2010 was great year for Toronto’s daily newspapers—relatively speaking

2010 was great year for Toronto’s daily newspapers—relatively speaking

Maybe on-line media isn’t the death knell for newspapers after all. According to the latest survey from Newspaper Audience Databank (NADbank), print readership from 2010 is rebounding nicely from the new troughs it dug during the bleak year of 2009. In particular, most of Toronto’s dailies saw their circulation either climb or hold steady in 2010, and they’re all happy to crow about it—provided they’re allowed to use the numbers that make them look best, of course.

For example, the Globe and Mail cites combined on-line and print weekly readership to claim the most-read title, while the Toronto Star says they’re still the most-read paper in Canada. Everyone agrees that the National Post and Toronto Sun have grown (rapidly, in the Sun’s case—33 per cent!), but one point that can’t be avoided is that the Globe’s much vaunted redesign has not, as yet, boosted circulation numbers. The Globe saw the steepest drop in G.T.A. print readership of all the major dailies last year.

Anne Crassweller, president of NADbank, wants to emphasize that the Globe’s dip (or any of the movement in the papers, with the exception of the Sun) is basically part of the background noise of the market. The most important thing, she says, is that there’s lots of good news for print in the overall story: the fact is that most people still read a paper occasionally, and only a tiny slice of people actually rely on the Web for their entire daily news diet.

More interestingly, on-line news consumption seems to be driving print sales, not just replacing them, says Crassweller. Similar to the way getting music for free (once off the radio, now more likely pirated) seems to drive album sales, people who read news on-line are buying dead-tree editions too. Here the Globe can take some solace, as it has the largest share of its readers coming from the Web. Of course, they might want to plug their ears with some spare newsprint until the cheering over at the Sun’s offices dies down a little.

• 2010 Overview of Results: Daily Newspaper Readership Remains High [NADbank]
You really like us! Sun readership soars [Toronto Sun]
• More people read the post: NADbank [National Post]
Star still most widely read newspaper in Canada [Toronto Star]