Everyone knows the story by now – traditional printed newspapers have been taking it in the teeth as readers flock to free online alternatives for all of the news and commentary they can stand.
And while there’s little doubt that many papers are facing challenges as print advertising declines and online ads moderate, data released by readership measurement company NADbank this week indicate that readers aren’t ready to do away with inky newsprint just yet.
Here are three things we’ve learned from the 2012 figures, because sometimes a little not-terrible news is nice to read.
Readers like to read: Despite the problems facing the print industry, more people are reading papers today than they were five years ago. In 2007, 11.8-million Canadians reported reading a paper at least once a week. In 2012, that number has increased about 6 per cent to 12.2 million. These numbers include both paid and unpaid papers, which means they were helped substantially by publications such as Metro and 24 Hours, which hand out tens of thousands of papers a day on the streets of major cities (but even so, the number weekly readers for paid dailies is more than double that of the free dailies).
Weekday readers: While newspaper editors like to think readers spend lazy weekends buried deep in their pages, the data shows that more people read the paper during the week. People in Halifax are the heaviest weekday readers, with 56 per cent of readers having read a paper (compared to 40 per cent on Saturday). Regardless of when they read, only 9 per cent of readers read exclusively online. Meanwhile, 59 per cent still exclusively read printed papers.
Big readers: When it comes to combined numbers in print and online, Halifax residents are the best read with 86 per cent having read something in the past week. Winnipeg comes in second at 82 per cent, followed by Ottawa-Gatineau, Calgary and Vancouver at 80 per cent. Toronto residents are the lightest readers, at 75 per cent. Montreal and Edmonton are tied at 79 per cent.