A North American make-up

When it comes to comparing French dailies in Quebec with those in English Canada, there are clearly more similarities than differences.For example, we know that in terms of editorial-to-advertising ratios and subscription or newsstand sales, French Quebec dailies are 'North American'...

When it comes to comparing French dailies in Quebec with those in English Canada, there are clearly more similarities than differences.

For example, we know that in terms of editorial-to-advertising ratios and subscription or newsstand sales, French Quebec dailies are ‘North American’ in make-up and differ just as much from European daily newspapers as would any other English North American publication.

More specifically, if we compare French Montreal dailies to those English newspapers in the Toronto cma, we again find more similarities than differences.

About seven out of every 10 Montrealers read a newspaper each day, as is the case in Toronto.

Broadsheet sections are more or less the same, that is, first the ‘general news’ section followed by editorial, sports, business, lifestyles, fashion, food, travel, arts and entertainment, and so on.

Tabloids also similar

The tabloids are also similar, with strong emphasis on local and sports coverage.

As a matter of fact, any market analysis will show that the daily La Presse has more in common with The Globe and Mail or The Toronto Star than it would with le Journal de Montreal, which, in turn, has more in common with The Toronto Sun.

When comparing Toronto and Montreal, we see that the occupation and education numbers for The Toronto Sun and le Journal de Montreal are quite similar. Both have a strong blue-collar base with high school education or less.

Comparable skews

On the other hand, the data show comparable skews applicable to La Presse, the Globe and the Star together.

Here, readership indices are higher against professionals, business managers, whit-collar employees and those with higher education.

The same patterns are found when we look at most reading interest scores that relate to various sections or subjects.

La Presse, the Globe and the Star generate higher interest scores for news, arts and entertainment, editorial and business finance than do the Sun or le Journal de Montreal.

Singular difference

Finally, if there is one singular difference which serves to delineate French dailies from English dailies in Canada, if can be boiled down to one word – language.

The information which French-speaking Quebecers consume is not different in format but rather in language.

News and entertainment for French Quebecers is packaged in the same way, but in a language and a local ‘content’ of their own.

Mario Savard is vice-president, marketing and sales for the Montreal-based daily newspaper, La Presse.