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Transcontinental Deplores Cuts to Canadian Magazine Subsidy Programs

Press release from the issuing company

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--Mergers and acquisitions in the media industry have not reached an excessive level in Canada and Transcontinental Media is opposed to more regulation to supposedly ensure the public's right to free and quality information. Transcontinental Media also deplores the cuts announced in July 2003 to two major programs that support magazines and publications at a time when the Canadian industry, more than ever before, needs the Canadian government to provide "a structured approach that allows it to develop long-term business plans given the unprecedented domination of American culture and its formidable financial resources." Those remarks were made today by Transcontinental Media President Andre Prefontaine, speaking to members of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications as part of its review of the media industry in Canada. "The public's right to information must not serve as an excuse for undue government interference in the legal transactions between two companies, merely because they happen to be media enterprises. We already have the Competition Bureau to monitor business activity in the economy," Mr. Prefontaine said. Transcontinental Media also said that a company's size, resources, economies of scale and profits generated are all factors that come into play in the delivery of quality information to the public. Mr. Prefontaine continued: "The main competitors of our consumer magazine are publications like Cosmopolitan, Prevention, Martha Stewart Living, Oprah, People and Teen People. In our opinion, having diverse and multiple sources of information in the era of the Internet and the proliferation of specialty TV channels is one of the best ways to guarantee the public's right to free and quality information. However, to be a real player in a market dominated by globalization and huge integrated media corporations, that diversity must come from players who have the financial capacity to back their ambitions and who can, by their presence, act as a counterweight to the great media empires. In particular, by new players like us, whom I would describe as a medium-sized company in the media industry." The President of Transcontinental Media went on to deplore the cuts announced by the federal government in July 2003 to the Canada Magazine Fund and the Publications Assistance Program: "This decision will lead to profound upheaval in the magazine industry in Canada and constitutes, in my opinion, an unplanned change in the cultural policy of the Canadian government. Given the unprecedented domination of American culture and its formidable financial resources, what we need from the Canadian government is a structured approach that allows us to develop long-term business plans," Mr. Prefontaine said. The full text of the Transcontinental Media submission is on the home page of the Transcontinental website at www.transcontinental.com.