'UPI Makes New Move Into Canada'

Here's a story by George Garneau from the Oct. 3, 1987 edition of Editor & Publisher:


United Press International, seeking to expand its Canadian presence, has entered a joint-marketing agreement with the Southam Syndicate of Toronto affecting the sale and distribution of each other's news services.

The one-year agreement, with options for at least a one-year extension, took effect Oct. 1.

The deal gives UPI the help of one of Canada's largest newspaper publishers, Southam, Inc., in marketing and distributing UPI in Canada. UPI gets exclusive U.S. distribution rights to Southam's six-day supplemental news and feature service, Southam News, and to the service of Southam's weekly Financial Times of Canada.

Similarly, Southam gets exclusive Canadian marketing rights to the full UPI wire, plus UPI's U.S. sales and distribution network.

Spokesmen for both companies declined to reveal financial arrangements of the agreement. Existing clients of both services are not affected.

The move is the second effort this year aimed at making UPI a player in the Canadian news market, which is currently dominated by Canadian Press, the news cooperative owned by newspapers, including Southam.

In April, UPI began a five-year agreement with Standard Broadcasting Corporation Ltd. of Toronto to help form a broadcast wire service. It has grown to include more than 60 subscribers, according to UPI spokesman Chris Smith.

UPI's renewed efforts in Canada follows the end about two years ago of a news service partnership with the Toronto Sun called UP-Canada.

The UPI-Southam agreement followed unsuccessful talks between Southam and the Cincinnati-based Scripps Howard news service.

A source said that a joint-marketing agreement unwound when Scripps Howard requested changes to a handshake deal, opening the door for UPI, which Southam earlier had rebuffed.

The arrangement "adds new dimension and depth to the Canadian and foreign news coverage," UPI subscribers get, said Mario Vazquez Rana, the president and chief executive, who rescued UPI from bankruptcy and has been trying to make it profitable.

The UPI news presence in Canada includes five people in four bureaus, plus stringers, but only a handful of subscribers, UPI's Smith said.

Southam News is relatively new to the open market, according to Nick Hills, general manager of Southam News and Southam Syndicate, the marketing arm of Southam Inc.

After years serving Southam newspapers, it began marketing about a year ago.

Hills said the service was carried by six non-Southam Canadian papers and by the Miami Herald.

It maintains six Canadian and seven foreign bureaus, including Washington, D.C., Moscow and Central America, taking news from 24 correspondents and Southam's 15 daily newspapers, including the Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Calgary Herald and Vancouver newspapers.

It transmits about 100 stories a week, including hard news, features, analyses and columns offering "a slightly different view of the world," Hills said.

Charles Hollingsworth, UPI vice president of marketing and sales, said the Southam service would interest a range of U.S. newspapers, especially in New England, the Pacific Northwest, Canadian border states and other U.S. locations where Canadians play a role.

Smith said UPI initially would provide Southam News to U.S. subscribers for free, but would charge for it at an unspecified later date.