NADbank, the organization that measures newspaper readership, has come out with its mid-year national survey. Based on its large-market readership numbers:
When combining print and digital readership, La Presse and the Journal de Montréal both reach 1.241 million people a week. The difference in the official numbers is only 300, or 0.02%, which is far below the margin for error in such a survey.
Even more surprising, the daily readership of La Presse, measured by asking survey respondents which papers/websites they read the day before, is significantly higher than the Journal de Montréal, at 750,000 to 582,000.
La Presse has closed the gap with the Journal mainly through a huge increase in digital readership. The survey doesn’t distinguish between digital methods, but La Presse’s publisher Guy Crevier says this is mainly due to its now-flagship product La Presse+. Its digital readership jumped from 571,000 a week to 721,000 a week, a 26% increase.
In fact, more respondents said they read La Presse on a digital medium the day before than read the print paper. Other than the national papers Globe and Mail and National Post, no other major-market daily has more daily readers online than in print.
Even more amazing, La Presse reported slightly more daily digital readers in Montreal than the Star did in Toronto.
Excluding digital media and focusing just on print, the Journal de Montréal is still tops on weekdays and weekly, and that’s what it focused on with its press release. But on Saturday, La Presse has slightly more readers in print alone.
This dramatic increase in digital readership — and the fact that it has resulted in an increase in readership overall instead of just cannibalizing print readers — is yet another statistic justifying La Presse’s new strategy. And as if on cue, publisher Guy Crevier has another interview, in which he says 35% of La Presse’s revenues come from La Presse+, and that he doesn’t expect the print edition to still be around (at least as a daily) by 2020, or maybe even 2018.
Other facts in the NADbank numbers:
- More than three years after 24 Heures became the official newspaper of the metro system, Métro still has more readers overall (300,000 vs. 270,000).
- Métro and 24 Heures both get more than 90% of their readership from their print product. Their online readership is so low NADbank warns the numbers are statistically unreliable.
- Only two papers in Montreal had more than half their weekly readers reading on any given day: La Presse and The Gazette. Readers of these publications are more likely to be everyday readers, compared to occasional readers for the others. (The Gazette has more daily readers than Métro or 24 Heures, but fewer weekly readers, because of this.)
- More people said they read The Gazette online the previous day than the Journal de Montréal, despite the Journal’s gains online. The Gazette’s weekly online readership is up 37% from the previous report.
- The Globe and Mail beats the National Post in both print and digital in all major markets. (In Edmonton, the Post has more daily digital readers, but fewer weekly digital readers and fewer readers overall.)
- This isn’t new, but I just noticed it now: The Journal de Montréal has more readers in its home market than the Toronto Sun, daily and weekly.
> Even more amazing, La Presse reported slightly more daily digital readers in Montreal than the Star did in Toronto.
That’s because you cannot fold a tablet in 16 like you can fold a newspaper to read on the commuter train… :) :) :) :)
The numbers are interesting, but I am not sure that they really reflect the level of interaction of involvement with the product.
See, as an example, the Lapresse website (according to Alexa) is rated at #152 in Canada. But it’s the engagement that is important here, low bounce rate, high pages per visit (over 3) and an average time on site that is nearly 6 minutes.
The Gazette? Nubmer 462 in Canada, 55% bounce, 1.6 pages per visit and 2 minutes 31 seconds per visit – almost exactly HALF the engagement. So in terms of connection, Le Presse is more than twice as engaging.
Journal De Montreal suffers the same fate: 50% bounce, 2.41 pages, and 4 minutes on site… ranked 248.
Just counting people in the door is misleading. It would be like counting the number of people who glance at the front page of the printed newspaper while in line at the dep or perhaps looking over at it when the person facing them on the bus has it open so they can see the headlines. LaPresse is show a high level of engagement, time on site, and have a very low percentage of single page viewers.
In that respect, LaPresse appears to be not only ahead, but very far ahead indeed.
NADbank’s numbers are one measurement among many. The numbers here show how often papers are read, but not how much. Though I believe the threshold is higher than having seen the paper at a grocery store.
What that threshold is would be important. As an example, is a single page view of say someone clicking a link on this site to a story on the gazoo site – would that be a “reader”? That would pretty much put it on par with physically picking up the paper and looking at the front page.
My point is only that adding the two numbers up doesn’t add up to much of anything. The online numbers may not reflect actual engaged readers. You could buy pop unders on the pirate bay and have millions of people see the front page of the site. Would they be “readers” too?
You can read the questionnaire that NADbank uses. It asks about how long people spend reading, but the overall number is how many people say they read the paper, regardless of how long. Presumably an unread pop-under on Pirate Bay wouldn’t count since the person would not have seen it, nor would they consider it having gone to their website.
The questions do tell the story… and it seems to be leaning towards a tick for almost anything:
“Did you happen to read or look into any printed issue of [PAPER] in the past 3 months?
It does not matter where you read an issue, how much time you may have spent reading an issue, or how many sections you may have looked into.”
“In the past 3 months, have you read or looked at any…”
“Did you happen to use any [NAME PAPER] app in the past 3 months?”
“Did you happen to read or look at content from the [PAPER NAME] website in the past 3 months?”
Pretty wide targets to hit. The last one in particular would potentially invoke a “yes” from anyone who had been subject to a pop under, as an example – as look as they looks at the content even for a moment. Moreover, if they are linked there from another site (say this one) they would answer yes. This would be true even if the site linking blind linked them or used a URL shortening site to redirect them.
If you want to play the numbers, for a price you could have almost everyone in Montreal answering in the affirmative, like it or not. it’s the time on the website and pages visited that really matters, it signals engagement, and not just a accidental passing or even a dump job.
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Any Nadbank info for regional gesca papers, last years vs this years? I’m currious to see is rural readers are sticking with print.
The mid-year survey only measures the major markets. For the regional Gesca papers, you’d have to look at the numbers from the spring. Here’s what Le Soleil reported in 2013.