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Montreal La Presse print edition to disappear: newspaper executive

MONTREAL - One of Power Corp.'s two co-chief executives says the print edition of Montreal La Presse will disappear "eventually."

Co-chief executives Andre and Paul Desmarais Jr. noted the growing interest in online news as well as a steady decline in revenue from print advertising for newspapers.

The issue was raised during Power Corp.'s annual meeting in Montreal today when Paul Desmarais Jr. was asked whether he foresees the disappearance of the print edition of its flagship newspaper.

His reply was, "Eventually, yes, quite simply, yes."

At a news conference after the meeting, the two men did not give a timeline for the scenario.

They say the disappearance of the 130-year-old print edition would more than likely result in the loss of jobs.

Power Corp.'s Gesca affiliate owns several newspapers throughout the province, including Quebec Le Soleil, Sherbrooke La Tribune and Ottawa Le Droit.

Power Corp., through its Square Victoria Communications Group subsidiary, is also a co-owner of The Canadian Press.

Gesca is counting heavily on La Presse+, a free interactive digital edition for iPad that was introduced last year.

The two executives say one-half of the readers of La Presse+ are aged between 25 and 54 and that it accounts for about 30 per cent of La Presse's revenues.

The Power Corp. (TSX:POW) executives did not want to quantify the revenue drop in print advertising, preferring to say that fellow publishers Torstar Corp. (TSX:TS.B) and Quebecor (TSX:QBR.B) are experiencing similar problems.

The Canadian Press

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