Canada's largest newspapers continue to enjoy readership gains at a time when consumers face a growing array of media choices.
Readership of the print versions of the two national newspapers recorded double-digit percentage increases during the fall 2010-to-spring 2011 period compared with the comparable period in 2009 and 2010, according to data released Wednesday by the Newspaper Audience Databank, or NADbank.
The Globe and Mail retained its commanding lead among national newspapers. Average weekday readership of The Globe grew by 10.8 per cent to 709,200 across seven markets: Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Halifax.
For The Globe, such a solid readership gain is a "vindication" of the newspaper's sizable investment in the 2010 relaunch of its printed product and websites, said publisher and chief executive officer Phillip Crawley.
"It was two years of preparation to do that relaunch and I think what these results show is that the relaunch of the paper and the websites really did pay off," Mr. Crawley said in an interview. He added: "You are seeing good results across the board."
The National Post enjoyed a 27.4-per-cent increase in average weekday readers, although at 361,500, its readership is about half that of The Globe's.
The Globe's redesign was also credited with fuelling a 10.2-per-cent increase in combined print and online weekly readership, to 2.28 million readers, across those seven urban markets. The Post's readership improved by 8 per cent, to 1.14 million, in that same category.
"Double-digit gains are pretty unusual in the world of newspapers at the moment," said Mr. Crawley, noting that U.S. newspapers are in much poorer shape.
In the highly competitive Toronto market, the Toronto Star posted a 0.3-per-cent gain in average weekday readership, but remains the largest player in that market. The Globe grew by 16.9 per cent in Toronto, while the Toronto Sun tabloid enjoyed a 5.4-per-cent increase.
The Post showed a 51.4-per-cent increase in average weekday readership in Toronto, although off a low base; it had the smallest total readership of the four major dailies in that market category. At 212,000, the Post's weekday Toronto readership is a little more than half that of The Globe's 414,000, NADbank said.