Newspapers battle, TV and OOH hot

Media buying certainly isn't new to the Maritime region's oldest city. In 1752, Halifax produced the Royal Gazette, Canada's first newspaper (and its only, for the following 10 years). For a small fee, customers could read news from around the city and from Europe, and, of course, advertisements for local businesses.

Media buying certainly isn’t new to the Maritime region’s oldest city. In 1752, Halifax produced the Royal Gazette, Canada’s first newspaper (and its only, for the following 10 years). For a small fee, customers could read news from around the city and from Europe, and, of course, advertisements for local businesses.

Today, media buys continue to support two local papers, The Chronicle-Herald (and its evening edition, The Mail Star) and The Daily News.

Originally launched by The Great Eastern News Company in 1974, the Daily News went to Southam in 1997, to CanWest Global in 2000, and was purchased by Transcontinental on Aug. 9 of this year. This change of hands saw long-term publisher Mark Richardson step down after eight years with the paper.

Halifaxers have yet to see a shift in editorial, but ‘everyone is looking for the [other] shoe to drop,’ says Philip Chant, former SVP and media director with Halifax’s Corporate Communications, and now a freelance consultant in retirement. ‘The question is whether Transcontinental is going to invest in the opportunity and take a run at the Herald.’

The Herald may be in a vulnerable position, having recently announced the construction of some new press facilities.

‘The Herald is probably Canada’s largest market newspaper that has not caught up with technology,’ says Chant, ‘and is still working on an ancient letterpress operation with very poor colour reproduction. This new press is going to bring them up to better than present-day standards in terms of colour. How that plays with what the Daily News is planning – whether Transcontinental is going to use this small window of opportunity to boost its circulation – is up in the air. A new publisher would seem to spell some changes in approach.’

Meanwhile, the advertising market in general has been surprisingly strong.

Dee Enright, a media buyer with Cossette Atlantic, says ‘TV is very busy for the fall season with limited availability.’

Chant adds, ‘Television has gone through sold-out or near sold-out positions several times.’

According to Chant, TV is a very difficult market in Halifax. Thanks to an abnormally large amount of American spill, ‘only about 55% of hours tuned in are to stations that Canadian media buyers can buy – CTV, CBC or Global. You’ve got little better than half your audience that you can get your message to. There are no independent stations so there’s only so much media depth you can buy.’

Outdoor is also very booked and has been all through the summer and into the fall. ‘There have been no price decreases and you have to book in advance,’ Enright says. That may be partly due to the fact that the Halifax Regional Municipality (referred to as the HRM) offers a very concentrated market, comprising 642,024 out 915,856 Nova Scotians.

As in the case of television, Halifax has very limited outdoor media available to buyers. Despite a growth in advertising in general, the city council has been slow to approve new locations, leaving the market in a state of surprisingly high demand.

Radio has also seen some changes of late. Sun FM recently reformatted from light rock to classic hits of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, and changed its name to FM 96.5. The local CHUM sports talk station, The Team, has also changed to a yesterday’s favourites format. That makes three oldies stations in a very small market.

Ad spend by medium in the Maritime region (000s)

Jan-June 2001 Jan-June 2002
TV Network $31,688.10 $42,150.10
TV Selective $21,947.80 $30,543.20
TV Total $53,635.90 $72,693.30
Radio $4,830.90 $4,757.90
OOH $2,213.10 $2,530.60
Magazines $7,702.30 $9,400.40
Daily $51,411.40 $72,208.40

Source: Nielsen Media Research Advertising Tracking Services, Competitive Advertising Expenditures

Demographic makeup: Halifax vs. Canada

Halifax Canada
15-19 7% 7%
20-34 22% 21%
35-54 34% 31%
55+ 16% 22%
Average HHI $65,400 $55,709
Taxation income $50,000+ 15% 14%
Management 6% 9%
Business, Finance and Admin 13% 19%
University degree 16% 13%
Non-university with cert./diploma 17% 18%

Source: Print Measurement Bureau, Financial Post Demographics Information, 2002

Newspaper Readership

Read yesterday % of total readership M-F Read Saturday % weekend readership
The Daily News (Transcontinental) 66,000 39.9% 57,700 32.3%
The Chronicle-Herald (Halifax Herald) 79,300 48.0% 80,000 44.8%
The Mail Star (Halifax Herald)* 46,200 27.9% 50,100 28.0%
The Globe and Mail (Bell Globemedia) 18,700 11.3% 21,200 11.8%
National Post (CanWest Global) 13,400 8.1% 16,600 9.2%

*The Mail Star is the evening edition of The Chronicle-Herald.

Source: NADbank 2002 Interim Study

Radio Listenership

Station Format Mkt. share
C100 Soft rock 50.6
CFRQFM Classic rock 34.6
CIEZFM Gold 24.4
CHFXFM Country 19.3
CHNS Gold 13.4
CJCH Oldies 5.7
CFDR Country 5.0

Source: Canadian Broadcast Sales, Spring 2002