End of Metroland flyer distribution could hasten move to digital advertising: experts

Canada’s shrinking flyer industry and the slew of businesses who rely on it for advertising were dealt another blow last week when one of Ontario’s most prominent media conglomerates stopped printing 70 community newspapers and announced the end of its flyer business.

The papers owned by Metroland Media Group were often stuffed with flyers from large retail chains such as Loblaw Companies Ltd., Walmart Inc. and Metro Inc., along with local businesses showcasing products and services.

Experts say Metroland’s departure will push many companies even further toward digital marketing and hasten the decline of Canada’s print advertising sector.

“I think some will probably just stop using papers completely,” said Claire Tsai, a marketing professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

“Some may still try but overall, at the aggregate level, you will see less use of papers.”

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The number of newspapers to shut down has accelerated over the last decade as Canadians upped their smartphone usage, encouraging companies to launch digital flyers and apps offering savings or loyalty rewards for users.

While Tsai said some realtors will likely stick with print advertising because of the big photos they can use, others will move away from the medium, especially if it gets pricier.

“When a business exits the industry, there’s less competition and so there could be implications on cost and it becomes much more costly to use papers to reach their customers,” she said.

Metroland papers were often the lone print journalism publications in the markets they serviced and even those regions with competitors have seen a less vibrant media landscape in recent years.

The federal government has counted some 474 Canadian news businesses that closed between 2008 and 2023.

Over the same time span, marketing dollars moved online.

The federal government has

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China is turning the screw on app distribution in the country

Governments worldwide are increasingly flexing their regulatory muscles concerning digital app ecosystems. This emerging trend, indicative of the shifting paradigms of the digital marketplace, has put app platforms under the microscope. For instance, the Play Store’s longstanding model has drawn the attention of international regulators, who are reassessing the terms of revenue sharing between digital platforms and developers. It’s becoming clear that governments are keen on recalibrating the balance of power in the digital domain.


  • China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) will require all app providers to disclose their business details to the government.
  • This could make it difficult for smaller developers and international developers to thrive in the Chinese app market. App makers will need to weigh the benefits of establishing a presence in China or collaborating with a local entity.
  • This is not the first instance of China tightening its grip on app regulations. The country had previously established a similar licensing system for games.

In sync with this global narrative, China, too, has decided to put its stamp on the matter. Reuters reports that China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has pronounced that all app providers in the country must disclose their business details to the government. This move is said to be aimed at combating fraud in mobile apps, though many may see it as Beijing tightening its grip on the digital sphere.

The implications of the MIIT’s directive can’t be understated. After the grace period, which ends in March 2024, apps that do not conform to these stipulations will be subject to punitive measures. This regulatory swing could very well impact the vibrancy of the Chinese app market, especially making things challenging for smaller developers.

Furthermore, international app developers aren’t exempt from these changes. Historically, they enjoyed the privilege of

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