Posted By Seamus Barton
What You Need to Know About Magazine Distribution
It doesn’t matter how strong the Wifi signal is or how many notifications you have on your phone, nothing can quite replace the feel of sitting down with a good magazine and digging into an engaging story or article.
Magazines provide a tangible and tactile way for people to consume information and interact with a brand. This can’t be replicated on a digital device.
While digital content and advertising have proliferated over the past decade, causing significant changes to Canadian magazine distribution and the industry in general, magazines remain a valued medium for both advertisers and consumers.
Let’s take a look at the state of Canadian magazine distribution to learn more about what Canada’s magazine industry looked like in 2019.
There are about 2,400 Canadian magazines that are published, printed, and sold in this country. These include more than 1,000 consumer titles that run the gamut from small once-per-year literary journals to women’s style magazines that publish millions of copies each year. More than 90% of Canadian magazines are published by Canadian-controlled companies.
About 60% of all Canadian magazines are English-only publications, while close to 20% are published in French and about 15% are published in both languages. Another 6% of Canadian magazines are published in a language other than French or English.
The annual circulation of Canadian magazines is nearly 780 million copies. Of those 780 million, the vast majority — about 75% — fall into the category of consumer magazines, the general-interest or special-interest magazines that people read for fun and entertainment.
In total, the Canadian magazine industry employs almost 18,000 people, including people who work part-time as well as full-time. The industry is worth an estimated $1.5 billion.
According to a paper published by Simon Fraser University, magazines in Canada resonate with people in a particularly impactful way: “they overcome the vastness of the world’s second-largest country to provide Canadians with a means of sharing and discussing their news, ideas, opinions, literature, and art.”
On average, Canadians consume more than 6 magazines per month, and older Canadians are much more likely to read magazines than younger Canadians. Statistics show that 67% of Canadians between the ages of 50 and 69 read print magazines every week. By contrast, only 44% of Canadians between the ages of 21 and 34 consume magazine content that frequently.
Two-thirds of magazines published in Canada are considered small magazines, meaning they have a paid circulation of 10,000 copies or less. The majority of these magazines don’t let their small circulation limit their scope. Nearly 60% consider themselves to be national publications, and nearly 40% say their audience doesn’t just cover our country but goes beyond the Canadian border; targeting readers across North America and even internationally.
Most magazines in Canada operate with a relatively small staff. One survey of cultural magazines in British Columbia found that they usually employ only one or two full-time staff, which they supplement with a few part-time employees, and small magazines, particularly those that are arts-focused or not-for-profit, rely on volunteers.
The federal government has a fund dedicated to helping Canadian publishers, The Canadian Periodical Fund, which provides funding that subsidizes the cost of publishing print magazines, non-daily newspapers and digital periodicals. The fund’s mission is to enable publishers “to overcome market disadvantages and continue to provide Canadian readers with the content they choose to read.”
With nearly four and a half million readers, the largest English-only magazine in Canada is Reader’s Digest, while the French-only magazine with the largest circulation is Ricardo, at about 1.8 million.
Magazine advertisements are one of the most highly tolerated forms of advertising. In 2017 there were only 29 complaints made about magazine advertisements in Canada, which represents less than five percent of the 716 complaints made about ads on television that year.
Evidence suggests that consumers don’t just tolerate advertising in magazines better than they do in other mediums; they also respond to it more. Stats show that 44% of Canadian magazine readers visited the website of magazine advertisers. Of those, 46% planned to use the promotion, coupon or offer listed in the magazine ad.
The magazine industry has changed drastically over the past decade or so, and Canada is no exception.
But while people are consuming more digital content than ever before, direct mail magazines that provide strong content, eye-catching design and professional printing quality continue to make a strong impact on Canadians, and the advertisers who are trying to reach them.
At Troi Mailing Services, we know the ins and out of magazine distribution and printing, and can help you get a high-quality magazine in the hands of your target audience.