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A Canadian Magazine Publishing Snapshot

Magazines Canada, at recently published the 2014 Consumer Magazine Fact Book, which explores in depth the state of the print magazine publishing industry in Canada. The statistics quoted here are taken from the Fact Book. Their Digital Fact Book will be published in the near future. What affects the printed magazine industry also matters to digital publishing as a whole. The old and new mediums in many instances are working to find ways to work with and improve the successes of each other, and the greater publishing industry will benefit.

Both print and digital magazine media are crucial platforms in reaching consumers. While many of the same trends are applicable for the US and Canadian markets, there are some that are unique to Canada.


At 100 consumer magazines per capita, Canadians have access to more consumer magazine titles than most other developed countries in the world, and they do love their magazines. The magazine publishing industry as a whole has remained relatively stable over the past seven years. An interesting statistic and glowing testament to the appeal of print magazines, according to the Fact Book, more than half of all magazine titles available in Canada today were launched after the internet became commercially available in 1989.

The top 10 magazine advertising categories account for three quarters of total magazine ad spending, as measured by Leading National Advertisers (2013). Toiletries and Toilet Goods was the largest category in 2013, followed by Retail Stores, Business & Consumer Services, Food & Food Products and Drugs & Remedies. Magazine readership remains strong across all demographics, reaching Canadians in virtually every life phase. Despite the adoption of digital platforms, readers age 12-24 read almost as much as the average magazine reader.

Good news for advertisers, college students read magazines regularly, with 90% reading a magazine in the past month. They also visit websites, purchase products seen advertised in a magazine and use magazine coupons, promotions or other specials. With the recent and developing mixing of digital and print media, the opportunities for advertisers and industry to reach out broadly is increasing greatly. Students age 18-24 still prefer reading their favorite magazines in print (93%) with reading on websites, smartphones, online-only editions and tablet editions increasing. Advertisers love the magazine format because magazines are read consistently throughout the year, and they can be counted upon to deliver effective brand presence and efficient message continuity, connecting brand purchase cycles when consumers are most ready to buy. Consumers who buy and read Specialty Magazines are typically affluent, with disposable income to buy advertised brands. Advertising campaigns where businesses allocate more ad dollars to magazines in the media mix improves marketing and advertising ROI. In this age of short attention spans and multi-tasking, time spent reading and “average degree of interest” scores are right now consistent across all measured magazines, according to the PMB (Print Measurement Bureau).