumer titles earlier this year, beginning talks with TVA Group over the summer. TVA ended up taking all TC titles save Western Living and Vancouver Magazine, which will remain with the company because they didn’t fit with TVA Group’s new strategy.

TC Media’s strategy will now be to dive deeper on local advertising, an area that Olivier says it can better focus on with its portfolio of newspapers, including the Quebec titles it acquired from Quebecor last year. He adds that there are opportunities to move some of the local audiences online.

Yesterday’s deal with TVA Group isn’t expected to close until early 2015, until which TC Media will be operating the titles in house, says Olivier. The 310 staff members who worked for consumer titles at TC Media in Montreal and Toronto will be moving over to TVA Group when the deal closes, with the leases transferring over to the new company.