Latest NADbank: Canadian daily newspaper use steady, some slight increases

Why is this important? Because it contrasts with the US reality of steadily declining readership, some dailies shuttered, others cutting back days of the week they come out. So the Globe and Star dominate Toronto, the “National” Post (which doesn’t distribute in six of ten provinces) hasn’t declined and is still losing money. Details below:

NADbank, March 30 2011

Public to media: we want it free on the web

A new survey by the Canadian Media Research Consortium shows that only four per cent of Canadians want to pay for accessing media on the web, and 81 per cent said they wouldn’t. Given the New York Times gambit, and that a bunch of people have already figured out how to get around their paywall, makes you wonder if this is ever going to work. Too early to tell what this means for Canadian media, most of whom are trying to monetize news by other media. Wonder why no one has thought of giving free web access to subscribers of newspapers/magazine, and charging everyone else a web access fee?

Globe and Mail March 30 2011

Young immigrants big drivers of producing social media in Canada

A recent Environics survey shows, among many other things, that young immigrants in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary are high producers of social media, not just to keep in touch with the friends and family in the old country, but to use services like LinkedIn to promote themselves in the business world. Top ranking category for social media users, as opposed to producers: single city renters. Much more on the link below, including the fact that there still persists to a strong demographic of older, affluent Canadians who still prefer more old fashioned ways of connecting with people, like visit them.

Environics, March 21 2011

Another election, another dead copyright bill

In 1997, Canada promised its key trading partners that it would bring its copyright law into the digital age. Admittedly difficult to do (Google’s attempt to digitize all print media was slapped down by a US court last week, but still has more legal hurdles to breach), we are stuck with copyright laws that are still in Gutenberg era. Let’s see, 1997, we had this fancy new thing called the Internet, or the Information Superhighway, that seemed kind of interesting. Ipods, pads, tablets, Facebook, Youtube were all in the future. And since then, absolutely nothing. Barrie McKenna has a good screed in yesterday’s ROB about the futility of it all (would have posted yesterday, but computer/server/something went kablooey.)

ROB, March 28 2011

Glass ceiling still in effect in most Canadian media

An international study by the International Media Women’s Foundation in Washington, D.C. finds what everyone who deals with media on a regular basis knows is true: most reporters are female, most producers/editors are male (this also holds true in communications). As a rule, roughly 70 per cent of media are women, but women represent less than 50 per cent of management. Whether this is sexism or biology it’s  a fact in the workplace. Still, one Canadian outlet got international recognition for beating the trend: the CBC. Oddly enough, while a number of Canadian outlets have gender equity programs, it seems only the CBC is serious about implementing it.

The Tyee, March 23 2011

NY Times finally figures out paywall financing

It took some time, and no doubt more thought, but the New York Times has finally figured out a fairly sophisticated way to charge for web content, essentially charging heavier users while letting casual users continue to access content free. Basically, we’ve got 20 chances a month to access any aspect of their web site — stories, crosswords, recipes, streaming videos, interviews etc. — before a fee kicks in. Also, they are not charging for secondary referral to their sites, from Google searches say. The extremists on both ends will howl — either all free or all pay — but I think it’s a reasoned, thoughtful way to balance access with costs of producing content. Aristotelian, in fact., March 17 2011

Yukon newspaper/CBC in legal fight to name/withhold source

A bit of a strange legal case before the Yukon Supreme Court, involving the right to withhold a source versus the obligation of revealing a source in a defamation case. Basically, The Yukon News is asking the territorial Supreme Court to make the CBC reveal the identities of sources who spoke to reporter Nancy Thomson as part of an investigative series that aired in 2004. It gets more complicated, and I’m not sure the recent SCOC ruling on protecting sources will work here. No doubt it will go to SCOC, assuming people can afford to pay the legal fees.

CBC, March 17 2011

Back to the future: US newspaper ad revenues at 1962 level

Just to verify what everyone knows, US newspaper advertising is in steady decline, reaching, in inflation-adjusted levels, the same amount as in 1962. That year, of course, the big tech news was that color TV was coming, even though the sets might costs as much as a good used car. The Newspaper Association of America came up with these numbers, noting that advertising, particularly want ads, were migrating to the much cheaper web. I doubt it would be different in Canada. The Sun chain is dying, propped up by Quebecor, and Postmedia today announced it is listed on the TSX, but has not offered its IPO, most likely on the grounds that no sensible investor would buy into this company unless it killed the money-sicking National Post first. Globe and Toronto Star continue to do well, particularly the Globe which in its latest incarnation is focused much more heavily on backgrounders and analysis than on breaking news, which it can’t compete with.

CTV, March 16 2011

Pew state of the media report in 2011: same trends holding

The Pew Institute put out its annual state of the media report today, and the main trends seem to be holding: more people getting their news off the web, ad revenues returning to pre-recession levels, except of course for daily newspapers, and layoffs in newsrooms continue, but at lower pace than the slash and burn of 2008.  The major finding is that cable news (US stats only) viewership shows the biggest decline of all. Odd that in the age of digital, the once reliable all news networks (CNN, Fox, MSNBC) can’t figure out how to leverage the traditional TV audience onto the web, particularly when stats show older people (cable news main viewers) are one of the fastest growing sectors using the web.

Pew, March 15 2011

Back to the future: CRTC decision on BCE takeover of CTV

Carleton journalism prof Dwayne Winseck has a good opinion piece in the Star about the CRTC decision to allow BCE to buy, again, CTV, noting that it is a revisit of the vertical integration of media of 10 years ago, that resulted in a massive financial trainwreck. He has a point that there seems to be no particular vision of the regulator on who owns media in Canada, under what guidelines.

Toronto Star, March 11 2011