NADbank: Globe rebounds, post holds firm

Phillip Crawley has been vindicated. The publisher and CEO of The Globe and Mail said back in November he never believed that newspaper readership in general - and for The Globe in particular - had declined. He maintained it was a...

Phillip Crawley has been vindicated. The publisher and CEO of The Globe and Mail said back in November he never believed that newspaper readership in general – and for The Globe in particular – had declined. He maintained it was a temporary blip caused by the avalanche of free copies being distributed, in large part, by newcomer National Post. And the results of NADbank’s Toronto fall readership survey appear to have proved him right.

The new research shows The Globe has regained most of the weekday readership it ‘lost’ in the previous study and, to the surprise of many on the media planning and buying side of the business, the National Post has also continued to grow.

Both papers have gained in key demographics such as university graduates and high-income earners, but weekday numbers indicate readers are spending more time with the Post than The Globe.

While NADbank’s most recent study is believed to be a more accurate depiction of the market than the one last spring, there is still concern in the media camp about the number of newspapers being given away and their effect on the measurement process, particularly during survey periods.

Debbie King, executive vice-president and managing director of Optimedia Canada, characterizes the previous study as ‘too far from reality’ given the number of free copies floating around in the Toronto market.

‘In terms of how the Post sat, I took that with a grain of salt.’

Results of the fall study show overall newspaper readership remained stable between the spring and fall surveys with 55% of adults 18-plus reading at least one of the measured papers on an average weekday.

Average weekday readership of three of the four measured papers is up: The Globe came in at 506,700; the Post, 302,900; and The Toronto Star, 1,179,500. The Toronto Sun, meanwhile, dropped to 634,3000 from 711,500.

Susan Ellsworth, vice-president and research director of OMD Canada, says she wasn’t surprised The Globe rebounded but was a little shocked to see that the Post continued to gain, and seemingly at the expense of The Sun.

‘The volatility we’re seeing from survey to survey just shows that certainly in markets like this, we could really use a survey more than once a year,’ Ellsworth says.

‘We recognize it’s expensive to do this kind of research but if NADbank is moving closer to some kind of year-round measurement, we think that’s the way they should be going.’

She says readership for key demographic groups – university graduates, managers/professionals (MPE), adults 25 to 54, and adults 25 to 54 with household incomes of $75,000 or more – are back to levels on a par with those of NADbank spring 1998 for all four papers. The Post has picked up some of these readers from The Star and The Sun.

MPE readership for The Globe is 25%, up from 17%; the Post 17%, up from 13%; The Star 38%, down from 39%; and The Sun 15%, down from 18%.

In the coveted adults 25 to 54 with household income of $75,000-plus category, The Globe rebounded to 23% from 13%; the Post gained 4% with 15%; The Star is up 2% to 38%; and The Sun dropped 7% to 17%.

The Toronto fall readership study was conducted over 13 weeks between Sept. 21, 1999 and Feb. 5, 2000 with a sample size of 1,500 in the CMA (core market area) and 1,800 in the EMA (extended market area).

The percentage of adults 18-plus who read at least one issue of The Toronto Star Monday to Friday dropped 2% to 46%. The Toronto Sun lost 1%, moving to 31% while The Globe increased to 22% and the National Post remained unchanged at 15%.

The Toronto Star also saw a slight drop in its Saturday (1%) and Sunday (2%) readership. Saturday readership of The Sun remained unchanged while The Sunday Sun lost 2%.

Both The Globe and the Post gained 2% on their Saturday readership.

Fieldwork for the next NADbank survey, to be released in November, is currently underway through June in all Canadian markets.

Google launches a campaign about news connections

The search engine is using archival footage to convey what Canadians are interested in.

Google Canada and agency Church + State have produced a new spot informed by research from the search giant that suggests it is a primary connector for Canadians to the news that matters to them – a direct shot across the bow of the legislators presently considering Bill C-18.

In a spot titled “Connecting you to all that’s news,” the search giant harnesses archival footage reflective of many of the issues Canadians care about deeply, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, truth and reconciliation and the war in Ukraine, to demonstrate the point that many Canadians turn to Google as a gateway to the information and news they’re seeking.

“From St. John’s to Victoria and everywhere in between, when Canadians want to understand or get updated on the most pressing topics, Google connects them to the news sources that provide it,” says Laura Pearce, head of marketing for Google Canada. “All of us at Google are proud to be that consistent and reliable connection for Canadians to the news they’re searching for.”

In some ways, the goal of the campaign was to tap into the varied emotional responses that single news stories can have with different audiences across the country.

“News may be factual, but how people respond to it can be very emotional,” explains Ron Tite, founder and CCO at Church + State. “Importantly, those emotions aren’t universal. One news story can create completely different reactions from different people in different places. Because of that, we simply wanted to let connecting to news be the focus of this campaign. We worked diligently to license a wide variety of actual news footage that we felt would resonate with Canadians.”

The campaign can be seen as a statement by the search provider on Bill C-18 – the Online News Act – that is currently being deliberated by a parliamentary committee. That legislation seeks to force online platforms such as Meta’s Facebook and Alphabet’s Google to pay news publishers for their content, echoing a similar law passed in Australia in 2021. The Act has drawn sharp rebukes from both companies, with Facebook threatening to ban news sharing on its platform.

Google Canada is not commenting on whether this new campaign is a response to C-18, but it has been public in its criticism of the legislation. In testimony delivered to parliament and shared on its blog, Colin McKay, the company’s head of public policy and government relations, said, “This is a history-making opportunity for Canada to craft world-class legislation that is clear and principled on who it benefits.” However, he noted that C-18 is “not that legislation.”

The campaign launched on Oct. 24 and is running through December across cinema, OLV, OOH, podcast, digital and social. Airfoil handled the broadcast production.