– TransLink jacks up ad spending in Canwest papers

The Straight

By Charlie Smith

TransLink may have fallen on hard times financially, but that hasn’t stopped it from pumping huge sums of money into large publishing companies this year.

Canwest Global Communications Corp. newspapers received $527,913.68 in advertising revenue from the regional transportation authority in the first eight months of this year, according to data supplied in response to a Georgia Straight freedom-of-information request. That’s more than double last year’s figure of $236,764.89, and four times TransLink’s purchase of $131,516.77 in advertising in Canwest newspapers in 2007.

Approximately 52 percent of the ad spending with Canwest this year went to its daily papers, with the rest going to the company’s community papers. The Vancouver Courier was the largest recipient among the Canwest community papers, collecting $78,685.90.

Meanwhile, Black Press, which is owned by Victoria publisher David Black, generated more advertising revenue from TransLink in the first eight months of 2009—$255,186.39—than it did in all of 2006, 2007, and 2008 combined ($209,985.31). More than $200,000 of TransLink’s expenditures this year went to Black Press community papers that serve the outer suburbs of Surrey, Delta, White Rock, Langley, Maple Ridge, and Pitt Meadows. The largest recipient in the Black Press chain was the Surrey–North Delta Leader, which collected $80,452.81.

The commuter paper Metro generated the highest billings among free daily newspapers this year, collecting $45,789.38 from January 1 to August 31. Its rival, 24 hours, was far behind, with $2,720 in advertising revenue from TransLink. The regional transportation authority didn’t place any advertisements in the Georgia Straight, Xtra! West, or the Globe and Mail in the first eight months of 2009.

TransLink spent $920,790.31 on print advertising in the first eight months of 2009. Of that, 57 percent went to Canwest-owned newspapers; 28 percent went to Black Press; and 10 percent went to ethnic papers.

Earlier this year, the Straight reported that the City of Vancouver spent 78 percent of its print advertising dollars in Canwest papers between January 1 and July 23, 2009.

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