ABC reports latest in Toronto newspaper race

Who's at the head of the local pack, according to data released last week by the Audit Bureau of Circulation?

In Toronto – battle central for the newspaper wars – the Toronto Star continues to rule the market with the highest circulation, according to a report released last week by the Toronto-HQ’d Audit Bureau of Circulation. For the 12 months that ended last September 30, total average Monday to Friday circulation of both the Toronto Sun and the Toronto Star slipped slightly from the previous year. The Star was down 0.3% from 443,024 to 441,879 while the Sun declined 0.6% from 191,824 to 190,593.

Breaking out the paid circulation for sales at half or more of cover price, the average weekday numbers for the Star dropped by 5.2% to 310,774. The Sun experienced a slight 0.4% increase to 152,177. During the week, the Star‘s ratio of circulation paid at 50% or more versus less than 50% of base price is 70.3% vs 18.8%; the Sun stands at 79.8% vs 5.0%.

The Star‘s Saturday total was down 0.7% from 643,620 to 638,971 with 480,629 of those papers sold at 50% of the cover price or higher. On Sunday, the Star jumped from 445,048 total circulation in 2005 to 446,679 in 2006. The news was positive for the Sun‘s Saturday edition, which increased total average circulation about 1.5% from 151,101 to 153,377, with 120,993 of the papers sold at 50% of the base price or higher. The upwards trend did not continue for its Sunday edition, which dropped from 331,565 in 2005 to 326,551 last year.

Meanwhile, the Globe and Mail‘s weekday and Saturday circulation increased with total average circulation up 1% year-over-year on weekdays to 329,923 and 1.8% on Saturdays to 416,564. The Globe‘s highest quality circulation rose 4.1% on weekdays and 4.2% on Saturdays in the past year. Since 2001, the Globe‘s circulation in this category increased by 19.5% on weekdays and 17% on Saturdays, while discounted, bulk and free circulation dropped 61% weekdays and 64% on Saturdays.

The weekday and Saturday National Post editions reported circulation declined with total average circulation down 6.9% weekdays and 7.5% on Saturdays. Since 2001, the Post‘s quality paid circulation has fallen 35% on weekdays and dropped 40% on Saturdays.