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Newspapers in Canada - statistics & facts

As is the case in many markets across the globe, printed newspapers in Canada are slowly losing ground. Printed newspaper circulation revenue still accounts for most of the total but is dropping whilst digital revenue slowly climbs, with revenue of printed daily newspapers as well as specialized papers affected. Digging a little deeper though, it is clear that the Canadian newspaper market is still characterized predominantly by print.

Digital vs. print newspapers

Although print circulation is dropping and digital is making small gains, Canadians still mostly prefer to read physical publications, with data on weekly newspaper readership showing that more than 30 percent of consumers only read print newspapers, and a similar share read print in combination with digital. Access to digital papers varies across age groups – older consumers tend to head directly to a newspaper’s website, whereas Gen Z and Gen Y readers mostly access online newspapers via search engines or social media.

It is natural that online news outlets will gather traction, partly because the internet is now the obvious go-to option for many modern news consumers and also because the share of Canadians who use social networks for news is on the up. However, with print remaining the more popular format, it will take some time for digital newspaper circulation revenue to match or overtake physical. The future of paid print newspapers in Canada relies on the continued success of daily publications. Figures on newspaper circulation by type highlight the disparity between paid circulation of daily versus community papers, with dailies accounting for almost all of the paid newspapers in circulation in Canada. By contrast, community newspapers are generally free.

Community newspapers

Community newspapers provide local people with local news and tend to address national topics in context of how they will affect the population of the community in question. Total community newspaper circulation has fallen in general in the last few years, but paid circulation halved between 2013 and 2019 and shows little sign of improvement barring the small growth recorded between 2019 and 2020.

The gradual decline of community newspapers will affect all markets and audiences across the country. Weekly community newspaper reach in Canada as a whole is around 30 percent among Gen Z and 60 percent for Boomers and pre-Boomers, and readership is higher in markets with a population of under 100 thousand, suggesting that the smaller the community, the greater the need for community papers. There is however also a need for such publications in more populous provinces, with readership of community papers highest in British Columbia and Ontario.

The future of the Canadian newspaper industry will inevitably see digital publications become more successful whilst print circulation drops, but the death of the printed newspaper seems distant, at least for now. In fact, digital newspaper revenue in Canada is only expected to grow marginally in the next few years, lagging far behind the United States and multiple other world markets.

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Newspapers in Canada

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Newspapers in Canada - statistics & facts

As is the case in many markets across the globe, printed newspapers in Canada are slowly losing ground. Printed newspaper circulation revenue still accounts for most of the total but is dropping whilst digital revenue slowly climbs, with revenue of printed daily newspapers as well as specialized papers affected. Digging a little deeper though, it is clear that the Canadian newspaper market is still characterized predominantly by print.

Digital vs. print newspapers

Although print circulation is dropping and digital is making small gains, Canadians still mostly prefer to read physical publications, with data on weekly newspaper readership showing that more than 30 percent of consumers only read print newspapers, and a similar share read print in combination with digital. Access to digital papers varies across age groups – older consumers tend to head directly to a newspaper’s website, whereas Gen Z and Gen Y readers mostly access online newspapers via search engines or social media.

It is natural that online news outlets will gather traction, partly because the internet is now the obvious go-to option for many modern news consumers and also because the share of Canadians who use social networks for news is on the up. However, with print remaining the more popular format, it will take some time for digital newspaper circulation revenue to match or overtake physical. The future of paid print newspapers in Canada relies on the continued success of daily publications. Figures on newspaper circulation by type highlight the disparity between paid circulation of daily versus community papers, with dailies accounting for almost all of the paid newspapers in circulation in Canada. By contrast, community newspapers are generally free.

Community newspapers

Community newspapers provide local people with local news and tend to address national topics in context of how they will affect the population of the community in question. Total community newspaper circulation has fallen in general in the last few years, but paid circulation halved between 2013 and 2019 and shows little sign of improvement barring the small growth recorded between 2019 and 2020.

The gradual decline of community newspapers will affect all markets and audiences across the country. Weekly community newspaper reach in Canada as a whole is around 30 percent among Gen Z and 60 percent for Boomers and pre-Boomers, and readership is higher in markets with a population of under 100 thousand, suggesting that the smaller the community, the greater the need for community papers. There is however also a need for such publications in more populous provinces, with readership of community papers highest in British Columbia and Ontario.

The future of the Canadian newspaper industry will inevitably see digital publications become more successful whilst print circulation drops, but the death of the printed newspaper seems distant, at least for now. In fact, digital newspaper revenue in Canada is only expected to grow marginally in the next few years, lagging far behind the United States and multiple other world markets.

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