Study suggests Canadian news punches above its weight in the digital ring

Canadian news publishers are far ahead of the curve on digital adoption, according to Oriella PR Network‘s annual study of digital journalism. The survey of 550 journalists across 15 countries, conducted in Canada by Arcane, found that almost half of Canadian journalists (48%) believe their publisher’s audience is larger online than in print, compared to […]

Jeff Fraser June 13, 2013

Canadian news publishers are far ahead of the curve on digital adoption, according to Oriella PR Network‘s annual study of digital journalism. The survey of 550 journalists across 15 countries, conducted in Canada by Arcane, found that almost half of Canadian journalists (48%) believe their publisher’s audience is larger online than in print, compared to 25% in the U.S. and 34% globally.

Canadian media is also ahead of international media in terms of publishing news online before it runs in print or on television (51% compared to 39% globally), publishing mobile apps (51% to 36% globally) and producing video content in-house (54% to 49% globally).

According to the study, Canadian media have achieved near-universal adoption of digital viewership metrics and social media – 86% of Canadian journalists reporting that their work is evaluated primarily by unique visitor count, and 91% reporting they use Twitter. It also found Canadian journalists are under more pressure to increase unique visitors, boost social media followers and create social buzz like tweets and Facebook “likes.”

Yet despite Canada’s success in digital adoption, only 29% of Canadian journalists believe being published online is more prestigious than being published in print, compared to half of journalists internationally. Similarly low numbers in the U.S. suggest that at least in the eyes of the industry, online news – and, by extension, online ads – have yet to catch up to print in trust and perceived quality.

The study also gives evidence that Canadian publishers have been faster to adopt paywalls than the global average, with 36% of journalists reporting their organization supports its digital presence using a “freemium” model, compared to 7% globally. However, it’s clear the industry still favours a primarily advertising-funded digital presence (55%). As a result, Canadian advertisers have the unique freedom to campaign with open-access publishers for broader reach or freemium publishers for greater engagement.

Some of the study’s global findings are shown below.