Nov 27, 2018

By Michael Kramer

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A promised tax credit from Ottawa – to encourage more Canadians to pay for online news – would cover roughly two months of a digital subscription fee.

It’s one of three components of a $595-million, five-year boost for the media industry – promised by Finance Minister Bill Morneau in last week’s fall fiscal update – which includes a tax credit for the costs that news companies pay to produce original content – as well as offering charitable status to non-profit media organizations.

The online news tax credit would be worth about 15 per cent of the cost of a subscription – although Finance Canada spokesman Jack Aubry says the actual amount someone will save depends on the subscription’s cost. As an example he says someone who pays $200 a year to get access to a news site online – would be entitled to a tax credit worth $30.

Aubrey says the government believes the tax credit is needed – to encourage more Canadians to subscribe to online news – and help media organizations transition to a more sustainable business model.

John Hinds, CEO of News Media Canada – which represents the newspaper industry – says there’s “no silver bullet” to save Canada’s news industry as it struggles with the transition to digital – which has seen advertising revenues falling and readers cancelling their subscription.

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