Friday, October 28, 2016Overcast 2°C

The Toronto version of the A.V. Club is finished

Posted by Chris Bateman / July 19, 2012

toronto onion box deadToronto's local version of the A.V. Club, an extension of satirical news publication The Onion, will disappear from newsstands next Thursday after Star Media Group - the franchisee that manages, prints and distributes the paper - decided to pull the plug in the face of declining ad revenues and other "economic pressures."

Launched in the fall of 2011, the Canadian print version of The Onion and the accompanying local A.V. Club website was the first foray abroad for the popular American company. In a memo this afternoon, the group behind the Toronto Star, Metro, and The Grid said there would be no job losses on the Star Media Group side. According to Twitter, things are a little different on the A.V. Club end. Editor John Semley Tweeted that he and several other members of the team are out of the job as a result.

Toronto isn't the first city to lose its A.V. Club franchise. Cities like Ann Arbour and Denver have also seen their versions close down in recent months, too. The site's last day online will be next Friday.

So, it didn't last long but will the loss of The Onion be a significant blow to the Toronto's alt-daily scene? The A.V. Club consistently turned out good writing, and I know I'll miss headlines like "Lost Cat, Dog On Journey Die Immediately" from the Onion now that the main site is behind a paywall of sorts. Give us your thoughts.



mike in parkdale / July 19, 2012 at 03:50 pm
It's a real shame. While the first half of the Onion was great comedy, the back half was very well written. They didn't cover everything, but what they did write about was done in greater depth than all the other dailies, and even some of the alt-weeklies. Real shame.
webuser / July 19, 2012 at 03:56 pm
Where is this paywall you mention?
Chris Bateman replying to a comment from webuser / July 19, 2012 at 04:02 pm
@Webuser: View a few "premium" pages (more than five I think) and it asks for a subscription.
Area Man / July 19, 2012 at 04:02 pm
this is the worst day of my pitiful life
rek / July 19, 2012 at 04:15 pm
I've never seen an Onion box or stand, or anyone reading it. It's no wonder they're folding.
Trillionaire Mitt Romney / July 19, 2012 at 04:21 pm
maybe if you went outside or opened your eyes you would have seen people laughing, chortling... just chilling and having a great time reading the worlds funniest news source.
Andrew / July 19, 2012 at 05:43 pm
It's unclear whether they're going to stop distributing The Onion in Toronto, or just cutting the local AV club content from the back? Because more of the 'national' AV club content might just be replacing the local stuff, if they keep printing the paper here.
Syn / July 19, 2012 at 06:39 pm
I remember reading the story about the Planned Parenthood Abortionplex with a mouth full of root beer at the A&W on Yonge and basically having it spill out of my mouth like I was retarded because I was laughing so hard. What a great read. The box in my neighbourhood was never filled up with new issues and hadn't been for months, so I stopped checking.
Dan / July 19, 2012 at 07:21 pm
Where exactly were these being distributed? I never saw an issue.
BH replying to a comment from Dan / July 19, 2012 at 07:37 pm
It was easy to find on the subway station near all the free paper boxes, at least it was where I get on.
Dhill / July 19, 2012 at 08:27 pm
I hope the Toilet Star is next
OgtheDim / July 19, 2012 at 10:13 pm
Meh...I found the Onion usually had one good read a week.

But they blew it at the beginning by redoing Bush stuff from 2005.

elisa delve / July 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm
the distribution of this paper was pathetic - i'm not surprised it has folded (i am saddened though).
for those of you looking for it - it can be found in the bottom left corner of the large paper boxes which distribute "the renters news" and "the learning annex". WTF?! This is a Torstar sister publication - slip it into the GRID, or put it in one of the weekday Stars. I'd happily pay $2 for a Star with this in it as opposed to the new $2 thursday Star with a bunch of Sudoku puzzles.
Jordan / July 19, 2012 at 11:36 pm
The onion was great, the A.V. Club was pointless though with the grid and now already existing. They should have just popped the onion into the Grid, as opposed to making a whole new paper with somewhat dodgy distribution.
GabeKotter / July 19, 2012 at 11:47 pm
Well it only means one of two things.

ONE. Upper management was just wrong OR just wasn't there.

TWO. There was not a big enough public audience that wanted to buy into this.

Either Or I guess.
Julie / July 19, 2012 at 11:50 pm
People in Toronto are just into the real news, it matters to us. We don't need or desire satirical news reports. The real news is gripping enough...
sam / July 19, 2012 at 11:54 pm
THE ONION. Weren't they smart enough to realize they were already successful enough online. Most print newspapers are struggling with their online presence and the print business is on the decline. Why did The Onion a successful online business try to get in the print business? Mind Boggling! Don't get Greedy!
Mike replying to a comment from sam / July 20, 2012 at 09:18 am
You do realize that The Onion was a printed paper before it was ever a website, right? Only the Toronto edition of the AV Club is being shut down. It's still readily available in print elsewhere across the continent.

Also, if The Onion was "greedy" in offering a print edition, then they sure as hell missed the mark with their "free newspaper" business model, no?
webuser / July 20, 2012 at 10:49 am
"It's still readily available in print elsewhere across the continent."

Actually, if you look, they're winding that strategy down. Editions also closed in D.C., Philadelphia, Minneapolis this year. Doubt many cared.
sam replying to a comment from Mike / July 21, 2012 at 09:39 pm
YEs their greeedy you pick up the free paper that CA$H in on teh advertising that you're forced to see!!! Don't believe the hype! FREE it only costs you your mind influence
Other Cities: Montreal