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Godfrey

Godfrey

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Published by Steve Ladurantaye

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Published by: Steve Ladurantaye on Jan 10, 2013
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01/10/2013

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CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
 
CEO Address
 
Postmedia Network Canada Corp.
 
Annual Meeting of Shareholders
 
January 10, 2013
Thank you Mr. Chairman and good afternoon everyone.Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, shareholders and guests – Welcome to PostmediaNetwork’s annual meeting of shareholders.When choosing a venue for today’s meeting it seemed fitting to be here, in this building,because next year at this time, we won’t be.First built by Southam Inc. in 1986, 1450 Don Mills road has been home to news gatherers andstory tellers and visionaries intent on preserving an important cornerstone of our democraticsociety – free speech. And in 1998, this very building was the birthplace of the National Post.Since then this building has hosted most prime ministers, most would-be prime ministers; mostpremiers and most would-be premiers, countless titans of commerce, scores of the elite ofCanadian academia and media. This building has seen more than its fair share of black limospulling up to its doors, carrying important people hoping to inject themselves into the nationalconversation.This building has a proud history as a publishing hub. From Southam, to Hollinger to Canwestthese companies are often remembered for their troubled final days. However, they were ledby proud and passionate people who fought to protect a vision of the media landscape inCanada.The newspaper industry of the past was coloured by family dynasties – Southam, Asper, andBlack. Our future media visionaries are people who move in different circles. They influencesocial networks that are virtual. They comment and like. They post and pin. If they share a lastname at all, it begins with an “at” symbol – on Twitter.We used to construct newspaper buildings to house enormous iron printing presses. Weneeded our buildings to accommodate shipping docks and distribution trucks.
 
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERYCEO Address to Shareholders January 10, 2013 Page 2
Now, we need collaborative spaces, with high speed internet and wireless connectivity, closeto the heart of the city and the digital innovation community. And so we are moving to BloorStreet beginning in December – a move that will herald a new chapter in this company’s future.And just as the way we create and distribute news has changed, so too must the businessmodel established over the past two centuries.We will achieve this through our continued commitment to reducing our legacy cost structureand investing our energies in evolving growth areas.But we hope we’re not alone in taking a new look at old ways. We need to embrace the globaleconomy for all it has to offer. While we are not immune to the downturns and uncertainties ofa global economy, we should also be able to benefit from the opportunities it holds.Canada is a country that embraces free enterprise. A country that believes in competition – themore, the better. Allowing greater competition through investment, benefits everyone. Itmaintains diverse journalistic opinions. It provides readers more options and gives advertisersgreater choices and more competitive rates.Our government is beginning to address outdated restrictions on foreign ownership for someindustries and we will continue to pursue similar consideration for ours.We believe that allowing for foreign investment can help to even the playing field. We need toput a stop to allowing foreign competitors to siphon off revenues without any restrictions whilehindering the newspaper industry.Currently, digital businesses operate in Canada without any ownership restrictions. Advertiserscan claim advertising as a business expense for tax purposes on digital properties of anyownership structure. For newspaper companies, this is not so.In this new era, where publishing companies such as ours operate increasingly online, theseformerly protectionist measures now serve only to move revenue away.These outdated restrictions, in the current climate, serve only to limit the resources available toCanadian publishers and our newspapers across the country.This is an ongoing effort and it will take time and patience. As a former politician, I know theprocess can take time. Hopefully common sense can prevail.
 
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERYCEO Address to Shareholders January 10, 2013 Page 3
For our part, as we enter our third full year, we will keep up efforts to implement initiatives thatmove this company forward.We must face the implications of a changing audience dynamic and an uncertain revenueoutlook. We must ensure that we continue to explore new opportunities and seek a deeperunderstanding of our audiences.Recreating a cost structure that supports a new business reality rather than continuing tosubsidise the nostalgia of a former business model is critical.All of this takes hard work on the part of management and includes making some toughdecisions. But we can’t be tentative about this direction if we truly believe in the future of ourindustry and we do.We led the Canadian industry with the launch of paid online content models adding three morelast year. In the year ahead, we’ll roll this out to the rest of our newspapers.We have taken a thoughtful approach to this and through our ongoing pilot projects havedeveloped deep insights and a strong infrastructure of internal expertise and deepeningmetrics.Increasingly, the industry, across North America is moving away from a free-for-all, alwaysmodel to some type of pay model. Even the Washington Post, one of the last big holdouts, hasrecognized that giving your most important commodity away without any charge must come toan end.As far as we can remember, other media have benefitted from the investment newspapercompanies have made in journalism. TV and Radio, and now Web players, borrow and take,adapt and redistribute our content every minute of every day.Finally, news organizations have taken notice that the time of spending millions and millionsonly to give it all away for free is a road that leads to a dead end. We must find ways tocontinue the important work of providing Canadians with trusted, thoughtful, insightful andvalidated content
and 
to be appropriately compensated for it. That is one of our greatestchallenges.

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