The state of the newspaper industry

The recent newspaper swap between Metroland and Postmedia, along with the subsequent shutdown of a number of local publications, is a reflection of the entire industry according to Statistics Canada.

In their latest report, the federal number crunchers say, in 2016, the newspaper industry reported $3.2 billion in operating revenue, which is down almost 20 per cent from 2014. During that same period, operating expenses also declined almost 17 per cent to $3 billion in 2016. The decreases were widespread, with Ontario and the western provinces showing more of a decline than the eastern provinces.

Advertising accounted for 63 per cent of total sales in 2016, followed by circulation (23.3 per cent). Both revenue streams declined compared with 2014, with advertising sales falling 22 per cent and circulation sales down 10 per cent.

As newspaper publishers continue to create and transition to an online presence, there has been a steady decline in print advertising sales. While digital advertising sales have remained relatively unchanged, in 2016, print advertising accounted for 86 per cent of total advertising sales, a loss of three per cent from 2014. Digital advertising accounted for the remainder.

Newspaper publishers reported $688 million in total circulation sales in 2016. The largest contributor was from print ($660 million), with digital accounting for the remaining $28 million.

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