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Canada’s biggest magazines see subscription declines but life at newsstands

A magazine stand in Toronto on Tuesday, April 3, 2012.

Michelle Siu/The Globe and Mail

Canada's largest magazines posted subscription losses over the last six months, as readers found more content online and spent more reading time with tablets instead of glossy pages.

But there was hope for the country's beleaguered magazine sector – newsstand sales at several of the country's top publications saw sizable boosts as publishers fought for readers one-by-one in the checkout aisles and bookstores with flashy covers.

The Alliance for Audited Media – which tracks both subscription rates and single copy sales – reported data for the six months period ending at the beginning of July. It doesn't provide a single number to gauge the health of the industry, but rather reports each magazine individually.

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Here are some highlights.

Chatelaine: Chatelaine remained the widest distributed magazine in the country (although Canadian Living didn't report data in this period) with 539,913 paid and verified subscriptions, a decline of 1.9 per cent over the last six months. Its newsstand sales jumped 10.4 per cent to 90,750.

Reader's Digest: The country's second largest and the former long-time subscription champion in the country saw its circulation drop 17 per cent to 458,233. It saw a sizeable boost at the newstand, however, with a 52-per-cent jump to 41,393 copies (the magazine's management said it needed a bit of time to figure out what caused the jump).

Maclean's: The weekly news magazine saw its circulation drop 2.6 per cent to 313,007. But its newsstand sales were up 13 per cent to 27,830 in the reporting period.

Sportsnet: The fledgling sports magazine from Rogers Media reported a circulation of 72,868 in its first official reporting period, with 4,500 newsstand sales.

Hello!: The celebrity magazine should welcome news of the royal baby – its newsstand sales plummeted by almost 20 per cent to 55,794, while its circulation dropped almost 5 per cent to 123,933.

Digital editions: The report also shows digital subscription rates. Canadian House and Home is the hands down leader, with 11,000 digital subscriptions. Readers Digest is next at 6,700, followed by Maclean's at 5,600.

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