The final issues of the Ottawa and Vancouver editions of Xtra hit the streets on Feb. 12, with the final Toronto edition arriving on Feb. 19 – coinciding with its 31st anniversary. The Ottawa and Vancouver editions debuted in 1993.
The decision to move to a digital-only model follows a strategic assessment of Pink Triangle Press’s operations launched by senior management in the spring of 2014. Twelve full-time positions from publishing and administration are being eliminated as a result.
Ken Popert, Pink Triangle Press’s executive director and president, cited the usual combination of decreased advertising revenue and increased production and distribution costs as the reason for the decision.
“We were looking at the future and seeing that papers were just going to be too expensive to operate,” said Popert, noting that print advertising revenues for Pink Triangle Press had been declining by as much as 10% a year for the past several years, currently accounting for just 10% of total revenues for the Toronto-based company.
“Gay and lesbian publishing is not a profitable activity,” he said. “As we know advertising is basically disappearing.”
Popert said audiences on DailyXtra.com have surpassed those of the three Xtra publications, which had a combined circulation of 71,000. The company is also converting its consumer magazine Xtra Living and its annual Ultimate Pride Guide to digital-only publications.
Popert said the print publications have never been profitable, subsidized by Pink Triangle’s other commercial ventures. Much of the company’s revenue is generated by membership costs for its six-year-old gay dating site Squirt.org – which is seeing annual revenue growth of 10% – and some online advertising on DailyXtra.com.
Pink Triangle Press employs 57 people, primarily in Toronto with a small staff in Vancouver. It shut down its free bi-weekly glossy Fab in 2012, just before its 20th anniversary.