Canada media chain to stop printing community papers, 605 jobs to go

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's Metroland Media Group has sought bankruptcy protection and will cease print publication of more than 70 weekly community newspapers, a move that will mean a loss of 605 jobs, the company said on Friday.

Metroland Media Group is the sister company of the Toronto Star and publishes papers across Ontario, the most populous of Canada's 10 provinces. It is owned by Nordstar Capital.

Metroland said the 605 jobs represented about 60% of its total workforce. It blamed the decision on unsustainable financial losses stemming from what it called the changing preferences of consumers and advertisers.

"The media industry continues to face existential challenges, largely because digital tech giants have used their dominant positions to take the vast majority of the advertising revenue," it said in a statement.

Canada earlier this month unveiled draft rules for a law to compel internet giants such as Facebook and Google to pay news outlets.

Metroland Media Group will move to a digital-only model and stop printing advertising flyers.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Mark Porter)