As of February 2018, 58 percent of Canadian adults were reading a print newspaper at least once a week, and 64 percent were doing so on a phone, suggesting that whilst physical sales are on the decrease, Canadians do still seek out ways to read news without purchasing print publications. Reach is highest among older generations, with 67 percent of Canadians aged between 54 and 72 reading a newspaper at least once a week, compared to 49 percent of Millennials aged between 18 and 34 years old. The figures for French Canada tell a similar story – whilst 58 percent of Canadians aged between 18 and 24 read newspapers weekly, for those aged 55 or above this figure increases to 67 percent. It is possible that the newspaper industry will begin to suffer even more intensely as older generations with a penchant for print give way to younger Canadians with different preferences. That said, with vinyl records having made a significant comeback and younger generations developing an increasing appreciation for vintage clothing and electronics, there is the possibility that traditional media like newspapers and magazines could return to popularity in years to come.
Despite the struggles facing the newspaper industry, traditional media still has its place in modern society, and as such the patterns and changes within it deserve to be monitored and investigated just as much as those occurring within the digital landscape. In 2016, newspaper circulation in Canada amounted to almost 5.24 million dailies nationwide, out of which 2.46 million were distributed in Ontario and a further 1.26 million were issued in Quebec. The printed circulation revenue of newspaper publishers in Canada stood at 642.9 million Canadian dollars at last recording, whereas digital circulation revenue is struggling to take off and amounted to just 27.6 million.
Data pertaining to the leading media outlets for news on a typical weekday shows that print publications are used by just 42 percent of Canadians, however, while 77 percent use the internet for news, this figure does also include online editions of newspapers and magazines. The number of newspaper readers in Canada is falling, but not as quickly as many may have expected. In 2014 there were 19.8 million people reading newspapers in the country and it is predicted that this figure will drop to 17.8 million in 2018. Although losing two million readers every two years is not a trend the newspaper industry will want to see, given the power of the internet and rapid digital growth the situation could be more severe.
Unsurprisingly, opinions on the decline of newspapers in Canada are strongest among older generations. Only 42 percent of Canadians aged between 18 and 34 think that the decline is a serious problem, compared to 64 percent of Canadians who are 55 years old or above. Perspectives on the consequences of the decline make interesting reading, with Canadians raising concerns about reduced coverage of local news and less investigative reporting, as well as some who believed that U.S. news could dominate the Canadian media landscape if the newspaper industry in Canada falls into further decline. The question is whether Canadians feel passionately enough about protecting and improving the newspaper industry to go out and purchase a print copy, sign up for a subscription or simply read these publications more regularly. For younger generations though, reading a newspaper is not a natural or frequent behavior, and as such it is fair to expect readership and sales figures to decrease further.