ABC releases report card on Canadian dailies

Major daily readership got rising grades in all markets except Ontario, with newspapers in British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta seeing an increase in paid weekday circ for the six months ending March 31, 2009, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Two major Toronto dailies are showing a decrease in paid circulation for the six months ending March 31, 2009, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations newspaper circulation and audience FAS-FAX report released today. But it’s a different picture for major dailies in Quebec, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Alberta, which saw their paid circulations actually increase in the same period.

The National Post saw a decrease of 20.22%, with a 159,089 daily paid circ average compared to 199,402 in 2008. Its Saturday average is 170,021, compared to 209,595 in 2008. The Globe and Mail has an average weekday paid circ of 304,265 compared to 312,685 the year before – a decrease of 2.69%. Its Saturday circulation is 376,467, compared to 385,703 during the same period in 2008. The Ottawa Citizen also dropped in daily weekday circ, albeit only by 0.87% from from 133,201 to 132,048.

Meanwhile, Quebec readers appear thirsty for local news with the Montreal Gazette‘s weekday paid circ increasing by 13.05% to 176,976 readers, compared to 156,542 in 2008. Its Saturday circ also increased from 166,700 to 185,344. Weekday circ of Montreal’s Le Devoir rose by 2.82%, and La Presse also increased by 1.19% from 205,997 to 208,439. Its Saturday edition, however, had a slight decrease from 273,858 to 271,289. Another Quebec daily that increased circ is Le Soleil at 0.52%.

The outlook on print seems bright in British Columbia too, where the Vancouver Sun saw an increase in weekday paid circ of 2.85%, to 177,793 from 172,874 in 2008. Its competitor, the Vancouver Province, also increased weekday circ by 2.16%, to 164,908 from 161,423.

In Alberta, Canwest’s Calgary Herald raised its weekday paid circ by 3.58%, from 128,526 to 133,127. The Edmonton Journal saw similar success with an increase of 1.99% from 125,589 to 123,140.

In Manitoba, the Winnipeg Free Press‘s weekday circ rose by 1.86% to 108,884; in Nova Scotia, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald increased weekday paid circ by 1.33% to 108,884.

Overall, the Canadian newspaper market as audited by ABC fares much better than the United States, where only two of the top 25 dailies are seeing an increase in circulation, and it is by less than 1%. The New York Times‘s average weekday circ decreased by 1.7%, the LA Times dropped by 7.49% and the Chicago Tribune decreased by 4.5%.