Torstar shifts focus to building its digital presence

Torstar, publisher of Canadian papers like the Toronto Star and Metroland group of free dailies, is looking to bolster its online presence by investing in the expansion of its digital properties.

David Holland, CEO Toronto-based company, which also owns Harlequin book publishing, says he wants Torstar to focus more on its digital properties and web presence. Quoth The Globe:

In October, Torstar launched a new personal finance website, Moneyville.ca, which includes business articles from the Toronto Star’s website, financial calculators, and other columns and investment tips. Star publisher John Cruickshank told analysts the website is “an example of the kind of things that we will be doing lots of in the days ahead, identifying where we have a unique reach with large audiences.”

Moneyville is the latest in a series of the media company’s websites targeted to audiences on a specific topic. Others include sites dedicated to parenting, health and home ownership.

“I think you do appreciate what a competitive space this is,” David said. “We don’t want to be too specific about what we’re doing or not doing, but we are making some investments in some areas where we think there’s new revenue streams that are available to us.”

The financial numbers for Torstar have been strong over the past year, but David cautioned that profits in the fourth quarter could be weak. 

Partly because of weakening U.S. retail performance, “I think we’re just a little cautious about what the economy is going to mean in the latter quarter of this year,” David says.