The board of Magazines Canada is recommending to its members that trade magazines be welcomed as members. The proposed bylaw change will be considered at the Magazines Canada annual general meeting in June and would remove the restriction on trades from its bylaws which have, until now, allowed membership only for consumer magazines.
If approved, as seems reasonably likely, this bylaw change could result in a tectonic shift in the business, clearing the way for developing some sort of "trade" caucus within an expanded Magazines Canada. And it is not good news for Canadian Business Press (CBP) which, until now, has said that it speaks for the business-to-business sector.
Frequent readers will know already that one of the biggest publishers of trade magazines, Rogers Publishing, has pulled its members
and their membership fees out of CBP and started talks with Magazines Canada. CBP says that Rogers represented 20% of its members and 9% of its revenue.
However, it doesn't take a weatherman to see which way the wind blows.
Should other major trade publishing companies follow Rogers's lead, CBP might be unsustainable. While there have been suggestions in the past that the two associations merge, and that the industry speak with one voice, there has been significant resistance from the CBP side. In fact, that option is probably now off the table since CBP President Phil Boyd -- a paid employee of the association -- has said he believes that the two kinds of magazines are "fundamentally different" and he is firmly in favour of maintaining an independent trade publishing association.
There are implications beyond the membership budget for CBP. For instance, the Kenneth R. Wilson (KRW) Awards for trades might have expected 175 entries from Rogers books in previous years; this year it got 10
. CBP is also a senior partner (with Masthead
magazine) in the annual conference Magazines University. (At one time, Magazines Canada and the Circulation Marketing Association of Canada (CMC) were also partners in Mags U
, but pulled out ago and are now in the second year of running an event of their own, called MagNet
in partnership with the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME). The two conferences run simultaneously this year.
CBP has 43 member companies with 153 titles, including: Business Information Group (32); CLB Media (23); Annex Printing and Publishing (17);Baum Publications Ltd. (7); June Warren Publishing Ltd. (4); Kenilworth Media Inc. (4)
Magazines Canada has more than 300 member consumer magazines (not yet including Rogers' trade titles).One of the first postings
on this blog three years ago was about the need for discussion about an umbrella organization for magazines in Canada. Most of what was said then remains necessary and plausible.
Labels: Canadian Business Press, Magazines Canada