In Harsh Year For U.S., Canadian Newspapers Held Revenues Steady

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By: E&P Staff

Total revenues for Canadian newspapers barely dipped in 2007, as accelerating online ad sales offset a dip in print, according to data released Thursday by the Canadian Newspaper Association (CNA).

Overall newspaper revenues were down 0.8% to $C3.576 billion, according to the data compiled for CNA by Borrell Associates. (C$1 equals U.S. $0.98.)

Print ad revenues that dipped 2.4% in 2007 were offset by online revenues growth of 29%. Circulation revenues fell during the year, off 1.2% to $808.9 million, on a tough comparable to 2006, when circ revenues jumped 3.8%.

The Canadian newspaper results contrast dramatically with U.S. newspapers’ experience in 2007, when print advertising fell 9.4% to $42 billion — the biggest year-over-year since the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) started compiling the statistics in 1950.

U.S. newspaper online revenues grew, but not as robustly as Canada’s, CNA noted. The NAA found the increase slowed to 18.8% — 10 percentage points lower than Canada — in 2007 from 31.4% the year before.

CNA President Anne Kothawala said the study is a good corrective pointing out the differences between the newspaper industry in Canada and the United States.

“The narrative about newspapers in the U.S. has been consistently negative in recent years, and that negativity has unduly influenced perceptions of the health of the newspaper industry in Canada,” she said. “Advertisers and their agencies, many of whom are global businesses, should ensure that their Canadian buying decisions are not tainted by the US data. In an age when consumers are increasingly tuning out advertising content, studies show they continue to find newspapers engaging. Many readers turn to their paper as much for the ad content as the editorial content.”

In 2008, Borrell will provide updates on revenues statistics on a quarterly basis, CNA said.

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