The ugly truth about the NADbank figures!

Yesterday, the NADbank numbers for the 2009 Study were released. In such a dynamic and evolving market, any professional in advertising is anxious to see the results…including myself.

As soon as the data was released, I received an email from NADbank with the following information:

newspapers“Once again, daily newspapers have demonstrated their value to Canadians. Despite constant rumours of their imminent demise, newspapers continue to be a relevant source for news and information across Canada. Over three-quarters (77% – 14.7 million) of adults living in markets where a daily newspaper is available read either a printed or online edition each week.”


Is it fair to combine the print AND online readership to estimate the relevancy of newspapers in today’s media landscape? Is it fair to calculate reach on a weekly period when we plan and buy it on a daily basis?

OK, now this has been bugging me for a while…and despite the beautiful day outside, I must OBJECT!

I have two problems with the revealed numbers…

2007-11-05NewspaperCirculation1.  The print edition of newspapers reaches on average 65-75%* of adults 18+ weekly in newspaper markets.

Not bad! Actually almost surprising to me. To the point that my first reaction when I saw the NADbank numbers ‘print and online editions’ combined, I thought…yeah but how much is due to online?!? Why would the print and online editions be summed up? To gain a couple of points in reach? Really I think it makes the print edition look fishy more than anything else.

2. Why are we presenting weekly reach for a media we plan and buy on a daily basis?

How many advertisers do you know that buy an ad every day of the week? Not many hun?
The nature of DAILY newspapers is to provide renewed content and renewed advertising every day!

So why would we consider weekly reach to evaluate relevancy and reach? Because the figures are much more higher of course! The reality is that print newspapers reach 45-55%* of adults on any given day. All things considered, in an increasingly fragmented market, that figure is pretty honourable.


online-newspapers Let’s just admit that A18-34 don’t read newspaper all that much (those that do…most likely read the free papers).

Let’s just admit that the next generation of youth doesn’t read print newspapers as much.

Let’s just admit that the highest reach is against the A65+ and A50-64 demos.

Let’s just pretend to be visionaries and risk the assumption that print newspapers will no longer exist as we know them in the long run.


And that my friends is where the online editions come into play. I’d be willing to bet that readership growth (if any) is coming from online. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to bully the newspaper industry…I am just doing my job!

As a media agency, we must be curious about market changes and trends. It’s what we are paid for! We are the experts! We are your eyes, ears and guardians. Therefore we must know, understand and challenge.

We must attempt to be psychic and tell the future. Forecast the trends, jump on opportunity to renew our old ways! This type of reflection is the added value of a real media agency!

So challenge us, ask the hard questions, be sceptical and allow yourself to criticize! BRING IT ON!!!


* Source: NADbank 2009 Study – Readership highlights