Canada’s newspaper circulation numbers still dropping

November 01, 2011  |  Alicia Androich  |  Comments

The Canadian newspaper industry is still facing circulation woes with nearly all of the Canadian daily newspapers that are members of Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) showing declines in ABC’s latest top-line report.

The report covers average daily circulation for Canadian newspapers for the six months ending Sept. 30, 2011. Its unaudited total paid circulation data shows that 19 of the 23 Canadian newspapers saw a decrease in circulation.

The huge spectrum of drops ranged from a 14.61% decrease for the Montreal Gazette—it saw a Monday to Friday circulation drop from 136,376  for the same period last year to 116,446 in this reporting period—to a 0.02% drop for Sherbrooke’s La Tribune.

Apart from the Gazette, some of the other biggest declines include the Winnipeg Free Press, which saw a 7.64% drop from 116,505 to 107,608, the Windsor Star, which had a 6.89% decline from 57,612 to 53,643, and Regina’s Leader Post, which dropped 5.96% from 45,048 to 42,362.

On a brighter note, four of the newspapers saw a boost in total paid circulation. Most notably, Montreal’s Le Devoir saw a 4.71% jump from 28,470 in last year’s report period to 29,812 in this one.

Oher jumps were enjoyed by Montreal’s La Presse (3.25%), Chicoutimi, Quebec’s Le Quotidien (0.95%) and Halifax’s Chronicle-Herald (0.69%).

ABC has also just released further data from its September 2011 FAS-FAX report, which includes top-line circulation and audience data for all ABC members that file a Publisher’s Statement.

This report, which includes data for the six months ending Sept. 30, 2011, is the second to implement strategic rule changes that ABC instituted last fall for U.S. newspapers. (The March 2011 FAS-FAX report was the first semiannual newspaper report that reflected the changes.)

The FAS-FAX report reflects the rule modifications, which were implemented to “build a new framework for the qualification and reporting of newspaper media across multiple publishing platforms,” according to an ABC release.

The FAS-FAX report contains new and redefined categories. For example, the reports no longer contain the “Total Paid Circulation” category. It has been replaced by a new top-line number: “Total Average Circulation.” The Total Average Circulation reflects a publication’s paid and verified print and digital editions, as well as any paid and verified branded editions – editions that can be geared toward a specific community or demographic.

While these changes currently only apply to ABC’s U.S. newspaper members, Kammi Altig, manager, communications at ABC, said there’s a newspaper taskforce in Canada that’s looking at the modifications to determine if they could work for the Canadian market.

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