Sat. Dec 9th, 2023

TC Transcontinental tolls the death knell of Publisac

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Several cities, including Mirabel and Montreal, had restricted the distribution of Publisac to addresses where owners wanted to receive it.

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  • Stéphane Bordeleau (View profile)Stéphane Bordeleau
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    Distributed to millions of homes in Quebec, Publisac will be replaced from February 2024 by a sheet of circulars called “raddar”, currently being tested in the greater Montreal region.

    In a press release released Friday, TC Transcontinental announced that its new flyer will be distributed in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, where it will replace Publisac for good, increasingly shunned by cities because of its environmental impact.

    Rather than a plastic bag containing local newspapers and circulars, as was the case with its ancestor the Publisac, raddar is made up of a thin quarter-fold sheet that combines flyers from multiple retailers into one printed product, says TC Transcontinental.

    The new circular, distributed everywhere by Canada Post, will also be accompanied by a digital platform to complete the customer experience.

    Distributed in the Montreal region since the spring at a rate of one million copies each week, raddar will now be delivered to 2.8 million additional households, bringing its distribution radius in Quebec to nearly 4 million mailboxes.

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    It is now the raddar folded circular which will replace the Publisac distributed each week in several million copies.

    We are proud of raddar, a landmark innovation in the history of flyers, and of the significant environmental gain it represents, declares the senior vice-president of TC Imprimeries Transcontinental, Patrick Brayley.

    Given recent and anticipated regulatory changes in distribution and their operational and financial impacts, the Publisac model had to evolve.

    A quote from Patrick Brayley, senior vice-president of TC Imprimeries Transcontinental

    Mr. Brayley adds that he nevertheless regrets the repercussions that the end of the Publisac will have for the weekly newspapers which were delivered in these bags as well as for the distributors for whom the Publisac represented work and stable income.

    For Hebdos Québec, which brings together 115 local newspapers which employ 250 journalists and freelancers in Quebec, the disappearance of Publisac is indeed far from being good news to the extent that these weeklies will lose their main distribution platform in February.

    Our local and regional media now have the enormous challenge of finding a viable alternative to resolve their distribution problem and reach their readership as effectively as possible in order to avoid leaving room for a journalistic desert, explains in a press release the chairman of the board of directors of Hebdos Québec, Benoit Chartier.

    This is an important part of our business model which is disappearing for a very large majority of publishers in Quebec.

    A quote from Benoit Chartier, chairman of the board of directors of Hebdos Québec

    Already undermined by the weakening of local commerce, local newspapers have also absorbed significant drops in their advertising revenue, underlines Mr. Chartier. Added to this are the challenges linked to digital transformation and the labor shortage. And now, many of these publications will also have to find another distribution network.

    With the raddar formula, Transcontinental considerably reduces the quantity of paper used compared to Publisac. Which was one of the main criticisms leveled at Transcontinental, which was accused of wasting significant quantities of paper and plastic by distributing its Publisac on a large scale.

    The cities of Mirabel, Montreal and Rouyn-Noranda, in particular, have adopted regulations replacing the voluntary exclusion system (opt-out) with a voluntary membership system (opt- in) to limit pollution and clutter, particularly stairs, in buildings.

    Transcontinental had contested these regulations before the courts before being dismissed in Superior Court, in April 2022.

    According to data from the City of Montreal, each week, approximately 800 000 unsolicited circulars are distributed in the metropolis. This represents more than 40 million circulars per year to be processed in sorting centers, landfill sites or even in bales sent to India.

    • Stéphane Bordeleau (View profile)Stéphane BordeleauFollow

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