Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dogs in Canada supports "Pet Idol" website

We suppose it had to come. A retail marketing firm in Brampton has launched a Pet Idol website, with promotional support from Dogs in Canada magazine, among other sponsors. Readers can vote online in various categories like "smallest", "most colourful" and "best-dressed" (I'm not making this up, you know) and the pet with the most votes gets a prize pack for $250. No singing is involved.

"We started this just for fun because we thought Canada's pets deserved their turn in the spotlight," says Sandra Parker, Z Retail Marketing's president and avid pet lover.

Milne and Tremblay join board of BPA Worldwide

John Milne, the senior vice president of business and professional publishing at Rogers Publishing Ltd. and Francine Tremblay, senior vice president of consumer publications at Transcontinental Media Inc., Montreal, Quebec have been elected to the board of media auditor BPA Worldwide for three-year terms. BPA Worldwide is the parent company that absorbed the Canadian Circulations Audit Bureau (CCAB) several years ago.


Ken Whyte to speak up for Conrad Black in Chicago trial

Ken Whyte, the publisher and editor of Maclean's, is up on the stand in Chicago next week was on the stand as a character witness in the criminal trial of tattered tycoon Conrad Black yesterday.

Black's defence team made the surprising announcement that it would take only a day (actually, two half-days) of testimony to rebut about 11 days of prosecution witnesses. Lord Black himself will remain silent.

In addition to Whyte, there will be defence testimony from Joan Maida, Black's longtime personal assistant and Jennifer Owens, a New York lawyer who defended Black in several civil cases involving Hollinger.

A story by Paul Waldie in the Globe and Mail says that Whyte probably would be asked about the working relationship of Black and former partner David Radler, a prosecution witness:

Edward Greenspan, one of Lord Black's lawyers, declined to comment on what Mr. Whyte will tell the jury. However, he will likely testify about Lord Black's involvement in the Post. That could help back up a key defence theory that Lord Black and his former partner, David Radler, had different roles at Hollinger. Lord Black's lawyers have argued that Mr. Radler, who has pleaded guilty in the case, ran the company's U.S. operations, where the alleged criminal misconduct occurred.

Whyte owes his prominence in Canadian magazines to Black, who picked the young editor to take over Saturday Night when he acquired it in the mid-90s and later put Whyte in charge of launching the National Post.


Canada Wide Media's Granville magazine launch was done on a shoestring

Canada Wide Media Ltd. managed to launch its quarterly city glossy Granville last week on a shoestring. According to a story in the Vancouver Sun by Malcolm Parry (aside: Parry was editor of Vancouver magazine back in the '80s) the startup costs were a mere $130,000 and the first issue had $78,000 worth of ads in 72 pages. Canada Wide president Peter Legge says that the second issue should sell $100,000, which is break-even. The magazine estimates an audience of 25,000 and a full page, four-colour ad costs $3,400.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Graphic design industry surveys industry about salaries and billing practices

The Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario (RGD)– in association with the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, the Société des designers graphiques du Québec and various industry sponsors – is currently conducting a national survey of graphic design salaries and billing practices, according to a story in Design Edge Canada magazine.

The Association is asking art directors, graphic designers, educators, production managers, web developers and project managers to complete its online salary survey, which closes June 22.

(The information that comes from this survey may provide an interesting counterpoint or reality check for the important salary survey information for art directors and designers that Masthead magazine gathers for the magazine industry.)

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Jim Sutherland to get outstanding lifetime achievement award at WMAs

Jim Sutherland, until recently the editor of Western Living magazine, is being honoured at the forthcoming Western Magazine Awards for outstanding lifetime achievement. The awards are being presented at a gala event Friday, June 22nd, 2007 at the Renaissance Vancouver Hotel Harbourside in Vancouver. It is the culmination of the two-day Magazines West professional development conference, co-sponsored by the British Columbia Association of Magazine Publishers and the Western Magazine Awards Foundation.

Full details of the finalists in the awards are available at the WMA. website.

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Da-dee-dee-dum, da-dee-dee-dee...

'Tis the season for weddings and Wedding Bells magazine, the gargantuan title from St. Joseph Media has released the results of an online survey that summarizes the trends.
"Tying the knot used to involve a trip to the altar and a simple reception, but low-cost affairs are increasingly a thing of the past," says Alison McGill, Editor-in-Chief, Weddingbells. "Our readers have told us they expect to pay $17,300; however, most couples will end up spending more than originally budgeted. StatsCan estimates the actual cost at $25,800. Interestingly, more and more couples are forgoing tradition and footing most of the bill themselves."
The complete details are available online. Here are some of the highlights from the 1,595 women surveyed by Nooro Online Inc. between April 27 to May 2, 2007:
  • 71% already live with their fiance or significant other
  • 56% of weddings take place between July and September
  • The average honeymoon involves 8.8 nights away from home and costs $3,735
  • 42% anticipate disagreements with their in-laws
  • 47% of the wedding costs are paid for by the bride and groom themselves
  • 32% find wedding planning more stressful than enjoyable
  • 37% said their sex lives improved since they got engaged

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Name my magazine, please

York International, a division of York University is holding a competition to give a name to a new online magazine about post-secondary international education in Canada.
"Unique in Canada, the magazine will act as an open space for dialogue, discussion and debate on the practices and policies, challenges and opportunities for internationalization at the postsecondary level in Canada", says a release.
It's to be published three times a year and will be subtitled: The Canadian Magazine of International Education. The prize (besides the glory): a $100 gift certificate at the York University bookstore. The contest is open to "all members of the York community", so presumably that includes all alumni.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

$15 million gift to Ryerson business faculty; becomes Ted Rogers School of Management

Ted Rogers, whose cable, phone and magazine publishing empire is well known, has -- with his wife Loretta -- given $15 million to Ryerson University which, in turn, has named its brand spanking new business school the Ted Rogers School of Management. The school is on Dundas Street in Toronto, between Yonge and Bay Streets.
The majority of the gift will be used to establish 52 new undergraduate and graduate student awards and scholarships, at unprecedented levels for the University, said Ryerson President Sheldon Levy. The gift will also establish a new Research Chair to seed academic initiatives that will attract outstanding faculty and create centres of excellence in management research.
While Levy said this was the only school to which Rogers has given his name, in fact the Rogers Communications Centre at Ryerson has been the home to the School of Journalism and Radio and Television Arts for some 15 years; the school is named after Ted Rogers' father, however, a radio pioneer.

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Quote, unquote: "well-knownness"

"Rather than actually being co-operative, or transparent or responsive, they're instead measured solely by whether or not they are seen that way. It ultimately (is) an outfit to enhance their celebrity, and to solely make themselves more well-known for their well-knownness."
-- Janelle Hutchinson, who presented on her master's thesis topic at the 2007 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences on Monday. Hutchinson is studying the Maclean's university rankings -- an annual publication that has ranked Canada's universities against each another for 16 years.

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Life after the academy; University Affairs to offer podcast interviews

Sabine Hikel is a writer and academic who has been running podcast interviews with academics who have gone outside the ivy walls and are reinventing themselves. Now some of the inmates within the ivy walls will have easier access to these and future interviews asit has been announced that Hikel's "Leaving Academia" podcast is moving to University Affairs magazine's website. UA is developing an extensive web-based careers menu to augment its 20,000 circulation print magazine.
Lots of academics dream of a life outside the ivory tower, but it takes some serious courage to take the leap. I’ve met countless people who have left academia to pursue innovative careers that use their vast skills in interesting ways. Now you can hear my interviews with some of them at University Affairs, Canada’s magazine on higher education.
Hikel, who writes for a number of Canadian magazines such as Canadian Dimension and Bitch, also runs a separate website called Confabulous.

Less may be more for magazines

Just catching up with a story from a couple of weeks ago in the Christian Science Monitor about the (U.S.) magazine industry. In it, the writer Randy Dotinga points out that Time magazine is actively shucking subscribers in order to get a higher quality, more profitable and attractive audience. The neighbourhood newspaper may disappear soon, he says, but magazines may have more resilience.
In regard to the future of magazines as a whole, industry insiders will be closely following the success or failure of a glossy new monthly business magazine called Condé Nast Portfolio, which published its first issue in April.

"Portfolio is being held up as the last big example of whether an old-school print magazine launch can still make it," says Matthew Kinsman, managing editor of the industry journal Folio:. "Their fate will have a lot of impact on the rest of the magazine world."

Overall, there seems to be much less hand-wringing in the magazine industry compared with, say, the newspaper business. There's plenty of speculation that your local daily newspaper could vanish in 20 years or less, but no one is saying that People, Good Housekeeping, and National Geographic will go the way of Life and Look magazines.

People move from place to place and encounter different newspapers, but magazines remain longstanding parts of people's lives, says journalism professor David Sumner, coordinator of the magazine program at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. "People feel more of an emotional bond to magazines, particularly if they've been long-term subscribers," he says.

Then there's the simple pleasure of reading a long, fascinating story on the couch instead of in a desk chair, staring at a computer monitor. "The portability and convenience factor will ensure that print magazines will be around for a long time," Sumner predicts.


Monday, May 28, 2007

Nigel Dickson to present at MagNet in place of Chris Buck

Nigel Dickson, a superlative Toronto-based photographer with an international portfolio, has replaced Chris Buck as international speaker at MagNet. (Buck, a Canadian who has built a career and a reputation in New York, cancelled because of a work conflict.) Dickson has done (and will show) groundbreaking editorial work (Rolling Stone, Esquire, Toronto Life, Regardies, Fortune, Fast Company and Details), commercial and advertising work and taken a lot of pictures simply to suit himself.

He has worked all over the world from his Toronto base:Tonga, Berlin, Budapest, London, Indonesia, East Africa, Paris, West Africa, New York, the Caribbean, Washington, Moscow
"Twenty five years", he says, "and I still have a passion for photography. I just love to take pictures".
[Above, a promotional shot for Women's College Hospital and a portrait of designer Bruce Mau. At left, Dickson. Below, two Saturday Night covers.]

Among other honours, Dickson has won 16 (!) National Magazine Awards and 25 awards from the Art & Design Club of Canada.

People who had signed up for the MagNet session with Buck will likely be sticking with it, to hear Dickson talk about working with the great, the infamous, the near-great and the obscure. (FYI, I'll be moderating the session.)

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Portal strategies become increasingly
important to all magazines

Since there can be no doubt that most magazines want to have as robust a web presence as they can afford, for multi-title publishers there seem to be a choice of ways to go: standalone websites for each title, styled and presented with its own voice or image; and portals, which gather together different titles and present their information and archives in a consistent way. Magazine companies are thus catching on to ways of using the power of the web linking and searching to tempt readers to stay longer and visit more than one title.

MochaSofa, the portal at Transcontinental Media, is perhaps the biggest, providing access to four big, women's interest consumer titles Canadian Living, Homemaker's, Style at Home and Elle Canada. Each title-specific web page can be reached from the portal, but each site shares a common architecture and presentation style.

Horticulture Portal, from Annex Printing and Publishing, brings together four trade titles: Greenhouse Canada, Fruit and Vegetable, Canadian Florist and Garden Centre magazines, again with a common, relatively simple style.

Rogers Media uses a somewhat different model, having standalone sites for each magazine, but cross-marketing the various sites through So, in effect, Canoe is a portal where you can get at the same magazines, in various combinations, by subject: Home & Garden, Lifewise, Money and so on. And, in a relatively recent development, there is a page where a miscellany of stories from a bunch of Rogers titles (Maclean's, Canadian Business, MoneySense, Flare, Today's Parent and Chatelaine, are accessible. Links lead the reader to the individual magazine pages. Canadian Business, Profit and MoneySense are also clustered together under a separate Canadian Business banner.

So portals are obvious and inevitable for multi-title publishers.

But what we're not seeing (though I'd be happy to be pointed to examples) are cooperative portals for similar or complementary magazines from different, independent publishers. It may be a matter of style or preference or simple rugged individualism, but it's worth thinking about the ability of a group of literary and cultural magazines, for instance, banding together to create a "reader's portal" or a number of smaller health and fitness titles doing the same. Most of these magazines have a website of some sort, and maybe a blog, maybe even a podcast. But they might be able to do so much more.

Not only would they have significantly higher traffic (and perhaps even the capability to sell some online advertising) but they could also find ways of doing web-only editorial that spanned their titles and gave readers more reason to come back. And they might be able to offer merchandising, audience-building and customer service tools that aren't within their reach individually.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Quote, unquote

Magazines connect intellectually and emotionally with an educated and thinking reading public. Those are the people who can change a direction for an institution or a company or a neighbourhood or a region.
-- Neville Gilfoy, forthcoming recipient of the outstanding achievement award of the National Magazine Awards, quoted in a profile in the Chronicle-Herald (Halifax).


Andrew Mitrovica honoured for investigative journalism in The Walrus

Andrew Mitrovica was the winner in the magazine category of the Canadian Association of Journalists' annual awards for investigative journalism. It was for his article "Hear No Evil, Write No Lies", in The Walrus, published in the December/January 2007 issue. It explored the media's role in the Maher Arar case and particularly its complicity in allowing anonymous sources to smear Arar.

The award was made Saturday night as part of the annual CAJ/Global Investigative Journalism conference, along with awards for investigative work in newspapers and television. The prize brings with it recognition and $1,000.

Among the finalists in the magazine category were Jeremy Klaszus ("Big Oil on Trial" in Alberta Views), Matt McClearn and Doug Watt ("When the Whistle Stops" in Canadian Business), Jared Ferrie ("Some Say Terror Label Prolongs Sri Lanka War" in The Georgia Straight) and Susan McClelland ("The Unusual Suspects" in Chatelaine).

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Enthusiast titles generate highest U.S. readership

According to a story in Folio:, audience figures from Mediamark Research Inc. show that special interest and enthusiast titles in the U.S. far outstrip larger and more established titles in readers-per-copy. They have astonishing RPCs, more than double what the highest figure is in Canada's Print Measurement Bureau results. The figures MRI produces are based on published ABC and BPA publishers' statements and its own proprietary audience research. The results do not include any digital or electronic copies of magazines.

Top Five Circulation




Readers Per Copy

AARP The Magazine




Reader’s Digest




Better Homes & Gardens




Consumer Reports




National Geographic




Top Five Audience




Readers Per Copy





Better Homes & Gardens




Reader’s Digest




AARP The Magazine




National Geographic




Top Five Readers Per Copy


Readers Per Copy







Sport Truck




Popular Hot Rodding




Stock Car Racing




Bridal Guide




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Older, but better, audiences

Over the past 5 years (2002 to 2007), the median age of readers of a whole range of U.S. magazines has crept up two years from 39.8 to 41.8, according to Mediamark Research Inc. Apparently this is not just because of the the creep in age of the general population -- which only went up 1.3 years. This, from a story in MediaDaily News.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Checkerspot trolls for story ideas

It's not often you see a magazine send out a release inviting story ideas for its next issue,particularly with a week's lead time. That's the case with the newly launched Checkerspot magazine from the Canadian Wildlife Federation, whose editors are asking writers for story ideas by June 1 for their fall/winter 2007 issue. The magazine was launched in May and is published twice a year and here's part of the pitch from Jodi Di Menna, the editor:
Rather than focusing on the political wrangling surrounding global warming, our magazine will empower a young (25- to 44-year-old), urban, trend-setting audience to do something about climate change in their own lives. We want first-rate editorial content, which is why we are inviting you to contribute to our next issue.

We need feature-length (1,000 to 2,000 words) and short (100 to 200 words) stories on scientific discoveries on the impacts of and contributors to global warming; innovation and technology that could help curb greenhouse gas emissions; actions by individuals, communities or businesses that aim to mitigate or adapt to climate change; and, on the flip side, news on how individuals, communities or businesses are contributing to climate change.

Some stories will focus on emerging climate-conscious lifestyle trends — from the food we eat and the places we live to how we get around and how we spend our leisure time.

One department will be a humorous, first person account of an individual trying to trim his or her personal carbon emissions. Another will focus on a particular problem area in climate change — airplane travel, for example — and provide tips and information for readers to take individual action.

All stories should have a strong Canadian link. International stories, relevant within Canada, are welcome.

We will pay competitive rates for first rights and we need your story proposals by June 1st, 2007.
The magazine's phone number is 613 599 9594 ext. 269.

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Marie-Helene Proulx wins Jean-Paré prize

Marie-Helene Proulx has been awarded the prize for journalist of the year at the 9th annual Concours des Grands Prix 2007 organized by Magazines du Quebec. The prize and the $3,000 that goes with it recognizes her for the quality of her writing and the originality and relevance of the topics she chose. The prize itself is named after the longtime editor and publisher of L’actualité magazine.

The prize recognized four in-depth articles that appeared in Magazine Jobboom in 2006
  • "Dieu a l'ouvrage" ("God at Work"), was published in February 2006 and shed light on spirituality in the workplace.
  • "Villes en peril" ("Cities at Risk"), appeared in March 2006, about Quebec cities that could be struck from the map if their principal industrial employer closes its doors.
  • "La famille tuee dans l'oeuf" ("Families Killed in the Egg") in May 2006 deals with the high abortion rate in Quebec and how the decision to have children can affect a woman's career.
  • In September 2006, Ms. Proulx wrote "Brules" ("Burned") about the pre-conceived ideas and prejudices faced by workers who have suffered a burn out.


Ontario Out of Doors merges fishing show with Sportsmen's Show

For 15 years, Ontario Out of Doors magazine has run a Spring Fishing Show; now, it has decided to collaborate and merge that show with the Canadian National Sportsmen's Shows, effective in 2008. Sporting and angling enthusiasts will still be able to shop for gear and boats and check out fishing destinations, but as part of the wider sportsman's show.

"At Ontario OUT OF DOORS we are always looking to be affiliated with the leaders in the outdoor community," said Alison de Groot, Publisher, Ontario Out of Doors in a press release. "That's why we are thrilled to be working with the Canadian National Sportsmen's Shows, the leading producer of consumer shows in the outdoor category. Together we will deliver the very best in outdoor information and entertainment to Ontario's angling and hunting community."

Ontario Out of Doors is published by Rogers Media and is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2008. It has a circulation of more than 92,000 and a claimed readership of more than 640,000, which allows it to call itself "Ontario's largest and best-read outdoor sportsmen's magazine". The alliance gives the magazine access to the estimated 150,000 individuals who annually attend the show.

By this arrangement, it becomes the exclusive Canadian outdoor publication of the Toronto Sportsmen's Show, the Ottawa Boat, Sportsmen's and Cottage Show, and the CNSS' Great Ontario Salmon Derby. The magazine's March fishing annual will be expanded to include an extensive fishing and hunting gear guide with a sneak peek at what they can expect to see at the Toronto Sportsmen's Show. The February issue of the magazine will include the official Ottawa Boat, Sportsmen's and Cottage Show Fishing & Hunting show program.

OOD's major competitor in the "hook and bullet" category is Outdoor Canada magazine, now a Transcontinental title. Interestingly, Outdoor Canada used to be published by the Sportsmen's Show which sold it some years ago to Avid Media (later, itself merged with Transcon). (The new arrangement between the Sportsmen's Show and Ontario Out of Doors probably puts at an end to Outdoor Canada's sponsorship of the Outdoor Canada Hunting Hall and its turkey hunting course, which have been part of the show for some time.)

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The virtual magazine for the actual Atlantic farmer

DvL Publishing Inc. of Liverpool, Nova Scotia, is taking the plunge into web-only publishing by launching a new magazine entirely online. A story in mastheadonline (sub req'd) says publisher and editor Dirk Van Loon and his business manager wife Anne, are launching But for the daunting costs of paper and postage, it might have been a print publication called Atlantic Farmer, similar to the others they have launched over the past 30 years -- Rural Delivery, Atlantic Beef, Atlantic Forestry and Horse & Pony.

Van Loon acknowledges that farmers have been slow to adopt the internet, particularly in the Maritimes, where broadband is not widely available. That's one of the reasons why the format of the site is kept fairly simple and quick to load, even for dial-up.
"We are taking this route despite the fact that as many as two thirds of farmers don’t or cannot access the Internet. Every day more people are climbing on, however. If we are talking news, that’s where it is appearing, often before it finds its way into the morning newspaper or on radio or TV." will provide a farmer-to-farmer forum that’s unique to the region. It also provides a variety of links to other sites that give provincial market reports and weather.

This isn't the first online venture for DvL. It was an early adopter of websites for each of its titles and, at one point the company ran an online buy-and-sell site for used farm machinery. In fact, the new site has an extensive classified section where, for example, you can source a "portable forge with Buffalo Blower, some tongs and about 30 lbs of coal, $100."

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Rogers consolidates consumer
marketing; Latini out

There is a major shakeup at Rogers Media in consumer marketing. The reorganisation has left veteran Marisa Latini out of a job. She has been with the consumer marketing group, with particular responsibility for the women's service magazines, for seven years.

All Toronto-based titles will now be directed by Libby Nixon as Group Consumer Marketing Director effective June 12th. All Montreal-based magazines will be continue to be led by Catherine Louvet, who continues here role with the Service de la Diffusion team. The two directors will report to Tracy McKinley, Vice-President, Consumer Marketing & Research and Executive Publisher, Hello! Canadian Edition. Exceptions to the new reporting structure are that Peter Willson on Hello! and Colleen Moloney on Chocolat (considered launches) will continue to report directly to McKinley.


The volunteers who make this industry hum

The volunteers who make this industry run are being honoured at MagNet, Canada's Magazine Conference. Already announced is that Terry Sellwood has been named Volunteer of the Year and will receive his honour at a Magazines Canada luncheon on June 14 during the conference. In addition, there are regional volunteer award winners who will be feted at a champagne reception later that day. They are (we crib from the Magazines Canada press release):
Lisa Manfield is the British Columbia Association of Magazine Publishers (BCAMP) Volunteer of the Year. Lisa contributes enormously to the Canadian magazine industry through her volunteer work with Room and her many years of dedicated service on the Boards of both Vancouver’s Word on the Street and BCAMP. Lisa is a marketing consultant to publishers, a freelance writer and editor, and contributes to the industry by volunteering her time to speak to writing groups and schools about the importance of Canadian magazines.

Derek Beaulieu is the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association (AMPA) Volunteer of the Year. He is the Managing Editor of filling Station, and brings energy and dynamism to the Calgary literary community where he has worked over the last decade as editor for dANDelion and filling Station. Derek is a powerful champion for creative expression, literary excellence and artist promotion and has been a strong force in Alberta’s magazine publishing community.

Andris Taskans is the Manitoba Magazine Publishers Association (MMPA) Volunteer of the Year. Andris is the Editor and Publisher of Prairie Fire and a founding member and long-time Director of the MMPA. He is also a founding member of the Manitoba Writers’ Guild, founding President of the Winnipeg Writers’ Festival and initiated Words on Wheels, a tour featuring aboriginal writers. Andris has mentored dozens of new authors and brings vision and energy to the industry through his extensive volunteer work.

Suzanne Lamouche is the Magazines du Québec (AQEM) Volunteer of the Year. Suzanne is a long-time Board member of AQEM where she was an active volunteer since 1993, and a former VP, Finance and Administration, for Rogers Media in Montreal. Suzanne has represented AQEM on the National Postal Committee, the Media Committee of the Québec Association of Media Directors and the Marketing Committee of Magazines Canada. She was also the driving force behind many professional development events for AQEM, including its annual Gala event.

Patty Baxter, Sheila Blair-Reid, Dawn Chafe,Shawn Dalton Jim Gourlay, Krista Hewey Ivanov, Leith Orr, Bill Skerrett, Anne van Loon, Dianne Williams and Grant Young are the founding Board members of the Atlantic Magazine Association (AMA). Each has worked tirelessly to create and guide the development of an association for magazines in the Atlantic region of Canada. For their dedication to enhancing the magazine industry on the east coast, and for their individual volunteer achievements, they are the AMA Volunteers of the Year.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sassy was not just a book for girls, ya know

We turn now to a quirky piece in the Huffington Post, where Toronto writer Mike Attenborough reviews a book about the late Sassy Magazine (folded in 1996) and talks about how he used to read it avidly when he was an editor at the Gazette, the student newspaper of the University of Western Ontario. (Of course there was the obligatory shot about Mike writing from his "igloo" in Canada!)

The book in question is How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter To The Greatest Teen Magazine Of All Time by Kara Jesella and Marissa Meltzer. (See earlier item about this book.)
There was a group of us nerdy, covetous, detail-oriented music addicts at the school paper ... who would pass around the office copy every month. We — me, anyway — were pretty much hooked by the time the rest of the office figured out that Canadian acts like Sloan and Eric's more space in Sassy than they did in most Canadian publications.
Attenborough points out that the magazine had no business being successful and, ultimately, wasn't.
It's instructive from a publishing trade point of view, too, how individual pieces of the magazine melted down under the pressure of its success: Editor in Chief Jane Pratt getting caught up in not one but two directionless TV shows; the revolt of the riot grrrl movement against the magazine that had helped give it exposure — for that very reason; how the writers, having became characters in each issue, were expected to keep churning out more and more exaggerated and outsized print versions of themselves. The line between sly, in-crowd reference and self-aggrandizement can be blurry indeed; so, too, can the line between way-cool outsider and too-cool insider. It didn't stand a chance.

The curious absence of the online
magazine rate card

Why the reluctance by magazines to publish online rate cards? While it wasn't exhaustive, a quick review of the websites of various consumer magazines shows that many don't post a rate card for buttons, banners and the like on their sites, with the kinds of frequency discounts and size premiums that are commonplace in print. If you enquire about such a grid, there is a curious reluctance to comply. Everything seems to be done on a case-by-case basis.(Some magazines even demur to post a print rate card, of course, requiring a form of registration or a conversation with a sales rep before they'll deign to send you an e-mail link to download it as a pdf.)

Even a company like Rogers that does publish an online card (see below) that applies to all its consumer titles, is curiously coy about audience and readership and the usual trappings of a print rate card.Is it because the whole online field is so fluid? Is it because they want to use online ads as a bargaining chip in negotiations with advertisers? Or is it because they don't know what to charge?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Rogers mags to test alternative delivery

Rogers Media is to launch a pilot project for alternative delivery of some of its magazines by using independent newspaper contractors (the shadowy people who drive around our streets in the dark of night making sure the Globe and Mail gets tossed into the juniper bush, just out of reach.)

Brian Master has been engaged as project manager, reporting to Michael Fox, Senior Vice-President Circulation and Development. Master was most recently Vice-president Circulation at the Toronto Sun after being VP Circulation & Sports Publications from 2001 to 2004 at Transcontinental Media and has worked in a variety of circulation management positions from 1985 to 2000 at Toronto Star Newspapers. As RMAD (Rogers Magazine Alternative Delivery -- the working title) is rolled out, a sample of Rogers titles will be delivered to business addresses by the contractors, as opposed to through Canada Post. Presumably,the pilot will test whether customers are just as happy to get their magazines one way as another; and the payoff may be significant savings for publishers who have faced steadily escalating postage increases (and steadily eroding postal subsidies)in recent years.

Rogers was part of a consortium of big consumer mag players who paid for a feasibility study on alternative delivery last year (with support in part from Canadian Heritage). While it was led by the larger players, the focus was on alternatives for the whole industry, including small magazines.

Rogers has offered to share what it learns in its own project.

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Can Source be a supplier and a competitor, too?

Much muttering in the U.S. magazine business about Source Interlink's purchase of the enthusiast division of Primedia (see previous post). According to a story in Folio:, among the questions being asked is how can a major distributor impartially deal with its clients when it is one of their competitors? Part of the muttering is caused by the recent exclusive deal that Source Interlink cut with Borders (think Chapter-Indigo) that means competing books will have no choice but to go through Source to get shelf space in one of the biggest retailers in the country. Sound familiar?

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Study says young adults read more, not fewer, magazines

Readership of consumer magazines

Total 19-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+
# Titles Read Last 6 mos. 17 18.3 18.9 17.2 16.7 17 14
Index 100 108 112 101 98 100 82
# Specific issues
29.3 30.9 33.3 29.2 28.3 29.7 25
Index 100 105 113 99 96 101 85

The table above is as published by MediaDaily News, released by McPheters and Co. in the U.S. It is part of the beta research conducted by McPheters in preparation for its project, which has now been discontinued. But the interesting thing is the research suggests that, far from being lured away from traditional magazines by the internet, younger people are reading more magazines than their elders.
"[The research] showed that adults in the 19-24 and 25-34 age groups reported that they read a larger number of both different magazine titles and specific magazine issues than their older counterparts," said John McPheters, a partner in the company, adding, "This evidence speaks directly to the growing concern that younger audiences are abandoning the hard-copy magazines for the internet and other forms of media. It simply has not happened."

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American Heritage suspends publication

A venerable U.S. history magazine that was one of the few magazines that appeared originally in hardcovers (the other was Horizon), American Heritage -- owned by Forbes Inc., publishers of Forbes magazine -- has been suspended. According to a story in the New York Times, the magazine has been for sale since January and the June-July issue is "on hold" pending some resolution. American Heritage's website is being maintained for now.

The closest Canadian equivalent to American Heritage is The Beaver: Canada's National History Magazine, although that title is published by a not-for-profit foundation.

Current circulation is 350,000, the highest it has ever been. The original editor of the magazine was the famous Civil War historian Bruce Catton who wrote in the inaugural issue in December 1954 that “the faith that moves us is, quite simply, the belief that our heritage is best understood by a study of the things that the ordinary folk of America have done and thought and dreamed since first they began to live here.”

Originally, the magazine's founders refused to take advertising (finding a “basic incompatibility between the tones of the voice of history and of advertising”) — and instead charged a yearly subscription of $10, a figure so steep at the time that readers were allowed to pay it in installments. In its early years, it was published clothbound. It stayed hardback until 1980. In the mid-90s it was redesigned and repositioned to appeal to younger, boomer readers.

The magazine became a treasured collector's item and many back issues are still available in used book stores and online used book sites.

Editor Richard F. Snow said the magazine only began taking advertising reluctantly, in 1982. “We all felt very bad about taking advertising,” Mr. Snow recalled. “But it had the odd effect of making us feel we were in touch with the world. There was a sense of a living connection to a process that was actually sort of fun — or at least it was fun while we were getting ads.”

The NYT article said Snow gets to keep his Royal manual typewriter as part of his severance.
“That was the typewriter I was assigned in 1970, and it will follow me to the grave,” he said, and he added: “I wish this were more a sign of granitic stability, but in fact it’s a sign of my computer incompetence. I use it just to type labels, but it works beautifully. Every year someone comes in and cleans it. I don’t think he’s paid by Forbes. He’s some spectral presence who just turns up.”

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A list for a better-looking website has come up with a Top 10 list for web typography, which you may want to consider for your own magazine's website. Like all lists, it is arguable (see particularly #7 about the much-derided Arial face). The list is also part of a package in Design Edge Canada on webography.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Boomers not so loyal to brands as once thought

Recent research is debunking one of the long-held beliefs of marketers about brand preferences and brand loyalty, particularly among so-called "baby boomers". A story in MediaDaily News by Eric Sass points out that boomers are less brand-loyal than preceding generations, according to a study to a study released this week by market-research firm Focalyst, a joint venture between AARP and the Kantar Group.

The research (somewhat self-serving given that it is run by an organization representing and publishing to older persons) is important because it undermines one of the cherished beliefs of marketers that you've got to get 'em when they're young and before they get set in their ways. In fact, anecdotal evidence has long been that boomers, with lots of disposable and discretionary income and the leisure to pursue their passions, can be influenced by carefully crafted advertising.

The study drew on a panel of about 35,000 consumers over the age of 42. It found that, while advertisers have long held the belief that they have to get the 18-34 demographic because that's when brand loyalties are formed, it's not the case and, anyway, it depends on the goods or services that are being talked about.

In April 2006, an article titled "Brand Purchasing by Older Consumers"* published in Marketing Letters, an academic journal, found that "patterns of buying between brands within a product category do not reveal marked age-based differences, and leading brands tend to be leading for all age groups."

Brand loyalty among boomers in the Focalyst study is higher for service-oriented brands, like insurance and banking, and significantly lower for product-oriented brands.

Heather Stern, Focalyst's director of marketing, remarked: "Boomers are most loyal when companies give customized service, a natural reflection of boomers' desire for personalized attention and rewarding brand experiences." They are also willing to pay more if a product or service makes their busy lives easier. "For consumer categories such as home appliances, computers and televisions that score low on brand loyalty, marketers may be able to develop stronger bonds with boomers," says Stern.
Now, if magazines and other media could only get the media buyers to read the research and understand that boomers not only have money to spend, but can change their minds on brands (and do).

[*The article can be purchased for US$32.]

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Moskot to design new New York magazine called Jewish Living

Toronto Life art director Carol Moskot and her husband, advertising creative director Dan Zimerman, are moving to New York City to launch a new bimonthly lifestyle magazine called Jewish Living. According to a story in Design Edge Canada, Moskot says:

“Imagine if you took Martha Stewart Living, Oprah, Real Simple and looked at it through the lens of the (female) North American Jewish community. It’s a demographic that’s never been targeted specifically… an idea like this has never existed.”

The magazine is due to debut November 8 with the tagline: Celebrating Jewish Home, Jewish Family and Jewish Cultural Life.

Moskot recently led the redesign of Toronto Life and had consulted on redesigns carried out at Maclean's, Canadian Gardening and Canadian Home and Country magazines. Moskot is currently nominated for two National Magazine Awards in art direction at this year’s event in June.

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Newsstand Awards finalists announced

The 6th annual Canadian Newsstand Awards finalists have been announced. 34 titles will compete for top spot in five categories and the overall Best Newsstand Cover of the Year.Who wins will be announced June 5 during Magazines University at the Old Mill in Toronto. In addition, the Newsstand Marketer of the Year will be announced, recognizing an invididual who demonstrated passion and innovation for a newsstand project in 2006. Pix and details of the finalists can be found here.

Winning magazines receive $3,500 each in credits towards promotional programs at newsstands owned by HDS Retail; the winner in the Small Magazine Category wins $1,000 in credits, plus $500 cash.

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Industry treats transparency with a yawn

A couple of years ago (October 2005) we posted an item about well-known market consultant and researcher Rebecca McPheters of McPheters and Co. and her plans to launch It was to be a more transparent and complex means of measuring the readership of publications. At the time,our comment was that it would be interesting to see whether publishers and media buying agencies would embrace such a system and whether it would slop over the 49th parallel. Well, they didn't and it won't. McPheters has just announced that, after two launch delays, she is abandoning the idea. Apparently she was unable to raise more than half the necessary US$5 million to launch it.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Effem Foods lands on Mars

One of the bigger packaged goods, snackfoods and pet care advertisers, important to magazines and the women's service category particularly, is changing its brand. Effem Inc. is now being rechristened Mars Canada Inc. It is, of course, named after its highest profile product, the candy bar Mars and after its American parent, Mars, Incorporated (one of the world's largest, privately held companies). It markets some of the best-known brands in North America (MARS®, M&M'S®, SNICKERS®, SKITTLES ®, UNCLE BEN'S® Rice, PEDIGREE®, CESAR® and WHISKAS®. Mars Canada Inc. is headquartered in Bolton and employs 700.


Terry Sellwood named Volunteer of the Year

Terry Sellwood, the General Manager of Quarto Communications (publishers of Cottage Life and Explore magazines) is to be honoured as 2006 Magazines Canada's Volunteer of the Year.The award is made annually to one individual whose outstanding volunteer contributions have had a national impact on the Canadian consumer magazine industry.
[UPDATE: interviewed by Mastheadonline. (sub req'd), Sellwood said: “It’s important for the industry as a whole that we have continuity of the knowledge. There are so many organizations that can contribute at various levels, and if we don’t encourage people to do that we just can’t be all that we can be,” says Sellwood. “I guess that’s the point of it.”]
In his 30-year-to-date career, Sellwood has been an active advocate for the publishing industry and currently sits on the Board of Magazines Canada. He has also served on the Board of the National Magazine Awards Foundation and on the Canadian Marketing Association's Publishing Committee. Other notable contributions include his previous posts as President of the Circulation Management Association of Canada and of the National Magazine Awards Foundation, as well as his membership on the Magazines Canada Professional Development Committee since its inception. He is also a faculty member for Magazines Canada's School for Circulation and an adjudicator at the School for Professional Publishing and last year's winner of the CMC's Marketer of the Year award.

"Terry has worked selflessly, using his considerable and varied experience for the betterment of all magazines in Canada. Magazines big and small have benefited from the thousands of hours that Terry has devoted to making this a great industry," says Al Zikovitz, President of Quarto Communications and former Chair of Magazines Canada.

Sellwood will receive his award at the Magazines Canada Annual Luncheon on June 14, 2007 at MagNet, Canada's Magazine Conference/La conférence canadienne des magazines.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Quote, unquote

"There's no point sneering at the customer magazines because what the consumer titles are producing is "kitten heels are in and here are a lot of bags" – that's not great journalism. I'm not going to miss any of that."
Lori Miles, the former editor of the London Evening News and most recently deputy editorial director of News International's magazine division, explaining to the U.K. Press Gazette why she has jumped over to Cedar, the custom publisher (Tesco, British Airways).


Source Interlink, a major U.S. distributor buys Primedia titles

Source Interlink, one of the biggest magazine distributors in the United States, has purchased the enthusiast group from Primedia in what industry observers describe as "a stunning development". The effect is to transform a supplier into a major player in media, virtually overnight. (The equivalent would have been if Disticor or Coast-to-Coast in Canada has suddenly acquired the consumer magazines of Rogers Media.) An online story from Folio: magazine, written by its editor Tony Silber, said the deal was cinched with US$1.2 billion in cash. [A brief story also appeared in MediaDaily News.]

Source Interlink has been on an acquisition tear in recent years, mostly in its own chosen field; for instance, it bought Buffalo-based Empire News in 2004 and its purchase of Charles Levy Circulating Company in 2005 brought it to 20% of all single copy sales in the U.S. Based in Bonita Springs, Florida, the public company, also distributes DVDs, music CDs, and books as well as magazines and generated about $1.9 billion in the year ended January 31.

Primedia Enthusiast Media (PEM) is the leading special-interest magazine publisher in the U.S., with over 70 magazines, including: Motor Trend, Automobile, Hot Rod, Lowrider, Soap Opera Digest and Soap Opera Weekly, Power & Motoryacht and, Surfer and Snowboarder.

Source Interlink is controlled by Yucaipa Cos., a supermarket-holding company owned by billionaire businessman Ron Burkle. Last week, Folio: reported that insiders were saying the Burkle bid was coming on strong, although one source told Folio: the Burkle bid (mentioned to be in connection with American Media) was not being taken seriously. “It is a stunning development that a publicly owned distribution company controlled by Ron Burkle is buying one of the largest portfolios of enthusiast magazines,” one source said Monday morning. “It’s shocking. The valuation is significantly higher than they would have gotten from others.”

Indeed, Source Interlink also paid significantly more than sources in the last few weeks indicated the company might get. PEM, with revenue of about $524 million and EBITDA of about $100 million, turned out to command an EBITDA multiple of about 12-times.

To fund the acquisition, Source Interlink has secured a financing commitment from Citigroup Global Markets. It was unclear at presstime whether American Media was involved.

“Over the last several years Source has driven the consolidation of a fragmented and inefficient channel for the distribution and merchandising of home entertainment content at retail and the newsstand,” said Source Interlink chairman Michael Duckworth. “This acquisition is a first step to leverage what we have built by transforming Source into a fully integrated media company with both print and digital content. Primedia Enthusiast Media's industry-leading special interest magazine titles and consumer Web sites diversifies our earnings streams and accelerates our growth.”

Following the completion of the transaction, PEM will operate as a division of Source Interlink and will be headed by Steve Parr, PEM’s current president. He will report to Duckworth.

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