Bitove calls on Canadian companies to boost ad spend on local media

Torstar owner Jordan Bitove called on Canadian companies to dedicate at least 20 per cent of their advertising budgets to local media during a speech to members of the Canadian Club late last week.

“The advertising revenue that once funded newsrooms has been moved ironically to companies that use our content for their own benefit … and those companies don’t want to pay us for it,” he said in his speech.

“The result is we are seeing local news disappear at an alarming rate.”

Bitove added he’d like to see the federal government increase its spending on COVID-19, reconciliation and affordability advertising in Canadian media. He said Torstar papers and their digital platforms received 0.27 per cent or less than $400,000 of a recent $140 million budget.

“If that percentage went up by two per cent or even five per cent, think what a difference that revenue could make when we put it towards journalism,” he said.

News Media Canada said it wants to see increased ad spending from the government.

“The federal government needs to put its advertising dollars where its mouth is,“ said CEO Paul Deegan. ”It is unacceptable that they spent just $6 million on print ads out of an advertising budget of $140 million.”

You can read additional analysis of Bitove’s call-to-action here.