Newspapers Canada releases 2014 circulation report

7.7% increase in digital circulation not enough to offset print declines

Chris Powell June 17, 2015

Canada’s 91 paid and 13 free distribution dailies had a combined weekday print and digital circulation of 5.3 million, and weekly circulation of 31.8 million in 2014, according to the latest circulation report from Newspapers Canada.

The totals represent a 7% drop, the equivalent of approximately 400,000 fewer printed and digital copies per day, from 2013.

The industry lost eight daily newspapers last year, the result of the closure of the Kamloops Daily News, which was shuttered by owner Glacier Media Group in January of last year after more than 80 years of operation; the closure of several free distribution dailies including the Nanaimo News Bulletin Daily, Peace Arch News Daily, Morning Star Daily and Metro publications in Regina, Saskatoon and London, Ont.; and a merger between the Dawson Creek Daily News and Alaska Highway News.

The country’s 91 paid dailies had an average daily circulation of 4.04 million and a weekly average of 25.4 million, while the 13 free dailies averaged 1.3 million and 6.3 million copies, respectively.

Less than half the country’s daily newspapers (38) had a paywall or metered access in place last year, while Gesca-owned La Presse offered an ad-supported tablet edition. The Toronto Star recently removed its paywall in favour of an ad-supported model, and will launch its new tablet product this year.

Five publications introduced paywalls in 2014, four of them TC Media titles (The Western Star, Cape Breton Post, The Telegram and The Daily Herald) and a fifth – B.C.’s Trail Times – owned by Black Press.

Total weekday digital circulation grew 7.7% – representing approximately 450,000 additional digital copies each week – to 6.3 million copies. The report notes that digital circulation is concentrated in Ontario and Quebec, which account for 2.4 million and 1.9 million digital copies, respectively.

The annual report is based on Alliance for Audited Media (AAM), Canadian Media Circulation Audit (CMCA), Canadian Circulations Audit Board (CCAB) and owner-provided data.