Statistics Canada’s biannual newspaper industry report was issued last week.

The operating revenue of Canadian newspaper publishers declined to just under $2.0 billion in 2022, down 7.9% from 2020, when the survey was last conducted. While this drop was smaller than that seen in 2020, the industry continued to see falling circulation sales and significant competition for advertising spending.

In 2020, newspaper publishers’ advertising sales, their biggest source of revenue, fell significantly (-37.3%) from 2018, largely because of weakened demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite there having been some recovery in advertising demand, advertising sales grew marginally (+1.3%) from 2020 to 2022, reaching $951.0 million. From 2020 to 2022, print advertising sales declined 9.8% to $613.6 million. Conversely, digital advertising sales grew significantly, increasing 30.4% to $337.4 million.

Newspapers are more dependent upon advertising than they were two years ago.

Advertising accounted for 53.6 percent of sales in 2022, up from 52.4 percent in 2020.

Circulation sales were steady at 33.3 percent, they were 33.6 percent in 2020.

The decrease in flyers – a key reason that Torstar ended the weekly free door-to-door print editions – is evident in the sales data.

“Distribution of flyers and inserts” dropped from 9.7 percent of total sales in 2020  to 7.4 percent in 2022.

The StatsCan figures only account for sales.  It does not include newspapers’ most crucial source of revenue, government subsidies.

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Published: November 7, 2023
Last edited: November 7, 2023
Author: Joey Coleman
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