The annual Newspaper Audience Data Bank (NADBank) findings out today indicate newspaper readership has remained stable in the last year in Canada.
Nearly three-quarters of adults read a printed paper at least once a week, 48 per cent read one daily, 19 per cent read a newspaper's content online, and 77 per cent read either a printed or online edition weekly. It suggests there is a strong overlap of online readers also reading the printed edition.
The most popular content for men is sports (54%) and for women is arts and entertainment (53%). Unlike many countries, Canada still has a strong readership in the 18-24 and 25-39 age demographies.
NADBank, the Canadian organization that tabulates newspaper readership, has released its latest data --- with an important omission that would help all of us. Its data looks at major markets and concludes that readership is stable. About 75 per cent of Canadians in those markets read a daily newspaper at least once a week.
But there aren't clear comparisons with last year, the year before or earlier, so it's difficult to suss out the trend line. All NADBank says, through the Canadian Newspaper Association, is that there is stability in the medium --- a lot better, therefore, than the situation below the border.
The twice-annual Canadian newspaper survey, the National Audience Databank (NADBank for short), arrived this week. It measures readership of newspapers across the country. Not to be confused with the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), which measures actual distribution of paid and free copies of papers, NADBank surveys people on how often they're read a paper or its online site lately. Canadian advertisers prefer to know readership numbers because they tell more about reader behaviour --- how often they read, how long they read, who exactly does read --- instead of simply that a paper was bought or given away.
For those who herald the death of newspapers, bad news: Canadian newspaper readership is actually pretty stable at 11.7 million people a week (it was 11.8 million last year). The data on online usage feels a little light, because data I've seen suggests strong growth in online newspapers the last year or two.
For those who think urbanites are turning to the Web, more bad news: the largest 17 markets are stable and the largest five are quite stable.
The total weekly reach of print and online newspapers is about 78 per cent.
Which is not to say there aren't significant changes in the newspaper industry, just that the freefalling U.S. advertising and circulation conditions aren't taking hold here.
Here is our story on the Vancouver situation. Here is a Media in Canada report on the national newspaper war.