(Adds titles for sale, company statement, media analyst comment, background, byline)
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Rogers Communications Inc will stop printing four of its biggest magazines next year and sell all its French-language and trade publications as more readers and advertisers move online, the Canadian company’s media arm said on Friday.
Rogers, one of the country’s biggest magazine publishers, said Canadian Business, Sportsnet, MoneySense and Flare will have digital-only versions starting next year. It will also print Maclean’s, Châtelaine and Today’s Parent less frequently.
Rogers’ French-language titles are Châtelaine, L’actualité and Loulou. Its trade publications include Canadian Insurance Top Broker, Advisor’s Edge and Benefits Canada.
Rogers, which also owns television and radio stations, has committed C$35 million ($26.7 million) to create and promote digital content, it said in a statement.
“We are going where our audiences are,” Rogers Media President Rick Brace said in the statement.
The company declined to comment on savings, job losses and costs for the transition.
The overhaul is the latest retreat by a Canadian publisher from print as advertisers increasingly favor going online, often on Facebook and Google which have much larger audiences than any media company’s own website.
Canada’s biggest newspaper publisher, Postmedia Network Canada Corp, struck a deal in July that gave creditors nearly all of its equity and almost halved its heavy debt load.
In January, Postmedia cut about 8 percent of its editorial workforce as it merged tabloid and broadsheet newsrooms in four major cities.
In early September, the Globe and Mail newspaper offered voluntary buyouts to all of its roughly 650 employees as it sought to cut around 40 jobs.
“This transition is happening at lightning speed,” Ian Gill, whose recent book ‘No News Is Bad News’ documents the shifting Canadian media landscape, said in a telephone interview.
The federal government is consulting Canadians on how best to support the country’s creative, media and production sectors in a digital world. A parliamentary committee is reviewing challenges facing the news media.
$1 = 1.3111 Canadian dollars Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Richard Chang