Canadian publishers suffered severe revenue declines in 2021 in an ongoing trend, according to a report issued on Tuesday by Statistics Canada, the statistical agency of the Canadian government.
Operating revenues for periodicals fell by 16.4% from 2019, for a total of $982.8 million, the lowest level seen to date.
The largest revenue decline was in advertising sales, which sank by $146.6 million from 2019. Also, circulation sales revenues continued their slide, falling $32.0 million from 2019.
In contrast, digital advertising sales grew by ove $7.6 million and circulation sales by more than $5.9 million in 2021. And digital comprised 11.1% of all titles, up by 1.6% from 2019.
Publishers were hit by the impact of COVID-19, the rising costs of paper and the pressure to adapt to a digital environment, the report states.
In response, publishers reduced their operating expenses by $199.9 million from 2019, leading to a 9.3% profit margin. Employees took a hit as salaries, wages, commissions and benefits fell by $54.5 million.
The share of free, complimentary or promotional copies in total circulation fell by 4.7% from 2019 to 2021.
Meanwhile, controlled or requested circulation periodicals rose by 2.0% to account for 40.9% of all periodicals in 2021. Paid subscription titles also increased to drive 23.7% of total circulation.Operating revenues remained concentrated in Ontario (58.4%) and Quebec (19.7%).