Tag Archives: Canwest

How Leonard Asper lost Canwest

The Globe and Mail has a fascinating article on how just a few missteps cost the Leonard Asper a chance to save Canwest.

Leonard Asper of Canwest "If I could go back in time,” Leonard Asper says, his voice flat and serious, “I would have certainly focused to a greater degree on ways to reduce the debt.”

It is Oct. 6, the day CanWest has filed for court protection from its creditors. What might he have done differently? He acknowledges that the trust sale and buyback could have been handled better. And the Australian situation still bothers him. “There might have been a window where—if you knew everything you knew today—you would have just dumped it,” Asper says. “But I can’t look back and regret that decision. Decisions of companies get made by not one person. There was a collective view that we should hold on to Ten. And it turns out that, with everything else that happened, it wasn’t the right decision.”

While I haven’t really followed the Asper/Canwest saga that much, I found this article really interesting because there were three really clear windows of opportunity to save Canwest and live to fight another day and yet Leonard was either unable to see or afraid to act on options that would require a change in strategic direction, a characteristic that has doomed more ideas and organizations than I can count.  It would be an interesting study seriously declining churches/non-profits/businesses and look at why those windows of change were ignored.  I am thinking that they recognized the opportunity at the time but made what made sense tactically at the time and lost sight of the strategic vision down the road.

Why the Globe and Mail is making a mistake

in charging $160/year for their online content.  Warren Kinsella has the reasons.

6. Newspapers have to realize – but never will – that their news content is the best advertising for them. That’s what good, solid journalism is: good. It makes a case for itself. When MSM mavens hide content, people will mosey off elsewhere for news content that isn’t hidden. News is like water: it flows. It seeps out.
7. Google is the boss, not the news providers. If Google won’t agree to facilitate charging for news, that’s the end of the discussion. And Google won’t ever, ever charge: it’s contrary to its entire business model.

It’s an odd decision to make, instead of stepping on the neck of Canwest when they are down, they are tossing their entire network a lifeline.  If that is where the free content is, that is where we will go.  The Globe and Mail risks changing from Canada’s newspaper of record to being the newspaper that no one cares about.