Friday, February 29, 2008
A story in the Globe and Mail says that the tax credit program for film and video under the Income Tax Act is soon to be subject to after-the-fact decisions about what is offensive or in the public's best interest. It is part of a new approach by the Department of Canadian Heritage to be more selective about what it funds. It seems to mean is that film producers might be turned down for tax relief after they'd spent the money or borrowed against it.
This is not a merely academic discussion, since the same ministry is now holding public consultations concerning a radical restructuring of the Canada Magazine Fund and the Publications Assistance Program; they are to be rolled together and called the Canada Periodical Fund. Will part of the restructuring include similar guidelines to determine whether magazine content is ineligible because it doesn't meet government criteria? Magazines don't have a tax credit, mind you, but could similar principles apply to other support programs?
Mark Musselman, vice-president of business affairs at Toronto's Serendipity Point Films and Maximum Film Distribution, said Wednesday that the implications are huge, “both from the perspective of freedom of speech and for the Pandora's box of uncertainty this will open up from a business perspective.”
If certification is denied, the producer would be on the hook to repay organizations such as Telefilm, which invests only in Canadian-certified productions, Mr. Musselman added. “This review panel totally fetters the discretion of Telefilm. What will it do, send the panel scripts it is worried might be too racy or offensive?”
He called a review procedure that determines eligibility for Canadian content certification after the completion of a film or TV show production “unworkable in terms of the cold, hard reality of financing these types of things,” adding that “it's entirely possible the whole financing structure could crumble.”
Toronto lawyer David Zitzerman of Goodmans LLP says the government's plans smack of “closet censorship.”....“The government – and Heritage – are of the view that they should have prerogative to assess whether a particular film, TV production or book meets their public policy criteria,” he said. “And if it doesn't, they should have the right to decline to invest in it. They don't view this as censorship because they say anyone is free to make the film or show or book, but not with their money.”Substitute the word "magazine" for "film" or "video" and you may start to see why this bears watching. Discuss.
A British magazine for women called Dare, launched 18 months ago carrying a $1 cover price and tied to the drugstore chain Superdrug has converted to free and vastly increased distribution. According to a story in Media Life, where once Dare had a circulation of 271,000, it now gives away 750,000 in train and tube stations as well as continuing to give it away in store. The magazine behaves like a custom publication and carries brand ads from companies that supply Superdrug and clearly its goal is to drive traffic to the stores rather than to follow the traditional consumer publishing model.
This has happened as two of the most successful recent launches for men are also free and have quickly come to dominate the category. Sport, a British reworking of a successful French concept launched in 2006 as a weekly and distributes 317,209 copies each week in London on Friday mornings. ShortList started distributing 500,000 free copies in London and five other cities last September. They have become the two largest circulation men's titles in the country.
"For those that say men are moving away from magazines and going online, this shows the opposite,” says Mike Soutar, ShortList's founder and a former editorial director at IPC, a major UK publishing house. “If you get the content right, men’s magazines have never been more engaging. There has never been a greater number of men’s magazines read than today.”
Part of the reason why these giveaways work well is the highly developed and highly concentrated public transport network (trains and Underground) in Britain. Hundreds of thousands of copies can be handed out in just a few hours as commuters pour into major cities, particularly London.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
As reported here in an earlier post, Znaimer has hired Suzanne Boyd, 44,former editor of Flare and of the shortlived New York magazine Suede, to pilot the new lifestyle magazine, aimed at 50-plus readers. It will be a substantial departure from CARP, which was more service-oriented.
CARP and Zoomer magazine are targeting 3.3 million Canadian baby boomers aged 40 to 49 and 11.2 million that are 50-plus, for a total of 14.5 million, more than half of all Canadians aged 12 or more. This group controls more than half of all spending in Canada, buys 58% of the cars, 55% of the vacations and …well, you get the idea.CARP has a circulation of about 190,000 and it was thought that it might continue as a tabloid newspaper; however, it now appears that Znaimer is making a clean break with the past and integrating Zoomer into his multi-media strategy to ride the crest of the aging boomer wave.
In an introductory video, the founder of CityTV, MuchMusic, Space and various specialty TV channels said “the Internet is the new Television.”
Znaimer also said he has signed content deals with Sympatico and LavaLife, the latter a dating site he obviously views as a major component of his Zoomer strategy.
His long-running TV show (33 years on air) perhaps gave him more fame than his little magazine, which always struggled; it had influence well beyond its small circulation (give or take 150,000) and a few of the copies even drifted north of the border. The late Western Standard and its predecessors Alberta and Western Report magazines, were flattering comparisons to his quite original creation. Many of his friends and his enemies credit his influence with driving Reaganism and the ascendancy and extended hold of the Republicans on the White House.
There is a longish obituary in today's Globe and Mail and a piece in the Washington Post, which is well worth reading. Charm and recollected wit doesn't necessarily overcome distaste for his views, but it will keep his memory alive. There are a number of tributes to him on the National Review website.
The awards are promoted as "the only national magazine awards that are judged by your editing peers"; this, of course, makes us wonder what they think the other awards are judged by.
In this blog, I aspire to cast a gimlet eye on the stories of power—of money and media and influence. These days, conventional journalism is full to brimming with pompous windbaggery and is, as ever, in need of knocking down a peg or two. Here you will gain insight into the New York Times’ latest cave-in to vested interests, the Toronto Star’s latest bleeding heart lament, Chatelaine’s latest firing, Gerry Schwartz’s latest buyout, Heather Reisman’s latest faux pas and David Thomson’s latest… whatever.The blog's first few items include an item about (natch) Conrad Black and commentary on Jeanne Beker's unfortunate turn on the red carpet at the Oscars on behalf of CTV.
Toronto Life has developed a number of web-based extensions of its print version, of which Spectator is one. Others include Phillip Preville on Politics, James Chatto's Digest (food and such), David Lawrason on Wine, plus weeky free subscription e-letters
Bon voyage, Spectator. Have at 'em.
[UPDATE] Douglas Bell is interviewed by Mastheadonline (sub req'd).
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Sanati will be responsible for launching a much-postponed redesign and presiding over the 80th anniversary celebrations of the magazine.
Sanati joined Chatelaine from the Globe and Mail and before that worked at the late Shift magazine and for ROB magazine. She started as an intern at Toronto Life.
David Hayes, who recently wrote a Toronto Life feature on the turmoil at Chatelaine, posted an item on the Toronto Freelance Editors and Writers listserv saying that he thought it was a canny appointment.
Maryam is a real pro, smart, wonderful to work with, sympathetic to freelancers. This is good news for freelance writers (as well as members of Chatelaine’s staff).Here is a longer press release.
Jamison pointed out that Canada Post has raised publication mail rates by almost 70% since 2000.
It is no surprise then that over 75% of new magazines choose alternative delivery streams to reach Canadians while more established magazines are now beginning to look elsewhere for stable, predictable business solutions. Canada Post needs direction from its only shareholder. It is time for the Government of Canada to review the core mandate of Canada Post in the context of the Canada’s economic, social and cultural priorities.Without a clear idea of what the Government expects from Canada Post, he said, the forthcoming changes being proposed by Canadian Heritage -- particularly to the Publications Assistance Program -- could be potentially very damaging to the sector.
Some of the irritants Jamison brought up were provincial. Foreign companies are effectively given a pass on paying their share for blue box programs, he said.
So, while over half of the recycling from the magazine sector is due to magazines imported by foreign publishers, the full amount of the cost of recycling these magazines is borne exclusively by Canadian publishers.He also noted that government liquor agencies continue to compete unfairly with the private sector for finite advertising dollars (for example, Food & Drink magazine in Ontario).
Magazines Canada believes the new investment regime [updated in 1999] is working well, helping the industry fulfill Canada’s cultural policy goals, ensuring an open marketplace -- a full choice of Canadian and international content at competitive prices -- and encouraging magazine publishers to invest in new titles, additionalcontent, and new technologies and forward looking business planning.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
"It's very, very good news for the plant. I think it's a reflection of the work that the people have done up here and their ability to embrace new equipment," said Brian Reid, senior vice-president of Transcontinental's magazine and catalogue group.
RBW, which has been in business under different owners since 1853, already prints, among other things, Canadian Living, the Canadian edition of Time, Style at Home, Elle Canada, Canadian Gardening, The Hockey News and Canadian Home Workshop. Now, it will be printing everything from Maclean's, Chatelaine and Flare and Rogers b to b titles.
Now it will be doing the majority of the new $210 million contract (although Transcon across the country will handle some of the work), expanding its plant and its workforce, which now stands at 625 people, according to a story in the Owen Sound Sun Times. "We'll definitely have to be looking at additional equipment, investment in new equipment and we'll have to look at expanding the building as well," he said. "It will definitely be another full production line. We'll need to hire people, for sure."
Monday, February 25, 2008
Under WIPO rules, rights to a domain name can only be transferred if the complaining party can prove: that the name is identical or “confusingly similar” to a trademark or service for which it has rights, if the owner has no rights or legitimate interests in the name, and that the name was registered and used in bad faith.
In its decision, the WIPO concluded that, although it was “skeptical,” and “has some doubts,” The Economist magazine failed to prove that Rose and TE Internet Services used the domain name in bad faith. “The only way that Mr. Rose’s assertions can be tested is in litigation where a judge would have proper opportunity of assessing the quality of this evidence. A proceeding under the policy is not the proper forum for determining such a belated issue of fact,” WIPO said in the document.
Friday, February 22, 2008
- No more Dad at work, Mom at home and Chevy in the driveway -- The period of "discontinuous change" and upheaval in the magazine industry has forced virtually every magazine publisher to tear up its playbook, Meredith publishing president Jack Griffin says. “We don’t hire editors anymore,” he said. “We hire content strategists.”
- Product placement, particularly in b-to-b magazines, is no longer an issue and readers have moved ahead of editors. “Are you holding onto something that your audience isn’t holding onto anymore?” asked Jeff Pedone, director of e-mail marketing at ALM Media.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Tuesday night was a celebration of John Macfarlane's 15 years at Toronto Life magazine. He and his bandmates in 3 Chord Johnny played at a private club in Toronto to an invited crowd of colleagues and friends. Here, thanks to Doug Bennet, the publisher of Masthead magazine (sub req'd), we have some selected video of the event. The speeches were short and to the point, first by Doug Knight, the president of St. Joseph Media, then by Sarah Fulford, Macfarlane's successor as editor and then by the man himself.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
According to a story on the Portfolio magazine website portfolio.com, however, not many publishers are rushing to take up the opportunity.
Jeff Berkovici reports
As of yesterday, the January issues of most monthly magazines had been off newsstands for nearly a full month. Yet only a few major publishers -- including Alpha Media Group (publisher of Maxim and Blender), ESPN (ESPN The Magazine), American Media Inc. (the National Enquirer, Men's Fitness), and Johnson Publishing (Ebony) -- have reported numbers for the month. Time Inc., Hearst, Conde Nast (parent of Portfolio), Hachette Filipacchi, Meredith Corp., Rodale and Wenner Media all have yet to report their numbers -- even for their weekly and biweekly titles.He suspects that it's because publishers are used to being able to massage numbers to get the best possible six-month average, rather than issue-by-issue figures.
ABC only requires publishers' circulation reports to be accurate on the basis of a six-month average, not on an issue-by-issue basis. Advertisers, however, care about the distribution of the specific issues in which they ran ads. Thus, a publisher who knows how many copies each issue sold in a six-month period can smooth out the spikes, subtracting copies from the high-selling ones and adding them to the low-selling ones to insure that each individual issue meets its rate base, or circulation guarantee.
But require publishers to report their numbers before they know how subsequent issues will sell and the whole scheme falls apart. That may be why at least one executive at an early-reporting company has received calls admonishing the company not to file so promptly.
Both senior editors at The Walrus take leave
Although there is no direct evidence that discount microstock sites are cutting into his agency’s profits, Pigeon says it is not unrealistic to assume they are affecting Masterfile’s bottom line.
“Given the fact that these guys are popping up like mushrooms and licensing pictures at very low prices, it stands to reason that some of our traditional business is going that way,” Pigeon says. “We’re assuming that’s having an affect on the industry.
Another of Pigeon's concerns is a possible U.S. recession.
As a 35-year veteran of the design and photography industry, Pigeon says advertising budgets are always the first to go when companies start tightening their belt. Masterfile does approximately 85% of its business in the advertising sector. “So when there’s a downturn there, we feel it.”Masterfile was created in 1981 and was acquired from its corporate owners by Pigeon in a management-led buyout in 1984. Today it is one of the largest independent stock image companies in the world.
A week or so ago, DesignEdge reported that Adobe is getting out of the stock photography business and Getty Images, an unparalleled repository of historic stock imagaes, is up for sale.
Marcoux praised Desjardins' contributions, although there was some surprise in the industry when it was unexpectedly announced last fall that he would be leaving after four years in the job. Olivier, who had been with the company 15 years, was selected to replace him after what Transcontinental referred to as "a rigorous selection process".
Not surprisingly, Marcoux lavished praise on the new CEO: "François has an impressive track record with Transcontinental. He is an entrepreneur and innovator who puts growth front and centre and he has excellent credibility throughout the organization. Because we have a strong management team, we were able to identify an internal successor, in this instance a member of my family, which guarantees the continuity and stability that are so crucial in today's economy."
Transcontinental is Canada's largest producer of consumer magazines, its largest printer and just last week announced that it had won the contract away from Quebecor to print all of Rogers Publishing's consumer and trade titles.
The current issue of the magazine (published by Rogers under license from the Spanish owners) contains a nine-page spread about Dion, her husband Rene and their seven-year-old son Rene-Charles in South Africa at the start of the tour. Says Dion: "I take my son around the world so that he can understand the privileges he has."
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
She said magazine retailers, like bookstores, have taken some heat about the differences between Canadian and U.S. cover prices for magazines as the loonie reached parity with the U.S. greenback.
"Two to three people would comment every day," she said, even though it costs more to ship and sell U.S. magazines and books to the smaller Canadian market than it does to sell them in the United States. "There were some disgruntled, unhappy consumers," she said, adding that the U.S.-Canadian cover price differences haven’t had as much impact on her business as other factors like general price increases, low subscriptions rates and the Internet, which has eroded the magazine market. There’s more time spent online."
The News Group, a major suppliers, has said that over 70 per cent of magazines they distribute (mostly from the United States) have gone to a single Canadian cover price, according to Gerard and those changes have meant lower Canadian prices in some cases.
"We have been watching our two largest suppliers and have noted over 100 titles where the prices have decreased by up to $2," she said.
For example, she said Bride and Bloom magazine, which previously had a cover price of US$5.95 and C$7.95, now has a single cover price of $6.99.
George Kapsalis, owner of Blowers Street Paperchase in downtown Halifax, said magazine sales were down two months ago when the Canadian and U.S. dollar hit par, and there was still a big discrepancy in the U.S. and Canadian cover prices.
"People weren’t buying until the Canadian price was more in line," he said, adding that the change to single prices and a corresponding reduction in some Canadian cover prices is slowly bringing sales back up. "Any time customers don’t feel they are getting ripped off, it’s a good thing," he said. "It’s getting better."
"We are delighted to see the new funding," said Mark Jamison, CEOMagazines Canada."This is linked directly to the collective efforts of several artsservices organizations that successfully lobbied the Government ofCanada for an increase to the Council's base funding. Magazines Canada took a very active role in the advocacy campaign."
The Council will be releasing more details about the increase shortly, but the additional funding to magazines is part of a $31.5 million boost it has received: $30 million is new funding from the federal government and $1.5 million is from interest on Council investments. A minimum of 81% of the money (about $25 million) will be spent on increased grants to artists and arts service organizations.
Labels: Canada Council
The Ooh là là Illustration Show will present 50 top illustrators selected by a jury of five professionals from the Greater Toronto region. It's at Steam Whistle Brewing from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Reserve your seats at the AIIQ by phone at 514-522-2040 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
Though it doesn't probe magazine reading specifically, a just-released report from the Hill Strategies Group on factors in Canadians' cultural activities has much good intelligence for magazine publishers to chew on.
For one thing the study, which is based on analysis of a Statistics Canada telephone survey of about 10,000 Canadians in 2005, demonstrates that demography (age, income, education etc.) doesn't play as large a part in engagement with culture as do other cultural experiences. In other words, reading a book or going to a gallery is a more important indicator of whether you'll go to a live performance or a museum.
Among the things the study found were:
- Compared to the Canadian average of 67%, the book reading rate is particularly high among Canadians who visit an art gallery (85%), visit another type of museum (82%) or attend a performing arts event (between 77% and 80% for various types of performances).
- Compared to the Canadian average of 41%, the performing arts attendance rate is particularly high among Canadians who visit an art gallery (68%), visit another type of museum (65%) or visit an historic site (59%).
- Compared to the Canadian average of 27%, the art gallery attendance rate is particularly high among Canadians who visit another type of museum (60%), attend a cultural festival (51%) or visit an historic site (49%).
- Compared to the Canadian average of 61%, the movie theatre attendance rate is particularly high among Canadians who attend a cultural festival (79%), listen to downloaded music (79%), attend a performing arts event (between 77% and 79% for various types of performances) or visit an art gallery (78%).
Canadians who enjoy other types of reading material also read books. Canadians who read a magazine in 2005 were 85% more likely to also read a book than those who did not read a magazine, keeping other factors constant. Similarly, Canadians who read a newspaper in 2005 were 59% more likely to read a book than those who did not read a newspaper, keeping other factors constant.The report's observation, while largely focussed on performing arts and institutions, is that the statistics have implications for marketing cultural experiences and for stronger collaboration within the cultural community.
Overall, the statistics imply that cultural experiences and cultural exposure are more important factors in cultural activities than most demographic factors. In other words, there is an arts‐interested public that transcends demographic analysis. Those who get the arts go to a range of things. Those who don’t “get it” don’t go.Its arguable conclusion is that some way has to be found to infect others with what it calls the "arts bug". Whether there is such a bug and whether it is transmissible may spark some conversations among literary and cultural publishers.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Print still brings home the bacon for British b-to-b publishers, but fewer than 15% of them plan to launch new print ventures, at least with the current uncertain economic outlook. According to a story in U.K. Press Gazette, research commissioned by the trade body the Periodical Publishers Association shows British business media is now worth almost £23bn annually and is set to grow, despite the economic downturn.
Business media, which includes the B2B side of brands like the Financial Times, The Economist Group and Reuters, as well as solely B2B companies, enjoyed a turnover in 2006 of almost £23bn, up from £15.6bn in 2004, according to the survey conducted by GfK NOP.
Print remains at the heart of B2B operations, generating £8.9bn of turnover or 46 per cent of total
Online is up from £1.2 bn in 2004 to £2.8bn in 2006, and is expected to be the biggest area of development in the next five years, with more than a third of companies surveyed predicting further investment in this area.
The 2007 survey included some new sectors not included in the 2004 survey but even with that taken into account, the new figure still represents an 18 per cent revenue growth in the sector in two years.
Incisive Media CEO and chair of the PPA’s Business Media Council Tim Weller said: “As a sector we are truly the envy of our British media peers and the blueprint for a successful industry, and by God let’s not be ashamed to shout about it.
“To put it into context, at £23bn the UK business information and professional media industry is the same size as the UK education sector.”
Weller said that the figures indicated how well British editors and journalists had overcome what he called the “biggest cultural challenge” of delivering news when it happens, wherever it happens.
Weller said: “What editors can take from this is how well business media have embraced the different delivery channels, such as online, and in person delivery.
“If you compare it to other forms of media we seem to have got our business models right. We’re making money online and we’re making money face to face.”
Labels: Business to business
Ross's understanding of the business came from having been part of it for many years. She was a valued staff writer at Maclean's magazine, a prolific freelancer for such magazines as Saturday Night, Chatelaine and Toronto Life (I first encountered her work at The City magazine), at one time managing editor of the short-lived Toronto magazine. She was also an author of note, and wrote two well-regarded books for young people and, at her death, had all but finished an oral history of author Robertson Davies which will doubtless be published posthumously. Val was also a pillar of the writing and journalism community, including involvement in the Professional Writers Association of Canada, PEN Canada and Amnesty International. She took a lot of joy in holding progressive views. And had one of the world's great smiles.
A celebration of her life will be held on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Massey College in Toronto, where she had been a member of the Quadrangle Society.
Friday, February 15, 2008
[UPDATE: As you'll see from a comment to this item, the manufacturer of the flavour strip are somewhat dismayed that people think they have to lick the magazine page. First Flavor says its intentions were that the reader would take the strip from under the foil cover and put it in their mouths. We have to wonder, however, whether this story would have got the same attention...]
The contract, which takes effect February 1, 2009, makes Transcontinental far and away the most important magazine printer in Canada. It is Canada's largest printer and the sixth largest in North America. It puts Transcontinental in the odd position of printing magazines that are major competitors for advertising and circulation with some of its Media division's consumer and business titles: for example Chatelaine and Flare (Rogers) vs. Canadian Living, Elle Canada, Homemakers's (Transcon).
"This contract to print Rogers' magazine portfolio underlines the positive results of our commitment to being leaders in technology and to continuous improvement across our Canadian network of printing facilities," said Luc Desjardins, President and Chief Executive Officer of Transcontinental.For once, corporate hyperbole seemed appropriate: François Olivier, Chief Operating Officer of Transcontinental,described the deal as "a major milestone".
Thursday, February 14, 2008
The most troubling demand is that freelance authors waive their moral rights in the work they provide. Moral rights give the author creative ownership over their work and ensure they get credit when that work is used or re-used. It is the most fundamental right a writer has, and it is simply unacceptable to expect freelancers to surrender it outright. A media organization does not need to hold moral rights to be able to subject a piece to the normal editing process. In our view, the only reason a company would need to hold the moral rights would be to have the unfettered right to modify an item beyond its original meaning. Surely this is not the Citizen's aim.A similar complaint was made last October by the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) against the Vancouver Sun, another CanWest paper.
[UPDATE: Here is the wording in the National Post's freelance contract (also CanWest).
In consideration of the Fee above-mentioned, Freelancer grants to the National Post the express, irrevocable and exclusive right to use the Content, for the Term in all Media throughout the Territory. The National Post shall be entitled to edit the content, and Freelancer hereby waives in favour of the National Post and its assigns, all “moral rights” in and to the Content as such rights may now or hereafter exist whether by legislative enactment or otherwise at law or in equity. Nothing herein shall obligate the National Post to use or publish the Content in any manner. The rights granted hereunder may be freely assigned or sub-licensed by the National Post to any third party.
Having mounted a bully pulpit and received loud (and, at times, hysterical) support from the right-wing blogosphere, Levant is not about to let his free speech campaign be derailed by a little thing like his opponent backing down.
Instead, according to a story in the National Post, he is suing Syed Soharwardy to recover his costs in defending the case.
The complaint was launched after the magazine republished the so-called "Danish cartoons" depicting the prophet Muhammad in satirical and unflattering ways. (See the earlier posts for more background).
Soharwardy's statement in backing down effectively says that most Canadians weren't affected by the publication.
"I believe Canadian society is mature enough not to absorb the messages that the cartoons sent. Only a very small fraction of Canadian media decided to publish those cartoons."Levant's response is that he doesn't trust the man and that his climbdown is only a "temporary, tactical truce".
"I don't believe him. He thought this would be easy to do, just sic the human rights commission on me and it would be done. But I decided to fight back," said Mr. Levant.
"He's hurting right now. . . . What he's now saying he is going to do is not a true reflection of his feelings."
Mr. Levant said he plans to launch a civil lawsuit against Mr. Soharwardy to recover the tens of thousands of dollars he said he has spent battling the complaint.
"I put in at least 100 hours fighting this guy. He may want to run away from this issue, but I'm not going to. His values are out of sync with Canadian society."
The top 320 magazine Web sites received on average 67.5 million unique visitors per month during the fourth quarter of 2007--an 8.1% jump from the same period in 2006. (The total U.S. population online -- 160 million in the last quarter -- increased 2.4% last year.) Similar information on Canadian magazine websites is not available.
These figures mean that magazine web sites reached almost 42% of the total U.S. online population of about 160 million in the fourth quarter, an increase of 7.1% over last year's reach.
“These figures illustrate the growing prominence of magazine brands online,” said Nina Link, president and CEO of the MPA. “Magazines have long been masters at attracting consumers to their print pages, and now they are doing the same for the web audience, creating branded digital experiences through compelling content, innovative applications and robust communities.”
These users generated 434.4 million visits in the fourth quarter--up 12.3%, while time spent increased 5.5% to an average 1.78 billion minutes per month, implying an average visit duration of just over four minutes.
In terms of unique visitors per month, magazine web sites bested newspapers, where the total unique audience for newspaper Web sites increased 9% in the fourth quarter to an average 62.8 million per month.
She added, “It’s important to note that the surge in online traffic to magazine websites is taking place while readership of the core print brand has grown over the last several years.”
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The exhibit is open to the agency and magazine creative communities, advertisers, media agencies and the magazine community at large. All attendees are invited to cast their vote for the advertisement most deserving of Best of Show honours.
While the two products should be complementary halves, Stengel added that they nevertheless offer two very different perspectives on world news—and lately have been downplaying the opportunities of driving the audience from one platform to the other. Focus groups revealed that readers didn’t necessarily appreciate the callouts in the magazine to go to the Web site to see more information on a particular story, he said. “Why are we doing that? It doesn’t make sense,” said Stengel. “They should be two separate audiences. Someday there will be people who don’t know there’s a print product.”Stengel's keynote related how, in the last year and a half, the magazine has redesigned, reduced its ratebase, come out on a different day of the week and expanded its website into a separate, 24/7 news source.
Broadly, Stengel said the magazine needed to regain its status as a vital read, in a way that vaguely echoed the luxe leanings of other high-end publications. “We have to become a more premium product with beautiful paper and photography,” he said. “Each medium needs to do what it does best. A magazine should be something you’re addicted to.”
"Stanley Park is important to British Columbians as a place of recreation and respite, a cherished downtown green space in our largest city," says Anita Willis, editor of British Columbia magazine. "Creating the Stanley Park special issue was our way of celebrating this incredible place by raising awareness and raising money for the park," she said in a press release.
"British Columbia magazine has created a lasting tribute to Stanley Park with its special issue," says Vancouver Park Board chair Korina Houghton. "And their generous commitment to our restoration work is a real public service to the millions of people who enjoy this park."
About 10,000 trees were damaged or destroyed over 400 acres in the December 2006 storm -- across about 40 hectares of forest, or about 10 per cent of the park. This year, some 10,000 tree seedlings will be planted to eventually replace the mature trees that were blown down.
Stanley Park: A special place was a 66-page special issue published in May 2007 and sold for $9.95. It photographs of gardens and forest areas; archival images and a historic timeline; profiles of park wildlife and a birdwatcher's checklist; and a detailed two-page park map. Copies are still available. The parks board is also accepting donations to its restoration fund.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
More, aimed at women over 40, has garnered 86,771 subscriptions and moved an average of 37,612 copies per issue on the newsstands since it launched last March. With estimated combined ad, subscription and newsstand revenues of $5.7 million, it appears Transcontinental has already earned enough to cover the $5 million start-up bill.Among the top sub (paid + verified) gainers:
Fleurs Plantes et Jardins (+17.4%)
Good Times (+15.9%)
Le Lundi (+8.8%)
La Semaine (+8.3%)
Decoration Chez-Soi (+7.2%)
Today's Parent (+6.6%)
Among the top single copy gainers:
Canadian Home Workshop (+110.4%)
Fleurs Plantes et Jardins (+47.3%)
The Beaver (+45.7%)
Canadian Business ((+43.6%)
Toronto Life (+33.4%)
Le Lundi (+32.2%)
Monday, February 11, 2008
Canada needs a science adviser to guide our Prime Minister through this fast-changing landscape. The consequence of diminishing this position is apparent from my vantage point in the United States where the Bush Administration has repeatedly ignored science and scientists. It began by moving the Office of Science and Technology Policy out of the White House, escalated to abolishing the Office of Technology Assessment in Congress, and resulted in immeasurable damage to the Bush presidency and indeed the country....(Seed is effectively an American magazine now, headquartered in New York, but had its origins in Montreal, where Bly founded it. Hence the "our" in his editorial.)
Canada should not make the same mistake. In fact, this is a rare moment where Canada can benefit from America's deficiency in scientific leadership. If scientists can't or don't want to work in the United States, create an open invitation that highlights Canada's strong scientific community, labs and overall quality of life. Foster competitiveness by nurturing a scientifically literate population. Distinguish Canada from the United States with policy, diplomacy, and action that reflects this enlightened modern perspective.
That most of the titles have politics congruentwith rabble.ca isn't a surprise; what's curious is that someone hasn't thought of this before and why this kind of an arrangement isn't working the opposite direction, with, say, a 3-month rabble sub as a premium for a sub in one of these titles.
The Daily News was started in 1979 by David Bentley who sold it seven years later and with the money and the help of fellow journalists Dulcie Conrad and Lyndon Watkins started Frank in late 1987 in Halifax. It was modelled quite deliberately on the iconoclastic British weekly Private Eye. Later, Bentley launched an "upper Canadian" version which, after several brushes with death, still exists, although Michael Bate bought out Bentley.
Driven is a fashion and lifestyle title that moved aggressively into the space left with the closure of Toro magazine, following the same newspaper-carried controlled circulation model. That same model is now to be used by Sharp, which will be carried in 150,000 selected copies of the Globe and Mailstarting in April. The magazine is aimed at men 25 to 54 with target household incomes of $100,000. It will publish 5 issues in 2008 and 6 in 2009.
According to a press release, Sharp’s editorial cornerstones—style, travel, technology and automotive—will be augmented by features of “social significance and global scope.”
It’s an editorial model similar to that of the now-defunct men’s title Toro—which folded early last year citing a lack of advertiser support—but the team behind Contempo is confident of avoiding a similar fate.According to a story in Marketing magazine, Contempo is also developing two other consumer books, one to launch this fall and another in spring 2009, and is currently exploring other custom-publishing ventures.
“I think Toro was a pretty good magazine, but the owner was new to the publishing field. I think they may have overestimated the universe of possible advertisers and didn’t have a cost structure in place to reflect [that],” says McGouran. “We’ve been dealing with that area for five years [with Driven], so we have a handle on what is a reasonable expectation in terms of advertising support.”
McGouran says advertisers already booked in the 100-page launch issue hail from categories including automotive, fashion and technology. “We’ve got some miles to cover, but the response we’re getting in the market is excellent,” he says. According to the media kit, a one-time, full-page ad in Sharp costs $13,000.
[UPDATE: The ambitions and the production values of the magazine may be upscale and national in scope, but the proposed payment to writers for the magazine is decidedly not. According to a message on the Toronto Freelance Editors and Writers list, Sharp editor-in-chief Michael LaFave plans to pay $0.46 a word for travel, fitness, gadgets and celebrity interviews and "move up to $1/word for more involved editorial features". These rates are simply derisory.]
"Starting today, we become the first major media website to tackle the following problem: Can a business publication blend journalism and online community to create something better than either by itself? We think so. If done right. That's what we've been thinking about and working on at FastCompany.com for more than a year now.The site will complement the online video news network launched in March covering business and technology under the direction of Robert Scoble, a leading technology blogger. That network already receives about a million page views a month, according to Mansueto Ventures, which owns Fast Company and Inc. magazines.
Fast Company created a readers' network called Company of Friends back in 1997, and that same name is being used for the new social network, which will make extensive use of user-generated content from some 95,000 business professionals organized into 200 chapters around the world, as well as its own original content, carried on FastCompany.com.
Contributing professionals are to be organized into 200 chapters around the world. Members of the network will be able to maintain their own blogs, answer daily "Fast Talk" questions and engage in online discussions. Each member's contributions will also be displayed in a personalized profile, creating individual portfolios of user-generated content.
Sussman says this is not a pure social networking site like Facebook or MySpace, aggregating people who already know each other.
We're an entirely new community of people brought together because we want to share ideas about business. We like business. We think it's important. Work gives more meaning to our lives. We believe business profoundly helps define our culture.He also dismisses the idea that the site is the end of professional journalism.
We're still the website of one of the most influential business magazines in the world. Journalists like Robert Safian, Ellen McGirt, Chuck Salter, Linda Tischler, Will Bourne, Charles Fishman, and Adam Penenberg will continue to produce thought-provoking, ground breaking stories.Sister magazineInc. is launching IncBizNet.com, a sort of social network and user-generated company database for privately held companies, according to a story in MediaDaily News
IncBizNet.com will function as a directory with data updated by the companies themselves, with a press release newswire, blogging functions, local community groups and a marketplace for products and services....The network will be pre-populated with all the companies featured in Inc.'s recent list of the 5,000 fastest-growing privately held companies. However, the magazine is inviting all senior managers from all privately held, U.S.-based companies to participate. This includes PR directors, CMOs, and CEOs. Overall, the site hopes for 1 million company-members.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
And by "hard copy", we mean a "book".
* The interview subject actually goes by the name "Craig Silverman". Our fact-checkers regret the error.
Friday, February 08, 2008
According to a story in the NorthernLife.ca, the couple had started Black Cat One in 1982 and Black Cat Too was opened in August 1997 in the former home of Birk’s Jewellers. The second location became what many consider to be Sudbury's foremost newsstand (as well as Cafe Matou) , but it closed last Monday and the Rutherfords are retrenching back to their original location.
“We lament that our decade-long venture, our dream, at Black Cat Too has come to an end... we are financially viable and we remain a vital presence in downtown Sudbury but we have decided to cut back before our dream becomes a nightmare,” said Diane Rutherford. “We are very tired and we have decided to cut back.”
According to a story in Media in Canada, the show builds on the success of the brand's other initiatives, such as the Elle Beauty Grand Prix, an awards competition for the year's best beauty products as tested by the magazine's readers.
"The Elle brand connects with women on a very special level for fashion inspiration, beauty and health know-how and living life with spirit and style," says Elle publisher Jacqueline Howe, VP, Transcontinental Media. The fashion show "is a natural extension that brings a truly interactive event for Elle's audience while supplying the fashion and beauty industry with the opportunity to directly communicate live and one on one."
Opening night of the Elle Show will kick off with the "Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI) New Labels" fundraising gala - a showcase and competition featuring Canada's emerging fashion designers that the brand has sponsored for the past five years. The winner will receive $25,000.
The power of being a multi-title publisher, as Transcontinental is, may best be demonstrated by the media blitz being used to promote the show: three pages of full-page ads in the April and May issues of Elle Canada, plus full-page ads in other Transcon publications: Canadian Living, Canadian Home & Country, Style at Home, Homemakers, MORE, Canadian Gardening, Good Times and Canadian Home Workshop. As well, seven quarter-page ads will appear in the Toronto Star and 10 full-page ads in Metro's Toronto edition.
Television spots will appear on HGTV as well as the Food and Life networks in a four-week campaign. Approximately 100 30-second radio spots will play on CHFI for two weeks prior to the fashion show, accompanied by on-air contests whose details are still under wraps.
Additionally, 150,000 postcards will be distributed by Elle Show exhibitors, sponsors and key retailers, some of which will also display posters. And 1.3 million inserts will be stuffed into Metroland community newspapers throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Online ads will appear on www.mochasofa.com, www.toronto.com and www.elleshow.ca, and links will be displayed on the sites of Transcontinental media magazines, sponsors and exhibitors.
Pink Triangle is also publisher of the Ultimate Pride Guides in Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa, as well as international gay travel mag The Guide. The combined circulation of PTP's print pubs is now 156,000, with a reach of about 275,000 monthly readers.
Brandon Matheson, publisher and editor-in-chief of PTP's eastern publishing division, says Fab is "highly complementary to Xtra, bringing us both a slightly different readership and style of publication. The addition of Fab allows us to expand the ways we engage our audiences, as well as provide advertisers and marketers a greater range of options and access to the gay community."
Among the winners were CN (in the big company category) and Draxis Health in the small-cap category. The full list of winners is available at IRMagazine.com.
John Stackhouse, editor of the Globe and Mail's Report on Business apparently had them rolling when he gave the golden gavel award to BCE.
'This IR department spent years keeping its stock price fixed at $28 a share, regardless of dividend increases. When a takeover battle erupted, and its stock shot up to $40, they hired bankers to prepare a defensive strategy to get the stock back to $28,' Stackhouse joked. 'In the end, when private equity came calling, IR was 'completely ignored by the CEO as he auctioned off the company from his kitchen.'We guess this could be called insider humour.
Kent, who was known more during a brief period of notoriety as the "Scud Stud" of the first Iraq war, has had a long and career as a TV journalist (host of Dateline NBC 1989 - 1992) and war correspondent. In the film, towards the end when a montage of clips is used to convey the defeat of the Soviet army by the mujahadeen, armed covertly by Congressman Charlie Wilson and the CIA, Kent's narration is heard and footage is shown that he and his cameraman shot.
Much of the article deals with distortions of the filmmakers, but Kent is most vexed that his colleagues, who risked and lost their lives to get the documentary footage that is used so lavishly in the movie, go without credit:Kent goes to some pains to point out some of the more glaring shortcomings in the film's continuity, emphasis and historical accuracy as well as offences against his copyright. Given that he fought and bested NBC in a settlement and wasn't afraid to chase bandits into the Afghan hills, it seems quite likely that director Mike Nichols and the film's producers will be hearing from his lawyers.
Charlie Wilson’s War isn’t the first Hollywood picture to choose myth over substance and it won’t be the last. But the callous ease with which these millionaire moviemakers pillage the archives for their fable is a tendency, in Tinseltown, that factual filmmakers should take measures to redress.
I know a lot of moviegoers who sat through the credits of Charlie Wilson’s War just to see who recorded the battlefield footage. So who gets screen credit? Networks and news agencies and image archives — an almost indecipherable cluster of logos and bugs and acronyms.
But these gripping sequences aren’t the work of companies, they were filmed by men and women. Some were professional freelancers, others adventurers and daredevils. Many were young Afghans striving to document their country’s resistance to foreign oppression. Nearly all were underpaid and they frequently risked their lives. Yet their contribution to the historical record languishes without proper acknowledgement,as the makers of Charlie Wilson’s War so disgracefully demonstrate.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Research by Markets Initiative, the Vancouver-based environmental group, has found that more than 520 Canadian book publishers, magazines, newspapers and printers are now implementing eco-paper purchasing policies, according to Nicole Rycroft, executive director.
She told the Montreal Gazette that an ''unparalleled environmental momentum'' points to profits for green printers and paper producers despite an industry downturn, the Markets Initiative report says. "This represents a 300-per-cent increase over last year.''
(Last week, Markets Initiative released a Pollara study that said consumers are not fooled by companies that pretend to be green and carbon-neutral but really carry on business as usual.)
The report released at an international forestry industries event in Montreal - is filled with examples of how going greener has translated into dollars for the innovators while lessening industry impact on the environment.
- Quebec-based Cascades has seen 2007 sales of its 100-per-cent recycled and ''ancient forest friendly'' paper jump by 235 per cent over 2006 figures.
- Leipa Georg Leinfelder GMBH has seen 2007 Canadian sales of its green magazine paper jump by more than 70 per cent over 2006. And its Canadian sales are expected to double in 2008, the report said.
Key among the big players driving the demand for environment-friendly papers is Transcontinental Inc., Canada's largest commercial printer and the producer of the largest number of consumer magazines in the country.
Last October, Montreal-based Transcontinental became the first major North American print-media conglomerate to implement a paper-purchasing policy that champions ''environmentally preferable'' papers.
It gives preference to third-party certified paper, in particular, the Forest Stewardship Council.
A year ago, Transcontinental met 17 existing paper suppliers - including AbitibiBowater, Kruger, Atlantic and Cascades - and ''laid our cards on the table,'' Jean Denault, vice-president of procurement and technology, said yesterday.
After rating suppliers' offerings, Transcontinental met with some suppliers individually and told them that it wants one of their greener papers, Denault said.
''This will be a work in progress for Transcontinental,'' he said. ''There is a limited supply of FSC paper for all our needs'' given the various grades required for various media.
The report noted that North America's newsprint market - largely fed by Canadian producers - has a long way to go to catch up with its British cousin.
About 13 years ago, the British market mirrored North America's with an industry average of 34-per-cent recycled content. In 2006, that industry average topped 80 per cent.
Publisher and Creative Director Matt Blackett says in a Blog TO interview that Spacing has plenty of room to grow. He said they have hopes of reaching 5,000 or 6,000 subscribers in the next few years and to increase frequency to five or six times annually.
He was candid about other media in the city.
What's your take on the mainstream media landscape in the city. What do you think of Toronto Life?
Toronto has a very vibrant media culture. Some of the mainstream outlets do great stuff, while a handful do a dreadful job. But we're lucky to have so many media options in print: the weeklies, dailies, and all the magazines based here. There's a lot of crap, but the city is packed full of an amazing amount of talent.
As for Toronto Life, I'm not going to get into a pissing match. I like a lot of things about Toronto Life, especially the work of Gerald Hannon, and Spacing contributors John Lorinc and Ryan Bigge who often write for them. I'm just not big into food and restaurant reviews, but obviously their readers are.
In the four weeks immediately following the price hike, newsstand sales slid an alarming 33%, but rebounded somewhat, with the decline narrowing to 23%. Almost all of the titles' circulation comes via newsstand sales.Earlier this week, OK!, published by Northern & Shell, said it will raise its newsstand price again, from $2.99 to $3.49. Rival American Media's Star is set to rise from $3.49 to $3.99. Wenner Media's Us Weekly--which leads the pack of relatively new celeb titles--raised its price to $3.99 in October, a month before Bauer hiked prices at its 11 titles.
Canadian magazines do not traditionally offer a guaranteed rate base, tending to sell on audited circulation numbers.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Clinton has been Canadian President and CEO of Grey Advertising in Toronto and previously served as Chairman of JWT Canada where he also oversaw Kellogg's North American Business. During his twenty years at JWT he occupied senior positions in Canada and the U.S.: as Executive Vice President and General Manager of JWT Chicago from 1996 to 1998; President of JWT Canada from 1994 to 1996; and President of Enterprise Advertising in Toronto, the Canadian subsidiary of JWT, from 1990 to 1994.
He'll be in charge of the business development of the Consumer Publications Group, with a budget of more than $ 200 M in revenues and approximately 250 employees, the company said.
(Back in July, it was announced that Francine Tremblay, until that point the Senior Vice-President of Consumer Magazines responsible for all English and French consumer titles, would be focussing on the Quebec Consumer Group effective November 1 and would be reporting to someone filling the wholly new position.)
"As a senior media executive, John possesses a deep knowledge of the industry both in Canada and the U.S," said Ms Lariviere in a release to staff. "His experience with many of Transcontinental's largest clients, with building national and global brands, and the media industry as a whole combined with his strong team-oriented leadership skills, will help bring a fresh perspective as he leads the growth of the Consumer Publications Group."
New York Roundup: moves downtown, online and across the street
- There is life after print. Organic Style, is re-emerging as a wholly digital publication called OrganicStyleMag.com. Rodale published Organic Style from 2001 to 2005. In 2007, it sold the brand to Gerald Prolman, the founder and CEO of Organic Bouquet. According to a story in MediaWeek, The digital title, published using the Texterity’s digital publishing platform, is slated to be updated quarterly and initially be free to users. Ad sales are targeted for the second issue, a spokesman said.
- Beefing up its masthead is, apparently, part of the business strategy for Portfolio magazine. The embattled business startup, has gone on a hiring spree recently, hiring from Slate, the New York Times, Vanity Fair and the New York Post, according to a story in the New York Observer.
- Vanity Fair magazine has cancelled its hot-ticket Oscar party in solidarity with the striking writers guild, according to a New York Times story. Editor Graydon Carter said: "Whether the strike is over or not, there are a lot of bruised feelings. I don’t think it’s appropriate for a big magazine from the East to come in and pretend nothing happened." He added, “There will be something sort of liberating about ordering Chinese food and watching the Oscars in bed.”
- Newsweek magazine, which for years has been in midtown Manhattan where most major magazine publishers are, is moving downtown to take up lodgings in a highrise at 100 Church Street, according the a story in the New York Observer. This word comes on the heels of Rupert Murdoch announcing he'll be moving the Wall Street Journal from the World Financial Centre to quarters closer to his News Corp. headquarters on Avenue of the Americas.