PUB 606: Magazine Media Project

This guide is a starting point for library research required for the PUB 606 Magazine Media Project assignments. 

If you need help, please contact Matt Kingcroft, Librarian for Interactive Arts & Technology and Publishing at 778.782.7588 or or Ask a librarian.

In-class workshop: Slides | SimplyAnalytics Activity

Demographic and psychographic information


Vividata is an excellent source of Canadian marketing information, based on a survey of print and digital media exposure, product usage, and lifestyles. 

Start with the online Vividata, which can be searched from off-campus. Using the Cross Table tool, you can build tables that answer questions such as:

  • Are Canadian Geographic readers more likely to care about a car’s fuel efficiency than readers of Elle Canada? 
  • Are frequent gardeners likely to be open to trying new food  products?
  • Are readers of Zoomer Magazine or Elle Canada magazine more likely to sell their house in the next 12 months?

Additional resources for understanding Vividata's information:

If you want to cite Vividata information, see the SFU Library Citation Guide for Business Sources (APA style).


Using SimplyAnalytics you can create maps, reports, or rankings of Canadian psychographic information, using PRIZM data from Environics Analytics. Their PRIZM system classifies Canadians into one of several unique lifestyle segments, with names like "Arts & Affluence" and "Urban Digerati".

Use the PRIZM5 dataset for the most recent (2015 and later) data. Some categories have been slightly revised from the earlier PRIZM C2 dataset, which provides data from 2010-2014. To view a detailed description of a specific lifestyle segment or cluster, click the name of the cluster and select "View metadata" from the menu that pops up. Data sheets provide information on "who they are", "how they think", and "where they live".

Additional Resources for SimplyAnalytics:

Other readership and media sources

Looking for an American version of Vividata? There are commercial media measurement services, such as GfK MRI and Simmons OneView, but they are very expensive and not available locally. 

A suggested route is to find the name of a likely American journal via Ulrich's Periodicals Directory. Ulrich's can be searched by country, subject, etc. to locate competitor publications, using the "Advanced Search" screen. Once you select the title of a likely magazine, you may be able to find some basic readership information listed under the "Demographics" tab.

The Canadian Media Digest [online and print] is an annual report that provides detailed information and analysis on different media, which includes some data on circulation, page rates, and magazine readership.

Otherwise, check the magazine's website for a media kit. These are sometimes located in a section called "Information for advertisers". You could also do a specific Google search for a media kit restricted to the website of the magazine, for example, "media kit" or you can replace this with the homepage of the magazine you are interested in. You can also try contacting the publication directly to request a media kit.
Other demographic and statistical information

Governmental sources

Statistics Canada
The premier source for Canadian Statistics. Choose the Browse by Subject option to find statistical tables and analytical publications about population, education, culture, etc. Much of the time there isn't a breakdown by age, so start with Vividata Target Snapshot first.

BC Stats
Provides the "provincial government's largest concentration of statistical products, services and expertise." Choose either the "B.C. Data Catalogue" or the "Statistics" tab at the top to browse through various categories.

U.S Census Bureau
Can be useful if there is no equivalent Canadian information.

Non-governmental sources

Best customers: demographics of customer demand and Household spending: Who spends how much on what
Two annual ebooks with data on the demographics of consumers in the United States. Data is taken from the Consumer Expenditure Survey of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Tip: You can search across older volumes of both texts at the same time in our Gale New Strategist US Consumer publications

The American marketplace: demographics and spending patterns
An online journal with useful (if American) articles about target markets.

FP markets, Canadian demographics [print]
Contains data on income, population, PSYTE clusters and more, on a federal, provincial and municipal level; but it stopped publication in 2012.

Business Source Complete
A useful database for finding articles about particular audiences or target markets, consumer behaviour, readers, etc. Much of the content has an American focus.

CBCA Complete and CBCA Fulltext Business
Canadian-focused databases, useful for finding articles about consumer behaviour and potential markets.

Advertising information

General resources

CARD Online (Canadian Advertising Rates and Data) 
Search the 'Magazines' category, and for online magazines use the 'Digital' category. Online advertising rates are rarely available. Sometimes there is information on website traffic.

Ulrich's Periodicals Directory
Sometimes includes advertising rate information and/or circulation figures under the "Demographics" tab.

dMAC Specifications
Digital Magazine Advertising Canadian Specifications from Magazines Canada.

The Ad pages [print]
"Vancouver's advertising and marketing resource guide" contains print media rates and circulation, and includes local printers, suppliers, etc.

Association of Magazine Media (US)

Alliance for Audited Media (US) formerly Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC).
Most of their data is only available to members, but some topline data on total circulation is available for free through their Media Intelligence Center. The site also includes some Canadian titles under the CARD classification, but more detailed data is available from our CARD Online database.

SRDS Consumer Media Advertising Source
Available in-house at all Vancouver Public Library locations, and provides "directory information and media rates for US print, digital, magazine, and website listings."

Plunkett's advertising & branding industry almanac
Contains some publishing-related general trends and projections.

Social media and advertising

Business plans

Additional resources



For more titles, try a Subject search in our Library catalogue for these headings:

Online resources

Magazines Canada has a useful online Resource Centre that includes:

Folio: the magazine for magazine management (archive)
Online journal

Canadian Magazines 
Blog about the Canadian magazine industry

Canada Periodical Fund
From the Government of Canada

An online portal containing resources for new magazine entrepreneurs

Canadian Magazine industry news, including their Canadian online publishing awards for best website, blog, etc.

National Magazine Awards 
Includes past winners back to 1977

Zinio and Texture
Examples of digital magazine distributors

Direct Marketing
From Canada Post

Magazine Publishers of America
The industry association for consumer magazines

Periodical Publishers Association 
The organization for magazine and business-to-business media publishers in the UK