Wednesday, November 12, 2008

CanWest decomposition watch

CanWest will cut 5% of its work force, mostly out of its print division.

CP re-writes the press release, neglecting to mention the cuts to newspapers:


UPDATE (Thursday morning): Bay Street's reaction to the cuts? The stock hit another all-time low this morning, 82 cents at 11 a.m. Then 75 cents at 3 p.m. before taking a dead-cat bounce to 80 cents.
I guess the Street is no more impressed by gutted papers and crappy TV than I am.


What does it mean? CanWest is reducing the physical size of some papers and is going to concentrate even more on centralizing its news and bumpf writing and will send out even more canned material to fill its papers. It makes the situation at the Montreal Gazette very interesting. There, a strike looms over CanWest’s plan to move pagination (page layout) of the paper from Montreal to a non-unionized facility in the lovely city of Hamilton.

There are also unspecified cuts coming at the National Post. The Aspers, as we already knew, are pulling the paper out of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. They also plan to end cheap subscription deals like mine. I get the Post for $6 a month.

Meanwhile, the stock hit another historic low today: 84 cents -- about 10% of what is was in the summer of 2007. This comes in the wake of Fairfax Holding’s recent announcement that it was increasing its stake in CanWest. Fairfax has been buying all the way down and will hold about a quarter of the company’s stock, making Fairfax guru Prem Watsa a sort of fourth Asper child. The company is now running more than two weeks late with its reporting of the last quarter’s financials, and it’s pretty clear Bay Street – those few brokers and analysts, other than Fairfax, that actually care anymore – don’t think they’ll be pretty.

Sorry that my own work has lately kept me too busy to stay on top of recent developments. I'll look over this week's financials as carefully as I can.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope they start the lay-offs with David Warren and John Robson. Let's see if these conservative knuckle-draggers can get other jobs in the private sector.

Ottawa Watch said...

Fat chance.
I think Robson is already off-staff. They'll lay off the bright youn kids who still have the drive to get off their ass and hunt stories.
David Warren is the canary in the coal mine. You see him and Scott Anderson go, buy the stock.

bigcitylib said...

Call me when they retire Jonathon Kay.

What is the deal with all the bloggers writing for them, by the way? It doesn't sound like these people are getting paid anything, even when it makes the print edition. Free labor?

Ottawa Watch said...

So I hear.
For some time, papers have really begrudged the pittances they pay for op-ed pieces, even though the articles have a fairly high readership. Five years ago, the Windsor Star was refusing to pay anything for them.

Kay's sometimes quite good. I liked his recent piece on 9-11 conspiracy freaks. But the page has some real boners, like Noah Richler's claim yesterday that Canada was ahead of the curve by "electing" a woman PM. In fact, she was little more than a candidate, and she certainly didn't win. On the Financial Post editorial page, some deep thinker wrote Obama had the third highest electoral vote count after Roosevelt and Johnson. In fact, Nixon and Reagan had far higher electoral vote counts. It's that kind of sloppiness that makes the paper look bad. This kind of rush job is apparent through the entire paper and these cuts will make things worse.
Maybe they'll outsource copy editing to India. I bet they've looked into it.

Rachel Marsden said...

The Post torques stories even when you give them extensive interviews and explain basic facts a million times. I experienced that last Xmas. Why should I suffer just because you don't get laid often enough not to get so excited by a chick that you blow your slanderous wad all over tomorrow's fishwrap?
The only guy I like there is David Asper - and I'm sure he'll be ok. Oh, and Don Martin is cool. The rest of them can go regale the public with their spun tales at the Timmy Ho drive-thru pickup window.
Nothing here is anything I haven't said to those titwanks' faces, either.

CM said...

I've always been passively aware of the Post's troubles, but I finally (and belatedly) realized how much trouble they're really in when I recently moved back to Canada and was offered a year-long Post subscription for $35. Not only does that suggest how low their revenue stream must be, but it devalues their product when they tell me it is worth less than $3 a month.

Rachel Marsden said...

Allow me to give you some insight into the National Post (since I didn't sign a non-disclosure). I wrote for them for a few months. The guys working in editorial are insufferably out of touch and arrogant. It was like walking into a little high-school clique.

As for the story I posted above, imagine you're in the midst of giving a series of interviews to a National Post reporter for a story that won't run for several days...and then suddenly discover a linkback to your website from theirs in your web stats. When you click on this link on the Post website, you see that although the story isn't yet finished and won't even run for several days because the facts aren't all in, the Post has already created a headline and catchy intro to suit the angle they're hell-bent on having the "facts" fit.

I've still got a screencap of that. I've never seen anything like it.

Their story angle was so accurate that it was proven bogus within a few weeks...and they had to do a follow up.

So frankly, they can bite it. And this is coming from a pretty hard core right-winger.

Anonymous said...

And this is coming from a pretty hard core right-winger.

And a delusional stalker, to boot!

Frankly, Elle, you have as much credibility as the The Post does.

Rachel Marsden said...

I see the commenter immediately above reads (and believes) the National Post. Thank you for further illustrating my point, dear.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a lot of stalking to do before the day is through...

Saskboy said...

When the daily paper costs more than a share, you have to wonder...

Anonymous said...

Marsden with her American book deal, American writing and TV gigs, and American based company is more successful than anyone at the Post.

If you stack her bank account up against theirs, she wins. I'm not sure that anything else matters.

Anything written about her, either good or bad, slanderous or not, appears to have only served to augment her success.

That must be a difficult thing for many of the Posties, and others who have spent much of their time trashing her, to swallow.

Anonymous said...

I see the commenter immediately above reads (and believes) the National Post. Thank you for further illustrating my point, dear.

Actually, I didn't really read your coked-out drivel. You haven't been coherent for years.

j said...

derailed. man how did it end up here? and is there anything more lame than anonymous posters attacking others who put their name to their comments?

back to canwest. i work for the company and I know a lot of people there are concerned about their jobs. these are tough times all around the industry. however, i think Fairfax is going to make some coin off their gamble. canwest has some things up their sleeve. they are still hiring in some parts. they just expanded their international bureaus. these guys knew what was coming down the pipe. Quebecor, on the other hand, recently dismissed the head of Sun Media, now PKP is reportedly directly in charge.

Anonymous said...

If her posts here are any indication, I'd say Ms. Marsden is excessively "coherent".
CanWest shares hit a record low of 75 cents today.

CanWest will survive, albeit certainly not in its current form, but I agree that the National Post will not. No one will stand for it much longer.

The newspaper properties that actually make money will be partitioned off and sold individually. The company will become a TV Network, period.

Rachel Marsden said...

Such meanines. You people are making me cry in my pot of boiling bunny. Good thing I have this pile of money here to console me.

Ottawa Watch said...

The papers will survive. It's just a matter of who will own them.

I would like it if anonymice would stop pestering Marsden.

Rachel Marsden said...

If someone actually buys the National Post (worst business investment EVAR), I'll make you a deal, Bourrie. I'll buy it from them and give it to you, k? I can make that promise because I know I will never have to make good on it. LOL

Anonymous said...

I would like it if anonymice would stop pestering Marsden.

I'm allowed. I've got more money than Marsden. I only wish I could fire her again.

Rachel Marsden said...

I've always worked under contract partnerships, so I've never been fired from anything because I've never been an employee anywhere. I'm an entrepreneur, dear. But I trust your bank account is as bloated as your fantasies. Good on ya mate. I'm sure, in your dreams, you've fired me, boffed me, killed me, etc.

I feel sorry for the Aspers. With the Post, they have a colony of parasites who have done nothing entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial to further the brand. They just sit back and collect a paycheck, seemingly oblivious to the notion that if they suck the host dry they'll wither away and drop off. As Bourrie says, the young hungry ones who fear for their jobs are typically the ones with the most initiative. Those are the people I like to hire, along with marquee name fellow entrepreneurs in partnerships.

Rachel Marsden said...

Truth is, there isn't a single male working at the National Post right now who hasn't wanted to f*ck me. That explains a lot of their issues.

Werner Patels said...

Don Martin ain't cool -- he's one of the worst hacks in the business, and untalented.

Oh, and he's being sued for vicious libel ...

Rachel Marsden said...

Normal male/female interaction is nay impossible with the Post guys. They act all weird, like they're afraid their cucumbers de pantalonii are about to spew at any moment or something. They have never been able to get through a single piece without focusing on either my perceived hotness or my f*cky f*cky times that, to their apparent chagrin, do not involve them. Perhaps it would be a better quality paper if they reported and edited with both hands on the keyboard and above the desk.

Rachel Marsden said...

Peter - Don Martin is about the only normal guy there. Don't know about the libel thing (my work is in the US, so I don't follow Canadian media much beyond stocks), but personally speaking, he's about the only normal person there. Other than David Asper who, as I've said, is fabulous. Les Pyette was wonderful, as well, but he's long gone. It's just really too bad he has a bunch of parasites leaching off of them and doing the bare-ass minimum.

Werner Patels said...

Don Martin used to be good, but since he was deployed in Ottawa, his writing skills have deteriorated drastically. He's also gained tons of extra pounds, and when he's on CBC every Friday afternoon, he comes across as shifty and disingenuous. And the libel action is a sure thing, because he did engage in serious libel.

And who's "Peter"?

Rachel Marsden said...

I've never bothered suing the Post for libel myself, although there have been enough retractions. Truth is, I really can't prove that it has hurt me. As someone mentioned ealier, if anything, it has all furthered my career and personal brand. So, as I said to one of the reporters who libeled me at the Post, I'm just thankful they spelled my name correctly. You really can't ask for more than that from those guys. To do so is to ask far too much, realistically speaking. They're just simply not capable of more.

Rachel Marsden said...

Apologies, Werner. I'm scrolling through all this on my Blackberry and read the .00002 font size as "Peter". Honest to God, I'm not trying to audition for a gig as a Post copy editor. :)

Werner Patels said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Werner Patels said...

You did have me worried there for a sec ...

Werner Patels said...

Just an aside: I like the idea of newspapers going smaller. Take the Guardian in Britain, for example. I was there for its relaunch in 2005, and it's format makes for much better handling of a "broadsheet". Across Europe, the broadsheets are of a much more compact size than in Canada. Here, they're so big it's hard to turn pages without ending up in a major tangle of newsprint.

Hopefully all our broadsheets will go the size of the Guardian soon.

Anonymous said...

Good on ya mate. I'm sure, in your dreams, you've fired me, boffed me, killed me, etc.

Please...you're scaring the children again.

Saskboy said...

The professionalism... it burns!

Rachel Marsden said...

lol @saskboy
10/10

JA Goneaux said...

The MSM is, as as been said about bad generals, continually re-fighting the last war. Like the French safe behind the Maginot line as the Panzers went around them, they'll only admit they have it wrong when the metaphorical enemy is touring the Eiffel Tower.

Hey, MSM: go local. Tell me why the building up the street from me collapsed last winter. I can google 8,000 stories about Obama myself, thanks. And I don't need you to go to Facebook and tell me that 213 losers are now friends with a grieving family. If I wanted to, and I don't, I'd already to that.

And for all that is holy, hire somebody who knows that a bank can make a loan, or it can lend. It can never loan...

Anonymous said...

Rachel,
your 15 minutes are up

enough

JA Goneaux said...

Nony: why would we take the word of someone who would have to count to 15 by taking off his mitts and boots?

Rachel Marsden said...

"Rachel,your 15 minutes are up"

Oh, they haven't even started yet. :) The clock starts ticking next September.