Canada newspaper ad revenue slumped in 2015 -industry group

Fri May 13, 2016 2:45pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO May 13 (Reuters) - Business got even tougher for Canada's newspaper industry last year, data showed on Friday, with nationally distributed advertising cut by almost a quarter and online ad sales barely taking up any of the slack.

Total daily-newspaper revenue in 2015 fell to C$1.4 billion ($1.1 billion), down 12.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Newspapers Canada, an industry group representing publishers.

The national portion fell 24.2 percent, to C$401 million, with sales there now half where they stood in 2012.

Canadian newsrooms are shrinking in increasing numbers as advertisers shift to digital alternatives including Facebook and Google search ads to reach younger and more tech-savvy audiences.

Even if these advertisers pitch their products and services next to Canadian newspaper articles online, the publishers themselves are not collecting unless their news stories are being read on their own sites.

The country's biggest newspaper publisher, Postmedia Network Canada Corp last month said it was looking to sell assets or restructure its finances as its losses widened in "an unrelentingly challenging environment".

Online ad revenue for the overall industry was C$228 million, barely higher than the C$226 million reported in 2014 and C$221 million in 2013.

Local advertising declines were much smaller than the national shrinkage, and spending there has now overtaken national spending as the biggest slice of the revenue pie for the first time since 2009, the data showed.

Canada's federal Liberal government is prepared to overhaul the country's laws governing broadcasting, media and cultural industries to support local content, a minister told the Globe and Mail newspaper last month.

($1 = 1.2934 Canadian dollars)