Friday, March 07, 2008

Growth in newspaper readership almost wholly due to free commuter papers

The good news for people invested in print is that newspaper average weekday readership in Canada is up, according to 2007 readership results released by the Newspaper Audience Databank Inc. (NADbank). The less good news is that almost all of that growth is due to to free, commuter dailies like Metro and 24 Hours. The NADbank study also found that online readership of newspapers is growing and is highest in St. John's, Nfld., where 27 per cent of adults read an online edition each week.

In the highly competitive Toronto market, according to a story in the Toronto Star, Metro's readership jumped 16.6 per cent to 434,600, making it the second leading paper in this city behind the Star. The number of Toronto adults reading a printed edition of any daily newspaper on the average weekday increased by 1.8 per cent to 1,999,300.
Torstar Corp. publishes the Star and owns half of Metro. Rival freebie 24 Hours, owned by Quebecor's Sun Media Corp., mustered a 0.8 per cent increase to 348,500 readers.
Nearly half of surveyed adults read a printed newspaper on the average weekday; of course that means the other half don't or didn't.

The Star itself reported its average weekday readership, as reflected by the "read yesterday" figures, recorded a 3 per cent decline, to 952,800 in Toronto.
"Given our recent investments in the newspaper, including a major redesign that makes it easier to read and handle, and given the positive response by readers to those investments, we are surprised by this result," said publisher Jagoda Pike. "But given the readership declines seen in most large Canadian markets, the Star is more than holding its own."
The Globe and Mail increased its Toronto readership by 7.3 per cent to 409,300, the Toronto Sun sank by 12.3 per cent to 424,100, and the National Post lost a marginal 0.8 per cent to 223,200.

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