Description

“The news industry is incredibly unique in Canada. It is centuries old and used by almost every consumer on a daily basis – yet many of its companies are now struggling to remain financially viable. Digital tech has been particularly disruptive to the industry, making it easier for consumers to get the news but upending the revenue models organizations have relied on in the past.

The evolution of this industry has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital tech’s role has increased while consumers have re-considered their priorities and the topics they want to follow. News organizations need to plan for a future driven by digital content, devices and a demand for content around the clock.”

– Scott Stewart, Senior Tech & Media Research Analyst

This report covers the following issues:

  • Sources used to get the news and the trustworthiness of those sources
  • How news consumption habits have changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • What devices consumers use to get their news at different times of the day
  • How the demand for local news is not matched with a similar willingness to pay for it
  • How political leanings impact consumers’ behaviours and attitudes with respect to news consumption.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
        • Executive Summary

            • Top takeaways
              • Market overview
                • Impact of COVID-19 on news media
                  • Opportunities
                    • Adapting to 21st Century news consumption habits
                      • Leveraging trust in the news
                        • Challenges
                          • A re-alignment of priorities and news sources
                            • Expanding local news is not financially viable
                            • The Market – Key Takeaways

                              • The news industry is facing major financial challenges
                                • Consumer demand is shifting due to demographics and world events
                                • The Market – By the Numbers

                                  • News organizations experience significant declines in revenue
                                    • Newspapers face precipitous declines
                                      • Figure 1: Postmedia quarterly total revenues, Q1 2019-Q4 2020
                                      • Figure 2: Toronto Star Twitter post, February 2021
                                    • Broadcast news companies are also experiencing losses
                                      • Figure 3: Bell Media quarterly and annual revenues, 2019-2020
                                      • Figure 4: Rogers Media quarterly revenues, Q1 2018 – Q4 2020
                                  • Market Factors

                                    • Increased immigration populations could impact news consumption
                                      • Figure 5: Immigrants as a proportion of Canadian population, 1871-2036
                                    • Willingness to pay will be further challenged by a slow economy
                                      • Figure 6: Canadian unemployment rate, May 2019-December 2020
                                    • The US election shifted Canadians’ interest south of the border in 2020
                                      • Figure 7: Google Trends web search: Justin Trudeau vs Donald Trump and Joe Biden, January 2020-January 2021
                                    • Pro sports league disruptions limited the supply of news content
                                      • Impact of COVID-19 on news media
                                        • Figure 8: Short, medium and longer-term impact of COVID-19 on news media, February 2021
                                      • Lockdown
                                        • Re-emergence
                                          • Recovery
                                          • Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

                                            • Tech is playing an important role in the future of news
                                            • Competitive Strategies

                                              • News aggregators from Google and Apple change the news landscape
                                                • Newspapers are using paywalls in an attempt to drive revenue
                                                  • Figure 9: Mary Brown’s Twitter post, April 2020
                                                • News companies are adapting to social media usage
                                                  • Figure 10: CBC News Facebook post, January 2021
                                                  • Figure 11: CBC News Twitter post, January 2021
                                                  • Figure 12: CBC News Instagram post, January 2021
                                                • Social media platforms are putting more focus on trustworthiness
                                                  • Most newspapers are part of a news conglomerate
                                                  • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                                    • News sources
                                                      • News consumption changes due to COVID-19
                                                        • Trust in the news
                                                          • Devices used for daily news routines
                                                            • Opportunities and challenges for local news
                                                              • Politics and the news
                                                              • News Sources

                                                                  • TV news is still the leader
                                                                    • Figure 13: Sources typically used to get the news, November 2020
                                                                  • TV depends on older consumers, online skews younger and more ethnically diverse
                                                                    • Figure 14: Sources typically used to get the news: TV vs online, by age, November 2020
                                                                    • Figure 15: Sources typically used to get the news: TV vs online, by race, November 2020
                                                                  • Online news is also a threat to print and radio media
                                                                    • Figure 16: Sources typically used to get the news, TV news viewers vs non-viewers, November 2020
                                                                  • Online news is popular and diverse
                                                                    • Existing news organizations are the most commonly used
                                                                      • Figure 17: Online news sources, November 2020
                                                                      • Figure 18: Online news sources: existing news organizations, by age, November 2020
                                                                      • Figure 19: Online news sources: existing news organizations, TV news viewers vs non-viewers, November 2020
                                                                    • Convenience is driving success of Facebook and Google News
                                                                        • Figure 20: Online-based news sources, November 2020
                                                                        • Figure 21: Online-based news sources, by age, November 2020
                                                                    • News Consumption Changes Due to COVID-19

                                                                      • The pandemic has changed what types of news consumers want
                                                                        • Figure 22: Changes in news consumption since start of COVID-19 pandemic, November 2020
                                                                      • Increased attention on politics and local news
                                                                        • Figure 23: Following more since start of COVID-19 pandemic, November 2020
                                                                        • Figure 24: Following more since start of COVID-19 pandemic, by worry about exposure to COVID-19, November 2020
                                                                      • Consumers are looking for more health & wellness information
                                                                        • Figure 25: Following health & wellness news more since start of COVID-19 pandemic, by age, November 2020
                                                                      • Consumers are paying less attention to unessential news topics
                                                                        • Figure 26: Following less since start of COVID-19 pandemic, November 2020
                                                                        • Figure 27: Following sports or celebrity gossip less since start of COVID-19 pandemic, men vs woman, November 2020
                                                                      • Business and environmental news is important, but did not experience a jump
                                                                          • Figure 28: Changes in news consumption since start of COVID-19 pandemic: business and environmental, November 2020
                                                                      • Trust in the News

                                                                          • Major news institutions are the most trusted
                                                                            • Figure 29: Most trustworthy news sources, November 2020
                                                                            • Figure 30: Most trustworthy news sources, by age, November 2020
                                                                            • Figure 31: Most trustworthy news sources, by race and origin, November 2020
                                                                          • US news is not considered trustworthy
                                                                            • Trust in social media is very low
                                                                              • Figure 32: Most trustworthy news sources: social media, social media news consumers vs non-consumers, November 2020
                                                                            • Word of mouth is uniquely untrustworthy in the news world
                                                                              • Figure 33: Most trustworthy news sources: friends and family, by social media news sources, November 2020
                                                                          • Devices Used for Daily News Routines

                                                                              • Television has the highest peak of any device
                                                                                • Figure 34: Times of day when a television is used to get the news, November 2020
                                                                                • Figure 35: News viewing behaviour, November 2020
                                                                              • Television’s role will decline in the future
                                                                                • Figure 36: Times of day when a television is used to get the news, by age, November 2020
                                                                              • Smartphones will soon be the leading news device
                                                                                • Figure 37: Times of day when a smartphone is used to get the news, November 2020
                                                                                • Figure 38: Times of day when a smartphone is used to get the news, by age, November 2020
                                                                                • Figure 39: Times of day when a smartphone is used to get the news, by social media news consumption, November 2020
                                                                                • Figure 40: Times of day when a mobile device is used to get the news, November 2020
                                                                              • The long-term effects of the smartphone’s dominance
                                                                                • Men are the primary audience for laptop/desktop news
                                                                                  • Figure 41: Times of day when a laptop/desktop computer is used to get the news, men vs women, November 2020
                                                                                • Radio still has a role to play in modern news
                                                                                  • Figure 42: Times of day when a radio is used to get the news, November 2020
                                                                                  • Figure 43: Listen to radio news during mornings at home, by age, November 2020
                                                                                  • Figure 44: Listen to radio news throughout the day, by age, November 2020
                                                                                • Future device usage will have a ripple effect throughout the industry
                                                                                • Opportunities and Challenges for Local News

                                                                                    • Most Canadians follow local news
                                                                                      • Figure 45: Changes in local news consumption since start of COVID-19 pandemic, November 2020
                                                                                    • Consumers want local news, but will not pay for it
                                                                                        • Figure 46: Willing to pay for bundled news services, by age, November 2020
                                                                                      • News companies need to strike the right balance of local news
                                                                                      • Politics and the News

                                                                                          • Conservatives trail in online news, but are otherwise similar to liberals
                                                                                            • Figure 47: Sources typically used to get the news, by political party support, November 2020
                                                                                            • Figure 48: Online sources typically used to get the news, by political party support, November 2020
                                                                                          • Liberal and NDP supporters are more likely to use smartphones to get their news
                                                                                            • Figure 49: Use a smartphone to get the news, by political party support, November 2020
                                                                                          • Conservatives are less trusting of the media
                                                                                            • Figure 50: Most trustworthy news sources, by political party support, November 2020
                                                                                            • Figure 51: Most trustworthy social media and word-of-mouth news sources, by political party support, November 2020
                                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                          • Data sources
                                                                                            • Consumer survey data
                                                                                              • Mintel Trend Drivers
                                                                                                • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                  • Abbreviations
                                                                                                    • Terms

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