Study shows newspaper brands reaching fewer Canadians

Most readers consume their content across multiple platforms, but overall reach is declining very gradually.

On a weekly basis, newspapers are reaching fewer Canadians.

That’s according to the recent spring study by Vividata. The firm’s most recent study shows that overall, 82% of Canadian adults read or access magazine and news brands, including community newspapers, in an average week via print or digital platforms.

Other topline findings include that 70% read newspaper brand content in an average week, with just over half accessing content via a mobile device, while 76% read magazine brand content in an average month, with food, travel, and health magazines remaining the most popular among Canadians.

Although Vividata’s Spring 2020 Study was in the field for three months prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, it does lay down a foundation for assessing change in media consumption behaviours.

Magazine brands reach nine out of 10 adults across the country, a figure that remains stable. The other findings are fairly consistent year-over-year with only a variant of a few points either way. For example, while 57% of magazine readers are reading exclusively via print and 18% read print in combination with more than one digital device, a year ago 63% of readers were print exclusive.

On a weekly basis, newspaper brands reach three out of five adults across Canada. A year ago, reach was three out of four.

Platform readership of newspaper brands continues to vary by title, with 54% of readers accessing the content on a mobile device and 36% reading only print editions. The platform also varies by day of the week – newspaper brand readers are more active on digital during the weekdays, while print dominates the weekends.

Digital reading is greater among Millennials and Gen X than other generations. Interestingly, Gen Z is more likely to read print-only than digital-only. However, there are fewer readers who are exclusive to one medium, since cross-platform readership is consistent for all generations.

The findings for community newspapers are similar to Spring 2019. On a weekly basis they achieve the highest reach in British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario. Community newspaper readership is stronger in smaller markets and readership increases with age. Readers are most interested in local news and one in three receives flyers with their community paper.

The study covers 10 provinces, five regions, 41 markets and 36,338 Canadians aged 18+.