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Feds plan $30M ad buy to help media deal with COVID-19 fallout

Feds plan $30M ad buy to help media deal with COVID-19 fallout
Business
OTTAWA—The federal government announced Wednesday that it is planning a $30-million COVID-19 awareness advertising campaign and moving closer to implementing long-promised tax credits for newspapers as it seeks to support Canada’s struggling media industry during the pandemic.

Yet the measures were immediately deemed by some as insufficient to deal with the financial pinch that newspapers, broadcasters and other media organizations, many of which were struggling even before COVID-19, are now facing as their advertising revenues evaporate.

Several media organizations have blamed that collapse in revenue for their decision this week to lay off hundreds of journalists and support workers, and shift their operations by closing or combining publications and ending print editions during the week.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previewed the coming support during his daily appearance outside his Ottawa residence, where he emphasized the importance of Canadians having accurate information while thanking journalists for doing their jobs.

“Right now, it is more important than ever that Canadians have access to the latest news and information,” Trudeau said. “To ensure that journalists can continue to do this vital work, our government is announcing new measures to support them.”

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault later announced the government plans to spend $30 million on an advertising campaign to raise awareness about COVID-19 — money that he promised would go primarily to Canadian media organizations.

Those include Canadian newspapers, magazines, television stations and online publications, Guilbeault said, “so the revenues generated by this campaign can breathe new life into our media.”

The federal government has spent on average about $39 million per year on advertising since the Liberals came to power in 2016, according to official figures. That represented just more than half what it spent each year between 2010 and 2015 when the Conservatives were in government.
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