Bermuda Press and MediaHouse to merge

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 and its print companion, 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 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.”

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 and Guide would strengthen BPHL’s range of tourism and directories products, which include This Week In Bermuda, Nothing To Do In Bermuda, and eMoo.

He said: “ 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 Guide as the flagship tourism print publication with expanded 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.”

Mr. Howes stated: “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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