60. Quebecor Inc.

Revenues 2014: CAD 3.716 billion (€ 2.534 billion)

Overview

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Quebecor Media is a Canadian media company that started out as a small local newspaper in 1950 and has grown into one of the major players on the Canadian media market since. Quebecor Media includes numerous subsidiaries, including publishers, television stations and telecommunication service providers. Apart from its primary competitor Power, Quebecor is the largest media company in French-Quebec. Quebecor owns 37 newspapers (such as the tabloid newspapers Toronto Sun and Calgary Sun as well as the daily newspaper Le Journal de Quebéc) sporting a weekly edition of approximately 8.400.000 copies, which amounts to a market share of 21 percent.

General Information

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Headquarters:
612, Saint-Jacques Street
Montreal (Quebec)
H3C 4M8
Telephone: 001-514-380-1864 (Press Office)
Internet: http://www.quebecor.com

Branches: Cable and Telecommunication Services, Newspapers, Magazines, TV, Books, Distribution, Websites
 
Legal Form: Public Company
Financial Year: 01/01 – 12/31
Founding Year: 1950

Table I. Economic Performance
2015201420132012201120102009200820072006
Revenues (CAD Mio.)3,8803,7164,2774,3524,2074,0003,7813,7303,3662,999
Profit (Loss) (CAD Mio.)152(24,4)(134)268201230525(379)328(170)
Employees---------16,86516,95016,40015,71017,10017,30014,288

Table II. Segment Revenues (CAD Mio.)
2015201420132012201120102009200820072006
Telecommunications3,0072,9652,7122,6352,4312,2092,0011,8041,5521,309
News Media8087849601.0181,0341,3001,1811,073966
Media965
TV459461445,5448.2439436.7415.5393.3
Entertainment 2361299293312,9302.5307.8301.9329.8315.8
Internet139146120.99891.589.68273.9
Other(115,2)(117,5)(115,8)(142.4)(121.8)(92.4)(87.5)(83.7)(87.9)(59.9)

People

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Executives:

  • Brian Mulroney, Chairman of the Board
  • Pierre Dion, President & Chief Executive Officer
  • Pierre Laurin, Vice Chairman of the Board and Lead Director
  • Jean-Francois Pruneau, Senior Vice President & CFO
  • Denis Sabourin, Vice President and Corporate Controller
  • Marc M. Tremblay, Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Affairs and Public Affairs and Corporate Secretary 
  • Chloé Poirier, Vice President & Treasurer
  • Dominic Fortin, Assistant Secretary
  • Dominic Poulin-Gouin, Assistant Secretary


Board of Directors:

  • Jean La Couture, Huis Clos Itée
  • Sylvie Lalande, TVA Group
  • Pierre Laurin, Quebecor
  • A. Michel Lavigne
  • Geneviève Marcon, GM Dévelopment
  • Brian Mulroney, Norton Rose Canada, LLP
  • Robert Paré, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
  • Normand Provost, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec

History

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From local newspaper to media empire – within 50 years, Quebecor founder Pierre Péladeau (*1925 in Montreal) embarked on a unparalleled triumphal march. Initially, the young 'Monsieur P.', as Péladeau used to be called, had an eye on show business until he tried his luck as a publisher, fresh from university, calling both a law and philosophy degree his own.  Péladeau acquired the local newspaper  Le Journal de Rosemont after it went bust and managed to revive it successfully. In 1964, he founded the newspaper  Le Journal de Montréal, the largest newspaper of the city today and one year later, he created the Quebecor Inc. media company. The Quebec-wide daily newspaper  Le Jounal de Québec was added to the Quebecor family in 1967, plus additional weekly newspapers, magazines, books and a printing shop. The first English-language newspapers were added during the 1970s and 1980s, such as the Sunday Express (Montreal) in 1974 and the Winnipeg Sun in 1983.

In 1987, Péladeau bought the Donohue paper factory, a coup that would give the company full control over the printing process as a whole: Quebecor now united editorial offices, publishers, printing offices and paper suppliers under one roof. Several more printing offices were acquired in the 1980s and made Quebecor the largest commercial printing company in Canada. The merger of Quebecor Printing and World Color Press in 1999 created an international printing giant. Péladeau remained the CEO of the company until his death in 1997. The company registered another great success two years later: Quebecor became the second-largest newspaper group in Canada through the acquisition of the Sun Media Corp., now sporting eight daily newspapers, more than 200 regional and local newspapers and the most important tabloid papers in Quebec. Not only did this strengthen Quebecor's economic situation, but it also made the company the most important conservative media company in the region once and for all. 

In October 2000, Quebecor opened up a new chapter in its company history: The company outdid competitor Rogers with a bid of 5,4 billion Dollar for Quebec's largest cable service provider Vidéotron and its franco-lingual TV station group TVA. Over the course of this acquisition, the company created the Quebecor Media subsidiary, which operated under the roof of Quebecor Inc., together with the print division Quebecor World. While Quebecor Media kept extending over the years that followed, by means of even more acquisitions, such as the Vidéotron subsidiary Netgraphe (an Internet portal, including Quebec's most important search engine, among others), hence strengthening its market position considerably, Quebecor World came under pressure at an increasing rate. Triggered by the purchase of  Vidéotron, the price of which analysts considered excessive and bad for business and the radical change caused by the digitalisation of the printing business, Quebecor World's financial grew rapidly. The world's largest commercial printing company of old hesitated to long, all attempts to steer clear of the disaster failed and the company failed in lowering cost.

Quebcor Media enlarged its newspaper business in 2007 through the acquisition of Osprey Media, one of the largest Canadian publishers, home to 20 daily newspapers and 34 other newspapers. The television business kept growing as well and especially the ratings darling 'Star Académie' – the Franco-Canadian version of the omnipresent casting show – ensured the company's top spot on the French-language Canadian market. In April 2011, Quebecor launched an English information channel called Sun TV, a recreation of the American Fox News channel, which is similar not only in theory but shares many of its textual tendencies. That caused quite the upheaval in the halls of the competitors as well as in the world of progressive blogging prior to the station's launch. According to the critics, the conservative media empire would not dispose of even more potential when it came to opinion-making. Furthermore, it was feared that a television station based on the Sun group's tabloid papers' philosophy could influence Canadian politics. The future head of the station and former spokesperson of the government, Kory Teneycke had the following to say regarding the criticism: “The current range of news services on Canadian Television is limited, the news are politically correct and complacent. That's boring (…) It is our goal, not to bore the people to death, we leave that to the others.”

In combination with the weak performance of the European business segment, the development finally ended up in a financial crisis that almost led to the printing company's bankruptcy in 2008. The Quebec Superior Court saved the company in the last minute, granting the company bankruptcy protection and also pledged financial support by the investors Credit Suisse and Morgen Stanley. In addition, the European business branch was sold and a rigid sanitation plan set up. In 2009, the company changed its name to  World Color Press and at the same time began with an elaborate restructuring process, initiating a slow recovery. Yet, all the elbow-grease could not fully re-establish the subsidiary and therefore, World Color Press was taken over by the American printing giant Quad/Graphics in July 2010.

In early summer 2010, Quebecor Media left the Canadian press council, when the company's two large daily newspapers  Le Journal de Montreal and Le Journal de expressed their dissatisfaction with the work of the independent organisation. Especially the reprimands of the council, which had been issued on readers' recommendations, would restrict the paper's journalistic freedom, according to a company spokesperson. For the press council, the withdrawal is a severe setback, considering that the council now only represented less than half of the Franco-Canadian journalists.

In September 2010, Quebecor launched a new wireless network under the flag of Videothron  and kicked off and unprecedented territory war with its main competitor Rogers Communications., also from Montreal. Videotron's appearance on the mobile phone market changes the market situation quite drastically as the company planned to erect a network that was supposed to cover the  majority of the rural areas. 

Due to the fact that Videotron already disposes of a broad customer base both for Internet and TV, this step could result in an immense leverage effect. The 87.000 mobile phone customers who had been bound to use the Rogers Communications network due to a adhesion contract, would switch over to Videotron. Both providers adhere to the strategy of offering the customers Internet, TV, landline and mobile phone contract from one and the same source.

Yet, Quebecor could not evade the wind that was blowing from a different direction altogether: Only a few days after the new network's launch, the communication service provider Bell Canada Enterprises inaugurated its new product Fibe TV, an Internet-based television service, offering a better quality signal than Videothron.. The competitors  Bell and Telus Inc. announced similar plans for the future.

Management

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When the company founder  Pierre Péladeau died in 1997, his sons Erik and Pierre Karl took over the company leadership in tandem as an interim solution. Two years later, Pierre Karl Péladeau became the president and CEO of the whole group. The founder's son, who has been working in the company since 1985, pressed ahead with the acquisition of the Sun Media Corporation and also promoted the take over of the Videotron cable service provider, among other things. When the subsidiaries Quebecor World/World Color Press were split off, Wes Lucas was made the president and CEO, followed by Jacques Mallette in 2007 and Mark Angelson in 2009.

Business Fields

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First and foremost, Quebecor Media Inc. is active in the French-language Quebec, but also in the rest of Canada. The media company is home to a wide range of different companies:

  • Videotron LTD: Largest cable network provider in Quebec, third-largest in Canada, the only provider to offer cable television, Internet access, and phone services.
  • Osprey Media: One of the largest Canadian press publishers (Daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, magazines)
  • Sun Media Corporation: Canada's largest chain of tabloid papers and local newspapers
  • MediaPages: Print- and Online directories
  • TVA Publishing Inc.: Quebec's largest magazine publisher
  • Canoe Inc.: bilingual Internet portal for various services
  • Quebecor Media Book Group: Publishing group for French publications
  • Archambault stores: large Music Store-chain
  • Select: Canada's largest independent CD and Video retailer
  • Le SuperClub Vidéotron Itée: largest chain of video rental stores in Quebec
  • Nurun Inc.: international consulting company

Content

Institute of Media and Communications Policy

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Media Pluralism in Europe

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Partners

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Mediadb.eu is funded by medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg,

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the Open Society Foundations' Media Program,

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Germany's Federal Agency for Civic Education,

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the Rudolf Augstein Foundation,

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the city of Cologne, Germany,

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and the State of Thuringia, Department of Commerce.