Canada and the Future of Publishing

March 26, 2009

Having grown up in Canada a dual Canadian-U.S. citizen I’ve always marveled at the similarities and differences between the two countries. Often Canada seems to be playing catch-up to U.S. innovations. Other times it appears to be ahead of the U.S., at least in societal matters, if not necessarily economic or technological issues.

What intrigues and bemuses me today is this report from the Canadian Marketing magazine to the tune of:

More than three quarters of Canadians, 77%, read a printed or online version of a daily newspaper in a typical week, according to the latest readership data from Toronto’s Newspaper Audience Databank (NADbank). The total readership remains essentially unchanged from the 2007 study.

The 2008 readership study found that 13.7 million Canadians 18+ read a print edition of a daily paper each week, although online readership is gaining momentum…The Internet is not supplanting print editions however, with only 4% of Canadians reading newspapers exclusively online.

Is Canada a truly different country than the U.S., or is it just waiting for the axe to fall?

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The Future of Publishing: Newspaper Department

March 7, 2009

I’ve been meaning to blog this for several weeks (oops, “blog” is now a verb!).

I recall clearly that in the early days of the Web that Martin Nisenholtz at The New York Times supervised the creation of a series of engaging graphics that struck me as emblematic of what online newspapers versions could do that print versions could not. Many were interactive; all were involving.

In the last month or so I’ve seen a modest return to this excellent mold.

Emblematic of this is something I would have to categorize as ironic. Titled, “Mostly Gloom for Glossies,” it illustrates the often dramatic drop in paid ad pages for some of America’s most prominent magazine titles.

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The small amount of text accompanying the interactive feature makes the point: “Another day, another closure. Magazines are becoming thinner as advertising pages fall, and publishers are grimly cutting underperforming titles. But the outlook is not dour for all — a handful of magazines are still expanding their ad lineups, some by startlingly high percentages.”

The interaction is not sophisticated but it’s direct and effective. It brings the point across better than words in the paper could do.

Check it out.

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Is THIS the Death of Newspapers?

December 23, 2008

I’ve tried to remain as dispassionate as possible regarding the ongoing screeches over the death of the newspaper. I’m not in denial: I know the situation is serious.

When folks like Mr. Zell bankrupt a communications empire, I do not necessarily regard this as a harbinger of things to come.

But when the The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News announce that they will stop home delivery four days of the week I think, oh my gosh, this is getting very serious.

If you are no longer even delivering the product, the situation is beyond serious: it’s a crisis.

OK it’s Detroit. Et cetera. But that doesn’t make the announcement much more palatable. This kind of announcement signifies the end of the printed version of newspapers in Detroit. Will it spread? I don’t know, but tell me why it won’t?

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