Historically, newspapers have been an important source of information. However, in today’s world where we can easily access news on our phones and on the go, do people still read newspapers?

In this article, we have collated key statistics on the Canadian newspaper industry, including how many newspapers are published and circulated in Canada, newspaper readership, and how Canadians feel about editorial and advertising content in newspapers.

Newspaper Industry and Readership Statistics for Canadians

  • Almost 30 million newspapers are circulated every week in Canada.
  • The total number of newspaper titles published in Canada is 1,020.
  • More than two-thirds of weekly newspapers are circulated in Ontario and Quebec.
  • Newspaper Publishers’ profit margin was 2.5% in 2022.
  • Newspaper advertising sales fell by nearly 40% during the pandemic.
  • Over 80% of Canadians read newspapers weekly.
  • Almost 90% of Canadians from Generation Z read newspapers, the highest readership among the 18+ generations.
  • Ontario has the highest newspaper readership at 89%.
  • More than half of newspaper readers in Canada trust the editorial content and almost half trust the advertising in newspapers.

Newspapers in Canada

Each week, nearly 30 million newspapers are published and distributed in Canada. Over half of these newspapers, at 16 million copies, are daily newspapers. Newspapers in Canada are a combination of paid and free newspapers and national and local community newspapers.

Local newspapers in Canada represent their neighbourhoods effectively and target the local communities better than any other medium. Each week, nearly 14 million local newspapers are circulated in Canada and the majority of these newspapers are free.

Newspaper Circulation in Canadian Provinces and Territories

According to News Media Canada, there are 1,020 newspaper titles published weekly in Canada. With 357 newspaper titles, Ontario has the most newspapers in weekly circulation. Nunavut and Yukon, with three newspapers, have the least number of newspaper titles in weekly circulation. Below is a list of all the provinces and territories with the number of newspaper titles circulated in the region per week.

  • Nunavut – 3
  • Yukon – 3
  • Nortwest Territories – 5
  • Prince Edward Island – 6
  • Newfoundland and Labrador – 11
  • New Brunswick – 25
  • Nova Scotia – 28
  • Manitoba – 41
  • Saskatchewan – 60
  • Alberta – 107
  • British Columbia – 127
  • Quebec – 247
  • Ontario – 357

Over 10 Million Newspapers Are Circulated in Quebec and Ontario Each Week

The total number of weekly circulated newspapers in Canada is 29,926,213. Out of the nearly 30 million newspapers, 10,561,126 are paid newspapers and 19,365,087 are controlled circulation newspapers.

Since Ontario has the highest number of newspaper titles in circulation, it would be natural to assume that Ontario also has the highest number of newspapers in weekly circulation. However, Quebec just beats it to the top spot with 10,707,889 weekly newspapers compared to Ontario’s 10,572,670 weekly newspapers.

Here is a breakdown of the total number of weekly newspaper circulation for each province and territory.

  • Nunavut – 9,943
  • Northwest Territories – 11,699
  • Yukon – 12,444
  • Prince Edward Island – 102,488
  • Newfoundland and Labrador – 192,957
  • Saskatchewan – 505,213
  • New Brunswick – 527,779
  • Nova Scotia – 887,962
  • Manitoba – 1,373,665
  • Alberta – 1,940,269
  • British Columbia – 3,081,235
  • Ontario – 10,572,670
  • Quebec – 10,707,889

Community and Daily Newspapers

Newspapers in Canada are considered either community or daily newspapers. Community newspapers focus on local news and advertising. In 2022, 70% of community newspapers published once a week, 17% published once a month, and 5% published twice a week. The remaining local newspapers were published at another frequency. 55% of community newspapers were owned by corporations and 45% were independent.

Even though called daily newspapers, the majority of these newspapers are not published every day. Only 7% of daily newspapers come out every day. The most common publishing frequency is six days a week at 61%, while 26% of the titles are published three to five times per week. In contrast to local community newspapers where the ownership is more even between independent and corporate, daily newspapers are mostly owned by corporations at 96%.

Newspaper Revenue in Canada

According to statistics published by Statistics Canada, the operating revenue of Canadian newspaper publishers was 

$1.954 billion in 2022. This was a decline from $2.122 billion in 2020. However, the operating expenses also fell from $1.973 billion in 2020 to $1.905 billion in 2022. On the other hand, wage, salary, commissions, and benefits expenses were up slightly. In 2020, $782.8 million was spent on these expenses compared to $785.3 million in 2022. The operating profit margin fell from 7% in 2020 to just 2.5% in 2022.

Advertising Revenues Fell significantly During the Pandemic

Newspapers get the largest share of their revenue from advertising. However, the advertising revenue has fallen significantly following increased competition from other mediums. Between 2018 and 2020, the advertising sales fell by 37.3%. This huge drop was largely due to a decreased demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Between 2020 and 2022, advertising revenue grew but only marginally by 1.3% and reached $951 million. The majority of the revenue, $613.6 million, still came from print advertising, while $337.4 came from digital advertising. However, print advertising sales are declining and digital advertising is increasing yearly.

Digital Circulation Sales Grew Over 60% in Two Years

Each year, more Canadians are shifting from physical to digital newspapers. Between 2020 and 2022, the sales of print circulation newspapers fell by 12% to $459.7 million. Digital circulation sales grew by 65.5% to $131.1 million during the same period. Despite the strong growth of digital circulation newspapers, the overall circulation of newspapers decreased to $590.8 million in 2022, which was 1.8% lower than in 2020.

Newspaper Readership in Canada

According to a report by News Media Canada, 83% of Canadians read newspapers weekly across different platforms. 67% of Canadians use their phones to read newspapers, 53% use their desktops or laptops, 48% read print newspapers, and 47% read them on their tablets.

Most Canadians read newspapers on more than one platform. Almost a quarter (24%) of the read newspapers on all four platforms, while a total of 97% of readers access newspapers on at least one of the digital platforms.

E-papers

Because of the shift from physical newspapers to online, newspapers are evolving and finding new ways to engage with their readers. E-papers are digital versions of printed newspapers. While they are read on an electronic device, they are identical to the printed version, including the ads. This offers print advertising additional exposure as their print advert appears in the e-paper at no extra cost. The combined print newspapers, including physical and e-papers, is 58%.

New Ways to Access the News

In addition to digital replicas of their newspapers, many publishers offer further options for readers to access their content including podcasts, smart speakers, and newsletters. Generation Z readers are most likely to listen to podcasts from newspapers. 39% of Generation Z Canadians have listened to podcasts by newspapers. They are closely followed by Generation Y with 38%. Overall, just 26% of Canadian newspaper readers listen to podcasts from newspapers.

Canadians from Generation Y are the most likely to use smart speakers to access newspaper content followed by Generation Z at 25%. Newsletters from newspapers are not read widely across any generation with the overall readership averaging at 21%, which is the same percentage as for the highest readership group, Generation Z.

Newspaper Readership is the Highest Among Generation Y Canadians

While the overall readership is 83%, two generations read above the national total. Generation Y has the most newspaper readers at 89% and is closely followed by Generation Z with 87%. Baby Boomers have the lowest readership at 78%, while Generation X has the same level of readership as the overall total at 83%.

Generation Z Canadians are the most likely to access newspaper content on their phones at 85%, while Baby Boomers are the most likely age group to read news from a newspaper’s website at 54%. They are also the most likely group to read physical print newspapers at 43% followed by Generation Z at 42%. Canadians from Generation Z have the highest readership across all platforms at 33%.

Ontario Has Higher Than Average Newspaper Readership

Residents of Ontario are the most likely to consume newspapers with an 87% readership. Quebec equals the national average of 83%, while Western and Atlantic Canada have below-average newspaper readerships at 81% and 77%, respectively.

Ontarians have the highest readership on all platforms except desktop/ laptop. Quebec has a slightly higher readership on desktop/ laptop at 56% compared to 55%. Even though Western Canada’s overall readership is below the national average, they are the most likely to read newspapers across all platforms at 33%.

Canadians Are More Likely to Trust Newspaper Than Any Other Media Content

Canadians are more likely to trust editorial content published in newspapers compared to other traditional media. 54% of Canadians trust the editorial content in newspapers. TV and radio come in close second and third with 53% and 51%. Magazine content is considered the fourth most trustworthy at 34%.

When editorial content is accessed on digital media, news media websites are seen as the most trustworthy at 52%. TV and radio websites are next with 44% and 42%. Search engine results are seen as more trustworthy than magazine websites with 36% and 32%, respectively. Social media is not trusted by the majority of Canadians. Only 21% said they trust news content published on social media sites.

Canadians Also Trust Newspaper Advertising More Than Any Other Advertising

Not only do Canadians trust the editorial content in newspapers more than other mediums, but they also find advertising in newspapers more trustworthy. 47% of Canadians trust print newspaper adverts. TV and radio again take the second and third spots with 43% and 40%.

Advertising on news media websites, at 43%, is the most trusted format on digital media, followed by radio and TV websites, which are both trusted by 37% of Canadians to have reliable adverts. 32% of Canadians trust advertising on magazine websites and 31% trust adverts they see on search engines. Social media is again at the bottom with only 22% of Canadians considering social media advertising trustworthy.

After Dinner Is the Most Popular Time to Read Newspapers

While many people associate reading newspapers as a morning activity, the morning is not the most popular time to read newspapers in Canada. The most popular time, albeit only narrowly, is in the evening after dinner with 53% reporting they read newspapers at this time of the day.

Early morning was the second most popular time with 51%, followed by between breakfast and lunch with 50%. 42% of Canadians read newspaper content between lunch and dinner, 41% read newspapers while having breakfast, and 36% read them at lunchtime.

Conclusion

Canadians are avid readers of newspapers with 83% of the country’s population aged 18 or over reading newspapers weekly. Ontario has the largest concentration of newspaper titles, but Quebec has the highest circulation of weekly newspapers.

While many Canadians still read print newspapers, either physical copies or digital replicas, other ways to access newspaper content are becoming increasingly popular and newspaper publishers are constantly evolving the way they offer readers news content.

With such a high readership, newspapers are still an important medium in Canada despite growing competition from other mediums. They are also seen as the most reliable medium both for editorial content and advertising, which is something marketers should always bear in mind when planning their advertising campaigns.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, people still read newspapers in Canada. 83% of Canadians over 18 years of age read newspapers weekly.

There are 1,020 newspaper titles in Canada and someone circulated weekly almost 30 million newspapers.

Surveys show that Canadians trust advertising in newspapers more than they trust advertising in any other media. Newspaper advertising also reaches a wide audience with 83% of Canadians reading newspapers weekly.

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