Despite all the predictions that newspapers are doomed, there seems to be a healthy interest in the assets of the financially-troubled Canwest chain.
I was interested to read in today's Globe and Mail that not one but two BC-based companies are making plays for the Canwest papers. Other companies are bidding for the chain as well, but the West Coast may well become the centre of the daily newspaper business in Canada. Canwest includes the Montreal Gazette, the National Post, and the Ottawa Citizen, as well as the two Vancouver dailies.
One of the local bidders is Glacier Media Inc., based in Vancouver. Glacier owns assets in Sherbrooke, Que, and Thunder Bay, Ont, as well as dozens of small-town papers across the West. If you read the Powell River Peak, the Trail Times, the Prince George Citizen or one of many others, you read a Glacier-owned paper.
The other Canwest bidder is the larger Black Press Ltd., based in Victoria, which bills itself as the largest independent newspaper owner in Canada. This includes 17 papers in the Lower Mainland, 18 on Vancouver Island, and 36 in the BC Interior, along with papers in Alberta, Ohio and Hawaii. Black Press began in 1969 when Alan Black purchased a newspaper in Williams Lake but the chain grew under the direction of his son David Black, the current company head.