Bermuda Press & MediaHouse To Amalgamate

July 25, 2014

[Updated] The Bermuda Press and MediaHouse — the parent companies of The Royal Gazette and the Bermuda Sun — announced today that they have agreed in principle to the amalgamation of their printing and online business interests.

Under the agreement, which will be finalised next week, BPHL will acquire several of MediaHouse’s Bermuda operations [Island Press, Bermuda.com and the Bermuda.com Guide] while the Bermuda Sun and its parent company, MediaHouse, have also agreed to license the Bermuda Sun archives to BPHL but will retain ownership. Both companies felt it was important to preserve them for historical purposes and they will be available online.

BPHL CEO Jonathan Howes said, “Some job losses are sadly inevitable but our goal will be to retain as many Bermudians as possible.”

Mr. Howes added that, “Over the course of the next few months we plan to diversify and expand our products and services to enable advertisers to reach more targeted audiences through every media platform. These changes will offer advertisers a complete media solution to reach their intended audience.”

Update 2.57pm: The Bermuda Sun confirm their last issue will be printed on July 30th, and 23 staff will be made redundant. Full statement posted here.

Update 5.04pm: BPHL CEO Jonathan Howes said, “The Royal Gazette takes no pleasure in the news that the Bermuda Sun is to cease publication.

“In the news business we thrive on competition and over the years the Sun has certainly proved a worthy rival as well as providing a valuable alternative media voice in the community.

“The closure is another reminder of the challenges facing newspapers worldwide as the industry grapples with the impact of the recent recession, declining advertising revenue and increased competition from digital sources.

“As Bermuda’s only print newspaper, The Royal Gazette now has an even greater responsibility to provide the community with the balanced, accurate and inclusive news coverage that it deserves. It’s a responsibility our editors and reporters take very seriously and we’re ready for the challenge.”

The full statement from BPHL is below:

The Bermuda Press (Holdings) Limited (‘BPHL’) and MediaHouse Limited (‘MHL’)announced today that they have agreed in principle to the amalgamation of their printing and online business interests

Under the agreement, which will be finalised next week, BPHL will acquire several of MediaHouse’s Bermuda operations: Island Press, the tourism website Bermuda.com and its print companion, Bermuda.com Guide.

“The businesses will continue to operate out of the MediaHouse-owned Donald French Building on Elliot Street, Hamilton, which will be leased to BPHL. MediaHouse will retain ownership of Global Directories, its Grand Cayman-based company that publishes print, online and mobile directories in the Caribbean.

“The Bermuda Sun Limited and its parent company, MediaHouse Limited, have also agreed to license the Bermuda Sun archives to BPHL but will retain ownership. Both companies felt it was important to preserve them for historical purposes and they will be available online.

“Jonathan Howes, CEO of The Bermuda Press (Holdings) Limited, said the consolidation of the island’s two major print companies will help preserve Bermudian jobs in an industry that has experienced a significant contraction in revenue due to local economic conditions and customers shifting to digital alternatives.”

“The traditional print industry has been in decline for many years and the only way forward in a small market like Bermuda is through greater economies of scale,” he said. “Island Press will continue to offer clients large format printing and we will be able to leverage existing Bermuda Press equipment and services to better service
client needs.

“The industry will certainly continue to face challenges due to changes in technology and consumer behaviour, but through this consolidation we are better equipped to meet and survive those challenges.”

Randy French, President and CEO of MediaHouse Limited, said, “Since Island Press was founded in 1959 by my father Donald, it has earned a reputation for being at the forefront of technical innovation. It was the first press to offer web offset printing to Bermuda and, over the past 30 years, an increasing range of advanced digital services.

“However, the economic reality is that there is simply no longer the volume of print work in Bermuda to sustain both companies. The Board of MediaHouse has decided that in the face of continued losses, the amalgamation with The Bermuda Press (Holdings) Limited is in the best interests of shareholders and employees. It offers the best opportunity of sustaining the industry and preserving jobs for as many Bermudians as possible rather than risk losing them altogether.

“We are also of the opinion that the amalgamation will provide Bermuda.com with the resources and investment that will take the Island’s premier Internet portal and resource to the next level.”

“Mr. Howes said that while there would be some redundancies at both Island Press and Bermuda Press where roles overlap, new job opportunities would likely become available with stabilisation of the market and future investment in new technology and product.

“Some job losses are sadly inevitable but our goal will be to retain as many Bermudians as possible,” he commented.

“Island Press presently employs 17 people while Bermuda Press currently has 18 staff.

“Both Island Press and Bermuda Press will retain separate print sales teams and manufacturing facilities for the immediate future.

“Mr. Howes said the addition of Bermuda.com and Bermuda.com Guide would strengthen BPHL’s range of tourism and directories products, which include This Week In Bermuda, Nothing To Do In Bermuda, and eMoo.”

Mr. Howes said, “Bermuda.com is obviously a very strong product and brand name and we are excited about developing it further to drive growth of our digital and online businesses.

“We will publish the Bermuda.com Guide as the flagship tourism print publication with expanded the content targeting the tourist audience and reposition the This Week In Bermuda brand into The Royal Gazette as a comprehensive local calendar and events product targeting our local audience.

“Over the course of the next few months we plan to diversify and expand our products and services to enable advertisers to reach more targeted audiences through every media platform. These changes will offer advertisers a complete media solution to reach their intended audience.”

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Articles that link to this one:

  1. Bermuda Sun To Print Last Issue On July 30th | Bernews.com | July 25, 2014
  1. Sad says:

    The final nail in the coffin for Bermuda’s declining standard of journalism.

  2. Bermuda bouy says:

    The first thing to go should be Famous, Famouss, Famousss. Only because he can’t remember how to spell his own name.

  3. Terry says:

    More job losses.
    I can hope for the best.

    Shalom.

  4. Quinton Berkley Butterfield says:

    Bernews, thank you for all the news you provide and now you are more important than ever!

    • Terry says:

      Correct Quinton.
      I know Pat has it down ‘pat’.
      She even emails me and tells me why she did not post some of my comments which I respect.

      First female journalist with her own site.

      I need a rum.
      Irony is, the Sun will set. Gonna miss that.

  5. watching says:

    Sigh…there goes the neighborhood

  6. Blue Familiar says:

    This makes me sad.

  7. i and i says:

    Sunset….a very nice way to look at it, but,it is the evolution of media worldwide.From cacoon to butterfly a transition is only a transition….we’ll always need decisions and this will employ decision makers.

  8. Archie says:

    It is a sad day for sure. But the biggest issue now is the concentration of too much power in one print media outlet

    • Evie says:

      I for one haven’t bought The RG for many years because of their bias reporting jthank you Bernews