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The headquarters of the National Post in Toronto.Frank Gunn

It's no secret that information is going digital, and the latest numbers tell the same story. More Canadians are getting their news online.

Online readership for all the major Canadian newspapers increased in 2009 at a rate outpacing growth in print readership, according to numbers released on Wednesday by NADbank (the Newspaper Audience Databank).

The weekly number of Canadians who read The Globe and Mail online was up almost 13 per cent in 2009 compared with the previous year. Print readership of The Globe on weekdays increased 3.5 per cent, while weekend readership was up 5.9 per cent, including a rise of 18.9 per cent in the Toronto market.

The Globe's cumulative weekly print readership - the total number of people who read at least one issue weekly - was 2.3 million, virtually unchanged from 2008. Adding online readers brought the total to 2.97 million readers, right behind The Toronto Star's 3.03 million combined print and online consumers.

Growth of 17.2 per cent in online readership at The National Post was the only segment where the paper added readers in 2009. Print readership for all editions of the Post over the week was down roughly 8 per cent compared to the previous year.

While The Post lost print readers and The Globe stayed almost flat in cumulative weekly numbers, Canada's largest circulation newspaper, The Toronto Star, owned by Torstar Corp. , added readers both online and in print. Weekly Web readership was up roughly 10 per cent in 2009. Cumulative weekly print readership was up more than 7 per cent for the Star.

The numbers also reaffirmed the attraction of local publications in some of Canada's largest markets.

The Vancouver Sun and The Province added almost 3 per cent more readers each in print and more online. The Globe posted 5.6-per-cent readership declines in that market in 2009, while The Post's weekly cumulative readership fell by 18.6 per cent in Vancouver. Its print readership in British Columbia's largest city is now roughly half as large as the Globe's. In Ottawa/Gatineau and Montreal, local papers also outpaced national ones.

In Toronto, the Star continues to lead with more print readers overall, more than twice as many weekly readers as the Toronto Sun or The Globe, and more than four times as many as The Post. The Star also led in overall weekly numbers online, but the two national papers saw bigger Web gains, at roughly 18 per cent more online readers for the Globe and 20 per cent more for The Post.

One exception to the trend was Calgary, where print readership for the national papers increased - 8.4 per cent for The Globe and 13.4 per cent for The Post - while local dailies stayed relatively flat. The Globe's print readership in Calgary is 63 per cent higher than The Post's, but still trails the local dailies significantly.

Online readership is also on the rise in Calgary, with significant gains in Web readers for the national papers, and strong numbers that have stayed relatively steady year-to-year.

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