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February 16 Editorial

CBJ Feb 2016

IT WAS EXACTLY four years ago when the late Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty appeared on our February, 2012 cover following an exclusive interview I had with him one cold, wintry morning a week prior. His extensive knowledge on finance and economics made him the ideal person for the position, and a more pleasant, witty individual you could not find. Flaherty’s untimely death just over two years later sent shockwaves from coast to coast, leaving us much poorer as a nation. This month we have Canada’s new Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau on our cover after having an opportunity to also meet him in person. All eyes will be on Morneau as he gets set to deliver his first budget. The direction and decisions outlined in the official document will directly impact on Canada’s economic direction during a tough financial backdrop.

Print journalism delivered via conventional paper form is not dead, but it’s definitely in the twilight of its life. I don’t say that lightly, having spent a sizable portion of my professional career working in the industry. Postmedia’s recent purge of 90 employees across Canada, including several senior executives, is just the latest confirmation that the golden era of print is fading fast. A number of well-known publications have already stopped the printing presses in favour of a 100% digital online presence, while others have simply shut down altogether. But transitioning to digital is by no means a guarantee of success. Quality must always remain the No.1 priority, and content is still king. That’s why so many well-known former print journalists have been heavily recruited to spearhead the multimedia endeavours of these digital broadcast outlets.

Despite previously opting to not be part of the massive wireless telecom industry, Shaw Communications has done a 180 and is now making its long-anticipated entry into the highly-competitive business by acquiring Wind Mobile for $1.6 billion. The Calgary-based telecommunications company will buy Canada’s fourth largest mobile operator by subscribers, pending a number of regulatory approvals, including the Competition Bureau and the Ministry of Innovation, Science & Economic Development. Shaw expects the transaction to close in the third quarter of 2016. Here’s hoping it leads to increased competition and lower cellphone rates. Shortly after that news was made public it was announced Corus Entertainment will pay $2.65-billion to acquire Shaw Media from Shaw Communications, which covers the cost of the Wind purchase with a billion dollars to spare.

WhatsApp is removing its $1 a year subscription fee for consumers who use the world’s most popular messaging service as it experiments instead with making businesses pay to send notifications to consumers.

Did you know? Facebook forked out a staggering $19.2 billion for WhatsApp in 2014.

Angus Gillespie
@CanBizJournal

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