Le Soleil appeals to variety of ages

Montreal: Le Soleil is a family newspaper not so unlike Montreal's La Presse or The Toronto Star, says the paper's marketing director.And Denis Dube says to succeed the daily newspaper, 25,000 copies of which go out to readers east of Quebec...

Montreal: Le Soleil is a family newspaper not so unlike Montreal’s La Presse or The Toronto Star, says the paper’s marketing director.

And Denis Dube says to succeed the daily newspaper, 25,000 copies of which go out to readers east of Quebec City, and to smaller communities along the north and lower shores of the St. Lawrence River, must have news pertinent to its readers.

Dube says three or four full pages are ‘re-cast’ each day with local news for the broadsheet’s eastern regional edition.

And he says that with 86% of all copies delivered at home to subscribers, Le Soleil, which has been publishing for 96 years and employs 450, ‘is very much a family paper.’

Keeping in line with the interests of the average Quebec City and area consumer – family life, food and entertainment and fashion, to name a few – the paper publishes a restaurant and fashion section each week.

The Saturday edition also includes standalone sections on travel and housing, and a large arts and entertainment feature.

Readership

Dube says the additional Saturday sections have put readership figures for that edition at more than 217,000 – 60,000 more than tabloid competitor Le Journal de Quebec.

Le Soleil, which has annual revenues in the $60-million range, has a weekday readership of 185,800.

In addition to data from NADBank, an annual study of consumers and daily newspaper readership by the Newspaper Marketing Bureau, Dube says Le Soleil uses private polling firms once or twice a year to stay close to its readers.

‘A window’

He says Le Soleil’s front page is ‘a window on our paper,’ made up of two or three lead stories and quick-read, lead-in boxes, plus one or two four-color photos.

For example, a front page from a recent weekday issue included: an item on the hometown nhl hockey club the Nordiques; a piece on Parti Quebecois leader Jacques Parizeau; an article on Canada’s social programs; an article on a tough-talking local businessman and a pointer to a story on the growing interest in Mexico by small and medium-sized entrepreneurs.

Dube says Le Soleil readers are more upscale than readers of Le Journal de Quebec.

He says 58% of the region’s university-plus graduates read the paper once a day, two-thirds of the white-collar population read the paper at least once a week (against only one-third for blue-collar workers), and more than half of the region’s managers, owners and professionals read the paper each day.

He says Le Soleil edges out Le Journal among working women.

According to Dube, in families with household incomes of $75,000 a year and more, 62% read Le Soleil daily.

And he says against the regional average, Le Soleil’s readers have 31% higher household incomes, or earn about $10,000 a year more.

Dube says 51% of all homeowners read the paper’s Saturday edition, partly because of its housing section.

With the tough economic times in mind, Dube’s marketing department recently organized a win-a-holiday promotion, exclusive to subscribers of Le Soleil.

Over a 50-day period, the paper gave away 50 free trips for two to Guadaloupe. LRB