Earlier this week, Canadian media firms Postmedia and Torstar / Metroland announced significant changes to Ontario’s newspaper landscape that included the closure of several local publications.
Ottawa Business Journal is largely unaffected by the change, except for its newspaper distribution system, which was contracted to Metro News Ottawa.
Despite the immediate closure of Metro Ottawa, readers can continue to pick up copies of Ottawa Business Journal from 50 green outdoor Metro / OBJ boxes located throughout the downtown core.
In addition, the Ottawa Business Journal continues to reach readers through delivery to more than 1,200 businesses.
Larger industry issues
Despite the minimal impact to OBJ, the industry challenges cannot be ignored, says OBJ publisher Michael Curran.
“OBJ has had a comprehensive and diverse business model since it was launched in 1995,” says Mr. Curran, who co-owns Great River Media with Mark Sutcliffe. “Our Dec. 4 issue happens to be the largest of the year at 56 pages, but we never defined OBJ as a printed product. In today’s language, we have been ‘multi-platform’ for more than two decades.”
From its earliest days, says Mr. Curran, OBJ created several business lines, ranging from its newspaper to specialty publications to local business events.
He adds OBJ has also kept pace in the digital evolution. OBJ’s digital audience is its largest platform.
As an example of its continuing evolution, Mr. Curran points to OBJ’s recent push into live webcasts, such as Techopia Live, and the company’s expansion into content marketing services.
However, this doesn’t mean that OBJ is immune to industry-wide trends.
“OBJ is on a sustainable path, but as evidenced by Metroland’s closure, nothing should be taken for granted. Every day, thousands of readers depend on OBJ for exclusive local business news and information. And hundreds of local businesses have greatly benefited from our news coverage," Mr. Curran says. "For that to continue, OBJ needs to deliver value and the business community needs to support OBJ. That might mean advertising with OBJ, that might mean attending events, that might mean hiring our content marketing team."
Because OBJ has always offered free access to our news, Mr. Curran says people might have the impression that this content is produced free of charge. "That is absolutely not the case. The news costs real money to produce. This is a two-way relationship and we respectfully ask people to consider ways to support us if they find value in what we do.”