Monday, April 7, 2008

Head north, young reporter

While Canadian newspapers want to follow suit and cut just as much staff as their U.S. peers, it seems they really don't have a good reason to do so. Revenues were down slightly but large growth in online advertising offset that decline.

Revenue at Canadian newspapers fell about one per cent last year, according to data released by the Canadian Newspaper Association (CNA). That contrasts with the situation south of the border, where the newspaper industry suffered its largest drop in print advertising revenue in five decades.

"What some people are already calling a recession in the (U.S.) is definitely having an impact on the newspaper industry," said CNA chief executive Anne Kothawala.

The healthier financial picture in Canada reflects newspapers that are doing a better job maintaining their readership numbers, she said.

Canadian newspapers revenues came in at $3.6 billion, the CNA said, with a 30 per cent rise in online advertising revenue offsetting a two per cent drop on the print side.

Circulation sales dipped about one per cent to $809 million after rising nearly four per cent in 2006.

Total U.S. print advertising revenues fell nine per cent to $42 billion US last year, the biggest drop since 1950.

Online revenue growth slowed to 19 per cent, a 10-percentage-point decline from the year earlier. Taken together, online and print revenue fell about eight per cent last year south of the border.

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Said Kothawala in a Canadian Press story:"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. Advertisers and their agencies, many of whom are global businesses, should ensure that their Canadian buying decisions are not tainted by the U.S. data. In an age when consumers are increasingly tuning out advertising content, studies show they continue to find newspapers engaging."

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