PARLIAMENT of CANADA
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INTERIM REPORT ON THE CANADIAN NEWS MEDIA

Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications

Fourth Report

Chair: The Honourable Joan Fraser
Deputy Chair: The Honourable Leonard Gustafson

April 2004


MEMBERSHIP 

The Honourable Joan Fraser, Chair
The Honourable Leonard J. Gustafson, Deputy Chair

and 

The Honourable Senators: 

Willie Adams

Janis G. Johnson

*Jack Austin, P.C. (or William Rompkey, P.C.)

Laurier L. LaPierre

Eymard G. Corbin

Pana Merchant

Joseph A. Day

Gerard A. Phalen

John Trevor Eyton

* John Lynch-Staunton (or Noël Kinsella)

B. Alasdair Graham, P.C.

Mira Spivak

* Ex Officio Members 

In addition, the Honourable Senators Raynell Andreychuk, Norman K. Atkins, Tommy Banks, Gérald A. Beaudoin, Catherine Callbeck, Pat Carney, P.C., Gerald J. Comeau, Joan Cook, J. Michael Forrestall, Jerahmiel S. Grafstein, Elizabeth Hubley, Mobina Jaffer, Serge Joyal, P.C., Raymond Lavigne, Marjory LeBreton, Rose-Marie Losier-Cool, Paul J. Massicotte, Jim Munson, Donald H. Oliver, Lucie Pépin, Marcel Prud’homme, P.C., Pierrette Ringuette, Nick G. Sibbeston, Herbert O. Sparrow, Peter A. Stollery, Terry Stratton, and David Tkachuk were members of the Committee or participated in its work at different stages of this study during the Second and Third Sessions of the Thirty-Seventh Parliament.

Research Staff:

David Black, Special Advisor to the Committee
Joseph Jackson, Analyst, Library of Parliament
Terrence Thomas, Analyst, Library of Parliament 

Till Heyde
Clerk of the Committee 

NOTE:  Jasmine Solomonescu, Researcher with the office of the Chair, also contributed to the Committee’s research program.  The Committee also recognises the particular contributions of Céline Ethier, Helen Krzyzewski, and Mirella Agostini, with the offices of the Chair, Deputy Chair, and Clerk, respectively.


ORDER OF REFERENCE

Extract from the Journals of the Senate of Friday, 13 February 2004: 

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Fraser, seconded by the Honourable Senator Joyal, P.C.:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications be authorized to examine and report on the current state of Canadian media industries; emerging trends and developments in these industries; the media's role, rights, and responsibilities in Canadian society; and current and appropriate future policies relating thereto; 

That the Committee submit its final report to the Senate no later than Thursday, March 31, 2005; and 

That the papers and evidence received and taken on the subject and the work accomplished during the Second Session of the Thirty-Seventh Parliament be referred to the Committee.           

            After debate, 

The question being put on the motion, it was adopted. 

Paul C. Bélisle
Clerk of the Senate 

NOTE:  Except for the final paragraph, this Order of Reference is identical to the Committee’s Order of Reference for this study during the Second Session of the Thirty-Seventh Parliament, adopted by the Senate on 19 March 2003.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

PART I:  INTRODUCTION

PART II:  THE STATE OF THE CANADIAN NEWS MEDIA

 

              A.  The Print Media

 

                    1.   Daily Newspapers

                          a)   Ownership and Circulation

                          b)   Ownership and Titles

                          c)   Readership

 

                    2.   Weekly Newspapers

 

                    3.   Magazines and Periodicals

                          a)   Type of Publication

                          b)   Ownership

 

              B.   The Broadcast Media

 

                    1.   Radio

                          a)   Private Radio Ownership

                          b)   The National Public Broadcaster

                          c)   Radio Listening Data

 

                    2.   Television

                          a)   Trends in Ownership

                          b)   Viewing Share by Ownership

                          c)   Viewing Preferences

                          d)   News and Information Programming

                          e)   Viewing Data

                          f)    Expenditures on Canadian News and Information Programming

 

              C.  Wire Services

 

              D.  The Internet

                          a)   Internet Usage Data

 

              E.   Ownership Structures

 

                    1.   Laws and Limitations

                          a)   Horizontal Concentration

                          b)   Vertical Integration and Cross-Media Ownership

                          c)   Foreign Ownership

 

                    2.   Overall Trends in Canadian Ownership

                          a)   Horizontal Concentration

                          b)   Cross-Media Ownership

                          c)   Market Share

                          d)   Closely Held Media Companies

                          e)   Profitability

 

              F.   Journalists

 

              G.  Changes in Reporting

 

PART III:  WHAT THE COMMITTEE HAS HEARD TO DATE

 

              A.  The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Media-Related Law

 

                    1.   The Charter and Freedom of the Press

 

                    2.   The Basic Positions on Freedom of the Press

 

                    3.   Freedom of the Press in Other Countries

 

                    4.   Media-Related Law in Canada

 

                    5.   Provincial Dimensions to Freedom of the Press

 

              B.   The “Marketplace of Ideas”

 

                    1.   Different Notions of the Market

 

                    2.   Diversity

 

                    3.   The Canadian Viewpoint

                          a)   Empirical Evidence

 

                    4.   Indirect Measures to Promote a Diversity of Viewpoints

 

                    5.   The Impact of the Internet

 

              C.  Journalism and the Possible effects of Concentration and Convergence

 

              D.  Policy Issues

 

                    1.   Role of Government

                          a)   The National Public Broadcaster

                          b)   A National Public Newspaper?

                          c)   Direct and Indirect Government Support to the Print Media

 

                    2.   Self Regulation

                          a)   Role of Private Sector

                          b)   Role of Government

 

                    3.   Ownership

                          a)   The Competition Bureau and the CRTC

                          b)   Concentration

                          c)   Cross-Media Ownership

 

                    4.   Foreign Ownership

 

PART IV:  NEXT STEPS

 

APPENDIX:  WITNESSES

 

TABLES

 
TABLE 1:  Canadian Newspaper Ownership as a Percentage of Total Circulation, Selected Years, 1994-2003
 

TABLE 2:  Canadian Newspaper Ownership by Number of Titles and Circulation, 2002

 

TABLE 3:  Daily Newspaper Readership in Markets Across Canada, 1998-2002

 

TABLE 4:  2002 Canadian Newspaper Readership by Age (% of population)

 

TABLE 5:  Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA) Membership by Ownership and Province, February 2004

 

TABLE 6:  Canadian Magazines by Type, November 2003

 

TABLE 7:  Canadian Publishers of Two of More Periodicals, December 2003

 

TABLE 8:  Top Ten Commercial Radio Operators

 

TABLE 9:  The CBC/SRC Radio Network – 2002-2003

 

TABLE 10:  CBC/Radio-Canada Audience Shares, 1999-2003

 

TABLE 11:  CBC/Radio-Canada Audience Shares, Fall 1994-Fall 2002, Canadians Aged 12+ (thousands)

 

TABLE 12:  Consolidation of Conventional Television Station Ownership, 1970-2000

 

TABLE 13:  Per Cent Viewing Share for Canada’s Major Television Groups, 1998-2002, Fall – All Persons 2+, 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.

 

TABLE 14:  Television Viewing Time by Program Type, Age and Gender (%), English and French Television, Fall 2002 (4 Weeks in November)

 

TABLE 15:  Television Services Available to Canadians with News and Information Programming Content

 

TABLE 16:  Top Supper Hour News Programs Watched in Selected Canadian Television Markets, 12-18 January 2004

 

TABLE 17:  Audience Shares for All-News Television Channels Available to Canadians, 1998-2003

 

TABLE 18:  Expenditures by Canadian Conventional Television Broadcasters on Canadian News and Information Programming, 1998-2002 ($ thousands)

 

TABLE 19:  Purpose of Internet Use to Access Information in Canadian Households with Internet Access, 2000 to 2002 (%)

 

TABLE 20:  Most Popular Broadcaster Websites Among Canadians, November 2002

 

TABLE 21:  Horizontal Concentration Rules in Selected Jurisdictions

 

TABLE 22:  Vertical and Cross-Media Ownership Rules in Selected Jurisdictions

 

TABLE 23:  Foreign Ownership Rules in Selected Jurisdictions

 

TABLE 24:  Canadian Media Cross-Ownership, July 2003

 

TABLE 25:  Market Share and Cross-Ownership in Nine Local Markets, 2002

 

TABLE 26:  Controlling Owners (Based on Voting Shares) of Canadian Media Firms, August-September 2003

 

TABLE 27:  Operating Profit Margin, 1999-2003 (%)

 

TABLE 28:  Number of Journalists by Type of Media in the French-Language Montreal Market, November 2003

 

TABLE 29:  Number of Journalists by Type of Media in the English-Language Montreal Market, November 2003

 

TABLE 30:  Number of Journalists by Type of Media in the Vancouver Market, November 2003


PART I:  INTRODUCTION

All Men pretend the Licentiousness of the Press to be a public Grievance, but it is much easier to say it is so, than to prove it, or prescribe a proper Remedy; nor is it the easiest Grievance to Cure.

-Daniel Defoe, An Essay on the Regulation of the Press, 1704

            News matters.  Journalism matters.  No real democracy can function without healthy, diverse and independent news media to inform people about the way their society works, what is going well and, perhaps most important, what is not going well or needs to be improved.  The news of the day is always a rough and ready thing, produced in a rush to deadline and inevitably based on imperfect understanding of complex realities, but it is the first guide citizens have to understanding their own community, and often the only such guide that can plausibly claim not to be self-inte rested.

            It follows that in a democracy, it is vital that government policy be established in such a way as to foster healthy and independent news media.  The paradox and the danger lie in the fact that to do their job properly, the news media must be independent from government influence over the news they carry.  It may be worth recalling in this context that the news media are perhaps the only industry to receive explicit protection in Canada’s constitution:  Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees not only freedom of expression but also freedom of the press and other media of communication.  There are – there will always be – passionate arguments about the precise meaning of freedom of the press, but there is no argument about its fundamental importance.

            So it is with considerable caution that the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications has undertaken this study of Canada’s news media, and of the appropriate stance of public policy at the start of the 21st century.  The members of the committee are aware that in comparison to most of the world, Canadians have been and are well served by their news media, not only in the provision of factual news but also in the amount and quality of investigative journalism, analysis and commentary.  It is no part of our mandate to imperil that good fortune.  Yet it remains true that a substantial part of public policy does have an impact on the news media.  Some of the impact is of a relatively general nature:  elements of public policy such as general taxation systems, securities regulation, labour legislation, consumer protection rules or environmental controls are not devised specifically to target the news media, although they will have a great impact there as elsewhere.  Other elements of public policy are more directly, though perhaps not exclusively, aimed at the news media:  examples range from libel laws to federal regulation of the broadcasting industry, through the Broadcasting Act and the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission. 

            The question then is not whether public policy should concern itself at all with the news media, it is whether the policies that we now have are the most appropriate ones for the foreseeable future.

            It is 34 years since the Senate examined the state of Canada’s news media, in the landmark report by a committee headed by Senator Keith Davey,[1] and 23 years since the report of the Royal Commission on Newspapers headed by Tom Kent.[2]  Other inquiries have examined the broadcasting system, but have not focused specifically on the news media.[3]  In the intervening years, the world has changed in ways that almost no one could predict in 1970 or even 1981, and few elements of western society have been more profoundly affected by change than the news business. 

            To begin with, journalism itself has changed.  In 1970, journalists could still refer to themselves only half-mockingly as “ink-stained wretches,” with a certain emphasis on “wretches.”  Comparatively few of them had degrees in journalism; indeed it was still true that many had no university degree at all, a fact which was often reflected in miserable pay scales and working conditions.  Today’s journalists are better educated and far better paid.  In many ways standards of journalism and journalistic ethics have improved correspondingly, and there has been an increase in self-imposed accountability to institutions such as provincial press councils.  In other ways journalism has been increasingly affected by the frantic rush to attract or at least retain audiences, often at the price of “dumbing down” the news.  The arrival of all-news television and radio has also changed the practice of journalism, putting increased pressure on journalists in all media to get the news out ever more quickly and often reducing the time available for research or background checking.

            Technological change has transformed both the nature of news-gathering and the ways in which citizens obtain and use the news.  Audiences have fragmented; today no single news source, be it print or electronic, can have the mass impact that the news giants had thirty years ago.  In 1970, cable TV in this country was widely perceived as a way to improve signal reception and import U.S. programming.  Today it is the vehicle to provide hundreds of channels, including Canadian all-news channels in both official languages, even as satellites also beam Canadian and foreign programming directly into homes. 

The proliferation of electronic news sources has contributed to a demographic shift:  younger people are substantially less likely to read newspapers than their elders are.  The new media landscape has also changed the role of Canada’s public broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; for example, the CBC and Radio-Canada are no longer the only broadcasters serving remote areas of the country, and in the more populous regions they now face competition from more private networks. 

In 1970, the Internet as we know it did not exist; today it brings news from around the world into individual Canadians’ homes at comparatively low cost.  Technological advances have enabled the creation of national newspapers.  Computers also enable Canadian news organizations to communicate with each other, and to share their work with each other, in ways that would make Gutenberg’s head spin; these changes, often referred to under the general label of “convergence,” continue even if the word itself is no longer as fashionable as it was in the 1990s. 

Meanwhile, the great drive for corporate growth and consolidation has affected the news business at least as much as other industries, and changes in media ownership continue apace.  These have led to some serious concerns, particularly among journalists, about the impact of corporate changes on the quality of news and information that Canadians receive.  The effects of globalization also continue to grow, raising questions about how Canadians can continue to have a shared understanding of their communities and their country.  In the words of Mr. Justice Charles D. Gonthier,

The responsibility of the media is ever more challenging in fostering the broad public understanding which is essential to enable us as a society to decide upon our objectives and priorities and plan for the future rather than be adrift on a sea of happenings.[4]

            It is no wonder, in the light of all these developments, that many Canadians should feel some concern about the future of their news media. 

            Unhappiness about one or another aspect of the news media is, of course, not new, as the 300-year-old quotation at the beginning of this introduction reminds us.  Criticism of the news media is as natural a part of democracy as divisions of political opinion, and it is not a Senate committee’s role to investigate individual complaints about news judgments or management.  It is our role to try to assess the broader landscape, in all its dizzying complexity.  To do so, we have striven to avoid reaching hasty judgments.  We have had only a few initial convictions:  that Canadians deserve high-quality news media; that it is important for the citizens of this country to be able to learn about Canadian and world news from a Canadian perspective; and that a diversity of voices is a fundamental part of a healthy democracy.

We have heard from many knowledgeable witnesses and participants in the news media, but many more remain to be heard, as does the general public.  Given the vagaries of parliamentary timetables, our work has had to be interrupted more than once and we have had to postpone our planned travel to hear Canadians in their own communities.  Still, a year after our first hearings, we thought it important to report to Canadians, including our colleagues in the Senate, on the general themes and questions that have emerged so far, and on the work that we know remains to be done.

Because our work is still incomplete, this can only be an interim report.  As such, it will draw no conclusions and make no recommendations.  Our hope, however, is that it will help to inform Canadians about what we have discovered through research and heard in testimony. 


PART II: THE STATE OF THE CANADIAN NEWS MEDIA 

This section provides a statistical snapshot (using the most recent available data) of what the Committee has learned about the state of the Canadian news media (newspapers, radio, television, the Internet, media ownership and journalists) since it launched its study in April 2003.  It must be stressed that the Committee is well aware that there are many weaknesses with the available data as well as many gaps.  Part IV of this report will make note of areas where further data and analysis are required.

A. The Print Media

1.                  Daily Newspapers

Canadian newspapers have a long and storied history dating back to the mid-18th century.  The first known Canadian newspaper was the Halifax Gazette, issued on 23 March 1752.  As settlers arrived from Great Britain, France and the United States, the press quickly spread across Canada’s early eastern provinces and, upon the discovery of gold in the 1850s, across its western and northern territories.  By the beginning of the 20th century, there were 112 dailies, with a total circulation of about 650,000.  By 1913, the number of general interest daily newspapers reached its peak at 138.  By 1953, there were just 89 daily newspapers in Canada; however, by the mid-1980s the number of dailies was back up to 110.  Since then, the number of Canadian dailies has fluctuated between 100 and 110, with about five million Canadians receiving a newspaper each day. 

a)         Ownership and Circulation

Table 1 shows the control of Canadian daily newspaper circulation by ownership group for selected years between 1994 and 2003.


Table 1

Canadian Newspaper Ownership as a Percentage of Total Circulation

Selected Years, 1994-2003

Company

1994

1996

1999

2000

2003

Southam

27.0

31.5

     

Hollinger/Southam

   

42.0

   

Hollinger

3.8

9.0

   

1.0

Hollinger/HCI

     

5.6

 

CanWest/Southam

     

28.2

 

CanWest

       

28.5

CanWest/Hollinger (National Post)

     

5.2

 

Quebecor

8.8

9.3

21.3

21.3

21.0

Toronto Sun

11.0

11.3

     

Thomson

20.6

12.3

10.5

3.2

 

BellGlobemedia

     

6.0

6.4

Torstar

   

13.7

14.0

13.8

Gesca

6.0

5.8

5.7

8.9

9.2

Osprey Media

       

6.3

FP (Canadian Newspapers)

       

3.1

GTC Transcontinental

       

3.1

Halifax Herald

   

2.3

2.2

2.2

Irving

2.3

2.3

     

Brunswick

   

2.0

2.0

2.0

Horizon

   

0.5

2.0

1.9

Annex

   

0.3

0.3

0.3

Black Press

   

0.4

0.3

0.3

Nfld. Cap.

 

1.0

     

Armadale

2.3

       

Burgoyne

0.8

       

Independents1

17.4

17.4

1.2

0.9

0.9

Totals

Top three ownership groups

58.6%

55.1%

77%

63.6%

63.3%

Top five ownership groups

73.4%

73.4%

93.2%

78.0%

78.9%

Source:  Canadian Newspaper Association, Presentation before the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communication, 10 June 2003.

1 This category includes Torstar for the years 1994 and 1996.

             

This table demonstrates the extent to which ongoing changes in ownership have triggered changes in the overall control of Canadian newspaper circulation.  In 1999, for example, Hollinger/Southam controlled 42% of the Canadian daily newspaper market.  Following the sale of its major titles, however, Hollinger was down to a one percent market share in 2003.  By contrast, CanWest, which did not own a single newspaper prior to 2000, was Canada’s largest owner of newspapers (in terms of circulation) with a 28.5% market share in 2003.  Quebecor,

meanwhile, more than doubled its presence in the Canadian market between 1996 and 2003, rising from a 9.3% market share to a 21% share during this peri od.

b)         Ownership and Titles

Another way to understand the potential influence of newspaper ownership is by comparing weekly circulation with the number of titles held by an ownership group.  Table 2 shows available data for 2002.  In that year the Osprey Media group, despite ranking sixth in terms of overall circulation, had the most titles with 22.  CanWest and Quebecor, when combined, owned 28 newspapers and had a circulation in excess of 16 million each week.

Text Box: Canada’s Largest Newspaper

There are 102 general interest daily newspapers in Canada. The largest is The Toronto Star with a circulation of about 450,000 copies each weekday, about 660,000 on Saturdays and about 430,000 on Sundays.

Source: www.cna-acj.ca

 

Table 2

Canadian Newspaper Ownership by Number of Titles and Circulation, 2002

Owner

No. of newspapers

Weekly Circulation

CanWest Publications Inc.

Quebecor/Sun Media

Torstar

Power Corp. of Canada

Bell/Globemedia

Osprey Media

Transcontinental

FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership

Halifax Herald Limited

Brunswick News Inc.

Horizon

Hollinger Cdn. N.L.P.

Independents

Black Press

Annex Publ. & Printing

13

15

5

7

1

22

10

2

2

3

5

10

5

1

2

9,293,037

6,855,134

4,486,042

3,012,795

2,085,115

2,047,999

1,007,970

999,937

711,968

650,569

625,179

327,220

313,580

113,507

93,165

Source:  Based on ABC Fas-Fax ended 31 March 2002 or other Publishers’ Statements collected by the CAN [information sent to Committee after the CAN appearance].

       

c)         Readership

Newspaper readership has always been a useful way to gauge the state of the Canadian daily newspaper industry.  Table 3 shows daily newspaper readership for Canada’s top 17 and top 10 dailies, and in selected major markets.  In 1998, for example, about 11.2 million people were reading newspapers each week in Canada’s top 17 markets.  By 2002, this figure was up to 11.6 million readers.

Text Box: Canadian Reading Habits

49% of all Canadians (15+) read a newspaper every day.

55% of all Canadians (15+) read a magazine at least once a month

Source: Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 1998

 

Table 3

Daily Newspaper Readership in Markets Across Canada, 1998 – 2002

Markets

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

Top 17

Top 10

Selected* 

11,252,900

9,802,900

7,580,400

11,291,900

9,865,400

7,645 300

11,340,500

9,906,700

7,666,900

11,759,900

10,284,300

7,979,700

11,610,400

10,158,100

7,924,900

Source:  www.cna-acj.ca; *Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa/Hull, Calgary & Vancouver

             

The next table shows daily newspaper readership by age category for the year 2002.  Overall, 81% of all Canadians reported reading a newspaper in the past week, a readership percentage that did not vary considerably among age ranges.  By contrast, when respondents were asked if they had read a newspaper “yesterday,” 62% of those aged 50 or older reported having done so versus 45% of those between the ages of 18 and 24 and 47% of those in the 25 to 34 age category.

Table 4

2002 Canadian Newspaper Readership by Age

(% of population)

Age

Read yesterday

Last 6/7 days

18-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

65+

45

47

54

62

62

82

77

80

84

80

Average 18+

54

81

Source:  www.nadbank.com/english/study/pdfs/Age.pdf


2. Weekly Newspapers

Another important source of news and information is the weekly newspaper.  In 2001, it was estimated that there were about 1,061 community newspapers in Canada.  A complete set of data for 2004 for all Canadian community newspapers is not available to the Committee at this time.  There are, however, some useful data that are collected by the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA) and its Quebec equivalent, Les Hebdos du Québec.

Table 5 provides a provincial breakdown by ownership group for the 701 (mostly English-language) community newspapers that held a membership with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA) as of February 2004.  The CCNA identifies a “Major Corporate Owner” as a company owning ten or more community newspapers.  This table shows the eight ownership groups that meet this definition.  As can be seen, these eight groups own 276 community newspapers, that is, 39.4% of all CCNA member papers.  This table also shows that 236 CCNA member community newspapers (i.e., 33.7%) are independently owned. 

Table 5

Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA) Membership by Ownership and Province, February 2004

Major Corporate Owners

(10+ papers)

BC

AB

SK

MB

ON

QC2

NS

NB

NL

PE

YT

NT

NU

Totals

Black Press

60

4

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

64

Bowes Publishers Limited

-

31

2

10

24

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

67

CanWest

16

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

16

G.T.C. Transcontinental

-

-

-

5

2

4

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

12

Great West Newspaper

-

10

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

10

Metroland Prtg., Pblg. and Dist.

-

-

-

-

53

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

53

Optipress Inc.

-

-

-

-

-

-

9

-

16

-

-

-

-

25

Osprey Media Group

-

-

-

-

29

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

29

Independent Group (2-9 papers)

12

19

28

4

76

5

9

10

-

2

-

3

2

170

Independent Single (1 paper)

13

40

54

26

77

12

6

4

-

-

1

2

1

236

Unknowns / No Information

-

2

1

-

15

-

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

19

Totals1

101

106

85

45

276

21

24

16

16

2

1

5

3

701

Source:  Canadian Community Newspaper Association (www.ccna.ca/ownership )

1 This table does not include non-CCNA members.  Non-CCNA data are not presently available.

Data for Quebec do not include French-language community newspapers (Source:  www.hebdos.com).

                               

Because most CCNA members are from English-language communities, Table 5 significantly underrepresents the total number of community newspapers in Quebec.  According to Les Hebdos du Québec, there were 177 French-language community newspapers in Quebec in February 2004, most of which were owned by Quebecor or Transcontinental.  Given the small number of independently-owned CCNA members in Quebec (12) these data therefore suggest that the corporate concentration of community newspapers in Quebec may be higher, per capita, than in any other Canadian province or region.   Further research, however, is required to confirm this possibility.

3.         Magazines and Periodicals

Since its earliest days, the Canadian magazine and periodical industry has had to contend with Canada’s geographic proximity to the United States, the vast size of our nation and the relatively small size of our population, which, taken together, make the distribution of print publications both costly and difficult.  It is estimated that just one third of all magazines sold in Canada are produced in Canada.  Furthermore, Time, Reader’s Digest and TV Guide, all of which rely heavily on American editorial material, typically account for nearly half the circulation of Canadian-produced consumer magazines.[5]

a)         Type of Publication

Table 6 shows the most recent Statistics Canada data on Canadian magazines by format.  In 1998-99 there were 2,027 titles of which 631, or about one-third, were “special interest consumer” titles, while 525 (26%) were business or trade publications. 

Table 6

Canadian Magazines by Type

November 2003

Category

Number

General Consumer               

Special Interest Consumer 

Business or Trade               

Farm

Religious              

Scholarly

229

                631

                525

                79

                196

                367

Total

2,027

Source:  Statistics Canada, Periodical Publishing Survey 1998/99, Catalogue Number 87F0005XIE.

     

b)         Ownership

According to Canadian Advertising Rates & Data there were 190 publishers of two or more periodicals in 2003.  The next table shows those eleven companies that held ten or more titles as of December 2003.  The largest of these was Rogers Media Publishing with 66 titles, followed by Business Information Group with 38 and Transcontinental Media with 34.

Table 7

Canadian Publishers of Two or More Periodicals

December 2003

Publisher

Number of Periodicals

Rogers Media Publishing

Business Information Group

Transcontinental Media

Craig Kelman & Associates Ltd.

CLB Media Inc.

Annex Publishing and Printing Inc.

Bowes Publishers Ltd.

TVA Publications

St. Joseph Media

Metroland Printing, Publishing & Distributing Ltd.

NRC Research Press

66

38

34

20

20

19

18

18

16

14

12

Source:  Canadian Advertising Rates & Data.

     

 

B. The Broadcast Media

1.                  Radio

The introduction of radio to Canadians during the early years of the 20th century broke the monopoly previously enjoyed by the print media over the dissemination of news and information.  The first Canadian radio licence was issued in 1919 to XWA, an experimental station in Montreal operated by Canadian Marconi Co.  By 1928, there were at least 60 private radio stations in operation in Canada.  In 1932, in response to a 1929 Royal Commission report on radio broadcasting, a national public radio network operated by the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission was created.  Four years later the CRBC was reorganized and renamed the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

Because the creation of the CRBC and the CBC coincided with the economic depression of the 1930s, the federal government lacked the means to fully fund its network.  It therefore established five stations of its own and used private broadcasters to rebroadcast its network programming to other cities and regions.  This had the effect of entrenching a public-private system, a mix that characterizes the Canadian broadcasting system to this day.

a)         Private Radio Ownership

According to CRTC data, there were 525 private commercial radio stations in Canada in 2002.  The next table shows the extent to which Canadian radio has become concentrated among the top ten ownership groups.  In 2000, ten radio operators owned just over 50% of all commercial radio stations in Canada; by 2002, this was figure was up to 63%.  During this same period, however, the difference in the number of stations owned by each of the top five groups levelled off thanks to Télémedia’s sale of its 81 stations in 2001.

Table 8

Top Ten Commercial Radio Operators

 

No. of Radio Undertakings

Corporation

2000

2001

2002

Corus Entertainment Inc.

Rogers Communications Inc.

Standard Broadcasting Corp.

Astral Radio Inc.

CHUM Limited

Newcap Broadcasting Inc.

Jim Pattison Industries

Maritime Broadcasting Ltd.

Elmer Hildebrand (Golden West)

Rawlco Enterprises Ltd.

Télémédia Inc.

Métromédia CMR Broadcasting

43

29

12

12

28

20

-

19

-

8

76

6

49

29

12

15

29

24

19

21

19

-

81

-

52

49

50

38

29

42

15

22

21

12

-

-

Totals:  Top Ten

253 (51%)

298 (58%)

330 (63%)

Totals:  Canada Commercial Radio

493

511

525

Source:  CRTC Internal Report "Ownership August 2002," CRTC Financial Database
Notes:  Radio undertakings include networks.  Reflects ownership structure according to licensees' filing of annual returns at August 31 of each year.  Corus acquired control of Métromédia CMR Broadcasting Inc. in 2001. Jim Pattison Industries acquired the radio stations of Monarch Broadcasting Ltd. in 2001. Rogers acquired 14 stations and one network from Standard in 2002.  Standard acquired 4 stations from Craig and 64 stations plus 3 networks from Télémédia in 2002. Newcap acquired 15 stations from Standard in 2002.Astral acquired 19 stations and 6 networks from Télémédia in 2002.  In August 2002 eight Astral stations were being held in trust pending their sale:  CKRS, CJRC, CHLN, CHLT, CKTS, CKAC, CHRC and CFOM-FM.  A dash (-) indicates that a company was not in the top 10 in a given year.

 

b)         The National Public Broadcaster

As noted above, Canada’s national public broadcaster – the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Societé Radio-Canada – was launched in 1936.  According to the Broadcasting Act of 1991, the CBC’s mandate is to “provide radio … services incorporating a wide range of programming that informs, enlightens and entertains.”  The Corporation’s programming is expected to “reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences, while serving the special needs of those regions.”  It is also expected to provide programming “in English and in French, reflecting the different needs and circumstances of each official language community, including the particular needs and circumstances of English and French linguistic minorities.”

The networks of CBC/Radio-Canada are available over-the-air on AM, FM, in digital audio (DAB) and via the Internet.  These radio services provide local, regional, national and international news and information, cultural and music programming via four commercial-free radio networks, two in English and two in French.  Most of the Corporation’s news and information programming is provided via Radio One and La première chaîne.

Table 9 provides detail on the size of the CBC/Radio-Canada’s radio distribution network in 2002-2003.  This table shows that Radio One is a network of 36 owned and operated stations and that La première chaîne is comprised of 20 owned and operated stations and two privately affiliated stations.  Several hundred rebroadcasters at locations across the country are also used to ensure that all Canadians have access to these two networks. 

Table 9

The CBC / SRC Radio Network — 2002-2003

 

English

French

 

Radio

One

Radio

Two

Première

chaîne

Chaîne

culturelle

Total

CBC owned stations

CBC rebroadcasters

Private affiliated stations

Private affiliated rebroadcasters

Community owned stations

Community owned rebroadcasters

36

381

0

0

1

46

14

19

0

0

1

9

20

148

2

1

0

8

11

12

0

0

0

0

81

560

2

1

2

63

Total

464

43

179

23

709

Source:  CBC Annual Report, 2002-2003.

 

c)         Radio Listening Data

            Measuring radio audiences is a complex undertaking.  One challenge is the absence of consistent, agreed-upon categories to describe radio station formats.  A second has to do with the fact that radio listening habits, unlike television viewing, cannot be disaggregated easily into discrete program blocks based on genre.  A third challenge has to do with the way Canadian radio regulation has, until recently, precluded the possibility of any privately-operated national radio networks.

Text Box: Canadian Radio Listening Habits

The top five radio formats listened to by Canadians aged 12+ in fall 2001 were:

Adult Contemporary – 25.4% 
Gold/Oldies/Rock  –14.7%
CBC/Radio-Canada – 11.9%
Talk – 11.4%
Country – 10.7%

Source: Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 87F007XPE

            Under the circumstances, it is extremely difficult to talk about the scope of Canadian radio news and information and the extent to which such programming attracts an audience.  That said, since CBC/Radio-Canada is unquestionably Canada’s leading producer of local, regional and national news and information programming for radio, it is useful to look at its recent audience shares, particularly Radio One and La première chaîne, both of which produce large amounts of news and information programming.

            Table 10 shows CBC/Radio-Canada audience share data for 1999 through 2003.  These data show that the CBC’s Radio One service has consistently enjoyed an average listening share of about 9% since fall 2000.  As for La première chaîne, it has experienced strong audience growth in recent times, rising from an average share of 6.9% in fall 2000 to 11.5% in spring 2003.

Table 10

CBC/Radio-Canada Audience Shares, 1999-2003

 

English

French

Radio

One

Radio

Two

Total

Première

Chaîne

Chaîne

culturelle

Total

Fall 1999

Fall 2000

Fall 2001

Spring 2002

Spring 2003

7.4

8.7

9.2

9.4

9.2

3.4

3.6

3.5

3.6

3.5

10.8

12.3

12.7

13.0

12.8

7.9

6.9

8.6

8.7

11.5

1.9

2.0

2.5

2.1

2.2

9.8

8.9

11.1

10.8

13.7

Source:  CBC Annual Reports, 2001-2002, 2002-2003

            To put the above audience share data into perspective, it is useful to look at weekly listening shares.  Table 11 presents the weekly reach for CBC/Radio-Canada for the period 1994 through 2003.  This table shows that CBC’s English-language network, Radio One, averaged about three million weekly listeners in fall 2002.  This represents an increase of about 300,000 listeners from fall 1994.  As for Radio-Canada’s French-language network, La première chaîne, its average listening audience reached a ten year high at 810,000 in fall 2002; that is, about 150,000 more than the average listening audience that the network was attracting prior to 2001.  

 

Table 11

CBC/Radio-Canada Audience Shares, fall 1994 - fall 2002

Canadians Aged 12+ (thousands)

 

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

English Radio

Radio One

Radio Two

2,687

1,255

2,805

1,308

2,636

1,224

2,592

1,149

2,865

1,286

2,762

1,202

2,863

1,221

3,167

1,212

3,046

1,263

French Radio

Première chaîne

Chaîne culturelle

662

341

692

372

619

332

641

336

665

232

653

260

625

239

740

258

810

307

Source:  CBC Annual Report, 2002-2003

                     

 

2.                  Television

Canadian television made its debut with the launch of CBC stations in Montreal and Toronto in 1952.  At first, regulations limited each Canadian market to one station, public or private, which was expected to broadcast the national programming provided by the CBC.  It soon became apparent, however, that Canadians wanted more choice in programming and channels.  As a result, by 1961 there were 68 television stations in Canada, of which nine belonged to the CBC/Radio-Canada and 59 to private companies.

A second national television network, CTV (the Canadian Television Network), was launched in 1961.  Today, Canadian private conventional television is organized into national and regional networks.  As of March 2004, there were five national networks, three English-language (CBC, CTV and CanWest Global Communications) and two French-language (Radio-Canada and TVA).  There were also two English-language regional networks, operated by CHUM Limited and Craig broadcasting, one French-language network (TQS) operated by Cogeco and five provincial educational networks (Knowledge Network, Access, TVOntario, TFO, and Télé-Québec).

Apart from Canada’s conventional networks is a dizzying array of specialty television services.  In the early 1980s Canada’s broadcasting regulator – the Canadian Radio-television and telecommunications Commission (CRTC) – started granting licences for subscription television services, pay per view programming and, most recently, for digital and high definition television.  By December 2003 there were more than 625 licensed specialty services available to Canadians, with programming ranging from news, weather, music and sports to niche services such as home improvement, travel and human sexuality.  As Table 15 shows, only 29 of these offer news or information programming.

 

a)         Trends in Ownership

As with newspapers and radio, there has been considerable consolidation of television station ownership over time.  Table 12 shows the extent to which there has been a consolidation of television station ownership since 1970.  It reveals that the top five television ownership groups owned 68% of all private television stations in 2000, an increase of nearly 40% from 1970.  It also shows that single-station ownership is a rarity today, with just six such enterprises in 2000.

Table 12

 Consolidation of Conventional Television Station Ownership

1970-2000

 

1970

1980

1990

2000

Private TV Stations

63

88

100

100

Single-station owners

Total owners

30

41

25

43

13

31

6

20

% owned by top 5

% single-station owner

28.6

47.6

30.7

28.4

48.0

13.0

68.0

6.0

Source:   Canadian Conference of the Arts


b)         Viewing Share by Ownership

In the early days of television Canada’s conventional (i.e., over-the-air) television networks enjoyed impressive audience shares, ranging from 100% in the early years, to shares – depending upon the market in question – around 35% to 50%.  Today, audience shares for Canada’s conventional broadcasters are much smaller, thanks in large part to the proliferation of channel choice.  In 1979-80, for example, CTV had an audience share of 30%; by 2002, it was down to 14.9%.  Similarly, Radio-Canada enjoyed an audience share in Quebec of about 40% in 1969; in 2000, its share stood at 12%. 

To combat audience fragmentation, the majority of Canada’s conventional broadcasters have applied for (or acquired) specialty services in recent years.  CTV’s parent company BellGlobemedia, for example, now owns eight specialty services and several digital channels.   CBC/Radio-Canada, meanwhile, operates two all-news channels and two digital services. 

Table 13 breaks down Canadian television viewing by major ownership groups and audience share for the period 1997 through 2002.  Overall, it can be seen that since 1999 nearly 50% of all television programming watched by Canadians in British Columbia, the Prairies, Ontario, the Atlantic Region and in the Territories has been delivered by a Canadian-owned broadcasting service.  In 2002, the top ownership group by cumulative share was BellGlobemedia with 19.2%, CanWest Media was second at 14.7% and CHUM was third with a cumulative audience share of 7.6%. 

In Quebec, several notable trends can also be observed.  Overall, nearly 71% of all television viewed in Quebec in 2002 was supplied by Canadian-owned broadcasting services.  The lead ownership group, in terms of cumulative share, was Quebecor at 30.7%, CBC/Radio-Canada was second at 15.2% and Cogeco was third with a cumulative audience share of 14.2%.

To sum up, the top three ownership groups in regions outside Quebec had a cumulative audience share of about 42% in 2002; in Quebec, however, this same measure of market share stood at just over 60%.


Table 13

% Viewing Share for Canada’s Major Television Groups

1998-2002, Fall - All Persons 2+, 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.

 

BC, Prairies, Ontario, Atlantic Provinces and Territories

Province of Quebec1

97

98

99

00

01

02

97

98

99

00

01

02

Bell Globemedia Inc. (CTV)2

CTV Conventional

Specialty and digital services

15.9

0.5

14.3

0.6

15.0

0.6

14.2

4.0

14.2

4.2

14.9

4.3

0.7

-

0.6

-

1.0

-

0.9

2.4

3.6

2.5

3.5

3.8

Total

16.4

14.9

15.6

18.2

18.4

19.2

0.7

0.6

1.0

3.3

6.1

7.3

CanWest Media

Global conventional stations

Specialty and digital services

9.1

-

8.1

0.5

7.4

0.8

13.5

1.1

13.2

1.6

13.3

1.4

1.7

-

1.8

-

1.5

-

1.6

-

1.8

0.1

1.9

0.2

Total

9.2

8.6

8.2

14.6

14.8

14.7

1.7

1.8

1.5

1.6

1.9

2.1

CHUM

CHUM Conventional stations

Specialty and digital services

4.1

1.6

4.2

1.8

4.3

1.7

4.4

2.3

4.5

2.5

4.9

2.7

0.2

0.6

0.2

0.7

0.1

0.7

0.1

0.9

0.1

0.7

0.2

0.9

Total

5.7

6.0

6.0

6.7

7.0

7.6

0.8

0.9

0.8

1.0

0.8

1.1

CBC / Radio-Canada

Conventional English stations

English specialty /digital

Conventional French stations

French specialty service

8.4

0.9

0.6

0.1

7.2

0.9

0.6

-

6.0

0.7

0.6

0.1

6.1

1.0

0.5

0.1

5.7

1.0

0.5

0.1

5.8

0.9

0.4

0.1

1.9

0.2

14.6

1.1

1.6

0.1

15.7

1.5

1.2

0.1

15.2

1.2

1.3

0.1

13.6

1.2

1.1

0.2

14.3

2.7

1.1

0.2

12.0

1.9

Total

10.0

8.7

7.4

7.7

7.3

7.2

17.8

18.9

17.7

16.2

18.3

15.2

Craig Media3

Craig conventional stations

Digital services

1.0

1.3

1.5

1.4

1.1

0.1

1.0

0.1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Total

       

1.2

1.1

-

-

-

-

-

-

Vidéotron4

TVA Conventional stations

Specialty service

0.1

-

0.1

-

0.1

-

0.1

-

-

-

 

33.7

0.1

32.5

0.3

31.2

0.5

30.4

0.6

29.0

0.6

 

Total

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

-

 

33.8

32.8

31.7

31.0

29.6

 

Quebecor4,6

Conventional stations

Specialty service

-

-

-

0.1

0.1

-

-

7.0

6.6

8.1

9.5

9.3

29.8

0.9

Total

-

-

-

0.1

0.1

-

7.0

6.6

8.1

9.5

9.3

30.7

Cogeco5,6

Conventional stations

-

-

-

-

-

-

4.2

5.9

5.8

5.4

4.8

14.4

TOTAL VIEWING SHARES (for Canadian-owned broadcast services)

Conventional stations

39.2

35.8

34.9

40.3

39.3

40.3

59.8

59.0

58.3

57.4

59.2

62.9

Specialty and digital services

3.2

3.8

3.9

8.5

9.5

9.5

2.0

2.6

2.5

5.2

6.8

7.9

All services

42.4

39.6

38.8

48.8

48.8

49.8

61.8

61.6

60.8

62.6

66.0

70.8

Source:  CRTC, Broadcasting Policy Monitoring Report 2003

1 Although viewed across Canada, the majority of viewers of Canada’s French-language networks live in Quebec.  To ensure a meaningful analysis of the data it is industry practice that audience share data for Quebec be presented under a separate heading.

2 BCE Inc. holds a 68.5% voting interest in Bell Globemedia Inc; the 1997 viewing shares includes Baton stations and CTV

Network (Baton acquired control of CTV Network in October 31, 1998)

3 Manalta Investments Company Ltd. (Craig Family) holds 87.71% of the Voting interest of Craig Media Inc.

4 Quebecor inc. directly and indirectly owns and control 54.72% of the voting interest of Quebecor Media Inc.

5 Cogeco inc. holds through subsidiaries 60% of the voting interest of TQS inc.

6 TVA conventional television stations & LCN were controlled by Vidéotron from 1997 to 2001.  Quebecor acquired controlling interest of these services in 2002. TQS inc. conventional stations were controlled by Quebecor from 1997 to2001.  Cogeco acquired controlling interest in 2002. See Chart 3.27 in the CRTC’s Broadcasting Policy Monitoring Report 2003 for more details.

                           

c)         Viewing Preferences

According to Statistics Canada news and public affairs programming accounts for about one quarter of all television viewed by Canadians.  Table 14 shows Canadians’ television viewing preferences in fall 2002.  This table reveals that children and teens watched large amounts of drama and comedy, whereas adults (ages 18 and older) more evenly divided their viewing time between news and public affairs shows and drama.  Overall, drama obtained the largest share of Canadians’ (ages 2+) total viewing time at 27.1%, followed closely by news and public affairs at 25.2% and variety and games at 11.5%.

Table 14

Television Viewing Time by Program Type, Age and Gender (%)

English and French Television, Fall 2002 (4 weeks in November)

Program Type

Canadian programs

All ages 2 +

Foreign programs

All ages 2+

 Selected Totals

All ages (2+)

Children

2-11

Teens

12-17

Men

(18+)

Women (18+)

News and public affairs

Documentary

Drama

Comedy

Variety and games

Sports

VCR

Academic Instruction

Social and/or Recreational

Music and dance

Other programs

Religion

18.9

1.5

5.5

1.5

3.5

5.5

0.0

1.6

0.4

0.7

0.0

0.2

6.3

2.1

21.6

9.9

8.1

2.8

4.5

1.9

0.8

0.3

2.3

0.2

25.2

3.6

27.1

11.4

11.5

8.2

4.5

3.6

1.2

1.0

2.3

0.4

6.0

1.5

38.0

15.8

7.2

3.7

11.2

2.4

10.1

0.8

3.0

0.3

9.9

1.9

30.3

23.5

11.3

7.6

6.9

2.6

0.5

2.8

2.4

0.1

27.1

4.1

23.0

10.4

11.3

14.0

3.9

2.5

0.3

0.9

2.3

0.3

28.6

3.7

28.1

10.1

12.5

4.6

3.7

4.7

0.5

0.9

2.1

0.5

Overall

39.3

60.7

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Source:  Statistics Canada, CANSIM, table 502-0004, Catalogue no. 87F0006XIE


d)         News and Information Programming

The fragmentation of audience share among broadcasters has had important implications for the availability of news and information to Canadians.  While some specialty channels offer some news or information programming, most do not.  This means that viewers now have many more viewing alternatives during traditional news hours than they once did. 

Table 15 provides a summary of television services available to Canadians that offer at least some news and information programming.  Seen in this light it is clear that Canadians have access to a relatively diverse range of news and information sources.  There are, for example, four national all-news Canadian services (Newsworld, RDI, Newsnet and LCN), several American (e.g., CNN, CNBC, CNN Headline News) and a modest number of international news sources (e.g., TV5, BBC World, etc.).  As for local news, there are about 130 local stations situated in cities and regions across Canada .

 

e)         Viewing Data

It would be useful to talk about the total number of hours of local, regional and national news produced and broadcast by Canadian television services.  It would be equally helpful to talk about the size of the audiences for such programming.  Unfortunately, Canadian news and information programming is not systematically measured or reported at this level of detail.  For the time being, it is worth making note of available summary data on local news audience shares in major markets across Canada collected by the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement.


Table 15

Television Services Available to Canadians with News and Information Programming Content

Conventional (over-the-air) stations

English

French

Other

Totals

CBC (Owned and operated) (local)

CBC Private affiliates (local)

Private commercial (CTV, Global, etc) (local)

Educational (provincial)

Native (regional)

15

12

68

4

10

8

5

19

3

-

-

-

4

-

-

23

17

91

7

10

Subtotal

109

35

4

148

American stations (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS)

39

-

-

39

Totals – All available conventional stations

148

35

4

187

Community cable channels

198

35

-

251

Canadian English-language specialty services

Type of service

Newsworld

NewsNet

CPAC

Pulse24

ROBTV

Country Canada1

IChannel1

MSNBC Canada1

Weather Network

Life Network

News and information

News headlines

Public and parliamentary affairs

News and information, Ontario

News, business

Rural information, entertainment

Public affairs

US and Canadian news

Information, weather

Documentary and information

Total

9

Canadian French-language specialty services

Type of service

RDI (Reseau de l’information)

LCN (Le Canal Nouvelles)

TV5

MétéoMédia

News and information

News and information

Canadian/international news and information

Information, weather

Total

4

Authorized foreign services1

Type of service

English

French

Other

BBC World (UK)

Cable News Network (US)

Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network (US)

Consumer News and Business Channel  (US)

CNN Headline News (US)

EuroNews (France) 1

Radio-France outre-mer (France) 1

Network Ten (Australia) 1

TV3 (Republic of Ireland) 1

TV3 (New Zealand) 1

Other foreign language services1

News and information

News and information

Public affairs, news

News, business

News headlines

News and information

News and information

News and information

News and information

News and information

News and information

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

6

Totals

8

2

6

Source:  CRTC, Broadcasting Policy Monitoring Report 2003

1 Indicates services that are authorized exclusively for digital distribution.  All other services are eligible for analog or digital carriage

2 Foreign services receive authorization to be distributed in Canada from the CRTC.  Since there exists no obligation to distribute any of these services several are not at present distributed by any of Canada’s cable or satellite services providers.  

Table 16 shows the top supper hour news programs for the week of 12-18 January 2004 in Vancouver, Toronto, the province of Ontario, among French private television viewers in Quebec and among all English private television viewers in Canada.  (Data are not available for CBC/Radio-Canada at this time.) This table shows that Global’s local and national newscasts were the most watched news programs in the Vancouver market during this particular measurement period.  By contrast, CTV’s early evening newscast garnered the largest average audiences for local news in Ontario and TVA’s local news programming was even more dominant among French television viewers in Quebec.  Across Canada, CTV’s supper hour news programs made it the most watched producer of local, English-language news.

Table 16

Top Supper Hour News Programs Watched in Selected Canadian Television Markets

12-18 January 2004

Market

Rank1

Program

Broadcaster

Days of week

Start

End

Audience2

Vancouver

3

5

9

Global News Hour

Global National News

Global Early News

Global (CHAN)

Global (CHAN)

Global (CHAN)

MTWTFSS

MTWTF

MTWTF

18:00

17:30

17:00

19:00

18:00

17:30

276,000

250,000

207,000

Toronto

19

CTV Evening News

CTV (CFTO)

MTWTF

18:00

19:00

301,000

Ontario

9

CTV Evening News

CTV Ontario

MTWTF

18:00

19:00

642,000

Quebec (French)

13

Le TVA 18 heures

TVA

MTWTF

18:00

18:30

848,000

Canada (English)

9

CTV Evening News

CTV

MTWTF

18:00

18:30

1,558,000

Source:  www.bbm.ca

1 The news programs listed in this table had average audiences that placed them (in the markets indicated) among the top 20 shows (news and non-news) broadcast between 12 and 18 January 2004.  Data on programs that ranked lower are not available to the Committee at this time.

2 Audience estimates represent the average audience each minute for viewers aged 2+ who tuned in during the time that the program aired.

The next table shows the audience shares for the five all-news specialty services that were most widely available to Canadians during the period 1998-2003.  This table reveals that all-news channels are watched by a very small percentage of Canadians.  In 2002-03, for example, the American service, CNN, had an average share of 2.7, Newsworld was at 1.1 and Newsnet was at 0.5.  In the French-language market, RDI was at 1.9 in 2002 and LCN’s market share was 0.9.  Major world events, such as the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 and the Gulf War of 2003 are the probable reasons why CNN and RDI experienced notable spikes in viewing share during this period. 

Table 17

Audience Shares for All-News Television Channels Available to Canadians, 1998-2003

 

English-language

French-language

Year

Newsworld

Newsnet

CNN

Year

RDI

LCN

1998-99

1999-00

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

1.0

1.0

1.1

1.1

1.1

0.4

0.5

0.5

0.6

0.5

1.7

0.8

0.8

2.3

2.7

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

1.5

1.2

1.2

2.7

1.9

0.3

0.5

0.6

0.6

0.9

Source:  CBC Research; CRTC Broadcasting Policy Monitoring Report, 2003

Note:  English-language viewing data in this table reflect a 12-month measurement period (September to August), whereas the French-language data reflect four-week fall measurement period. 

 

f)          Expenditures on Canadian News and Information Programming

Another useful way to understand Canadian news production is by looking at how much is spent by Canadian broadcasters on news and information programming each year.  The CRTC reports each year on expenditures by Canadian conventional broadcasters on Canadian television programming by genre.  Table 18 shows conventional broadcaster expenditures for the period 1998 through 2002.  These totals reveal that more than 50% of Canadian broadcasters’ expenditures on Canadian television programming are typically spent on Canadian news and information.  In 2002, for example, 54% (i.e., $654 million) of all conventional expenditures on Canadian television programming were spent on Canadian news and information. 

Table 18

Expenditures by Canadian Conventional Television Broadcasters on Canadian News and Information Programming, 1998-2002 ($ thousands)

 

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

English-language television

CBC Television

Private Commercial

106,395

255,489

145,685

267,169

140,133

258,074

96,343

269,645

230,392

288,088

French-language television

SRC and Private

119,008

146,195

165,367

129,927

135,700

Total Canadian programming expenditures

Canadian News & information

480,892

559,049

563,574

495,915

654,180

All Canadian programming

983,341

1,046,139

1,030,122

980,169

1,199,115

Source:  CRTC, Broadcasting Policy Monitoring Report 2003

             

C.        Wire Services

The invention of the telegraph provided Canadian newspapers (and, later on, broadcasters) with a regular supply of news from outside their immediate geographical area.  Almost from the inception of the telegraph in Canada, the major telegraph companies controlled newsgathering and were, as such, the principal collectors and distributors of Canadian news.  As for foreign news, Canadian Pacific Telegraphs contracted in 1894 with Associated Press (the major American news agency) and started distributing selected AP news items for distribution to Canadian newspapers.

Text Box: The Telegraph

The telegraph was conceived in 1837 (in North America by Samuel Morse, and in Europe by the English partnership of William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone) as a way to electrically transmit encoded messages. 

In Canada, the first telegraph company was the Toronto, Hamilton and Niagara Electro-Magnetic Telegraph Co, formed in 1846.  The largest company in Canada during these early years, however, was the Montreal Telegraph Co. (founded in 1847).

In 1907 Canadian Pacific Telegraphs attempted to quadruple prices charged for its news service to three Winnipeg newspapers (the Manitoba Free Press, the Winnipeg Tribune and the Winnipeg Telegram).  In response, these three papers joined to form an independent news service, the Western Associated Press (WAP).  Soon thereafter conflicts with newspapers in other Canadian regions over telegraph rates as well as the content of the news prompted Canadian Pacific to abandon the field of news gathering and selection altogether.  This action established the principle of the common carrier; that is, accepting for transmission all messages without interference upon payment of a fair rate .

With the financial help of the Dominion government, Canada’s press barons created The Canadian Press (CP) in 1917 as a means to receive news of Canada’s troops in Europe, as well as to provide bulletins from Ottawa.  It was soon recognized, however, that the CP was equally useful for the circulation of Canadian news stories among Canadian newspapers.  Indeed, the challenges of covering a country the size of Canada, with six time zones and its small population, was well beyond what any single newspaper could then manage.

In 1923, The Canadian Press was reformed under an act of Parliament into the cooperative that it is today.  At first, it served Canada’s newspapers; later on, it started to provide news to Canada’s radio and television broadcasters. 

Today, CP, along with its Broadcast News (BN) division, reaches across Canada from the largest cities to the smallest towns providing Canadians with local, regional, national and international news stories.  CP provides service to about 100 Canadian daily newspapers in both official languages.  These same newspapers voluntarily contribute their own news and pictures to the service, making CP the only major news agency in the world to rely so heavily on such contributions. Broadcast News, meanwhile, provides service in English and, through Nouvelles Télé-Radio (NTR), in French to about 500 television and radio broadcasters.

In 1996, the future of The Canadian Press seemed at risk when the Southam newspaper group announced that it was pulling its 18 dailies out of the cooperative and that it intended to expand its own news distribution service, the Southam News Service.  Fearing the collapse of CP, other members soon started to issue their own notices.  The Southam group eventually backed down, however, after CP agreed to restructure membership fees and to reduce the size and costs of operating the cooperative. 

In 2003, concerns over the future of CP resurfaced when CanWest established CanWest News Service and a national news centre in Winnipeg to provide national and international news to its 11 daily newspapers and its television operations in Canada.  To date, CanWest has not withdrawn its newspapers from CP; however, the National Post (CanWest’s largest newspaper) recently notified CP that it may leave the cooperative on 1 July 2004.[6]

Today, about one-third to one-half of news and editorial content found in Canadian newspapers comes from news agencies, wire services or press associations.[7]  Apart from CP and the CanWest News Service, United Press International, a US-based private company, maintains a small subscriber list and staff in Canada. Also widely circulated are the services of large US newspapers such as the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.  The Associated Press (US), Reuters (British) and Agence France-Presse connect with the CP through exchange agreements.  In addition, Canadian media are served by some specialized services, such as the Bloomberg financial services.

 

D.        The Internet

In the early 1990s a mere handful of Canadian students, academics and public and private sector researchers had Internet access.  By 1994, awareness of the Internet and its potential to revolutionize mass communications had hit the mainstream.  By 1998, about 13% of Canadian households had an Internet connection.  Today, more than 62% of all Canadian households have at least one Internet user and 71% of those users spend at least 15 minutes online each day.

In 2002, Canadian Internet users with a high-speed connection exceeded cable modem users for the first time.  High-speed access allows for faster download times when accessing audio, video and multimedia applications.  It also allows users to browse more quickly among the many billions of websites that are now online worldwide. 

A large and diverse range of news and information generated by both new media and traditional media sources can be found online.  By the late 1990s most of the traditional print and broadcast media outlets were providing online news, information and entertainment services.  While most of these services are being offered at no cost to the user, certain newspapers (e.g., The National Post, The Wall Street Journal) charge a subscription fee for full access to the contents of their print editions. 

Text Box: Canada’s First Online Newspaper

The Halifax Daily News in 1994 became the first Canadian daily to launch an online edition of its newspaper.

Source: www.cna-acj.ca.

  

a)                  Internet Usage Data

In recent years Statistics Canada has been reporting on Canadian Internet usage activities.  Table 19 shows the frequency with which users in Canadian households with Internet access go online for specific forms of news and information.  This table shows that Canadians are increasingly going online for a range of news and information services.  In 2000, for example, 20.4% of Canadian households using the Internet from home reported using it to obtain news; by 2002, this figure was up to 27.2%.

Text Box: The Estimated Internet Population

In 2002 there were 605.6 million Internet users worldwide, of which 16.8 million were in Canada.

Source: www.nua.com

 

Table 19

Purpose of Internet Use to Access Information in Canadian Households with Internet Access, 2000 to 2002 (%)

 

2000

2001

2002

View the news

Government Information

Medical / health information

Formal education / training

Listening to the radio

Sports information

Financial information

Travel information / arrangements

21.9

18.9

22.9

19.0

9.3

17.3

18.5

20.4

26.2

25.6

30.1

22.9

12.3

22.1

22.8

27.4

27.2

29.2

32.8

24.3

12.3

23.8

23.5

30.4

Source:  Statistics Canada, CANSIM, table 358-0006 and Catalogue no. 56F004MIE.

The next table shows the ten most popular broadcaster websites among anglophone and francophone Canadians during the month of November 2002.  This table reveals that five of the top ten sites visited by anglophones during the survey period were Canadian, including the CBC, which ranked second with 1.13 million visits.  As for the most popular broadcaster websites visited by francophones, six of the top ten were Canadian, including Radio-Canada, which placed first with 1.1 million visits in November 2002.

Table 20

Most Popular Broadcaster Websites Among Canadians, November 2002

Anglophones

Francophones

Website

Number of times accessed

Website

Number of times accessed

msnbc.com

cbc.ca

cnn.com

the weathernetwork.com

ytv.com

discovery.com

muchmusic.com

bbc.co.uk

tsn.ca

mtv.com

1,248,000

1,137,000

1,000,000

679,000

661,000

597,000

560,000

553,000

551,000

355,000

radio-canada.ca

meteomedia.com

rds.ca

tva.ca

tqs.qc.ca

musiqueplus.com

cnn.com

teletoon.com

pbs.org

foxkids.com

1,097,000

766,000

622,000

339,000

262,000

252,000

188,000

177,000

70,000

10,000

Source:  CBC Research, Media Metrix Canada

         

 

E.  Ownership Structures

1.                  Laws and Limitations

The changing ownership structure of the Canadian media has been an issue of concern for some time.  For example:

·                    In 1970, the Special Senate Committee on Mass Media expressed concern about increased cross-ownership among the Canadian media and of media ownership by non-media conglomerates.

·                    In 1981, the Royal Commission on Newspapers concluded that cross-ownership was a matter for concern in instances where cross-owned media were operating in the same market.

·                    In 1982, the federal government issued an Order in Council Direction, which stipulated that the CRTC could not issue or renew licences to applicants effectively controlled, directly or indirectly, by the owner of a daily newspaper whose newspaper circulation covered a major area served (or to be served) by the broadcaster.  This Order was rescinded in 1985.

·                    In 1986, the Task Force on Broadcasting Policy noted with concern that Canada did not have a media concentration policy and called on the government to issue a clear statement.

·                    In June 2003, a House of Commons Heritage Committee study of the Canadian broadcasting system concluded that the potential problems with cross-media ownership make it essential “that the Government issue a clear and unequivocal policy concerning cross-media ownership.” 

            Similar media ownership concerns have also been voiced in other countries.  Indeed, like Canada, many nations have had to address the implications of media mergers and the gradual concentration of media ownership.  While almost all advanced democracies include a traditional or constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press, it is not uncommon for restrictions to exist with respect to concentration, cross-media ownership and foreign ownership.  These restrictions, however, vary considerably by type of media and from one country to the next.  With this in mind, tables 21-23 provide summary information on media laws and limitations in Canada, France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.  The information in these tables was collected in November-December 2003 by the Committee’s research staff.

 

a)         Horizontal Concentration

Horizontal concentration refers to the acquisition of similar businesses by a single firm.  Table 21 shows horizontal concentration rules in Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States.  As can be seen, all of these countries have at least some limits in place to prevent horizontal concentration among broadcasters within a single market.  Only France, however, places limits on the total circulation of daily newspapers owned.


Table 21

Horizontal Concentration Rules in Selected Jurisdictions

Canada

France

United Kingdom

United States

Australia

Broadcasters, in general, on a case-by-case basis (the CRTC will approve mergers or issue licences with consideration of the financial viability of incumbents).

Restrictions on multiple radio ownership within a single market (depending on the size of the market in terms of number of stations).

Holding and licence limits for over-the-air television, national and regional

Licence limits for digital and cable television

Holding limits for satellite television

Limits on total reach of terrestrial radio networks owned

Limits on total circulation of daily newspapers owned

Restrictions on radio multiplex licences

Possible restrictions on local radio (conventional and digital) licences depending on factors including overlapping coverage areas, audience size, number of services provided in the area and, in the case of conventional radio only, ownership of newspapers or regional Channel-3 services covering the same area.

Top four national broadcasters may not merge.

Limit on multiple television ownership in local markets (based on market size).

Limit on radio ownership in local markets (based on market size).

Limit on national television ownership (a company can own television stations reaching no more than x% of U.S. television households, where the June 2003 proposal was to increase x from 35% to 45% and Congress has set a compromise of 39%).

A person may not control broadcasting licences whose combined licence area includes more than 75% of the population of Australia.

A person may not control more than one television licence within a licence area.

A person may not control more than two radio licences within a licence area.

b)         Vertical Integration and Cross-Media Ownership

            Vertical integration occurs when a firm in a given industry acquires firms in other stages of the same industry (e.g., when a broadcaster buys a production house).  Cross-media ownership occurs when a firm in one industry acquires a firm from another (e.g., when a broadcaster buys a newspaper).  Table 22 shows the extent to which limits are placed on vertical integration and cross-media ownership in Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States.  This table reveals that Canadian media ownership limits are determined on a case-by-case basis by the CRTC and the Competition Bureau.  By contrast, France, the UK, the US and Australia have imposed bans, conditions or prohibitions that to varying degrees predetermine whether certain media acquisitions can be made.

Table 22

Vertical and Cross-Media Ownership Rules in Selected Jurisdictions

Canada

France

United Kingdom

United States

Australia

Relatively unlimited (CRTC examines broadcasters on a case-by-case basis; conditions of licence may require separation of editorial operations of the broadcaster and newspaper).

Competition Act

(The Competition Bureau examines acquisitions on a case-by-case basis).

The federal government by Order in Council can impose limits on media ownership.

Allowed conditionally across two sectors out of four (television, radio, cable, daily newspapers) at the national and regional levels.

Competition law

Ban on cross-ownership of newspapers (with more than 20% of total circulation) and Channel-3 services; restrictions on participation therein.


May be prohibited between radio and newspapers or radio and TV at the discretion of the Sec. of State upon consideration of overlap of coverage areas, audience size, etc.

Public-interest considerations allow the Secretary of State to intervene in media mergers and cross-media mergers posing a threat to plurality of ownership, diversity of content, freedom of expression.

Prohibited in small markets (1 to 3 television stations), although waivers are possible.

Some allowed in medium markets (4 to 8 television stations).

Allowed in large markets (9 or more television stations).

Federal Trade Commission (examines possible anti-trust implications of media mergers).

A person must not control (have more than a 15% interest in) more than one of the three basic media (television, radio, newspaper) in the same licence area.

Trade Practices Act

 

c)         Foreign Ownership

            Foreign ownership of the Canadian media has always been a contentious matter.  In broadcasting, the existing rules allow a non-Canadian to own up to 46.7% of a Canadian broadcaster; for the print media, this limit stands at 25%.

            In recent years, certain groups have argued that existing foreign ownership restrictions imposed on Canadian media companies should be lifted or reduced in order to decrease the cost of capital for these firms.  Others have countered, however, that such action would not only place editorial decisions in the hands of foreigners, but would eventually undermine the rules, regulations and support programs that ensure the production of distinctly Canadian television shows.

            So great has been the divide between these two camps that in 2003 the House of Commons Industry Committee argued that the government should “entirely remove existing minimum Canadian ownership requirements” applicable to telecommunications carriers and to broadcast distribution undertakings whereas the House of Commons Heritage Committee recommended that “existing foreign ownership limits for broadcasting and telecommunications be maintained.”  The government has not yet announced its position.

            The next table shows how Canada’s foreign ownership rules compare with France, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States.  This table shows that foreign ownership rules vary considerably among these five countries, with stronger limits in some instances, and no restrictions whatsoever in other cases. 

Table 23

Foreign Ownership Rules in Selected Jurisdictions

Canada

France

United Kingdom

United States

Australia

Broadcasting Act limits non-Canadian ownership (20% directly, 33.3 % indirectly)

Newspapers (effectively limited to 25% foreign ownership by Income Tax Act)

Non-Europeans limited to 20% in radio, TV and print, subject to reciprocity.

Non-EEA residents no longer disqualified from holding broadcasting licences.

Broadcasters (which in the U.S. means over-the-air radio and television broadcasters) have a 20% limit on foreign ownership.

Cable, DTH, specialty channels and newspapers do not have restrictions.

All proposals for direct investment in media by foreigners are subject to review.

Limits exist on the proportion of a broadcaster owned by any individual broadcaster and by the total of foreigners with an interest in the broadcaster.

Foreigners may not be  in a position to control a broadcast licence.


2. Overall Trends in Canadian Ownership

a) Horizontal Concentration

The horizontal concentration of Canada’s print and broadcast media was demonstrated earlier on in tables 1, 5, 7, 8 and 12.  Some of these tables also highlighted the extent to which the owners of Canada’s newspapers, radio stations and television outlets have consolidated their holdings over time.  Overall, it was seen that CanWest dominates the daily newspaper market, Rogers Media Publishing is a leading magazine publisher, Corus leads radio, Bell Globemedia has the largest share of the English television market and Quebecor leads in the French television market.

 

b)         Cross-Media Ownership

Another way to understand the concentration of Canadian media holdings is by looking at the types of media owned by the major ownership groups.  Table 24 shows the extent of Canadian cross-media ownership in July 2003.  As can be seen, Quebecor was the unparalleled leader with holdings in most of the media sectors listed.  A close second was BCE, with major media holdings in most areas, apart from radio and cable.  At the other end of the continuum were groups whose Canadian holdings were more focussed on a single medium, such as print in the case of Transcontinental and Power Corp and broadcasting in the case of Astral, CHUM, Corus and Craig.  It is worth noting that several companies, including BCE, Cogeco, Corus, Craig, Quebecor, Rogers and Shaw also operate Internet service providers.


Table 24

Canadian Media Cross-Ownership, July 2003

 

Astral

BCE

Brunswick

CanWest

CHUM

Cogeco

Corus

Craig

Power Corp.

Quebecor

Rogers

Shaw

Torstar

Transcon
-tinental

Print Media

Dailies

 

x

x

x

       

x

x

   

x

x

Weeklies

   

x

x

         

x

   

x

x

Magazines

 

x

             

x

x

 

x

x

Broadcast Media

Television:  Conventional

 

x

 

x

x

x

x

x

 

x

x

x

   

Television:  Pay and Specialty

x

x

 

x

x

x

x

x

 

x

x

x

x

 

Production1

 

x

 

x

x

x

x

   

x

x

 

x

 

Radio

x

 

x

x

x

x

x

x

 

x

x

     

Distribution

Cable

         

x

     

x

x

x

   

Satellite

 

x

                 

x

   

Other2

 

x

     

x

x

x

 

x

x

x

   

Other Media

Internet3

x

x

ü

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

 

x

x

Source:  Information from corporations.

1Production refers to facilities for making television programs

2Includes Internet service

3Web portals and Web sites

c)         Market Share

The next table presents the market shares (by ownership group) for daily newspapers and supper hour newscasts in nine local Canadian markets in 2002.  If one excludes anglophone Montreal, Regina and Saskatoon, which are markets with just one local daily, it can be seen that Vancouver, francophone Montreal and Quebec City were the markets where certain owners enjoyed the highest cross-media market share.  CanWest’s market share dominance in Vancouver reflects the fact that it owns the most viewed local broadcaster as well as the two local dailies.  Quebecor’s francophone Montreal and Quebec City dominance is because the company owns the most popular daily newspaper and the most viewed local television station in both cities. 


Table 25

Market Share and Cross-Ownership in Nine Local Markets, 2002

Market

Ownership Group

Market share (%)

Newscasts

Dailies

Quebec

Quebecor

47.1

56.2

Toronto

Bell Globemedia

43.8

18.3

Toronto

CanWest Global

33.0

11.5

Anglophone Montreal

CanWest Global

5.0

100.0

Francophone Montreal

Quebecor

37.1

60.4

Regina

CanWest Global

28.3

100.0

Saskatoon

CanWest Global

15.3

100.0

Calgary

CanWest Global

32.2

57.8

Edmonton

CanWest Global

39.7

60.0

Vancouver

CanWest Global

70.6

100.0

Source:  Centre d’études sur les médias, “Media Ownership in Canada,” Report prepared for the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, 5 February 2003. 

 

d)         Closely Held Media Companies

An interesting element of Canadian media ownership is that the voting shares for most of the major companies are closely held, often by the founder of the firm or by members of the founding family. 

Table 26 shows ownership data collected by the Committee’s research staff in August and September 2003.  Each of the firms listed verified the information for accuracy.  The Committee recognizes that changes may have occurred since that time.  This table reveals that of the twelve largest media companies in Canada, only the telecommunications giant BCE, which acquired media companies as part of its convergence strategy in 2000, has widely-held shares.  The only other company that stands out is Torstar, which is run according to a trust arrangement.



Table 26

Controlling Owners (Based on Voting Shares) of Canadian Media Firms

August – September 2003

Company

Ownership Shares

Astral Media Inc.

Total Greenberg family (57.43%)

654625 Ontario, Edward and Paul A. Bronfman (13.5%)

Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. (7.2%)

Corus Entertainment (7.41%)

Public (other than Corus/Rogers) (12.38%)

BCE (Bell Globemedia)

Widely held

Bell Globemedia:

BCE (68.5%);

The Woodbridge Company Limited and Affiliates (31.5%)

Brunswick News Inc.

Otter Brook Holdings Ltd. (100%)

James K. Irving, Arthur L. Irving and John E. Irving have shares of 33.3% each.

CanWest Global Communications Inc.

Israel Asper and Asper family trusts exercise 89% control through ownership of 76,785,976 multiple voting shares. (10 votes per multiple share.) There are 98,293,091 subordinate voting shares and 1,989,660 non-voting shares.  I.H. Asper and family owns approx 45% of the total number of shares outstanding

CHUM Ltd.

Allan Waters Ltd. (87.85%)

Fred Sherratt Ltd. (6.38%)

Public (5.77%)

Cogeco Inc.

Henri Audet (72.26%) via Gestion Audem inc.

Rogers Communications Inc. (5.3%)

Jarislowsky, Fraser Limited (3.63%)

Public (18.83%)

Power Corporation of Canada

Paul Desmarais Sr. (65%)

Quebecor Inc.

Les Placements Péladeau inc. (63.78%)

Péladeau family via holding companies (0.18%)

Capital Communications CDPQ inc. (2.31%)

Public (33.73%)

Rogers Communication Inc.

Edward Rogers 36% (91% voting)

Public (9%)

Shaw Communications Inc.

Corus Entertainment Inc.

Shaw:  JR Shaw (76% voting)

Corus:  JR Shaw (80% voting)

Torstar Corp.

Joseph Atkinson Estate (31.3% voting)

Ruth Hindmarsh Group (18.6% voting)

Thall Investments Inc. (14.7% voting)

Honderich Group (14.7% voting)

Campbell Group (14.7% voting)

Other (6%)

Transcontinental Inc.

Rémi Marcoux (61.1% of voting rights)

Source:  Committee Research, August-September 2003.  All figures vetted by companies listed.


e)         Profitability

            The economic viability of Canadian media firms is obviously necessary for the continued provision of news, information and opinion.  The usual, and often best, measure of economic viability is profitability.  The level of profits, compared to some measure of the average market return on investments, is also useful as an indication of any monopoly power in a market.

            The following table gives operating profit margins collected by the CRTC for components of the broadcasting sector in Canada.

Table 27

Operating Profit Margin, 1999-2003 (%)

 
 

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

Radio

18.5

19.8

19.9

19.4

22.7

Television (Conventional)

18.6

17.5

16.4

13.6

18.3

Pay & Specialty

16.2

19.4

20.1

13.8

17.0

Cable

38.9

38.2

38.7

40.4

N/A

Satellite

-539.8

-1536.4

-245.0

-28.1

N/A

Source:  CRTC, Statistical and Financial Summaries, 2003, 2004.

Note:  Operating Profit Margin = ((Total Revenue - Total Expenses)/Total Revenue)*100.  Cable excludes the Class 3 companies, which generally have under 2,000 subscribers and/or are in areas with a limited number of off-air services.  Satellite includes MDS (wireless) companies.

            It should be pointed out that the broadcasting distributors, the cable and satellite companies, have large capital requirements and large debt payments associated with their capital assets.  The operating profit margins are before depreciation and interest payments, so the profits of the cable companies are inflated compared to the profits of the less capital-intensive radio, television and pay and specialty components of broadcasting.  Satellite distributors began operations in 1997 and are only now approaching profitability.

            Although a comprehensive set of data is not available for the industry, several witnesses remarked on the robust profitability of the newspaper business.  Jan Ravensbergen, President of the Montreal Newspaper Guild, suggested that some CanWest papers had profits of 30 per cent on revenue and recalled an earlier situation in the industry.

I remember the complaint perhaps 15 years ago.  The goal at that time at Southam was to get to 15 cents on the dollar.  ...  Now, the profit is double.  There has been a lot of squeezing out.  Our members have certainly been the object of a lot of those squeezes. [11 March 2004]

Two financial analysts who appeared before the Committee agreed that newspapers were profitable.  Tim Casey, Managing Director of Media and Entertainment at BMO Nesbitt Burns, noted:  “Those businesses are extremely profitable if run correctly” [12 June 2003].  Andrea Horan, Communications and Media Analyst at Westwind Partners, added as explanation of “extremely profitable” that:  “A big city paper will have margins in excess of 20 per cent in a decent year” [12 June 2003].  Mr. Casey then noted that this was 20 per cent in an industry with relatively low capital requirements.  Smaller local papers and community papers are even more profitable.  Ms. Horan explained.

… As you spend less on content and get more from news feeds, your profit can go up and 30 per cent margins are reasonable for smaller local papers.

… Community newspapers — not all of them — can get margins in excess of 40 per cent.  I find it hard to believe that someone would say that newspapers in general are not a profitable business. [12 June 2003]

The analysts noted that the fierce competition among newspapers in Toronto would keep profit margins down there, and Mr. Casey pointed out:  “I am sure there are specific ones that are losing money, like in any sector, but the evidence is clear that this is a profitable business” [12 June 2003].

            Clark Davey, a former newspaper publisher, repeated the 30 per cent figure for newspapers but considered broadcasting even more profitable.

… While the newspapers are very profitable — 30 per cent return on revenue for most of the big newspapers in their group — television is even more profitable; radio too, but television in particular. [19 June 2003]

            Magazines, according to one witness, do not have the profit margins cited for newspapers.  Brian Segal, former publisher of Maclean’s magazine and now President of Rogers Publishing, noted that:  “A weekly news magazine frequency will never give you the same margin as a monthly women’s magazine, or as a trade magazine.”  When asked about “realistic margins” for the different categories of magazine, he replied:

The news magazine category should have margins in the 5 per cent or 6 per cent, and women’s magazines might have margins of 10 per cent or 12 per cent return on revenue.

Depending on the sector, the trade magazines might have margins in the 13 per cent to 17 per cent range.  The news magazine or bi-weekly public affairs magazines have a lower margin, and that is our expectation. [7 October 2003]

 

F.         Journalists

An important element in any analysis of the news media is understanding where the journalists who actually produce the news are employed.  It was seen earlier (see table 25) that CanWest in Vancouver and Quebecor in the province of Quebec enjoy strong market shares for both local television news and local daily newspaper circulation.  The Committee commissioned the Centre d’études sur les médias (CEM) to look at daily newspapers, community newspapers, radio and television in the Vancouver and Montreal markets.[8]  Tables 28 through 30 show some of the CEM’s findings. 

Overall, the strongest television market in term of journalists employed was francophone Montreal with 150 journalists employed by three television stations, for an average of 50 journalists per station.  The strongest daily newspaper market was also francophone Montreal with 351 journalists working for the three major dailies, for an average of 117 journalists per paper.  The strongest radio market, by a slim margin, was anglophone Montreal with 62 journalists working for six radio stations, for an average of 10 journalists per station.  As for the strongest community weekly market, Vancouver was far and away the leader with 113 journalists working for 25 community newspapers, for an average of five journalists per weekly.


Table 28

Number of Journalists by Type of Media in the French-language Montreal Market,

November 2003

 

Number of journalists

Number of newspapers or stations

Average number of journalists

Dailies

La Presse

Le Journal de Montréal

Le Devoir

177

120

54

   

Subtotal

351

3

117

Two free newspapers

15

2

8

Total

266

5

73

Community Newspapers

L’Écho du Nord

Courrier Laval

Le Reflet Régional

Others (46)

5

4,5

4

56.5

   

Total

70

49

1.5

Television

Radio-Canada1

TVA

TQS

71

45

34

   

Total

150

3

50

Radio

Radio-Canada

CINF

CKAC

Others (6)

50

16

12

3

   

Total

81

9

9

Source:  CEM survey, November 2003.

1The data for Radio-Canada and other broadcasters include only the number of journalists assigned to the preparation of newscasts.  Journalists who prepare public affairs programs, which are very common on CBC / Radio-Canada (both radio and television) in Montreal, were not included.

         

 

Table 29

Number of Journalists by Type of Media in the English-language Montreal Market, November 2003

 

Number of journalists

Number of newspapers or stations

Average number of journalists

Dailies1

The Gazette

150

   

Total

150

1

150

Community Newspapers

The Chronicle

Others (7)

4

12

   

Total

16

8

2

Television

CBC

CTV

Global

15

22

13

   

Total

50

2

17

Radio

CBC

CJAD

CINW

Others (3)

21

18

17

6

   

Total

62

6

10

Source:  CEM survey, November 2003.

1The Globe and Mail and the National Post employ four and three journalists respectively in Montreal.


Table 30

Number of Journalists by Type of Media in the Vancouver Market, November 2003

 

Number of journalists

Number of newspapers or stations

Average number of journalists

Dailies1, 2

Vancouver Sun

The Province

96

70

   

Total

166

2

83

Community Newspapers

The Georgia Straight

The North Shore News

The North Delta Leader

Others (22)

15

11

9

78

 

`

Total

113

25

5

Television

CBC

CTV

CityTV

Global

25

71

31

42

   

Total

169

4

42

Radio

CBC

CKNW

CKWX

Other (12)

15

13

19

20

   

Total

67

15

5

Source:  CEM survey, November 2003.

1 The Globe and Mail and the National Post employ 10 and 1 journalists respectively in Vancouver.

2 To obtain the figures shown here, the CEM calculated the number of people identified as senior editors, section editors, reporters, editors and columnists on the two newspapers’ sites.  This method probably underestimates the number of journalists employed by the two dailies, since it does not take into account desk journalists.  According to the journalists interviewed by the CEM, there are some 150 journalists at the Vancouver Sun and about 100 at The Province.

To sum up, daily newspapers are the leaders in all three markets, with an average number of newsroom staff that greatly exceeds the average number of newsroom staff for television.  This is only to be expected, since the volume of news and information in the average newspaper vastly exceeds the amount provided in news broadcasts.  These tables also show that the average number of journalists working for the local television stations and local dailies in francophone and anglophone Montreal and in Vancouver is far greater than it is for community newspapers or radio stations. 

 

G.        Changes in Reporting

In 2003, the Committee commissioned a study from the Carleton University Survey Centre (CUSC), which provided a preliminary content analysis on the extent to which newspaper reporting (based on source, article type, article size, location and focus) at four Canadian dailies changed between 1993, 1998 and 2003.  The Centre’s initial findings suggest that additional analyses are required before any firm conclusions can be made.  Part IV of this report makes further comments on the next steps required in this regard.



[1]               Canada.  Parliament.  Senate.  Special Committee on Mass Media.  Report of the Special Senate Committee on Mass Media, 3 v., Ottawa:  Queen’s Printer, 1970.  (Known as the Davey Report.)

[2]               Canada.  Royal Commission on Newspapers.  Royal Commission on Newspapers.  [Ottawa]:  The Commission, c1981.  (Known as the Kent Commission Report.)

[3]               Canada.  Task Force on Broadcasting Policy.  Report of the Task Force on Broadcasting Policy.  Ottawa:  Supply and Services Canada, c1986.  (Known as the Report of the Caplan-Sauvageau Task Force.)  Also refer to Canada.  Parliament.  House of Commons.  Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.  Our Cultural Sovereignty:  The Second Century of Canadian Broadcasting  [Ottawa]:  House of Commons of Canada, 2003.

[4]               Gonthier, Charles D.:  Address to the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, October 2002.

[5]               Source:  www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0005028.  

[6]               Source:  Testimony of Mr. Scott Edmonds, Vice-President, Canadian Press Branch, Canadian Media Guild  [11 March 2004].

[7]               Source: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com.

[8]               Only media outlets that publish or broadcast local news in English in Vancouver or in English or French in Montreal were surveyed.


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