Friday, August 29, 2008

Lexpert ME jumps to flack at big law firm

A major national law firm has scooped the managing editor of Thomson Reuters's Lexpert magazine to manage its media relations. Jennifer Allen becomes a national media relations specialist at Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, which has 700 professionals across Canada and offices in London and Moscow.

According to a story in PR Week, Allen will oversee the development of the firm's national and regional media relations strategies, as well as write, produce, and manage internal and external communication products.
“During my tenure at Lexpert magazine with Thomson Reuters,” said Allen, “I had the opportunity to work with the firm's lawyers and marketing staff, and really gained an appreciation for the culture of the firm.”

She added that she was flattered by the offer, and “looks forward to contributing to the growth of the firm.”
Prior to Lexpert, Allen was the legal business editor for The Lawyers Weekly, a newspaper for the Canadian legal profession.


Journalist, contributor to L'actualité, Michel Vastel dead at 68

After a long battle with cancer, Montreal journalist Michel Vastel, a frequent contributor to L'actualité has died at the age of 68.

He was best known for his writing in various Montreal dailies including Le Devoir, La Presse and Le Journal de Montreal as well as Quebec City's Le Soleil and Ottawa's Le Droit. He also worked for CKAC radio in Montreal and Radio-Canada and wrote biographies of such noted Canadian politicians as Robert Bourassa, Lucien Bouchard and Pierre Elliott Trudeau. .

L'actualité editor-in-chief Carole Beaulieu wrote in a press release:
"From Jean Chrétien to Stephen Harper with Brian Mulroney, Lucien Bouchard and Robert Bourassa along the way, all of the leaders of the past 30 years fell under the unflinching gaze and sharpened pen of Michel Vastel. The breadth and scale of his work is staggering - particularly considering that for all of those years he was also parliamentary correspondent for one or another of Quebec's major dailies, and regularly provided commentary on breaking political news for both TV and radio."


The wayback machine

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Local magazine websites highly effective,
says U.S. study

Ads on local magazine sites work well for advertisers and the magazines that court them, according to research from the (U.S.) Online Publishers Association. Such local magazine sites hold a distinct advantage when it comes to readers taking action after viewing the ads.
Local magazine, newspaper and TV sites attract significant percentages (48%, 40% and 39%, respectively) of consumers who spent more than $500 online in the past twelve months. Thirty-seven percent of portal visitors and 34% of the overall online population spend this amount in a year. Consumers express significant faith in advertising on local content sites.

Percent of Consumers Taking Action after Viewing Local Ads:

  • Local Newspaper Site: 46%
  • Local Television Site: 44%
  • Local Magazine Site: 42%
  • User Review Site: 39%
  • Portal: 37%
Surprisingly, satisfaction with the delivery of community content is lower for local magazines than other local media.
  • Portals: 58%
  • Local newspaper sites: 48%
  • Local TV station sites: 48%
  • Online yellow pages: 36%
  • Classified sites: 34%
  • City guides: 36%
  • Local magazine sites: 20%
  • User review sites: 13%
There is a dowloadable pdf summary of the study (conducted in partnership with Jupiter Research).

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Opposition launches hearings on arts funding cuts; demands moratorium

Opposition parties in the House of Commons are starting a review of nearly $45 million in cuts to arts funding suggesting they reflect government censorship and abuse of power. According to a report on, New Democrat MP Peggy Nash told a meeting of the Commons heritage committee:
"They were done in secret, with no consultation, with no public review."
(The move came on the same day that Prime Minister Stephen Harper put himself on the line defending the cuts, which he says are a commonplace outcome of a strategic program review (which has not been made public). Although it is a relatively small part, the cuts include a 20% reduction ($500,000) in the support for industry initiatives under the Canada Magazine Fund. Harper's defence came on the heels of a Conference Board of Canada report that said arts funding is an investment that pays off handsomely, spinning off $84 billion annually.)
The three opposition parties demanded the session in the wake of cuts the government quietly implemented during Parliament's summer recess."There is real concern the government is picking and choosing which artists it is supporting and which artists it is not supporting," said Nash. "I suggest, in a democracy, that is a dangerous thing."
The heritage committee's hearings could start as early as next week and the opposition called for a moratorium on the cuts until after the hearings are complete. (Of course the entire matter would be moot should the government call an election, as seems more and more likely.)

Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger said the government may have overstepped its bounds by arbitrarily reducing program funding that had been approved by the Commons in the 2008 budget and in subsequent spending estimates.

"We live in a parliamentary democracy, and this government seems to want to avoid Parliament like the plague," Bélanger told the committee.

"Is there an abuse here of executive authority? If the government can cancel any program it chooses, where does it stop?"

Related posts:

Transcon deal with Globe heralds another redesign, smaller paper, full-colour

The announcement of a major 18-year, $1.7 billion printing deal, effective 2010 between Transcontinental Inc. and the Globe and Mail is interesting in several aspects:
  • the paper will be redesigned yet again in 2010 (the last one was only launched in 2007)
  • the redesign will be on a smaller paper (essentially lopping 1¾" off the top)
  • the new look will take advantage of full colour on every page
  • the new contract means Transcon will now print the paper coast-to-coast; previously it was in the east (Atlantic, Quebec and Ontario) and it will now print in the Alberta and British Columbia markets.
It continues to be interesting that, as their traditional markets are squeezed both in circulation and advertising revenue, newspapers have moved inexorably to imitate magazines in colour and presentation. The sincerest form of flattery, as they say.

How one unusual newspaper copes with new realities

An interesting column in the Boston Globe points to an unlikely model for beleaguered newspapers as they struggle with the bleeding away of core circulation and advertising revenue. Alex Beam writes that the Christian Science Monitor was forced, by similar circumstances to reinvent itself and it may well represent what the newspaper of the future will look like. He quotes the Monitor's managing publisher Jonathan Wells who says
"We had to face up to a lot of these economic pressures well before other newspapers."
The paper and its accompanying website have few ads, totalling revenue of not much more than a million dollars. He recalled that the paper once sold 160,000 copies and now sells 55,000 (in 2005, it was about 71,000). So how did it cope (besides shrinking back to a smaller format)? With only 110 staff, a comparatively small $28 million annual budget (covered in part by an endowment and a subsidy from the church it is named for) and 20 pages a day, it set out to distinguish itself.
What's in those 20, small-format pages? Book reviews, recipes, and a decent op-ed section. I read a sophisticated piece on the failure of George Bush's "relationship strategy," his notion that his great pals Vladimir Putin and Pervez Musharraf would help him sort out the world's problems. Expect to see a lot of front-page coverage of the Third World - e.g., "Strategic shift in North Africa militancy" - and plain old-fashioned scoops. Monitor reporter Alexandra Marks broke the story that Cindy McCain gilded the lily when she claimed, falsely, that Mother Teresa convinced her to adopt two orphans on a trip to Bangladesh.
And how did it do this?
  • It continues to invest in foreign coverage and is selective about what it covers and how. It maintains 8 foreign correspondents as well as a well-staffed office in Washington and five national bureaus.
  • It specializes in timely, analytical journalism. "Monitor news is different," says editor John Yemma. "It's humane, and it's committed. We are a newspaper of hope."
  • It has concentrated on its website, considering it as first priority (electronic subs are second, the print edition third). The site gets slightly less than 1 million unique visitors a month. "It's not a website you would turn to for immediate news. Hurricanes, plane crashes, the he-said-she-said of electoral politics just doesn't register on," says Beam.

Canadian Heritage releases confirming list of cuts to the arts

The Department of Canadian Heritage belatedly confirmed to the Canadian Press yesterday the details of the various cuts that have been made over the past couple of weeks. The list released yesterday is no surprise to the arts community. Or to the various magazine industry organizations that saw a 20% cut to the industry development component of the Canada Magazine Fund.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Key faculty appointments made to Ryerson magazine publishing program

Ryerson University’s continuing education program in Magazine Publishing has built a reputation for using experienced professionals with mentorship skills to guarantee students the best, most current training in the field. Three, experienced faculty have signed on to offer three of the magazine publishing program's 7-week professional development courses this fall:
  • Gwen Dunant, whose 7-week Magazine Advertising Sales course begins Tuesday, September 9, worked in ad sales for ten years at Toronto Life before starting Dunant Consulting, where she has since provided various sales services for small to mid-sized publications. She is the author of "A Short Guide to the Development and Use of Sales Tools for Selling Advertising Space in Canadian Magazines." She has also played key roles in Magazines Canada’s Web Weekends, Schools for Ad Sales , Circulation and Professional Publishing and the respected Travelling Consultants Programs. Her Ryerson course will be of special interest to publishers and salespeople for small and mid-size magazines.
  • Following immediately after the ad sales course, beginning Tuesday October 28 and also running seven weeks, Magazine Marketing and Circulation, will now be taught by Darlene Storey, vice-president of consumer marketing for St. Joseph Media (Toronto Life, Fashion). Before moving to St. Joseph, Ms Storey worked for 18 years at Transcontinental (Canadian Living, Homemaker's), rising to group director, consumer marketing for all of its Toronto-based publications. A top figure in her field, she is also known as a mentor for younger circulation specialists and new publishers.

  • Kat Tancock, the program’s new instructor in Creating Website Editorial – seven weeks, beginning Wednesday, October 29 – was recently named web editor for Best Health, the new magazine from Reader’s Digest. She was previously at Transcontinental, where she rose quickly through a number of junior positions to become web editor for Canadian Living. She played a key role in last year’s relaunch of, overseeing quality control and making sure the site met the editorial team's goals. Kat Tancock will bring special insight to her Ryerson course, as she was recently a student herself in other courses in the Magazine Publishing program.
Former students in the magazine publishing program include the editors of Elle Canada and EnRoute, the executive editor of Homemaker's, the senior editor of Cottage Life and many others.
For further information, go to or the Chang School course calendar for additional requirements. Information on the magazine publishing certificate at the Chang School can be found here.

[Disclosure: I teach in the program.]

Halifax Magazine solicits readers'
story ideas

The editors of Halifax Magazine are asking their readers to help them shape their lineup for forthcoming issues. Editor Trevor Adams wrote:
Ever looked at a magazine and thought "Why the heck are they writing about that?" Know about something cool and interesting that should be in Halifax Magazine? Well, today's your big chance. We're working on our lineups for the next few issues of the magazine and we want your ideas. What stories would you like to see in the magazine? If we use your idea, you'll get a free one-year subscription to Halifax Magazine. (To be sent to a Canadian address. If you live outside Canada and suggest an idea we use, you'll get our best wishes and that warm tingly feeling that comes from knowing you've made a difference.)


J-source site hacked

J-source, the website for the Canadian Journalism Project, has been hacked and a message went out today to subscribers that at least one intruder gained access to username, e-mail and password information. Ivor Shapiro, the editor-in-chief of J-source (and a Ryerson University journalism professor) said:
If you are using similar or identical usernames and/or passwords to gain access to any vital accounts, we recommend that you change your logins to those accounts immediately.While we have since taken measures to secure the site, we can’t guarantee that our measures are foolproof. Therefore, to protect your privacy from this point forward, we are removing your account information from the site database.
It means that readers won't be able to send content or retrieve full text from the database (which was one of the principal reasons for and attractions of J-source). No word on when that will be resolved.

Hallmark magazine sends "business cards" to media buyers

Hallmark Magazine, the eponymous publication from the greeting card company, has launched a promotion that involves sending cards to media buyers, according to a story in the New York Times. The clever ploy, which will probably cause some talk, involves tipping cards onto ads in trade publications Adweek and Mediaweek.

The outside of the insert describes increases in ad pages and the rate base since Hallmark Magazine started. Inside are these words: “Feeling down ... because your client missed out? We’ve got a card for that.”

The cover of the attached card shows a drawing of a woman saying, “There’s a great magazine out there that’s perfect for your target. ...”

“Sorry I didn’t put you in it,” the text inside reads. “Next time, let’s get in the magazine that’s up ... Hallmark Magazine!”...

More greeting cards are scheduled to be sent out the first week in September, in direct-mail kits that are made to look like the stationery sets sold by Hallmark Gold Crown stores. The kits will be composed of boxes containing three cards, three envelopes and a pen.

“Everyone knows Hallmark’s got a card for everything,” a sticker on the boxes declares. “But did you know we’ve got a magazine, too?”


A truth universally acknowledged: Jane Austen magazine needed a white knight

With the blizzard of gloomy news about magazines and the death of print, here's a heartening story. A sub-editor for the London Times, who is also an obituary writer for the Daily Telegraph, has saved Jane Austen's Regency World, a magazine all about the life and times of the author of Pride and Prejudice.

According to a story in UK Press Gazette, Tim Bullamore heard that the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England was shutting the magazine down. There were few subscribers and even fewer ads. He struck a deal to buy the title (which remains the official publication of the Jane Austen Centre), and relaunched it.
“As a journalist I hate to see written publications having to close and I saw an awful lot of promise there. It was being run by really great people who didn’t have a magazine publishing background. They were going to close it and it only had a small number of subscribers and little advertising. We’ve already more than exceeded our targets in advertising for the first year and subscriptions on the way up."
The new-look September issue has been reduced somewhat from saddle-stitched standard size to perfect bound handbag-size and a redesign reduced the 40 different fonts used in the old magazine to just four. A new font has been created from samples of Jane Austen’s handwriting.

A number of celebrity or name writers have been recruited: former Prime Minister Sir John Major writing on cricket in Austen’s time and Daily Mail columnist Bel Mooney on how she has been inspired by Jane Austen.

The magazine has a circulation of around 1,000, with half of those in North America and Bullamore would like to see it double in circ in the next year. He said:
“There is a seemingly insatiable demand from both sides of the Atlantic – and indeed the whole English-speaking world – for information about the Regency era, and particularly about Jane Austen.”

Patrick Walsh named president of Magawards

Patrick Walsh, the editor of Outdoor Canada magazine, is now president of the National Magazine Awards Foundation. Other members of the executive are:
  • Vice-president: Joe Chidley, editor, Canadian Business
  • Secretary: Lisa Walker, Art Director, 2 Magazine
  • Treasurer: Margaret Albanese, Corporate Controller, St. Joseph Communications
  • Past-President: Kim Pittaway, writer and editor

Directors for the 2008-09 year are:

  • Arjun Basu, editorial director, Spafax Canada
  • Penny Caldwell, editor, Cottage Life
  • Linda Lewis, editor-in-Chief, More magazine
  • Pascale Millot, editor, Quebec Science
  • Douglas Thomson, editor, Canadian Home Workshop
  • Laas Turnbull, executive vp, Brunico Marketing Inc.
  • Caren Watkins, editor, Gardening Life
  • Susan Zuzinjak, founder, smitten creative boutique
By the way, if you plan that far ahead, the next awards will be held on June 5, 2009


Monday, August 25, 2008

Magazine world view

Wine Spectator magazine hoaxed; gives award to non-existent restaurant

Ratings, rankings and awards are everywhere in magazines. But not one in a thousand readers has any idea how rankings or food and wine awards and endorsements are decided (or, perhaps, care).

But that was just the point for wine critic and author Robin Goldstein who confected a non-existent restaurant and hoaxed the Wine Spectator magazine into giving its award of excellence. The embarrassing and probably damaging outcome is detailed in a story in the Los Angeles Times
Milan's Osteria L'Intrepido restaurant won Wine Spectator magazine's award of excellence this year despite a wine list that features a 1993 Amarone Classico Gioe S. Sofia, which the magazine once likened to "paint thinner and nail varnish."

Even worse: Osteria L'Intrepido doesn't exist.

To the magazine's chagrin, the restaurant is a Web-based fiction devised by wine critic and author Robin Goldstein, who said he wanted to expose the lack of any foundation for many food and wine awards.

To pull off the hoax, Goldstein created a bogus website for the restaurant and submitted an application for the award that included a copy of the restaurant’s menu (which he describes as "a fun amalgamation of somewhat bumbling nouvelle-Italian recipes") and a high-priced "reserve wine list" well-stocked with dogs like the 1993 Amarone.

The application also included what Goldstein suggests was the key qualification: a $250 entry fee.

"I am interested in what's behind all the ratings and reviews we read. . . . The level of scrutiny is not sufficient," said Goldstein, who revealed the prank while presenting a paper at an American Assn. of Wine Economists meeting in Portland,Ore., last weekend.
Wine Spectator Executive Editor Thomas Matthews denounced Goldstein's actions as a "publicity-seeking scam."

This year, said the article, nearly 4,500 restaurants paid more than $1 million (at $250 each) to enter the awards contest and all but 319 won the award of excellence or some greater kudos.Restaurants typically put up the plaque they receive and use the award as a form of marketing and advertising. Tom Pirko, a beverage industry consultant who lives in Santa Barbara County's wine country, said the hoax would dent the magazine's credibility: "This gives the appearance of paying for advertising disguised as a contest."
Goldstein said he came up with the idea while doing research for an academic paper about the standards for wine awards. He is coauthor of "The Wine Trials," a book that looks at how 500 blind tasters from around the country evaluated 6,000 wines ranging in price from $1.50 to $150 a bottle...

"While Osteria L'Intrepido may be the first to win an award of excellence for an imaginary restaurant," Goldstein said, "it's unlikely that it was the first submission that didn't accurately reflect the restaurant."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Quote, unquote: the inverse relation between babes and sales

"I don't think they [men's magazines] now have the confidence to have that variety, they think that only babes will sell. The irony is that, the more babes, the less they sell."
-- James Brown, the founder of the iconic British "lad's magazine"
Loaded, quoted in The Guardian


Editor captures lives of extraordinary
"little old ladies"

Rachel Brighton, the editor of the Nova Scotia Policy Review, has authored a "community book" about 21 senior women living in Kings, Annapolis and Digby counties in an effort to preserve their stories. According to a story on, Brighton talked to war brides and teachers; homemakers and a secret cipher operator; a wartime gunner; businesswomen and farmers. They told stories about their careers, communities and family life. As a result, said the article by Heather Killen, Brighton will never see little old ladies the same way again.

The project was initiated by The Women’s Place in Bridgetown, Nova Scotia (where Brighton lives) and Brighton worked from transcripts of taped interviews she conducted earlier this year.
“A little old lady would walk in the room and sit down,” she said. “As soon as she began to tell her story, her eyes sparkled, the old lady would disappear and I would only see the girl she has always been.”

Brighton added she was impressed with how each woman persevered through hardships and came shining through the other side with grace and dignity.

“You could see the girl that was and how the journey had shaped the person who came shining through,” she said. “Despite the hardships they experienced along the way, these women are happy, gracious, hopeful and optimistic...I always thought that old age was something that happens at the end of your life, a phase,but it happens throughout your life and you have to grow into it.”
The Western Area Women’s Coalition published the book, with proceeds to go to the Frances Mills-Clements Bursary, a scholarship fund that helps women build their futures.

Friday, August 22, 2008

First issue of bicycle magazine Dandyhorse wheels out in Toronto

Dandyhorse, a new Toronto magazine serving bicycle culture, is set to launch on Thursday, August 28. The launch is at 7:30 p.m. at Cinecycle, in the coach house, down the lane behind 129 Spadina Avenue (just south of Richmond Street). It's $5 at the door

The magazine will be distributed free, three issues a year, through bike stores and other outlets. A full page ad in the magazine costs $$1,650. Publisher is Dave Meslin, managing editor is Tammy Thorne and art director is Warren Wheeler. We'll let the magazine's media kit speak for itself:
Many of our readers see cycling as part of a lifestyle. For some, the bicycle is a symbol of health and balance in one’s life, and to others it’s a symbol of hope and commitment for our planet. Some cycle with their families on weekends as a social activity; others ride alone to work each weekday. Dandyhorse will reveal the common threads that link all cyclists together.

Licensing wine writers

I keep warning people that satire is on life support and lampoons can sometimes be taken seriously. But I guess there's not much risk of that with Dean Tudor's posting on his blog about the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) licensing wine writers. Tudor, an emeritus professor of journalism from Ryerson University and a frequent writer about wine (he is treasurer of the Wine Writer's Circle of Canada) was making some point or other about the autocratic ways of the provincial wine monopoly.


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Fuse magazine rallies the troops to oppose
federal arts funding cuts

The publisher and editor of Fuse magazine are organizing a town hall meeting to discuss recent federal arts funding cuts (including $500,000 cut from the Canada Magazine Fund).

In a letter, Izida Zorde, the editor and Heather Haynes, the publisher (who is also Director of the Toronto Free Gallery) said:
For those of you in Toronto, we encourage you to come out to strategize and show solidarity. It is extremely important that you make time for this. We hope to see as many of you as possible. For those of you not in Toronto, we hope that there is organizing in your community around this issue.
The town hall will be on Wednesday, September 3, 2008 at 7pm. at The Theatre Centre, 1087 Queen Street West, (South East Corner of Queen and Dovercourt)
With the anticipation of more cuts to be announced next week, we are inviting members of the arts, culture and the broader community, MPs and the media to attend a town hall meeting. This meeting is intended to discuss the funding cuts, the ideological and inappropriate comments made by government about recipients and to brainstorm a plan of action.
For more information or media inquiries contact:, or

Related posts:

Vice goes (temporarily) letter-less; pleads for "real letters from real people"

Vice magazine, which says its readers aren't taking the trouble to write them good letters anymore, suspended its letter-to-the-editor page for a month.
"You know what? No letters page this month. You know why? Because we aren’t receiving enough real letters. We mainly get emails now, and people don’t think when they write emails."
The magazine, which got its start in Montreal (now based in Brooklyn, New York)and grew into an international publishing phenomenon, says it used to get "great letters... in decorated envelopes along with goofy little tokens, tchotchkes, gizmos, and gifts inside".
In protest of this state of affairs, we are suspending the letters page for one month. We would like to formally do a wee curtsy and invite those among you, readers, who still have most of your fingers and know how to hold a pen, to send us actual, tangible letters. You can use a typewriter too, or a computer and then print it out....
Anyway, we aren’t trying to get onto some “we are slaves to machines” stuff but damn can we just get some letters on paper again please? Or at least don’t send us an email until you’ve read it through twice and decided whether or not you really need us to read it. Chances are you don’t.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Maclean's take on George Bush's "liberalism" catches some attention

It's one way to get attention south of the border, we suppose. United Press International has noticed that this week's Maclean's describes U.S. President George Bush as a "shockingly liberal" Republican.

[UPDATE: It has caught the interest of the Los Angeles Times, too.]

Lordy's life, in which truth is stranger than as strange as fiction

Back on April Fool's day, Terri Poulton, the managing editor at Media in Canada wrote a spoof about a reality TV series that was being planned, based on Conrad Black's life in prison. (He was thinly disguised as "Lord Fish").
At first appalled only by ill-tailored jumpsuits, punitive puce décor, 10-thread-count bedding and substandard foie gras, he soon recognizes something even worse: the abysmal dearth of decent conversation.
It turns out that real life trumps spoofing, as the Globe and Mail publishes a story and picture based on reporting at the London Daily Mail, reporting that the inmates in the Florida prison have dubbed Black "Lordy".
"Conrad remains very snobbish, despite having the same daily routine as all the other prisoners," the source told the Daily Mail. "He said he was shocked by how uneducated most of his fellow inmates were."
The spoof imagined Black teaching elocution to inmates. In real life, he is teaching them history.[Thanks to Terri Poulton]

O without O?

The ubiquitous Oprah Winfrey has told the editors of her namesake magazine that she's sick of being on every cover of her magazine; a source told the New York Post:
"It takes a lot of time and energy and she's sick of it. She's given them six months to figure out what to do without her."
The story noted that the magazine's newsstand sales are down 17 percent from last year and circulation is down 1.7 percent. A rep for the monthly responded:
"Oprah Winfrey has appeared on the cover of O . . . since its launch in 2000, and she will continue to do so. In fact, shoots for three upcoming covers will take place in early September."
[Thanks to Gawker]

Hachette shutters shelter title Home

A major casualty from one of the major U.S. publishers as Hachette Filipacchi has announced that it is suspending the publication of Home magazine after its October issue. The shelter sector has been hit hard by the over all weakness of the magazine business and by the downturn in the U.S. housing market, said MediaDaily News, adding this may not be the last of the big shelter books to go under in the heavily overlapping category before the end of the year.

Hachette President and CEO Jack Kliger said when the middle market recovers, the Home brand may return on one-off newsstand titles. Hachette's omnibus shelter web site, incorporating content from Home, Metropolitan Home and Elle Décor, will continue to operate.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Folio: publisher named fastest growing company 2nd year in a row

Red7 Media, publishers of the U.S. magazine industry trade magazines Folio: (often quoted here) and Circulation Management as well as the associated trade shows, has been named the fastest-growing company in the Information/Periodicals category of the Inc.magazine 5,000 list. It's the second year.
The company reported three-year growth of 209 percent between 2004 and 2007. The company ranked 24th among media companies, 18th out of Connecticut-based companies and 1,805 out of all 5,000 companies that made the magazine's list.

Ken Whyte to publish biography of press baron Hearst

[This post has been updated] Maclean's publisher and editor Ken Whyte is apparently hoping going to publish a biography of press baron (no, not that one) William Randolph Hearst. As a comment to this item pointed out, Quill & Quire's fall preview says the book is coming out from Random House Canada this September (see below). According to Patricia Best in the Globe and Mail, Whyte has been toiling away between-times on what started as something to do in the interregnum between being fired by the Aspers at the National Post and being hired by Maclean's. The manuscript has apparently been read by columnist Robert Fulford who has deemed it "brilliant".

Hearst, it is probably known, built a huge newspaper and radio empire on a foundation of yellow journalism and was the model for Charles Foster Kane in Orson Welles's film Citizen Kane.

It is doubtless mere coincidence that Rogers Publishing, which publishes Maclean's, is in tight with the Hearst Corporation (Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Comopolitan, Marie Claire etc.) in a deal to sell ads in Canada for Hearst's digital properties, something WR woudn't probably have envisioned, having died in 1951.

[UPDATE: Here's the cover of the book.]

Source Interlink tells independent stores in northwest U.S. that they're too far away

Here's a careful, passionate, thorough, partisan and altogether depressing story about independent newsstands in the Pacific Northwest who have essentially been fired by by their distributor, the giant Source Interlink. The story comes from the site And it details how the decision threatens the existence of independents.

The Newsstand in Bellingham, Bulldog News and Broadway News in Seattle and Rich's Cigar Store in Portland were told they were being terminated by form letters. "Just a form letter, no signature. Eighteen years as a customer and they don't have the courtesy to sign the letter," said Ira Stohl (above), owner of The Newsstand. He'll be locking his doors come Labour Day.

The store owners found out that their corner of the country is considered too far away and too much trouble to deliver magazines. First and Pike News didn't get the form letter; the magazines -- including bestsellers like Time and Newsweek -- just stopped coming.
A magazine distribution system that seems designed to drive retailers into therapy is driving them out of business. The dominant company in that system has notified two of Seattle's three remaining independent newsstands, along with one in Portland and the only one in Bellingham, that the distributor will no longer distribute. Not to them...

This isn't about street corner kiosks. These are full-service magazine stores that cater to people with a passion for reading. Bulldog News of Seattle offers 1,600 square feet of magazines and newspapers. First and Pike News (known for years as Read All About It) sells more than 2,500 titles in its 700 square feet, and it's the region's top dealer in foreign language periodicals, a reflection of Seattle's rich mix of nationalities...

In one sense it's the Internet in reverse. If the net's the place to find whatever you're looking for, The Newstand is the place to find what you were not looking for and may never have heard of.
Source Interlink is the largest distributor and after a major round of buy-outs of competitors around the U.S., it now serves more than 114,000 retail outlets. It also publishes 77 of its own magazines, mostly enthusiast titles. Yet co-CEO Jim Gillis said the company was just doing what it must do in terminating independent dealers.
[He told writer Bob Simmons] Bellingham's too far north. So is Seattle, so is Portland. Too far from Source-Interlink's West Coast distribution center in Ontario, California. Gillis says the company can no longer make money serving the independents on this corner of the map. His company will — no surprise — keep supplying our region's Wal-Marts, Barnes & Nobles, and other chain store retailers, even if they're a buck's worth of gas father from the Southern California warehouse.

"That's different," Gillis says. "Those are specialty retailers, and the publishers will help pay our shipping costs to their loading docks. They won't subsidize the shipping to the smaller guys."

[Photo by Bob Simmons]

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New BBC science title comes out of the gate with 60,000 subs

The just-launched bimonthly British Broadcasting Corporation magazine, BBC Knowledge, starts off with 60,000 subscribers following a 1.3 million direct mail campaign, and expects to have 80,000 by the second issue, according to a story in Folio:. That's a healthy 4.6% response, which Andy Benham, the BBC’s publishing director attributes to its "British-ness" and "BBC-ness".

Related post:


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

U.S. magazine website traffic up 8.5% in second quarter

Traffic is up 8.5% for the most recent quarter on the 314 consumer magazine websites tracked by the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA). The total was an average 69.7 million unique monthly visitors over 64.2 million during the same period last year, according to the most recent figures from the MPA.
Magazine Web site users accounted for an average of 462.8 million "sessions" per month during the second quarter this year, an increase of 9.9 percent. Visitors spent an average of 2.05 billion minutes per month during the second quarter, up 21.5 percent from the same period last year...Second quarter monthly reach for magazine sites grew 42.2 percent of the total U.S. Internet population, the MPA said, posting a 4.3 percent gain over the same period in 2007.
The results have to be seen with some caution, since other media websites have done equally well or better.

Compare the 317 magazine websites with the results of CBS Corporation, which had web traffic of 48.2 million unique vistors in July, up more than 130% from June. Or The New York Times which had 43.85 million unique visitors in July.

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Mr. Magazine has a simple solution: cut cover prices

Not that I turn to Fox Business for in-depth understanding, I was lured there by an interview with Samir Husni, "Mr. Magazine", who told the rather ditzy interviewer Alexis Glick that magazines could solve their single copy sales problems by aligning cover prices more closely with subscription prices.
We are one of the few countries left in which we have that dependency on advertisers to support the industry, rather than supporters and readers…

The economics of the magazine business has to change. The people behind the big magazines have to reach the recognition that we cannot continue doing the same thing and depend on advertising or online or internet advertising. Print advertising is not going to grow, which is the main bread-and-butter for the magazine industry…

They need to look for customers who count, rather than counting customers. Stop forgetting about the rate card, stop guaranteeing advertisers anything, be like the rest of the world. Put the magazine on the newsstand, give it a fair cover price. If you are willing to sell your magazine by subscription for 29 cents, sell it on the newsstand for 50 cents, don’t sell it for $5; it’s as simple as that.

How lobbyist spent her summer vacation dangling over Beijing

Nicole Rycroft's day job is as executive director of Markets Initiative, the environmental organization aimed at ending use of old-growth timber for paper products, including magazines. In her spare time, she apparently enjoys ticking off autocratic governments halfway round the world.

The Tyee publishes a story about how Rycroft spent her summer vacation, unfurling a Free Tibet banner in downtown Beijing in front of state television agency, a place most calculated to discombobulate the Chinese authorities. That's her dangling on the right of the banner.
"There were three of us that climbed up the scaffolding. It took less than five minutes to get up and hang the banner. Then I rappelled down the front, as did Phil Kirk. Kelly Osbourne stayed at the top to protect our anchors, to make sure we were not cut down like what happened in San Francisco.And we basically just hung out for 20 minutes or so. It was a great view."
She and three others were arrested and hustled into a police van.
"We went into this expecting that we would probably be kept for at least three days. But apparently the Chinese government has been working with a U.S.-based crisis management advisor, and now they are moving people out very quickly.

"After questioning, I was taken to another police station. I sat there and watched the Olympics on TV with my six guards. Then I was taken to the airport and handed over to immigration police, who escorted me onto a plane home.

"I was arrested at seven in the morning and I was on a 4:20 p.m. flight to Vancouver."

MPA offers midwestern shoppers cut rates on magazines

The Magazine Publishers of America has partnered with supercenter chain Meijer to offer $2 off for shoppers in several midwestern states who include two or more magazines in their shopping carts. The offer applies in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, or Ohio. For buying two magazines, that represents a 20% discount.

Related stories


Coda, Canada's longest running jazz magazine, celebrates golden anniversary

Coda, Canada's jazz magazine, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The (now) six-time-a-year magazine, was started in 1958 by John Norris is one of Canada's longest-running continuous music publications, and certainly its longest-lasting jazz publication. (A series of events were held in May to mark the anniversary.)

Norris started out in Canada running the jazz department at Sam the Record Man on Yonge Street in Toronto. In 1963 Norris was joined at Coda by Bill Smith as art director; the two of them also ran the Jazz and Blues Centre, a Toronto institution from 1970 to 1983 and in 1968 established the very important Canadian jazz record label Sackville Recordings.

According to an entry in the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada, Norris was editor 1958-76.Smith served also as co-editor 1976-83 with David Lee and as sole editor until November 2000.The magazine was sold in 2000 to Warwick Publishing Group and is now published by Ontra Enterprises. Its current publisher is Mark Barnes.

It has had various frequencies and various taglines through the years including The Canadian Jazz Magazine (beginning with the June 1959 issue), Canada's Jazz Magazine (August-September 1964), The Jazz Magazine (October 1976), The Journal of Jazz and Improvised Music (August 1984) and now simply says Jazz Understood.

Its respect among jazz afficianados has always outstripped its circulation.The magazine has rarely had sold more than 3,000 copies per issue and a good deal of that was outside Canada;

There's a nice recollection here about CODA by Vancouver jazz stalwart Brian Nation.

[Photo: Smith (left) and Norris, sometime in the early '70s by an unidentified photographer]


Monday, August 18, 2008

Industry CMF support program cut by 20%; what else is in play? Who knows?

[This post has been updated] Like buses and streetcars, budget cuts seem to come in clusters and that was certainly the case in the last couple of weeks where the minister of Canadian Heritage has confirmed total cuts to arts funding of more than $40 million. Included in that amount were: Trade Routes ($9 million); ($3.8 million); Culture Online ($5.6 million); book publishing ($1 million); arts and heritage stabilization ($3.5 million) and film and video support ($2.5 million).

One of the programs feeling the impact of the cuts is the Support for Industry Development component of the Canada Magazine Fund, which will see a cut for the 2009-10 fiscal year of $500,000, or about a 20% of this year's $2.5 million budget. The program supports industry-wide research and promotional projects run by magazine associations such as Magazines Canada and the various provincial bodies(BCAMP etc.). The main effect of this news is to reduce the overall budget for the CMF from $16 million to $15.5 million annually starting in 2009-10.

[UPDATE: The Globe and Mail reports that the total of the cuts is $44.8 million, with nine of the affected programs under the Department of Canadian Heritage. It also reports the exasperated response of the Prime Minister's \ communications director, Kory Teneycke.

"To listen to some in the arts community and the opposition, you would think that there's blood in the streets," he said.]

How these cuts otherwise augur for the current review of the Publications Assistance Program (PAP)and the Canada Magazine Fund (CMF) is an open question. We already know that the secretariat is recommending the two programs be merged into a single periodical fund; we also know that it all depends on the budget process and -- by extension -- on the decision whether or not to have an election this fall.

As we've reported before, the merged entity cannot be put into place before 2010-11. But the budget envelope for periodical funding could be adjusted anytime until early spring, by whatever government is in power. So none of the other components of CMF can be considered safe, though a vigorous lobbying effort by Magazines Canada may have mitigated the damage, for now.

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Rogers mag content on mobiles running 10,000 dowloads a month

Downloadable magazine content that is sent out to web-enabled mobile phones tends to be read as soon as it arrives, according to recent experience of Rogers Publishing (according to a post in Mobile Marketer). As a result, says Gaurav Jain, vice president of business development at Polar Mobile in Toronto, information is pushed out more often, but in smaller chunks. .

Jain said that the experience of Rogers Publishing, which has put mobile versions of Maclean's and Canadian Business online, is that premium content is attractive to mobile users; the service is, at least for now, free.

Rogers Publishing saw usage of their mobile magazines reach 10,000 downloads and 250,000 ad impressions per month. Readers spend an average of more than 30 minutes each month in the application, Mr. Jain says. Once dowloaded, the information is stored in the phone and can be accessed anywhere, without a mobile signal.
“It is important to put thought into what content is pushed to consumers,It has to be timely, lightweight and sticky. Simply replicating what’s on print or online is not a good idea.”

“A lot of publishers don’t have a mobile strategy for effective delivery of content – they are missing out on a completely new distribution channel and revenue stream,” Mr. Jain said.“Publishers need to leverage mobile to make more money off of existing content, but having a mere presence will not create revenue."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Remnants and deals being sold by Sports Illustrated on E-bay

Sports Illustrated is going to use E-bay to auction off last minute unsold print and online advertising space, special issues and selected geographic and demographic offerings. SI Media Marketplace will offer new selections every week to registered buyers .


RD Canadian Best Health launch encourages launch of U.S. version, Best You

After a successful "out of town tryout", Reader's Digest intends to launch Best You, a health title in the U.S. in January, according to an item in MediaDaily News. It's modelled on Best Health, launched in March by Reader's Digest Magazine Canada with 100,000 circulation.

On February 24, RD also plans to launch Fresh Home, a do-it-yourself title targetted at young, married adults.

Both will launch with 300,000 distribution on newsstands and a newsstand cover price of $4.99.
Both new mags will contend with fierce competition in their content categories. Best You launches just three months after two new newspaper-distributed magazines covering the same topics: Spry, from the Publishing Group of America, and HealthyStyle, from competitor Parade. On the home improvement front, most shelter titles are down in the first half of 2008, with 17 out of 25 seeing ad pages drop, for an overall average decline of 5%.


The wayback machine

Thursday, August 14, 2008

CB columnist picks Corporate Knights as a top 10 site for ethical investors

Columnist Larry MacDonald at Canadian Business ranks another magazine -- Corporate Knights -- as number 6 in his list of the 10 best websites for ethical investors in Canada. And he doesn't include Canadian Business.

6. Corporate Knights is a Canadian magazine devoted exclusively to corporate responsibility and it publishes interesting surveys such as the annual Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada and the annual Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World.

Rolling Stone to shrink to standard size

“All you’re getting from that large size is nostalgia.”
With that, Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner (above) confirmed in an interview with the New York Times that the rumoured downsizing of the iconic music magazine will indeed take place effective with the October 30 issue. Readers had been polled about the idea, but it is clear that Wenner's mind's made up.

The magazine will shrink from its current 10 x 12 inch size (itself quite a bit smaller than the tabloid size in which it started out 41 years ago) to the size favoured by the vast majority of consumer magazines roughly 8 x 11 inches. It will also be perfect-bound rather than saddle-stitched and undergo a visual redesign on somewhat glossier paper.

Gary Armstrong, chief marketing officer for Wenner Media, pointed to Vanity Fair, which has lower overall circulation than Rolling Stone, but nearly three times the single-copy sales. With a standard format, he said, it should be possible to raise newsstand sales significantly.

“The consumer we want to reach watches ‘Lost’ on a big TV screen, on a computer screen and on an iPhone,” he said. “They’re agnostic on format.”

Wenner acknowledges that the magazine may be losing something that made it distinctive:
“I myself was kind of torn about it."
[Photo by Richard Perry, New York Times]

Related post:

Magazine world view

See cover, click here, get issue: fledgling site delivers magazines on demand

A new venture in the U.S. called meets and seems to overcome one of the recurrent complaints about magazine fulfillment: you order a sub and get your first magazine six weeks later. According to a column in Ad Age by Nat Ives, the new site news site -- obsessed with the latest magazine covers -- has started linking to a magazine retailer that delivers current issues as quickly as two hours if you're in Manhattan.
A typical post today on the news site...shows the new Sports Illustrated cover. "With five gold medals and counting, it's easy to say that Michael Phelps is stealing the show," the post says. "And Sport Illustrated debuts its latest cover featuring Phelps. Click here to buy it now!" The "click here" link brings you to Universal News on Demand, a site built by Universal News -- a bricks-and-mortar magazine retailer that carries some 6,000 titles.

"Universal News launched Universal News on Demand in the beginning of 2007 to basically increase the efficiency and the sell-through of the products that we already had in our stores," said Justine Kawas, VP-communications. "We didn't want to turn to publishers and say we're okay with selling just 45% of your product -- which is actually higher than the industry average."
As Ives notes, it's hard to believe that this will become a mainstream news channel. But anything that improves sell-through and reader engagement has to be a good thing.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Government arts funding cuts baloney, no matter how you slice it

Never letting the facts get in the way of a good story, the Conservative cabinet has shut down two funding programs of Foreign Affairs, making astonishingly shoddy assertions about whether the people taking advantage of the programs represented "Canadian values" properly.

We daresay that not one in 1,000 citizens actually looked at what was being funded, what small, but important amounts were involved and what a breadth of uses the money went for. (Not much, if any, of the money went to Canadian magazines or magazine companies, so we're not arguing vested interest here.)

We're merely suggesting that people who wondered about the decision might do well to go to the Foreign Affairs website and look at the most recent annual report (2006-07) and see where the money was spent. Then decide whether it represents your values and a heckuva good value in terms of gaining exposure for artists, dancers, writers, filmmakers, booksellers, sound companies and the like.

Walrus (re)hires new art director

Brian Morgan is returning to The Walrus as art director. He worked under former art director Antonio De Luca from 2004 to 2006 before moving to Maclean's as deputy art director. He had previously worked for the Globe and Mail, CanWest and several design firms.

“I am looking forward to working with John Macfarlane and returning to the Walrus," says Morgan in a release from the magazine. “From an art point-of-view Antonio De Luca has shaped an amazing book and I hope that I can build on, and add to, the truly great work he and his colleagues have done.”

ABC results serve you right, say Globe commenters

[The post has been updated] Masthead magazine editor Marco Ursi has gone to the trouble (and the pain) of trolling through and reporting on the comments received by the Globe and Mail in response to James Adams's article about the recent, apparently lamentable, Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) results for the first six months of 2008. Noting that the story received 27 comments, Ursi said:
While that number is hardly a representative sample of the Canadian population at large (it more likely represents the cranky 1% of the population that bothers to leave online comments), we thought some of the responses were worth sharing
Most respondents either objected to a) the cost of magazines, b) the amount of advertising they carry or c) their impact on the environment. Since readers don't pay the cost of production for magazines, it's a bit rich to complain about advertising from those who do. And research shows consistently that readers like magazines precisely for the advertising.

[UPDATE: It is pointed out by Masthead that there is a reason for the precipitate drop of single copy sales for some titles is due to rule changes at ABC. "Sponsored or bulk sales", previously lumped in with single copy or newsstand sales have now been removed, moved into the "total analyzed non-paid" category. Also changed, although with less impact, is that "verified" copies — essentially given away free or nearly so in hotel rooms and to targetted lists — have been separated from "paid" circulation.]

Doubtless scrounged from under the couch cushions...

From freelance writer Ryan Bigge, via his blog and a posting in MyHogtown, word comes that he received a $30$40 payment for a short story from one literary journal in the form of an envelope containing
- a twenty dollar bill
- a ten dollar bill
- a five dollar bill
- two toonies
- and a loonie


Magazine world view

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Online reading favoured by print media execs

It's not exactly a scientific poll, but interesting. Folio: editor Tony Silber reports that, at a conference on e-media on Monday, 29 post-conference dinner guests were asked about their media consumption habits.
The guests were senior and executive managers from Advanstar Communications, Access Intelligence and Red 7 Media (FOLIO:’s parent company) all of which are traditional media companies whose brand flagships are print magazines. The vast majority were over 30—what should, in theory, be the bastion of print users.
What they said was that
  • 19 (65%) said that two-thirds of all media consumption was online
  • 4 (14%) said two-thirds of all media consumption was in print
  • 6 (21%) said their media consumption was split equally between print and online
Said one of the four print-focused media consumers: “I have to say I was surprised. I always assumed my media consumption habits were everyone else’s.”

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Alberta discrimination case dismissed against former Western Standard publisher

A drawn-out hearing of the Alberta Human Rights Commission has resulted in the dismissal of a complaint against Ezra Levant, the former publisher of the Western Standard. The complaint was filed by the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities, accusing Levant of discrimination for republishing the "Danish" cartoons which lampooned the prophet Muhammad.

Levant wrote an op-ed piece in the National Post about the decision and another on his blog, where he said:
[W]e shouldn’t be too giddy. Because look closely at what [investigating officer Pardeep] Gundara has said. He didn’t say I was free. He said I merely met his censorship standards, so I may go. Those are two completely different things.
(In fact, the actual dismissal came in the form of a decision document and cover letter from Director Marie Riddell, based on a confidential investigative report submitted by Gundara which, amazingly, the director made public as her own reasons for decision.)

Related posts

Shameless plug

This year, as in several years past, I will be teaching in the Magazine Publishing program at the Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University in Toronto.
  • The Business of Magazine Publishing (CDJN112) provides an overview of the issues, challenges, and opportunities that confront consumer and trade magazine publishers in the Canadian marketplace. The various aspects of managing established magazines will be discussed: editorial, marketing, management, advertising, production and distribution (42 hours, Mondays, September 8 to December 8).
  • So You Want to Start a Magazine? (CDJN100), an intensive two-day course (Friday-Saturday) emphasizes the practical aspects of launching a magazine in today’s highly competitive market.


Public place distribution in U.S. up by 15.8%

The distribution of "public place" copies of magazines increased by almost 16% in the first half of 2008, it was pointed out in a column by Jeff Bercovici in Portfolio. He noted that in the ABC Fas-Fax data, even though 532 titles reporting selling about 3 million fewer copies this year than last and subscription sales were basically flat,public-place copies, or those given away by a third-party partner totalled more than 15.6 million.
"In other words, the less desire consumers show for magazines, the more eager publishers become to give them away."

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Single copy tumble affects wide range of ABC-monitored titles in first 6 months

Just 18 titles out of the 61 Canadian titles monitored by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) saw their single copy sales increase during the first 6 months of 2008 versus the same period last year. According to a report in Masthead, 27 titles saw double-digit declines.

Among the magazines that saw single copy sales increases were Western Sportsman (49.2%), Canadian Home Workshop (44.2%), Outdoor Canada (37.1%), Canadian Gardening (27.7%) and The Beaver (24.4%).

Among those titles experiencing significant drops were Canadian Family (-75%), Canadian Home & Country (-56%), Wish (-53%), Canadian Business (-38.8%), Flare (-28.5%), LouLou (English) (-23.3%), Chatelaine (-21.2%), and The Hockey News (-15.9%).

In terms of subscriptions, the results were less volatile, with changes within a +/- 10% range.

Among those whose total paid/verified circulation dropped significantly more than that were: Profit (-66.5%), three St. Joseph titles -- Wish (-26.6%), Canadian Family (-24.1%) and Gardening Life (-16%), and Filles Clin D’Oeil (-17.8%), 7 Jours (-14.4%) and Flare (-11%).

Some magazines will probably count themselves lucky, having held relatively steady in total paid and/or verified circulation:Toronto Life, Canadian Geographic, Canadian Living, Today’s Parent, Canadian House & Home, Decormag, Maclean’s, Style at Home and Elle Canada.

Magazine newsstand sales plummet (Globe and Mail)
[U.S.]Magazine sales fall 6.3% at newsstands (AP via New York Times)

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Opportunity cost makes mag publishers cool to 3rd party online ad sellers

[This post has been updated] Traditional magazine publishers are rethinking their strategies for selling surplus online ad space, according to a story in Mediaweek. For instance, Rodale Publishing, which produces front-rank titles such as Men's Health, Prevention and Runner's World, has discontinued its sale of online ad space through so-called "third party networks" after only six weeks.

Digital ads accounts for more than 10% of the company's revenue. However, selling unsold online space was a hassle, so it turned over some of that inventory to a third party vendor.
The results weren’t always pretty, recalls MaryAnn Bekkedahl, Rodale’s executive vp, group publisher.

In one instance, an ad for an automaker popped up on a site where Rodale had already sold a schedule to a rival auto brand. In another unfortunate case, an ad for a fast-food chain showed up on a site’s nutritional channel. The low point was when a Spanish-language ad inadvertently appeared on the English-language homepage of Women’s Health.

Then, there’s the inherent lack of ad-content control that comes with handing over one’s inventory to an outside representative. “We don’t want the dregs of the universe and the sex toys,” explains Bekkedahl.
Think Equity Partners reports that the number of online ad sales networks has ballooned over the past 7 years from fewer than 50 to more than 300. But magazines that use them report that the results are disappointing -- low rates, poor quality control, proliferation of cheesy ads and the undermining of the reputation and brand of valuable sites.
Forbes [Media], like Rodale, was disappointed by the networks, says Jim Spanfeller, president and CEO of In short, Spanfeller wasn’t big on having outsiders selling Forbes’ online inventory for what amounted to pocket change. “It wasn’t really worth the opportunity cost,” he says. “I think at the end of the day, larger sites like ourselves, we’re really going to want to have as much control over our sales process as possible.”
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, online ad revenue accounts for less than 4% of magazine publishers total ad revenue.

[Update: Curiously, a digital benchmarking study from the Internet Advertising Bureau and Bain & Company, reported by Adotas, says the use of “ad networks” has surged from 5% of total ad impressions sold in 2006 to 30% in 2007.

Online publishers are continuing to experience growth rates of 20-30% in ad revenue, and keeping up with these rates has left many with an excess of inventory which they are selling through ad networks at up to 90% discounts versus direct sales rates.

John Frelinghuysen, a partner in Bain’s Global Media Practice and study author said “Online publishers are producing more inventory than the market demands, and risk devaluing the premium nature of their brands, particularly in light of ad networks growth and their dramatically lower pricing. Building more effective relationships between publishers and ad networks is critical. In the long-term, both parties will benefit from gains in ad network CPMs.”

Other key findings in the study include online publisher revenues grew by 32% in 2007, yet ad network revenues grew more rapidly(in excess of 50%), as marketers boosted online spending. High demand for premium video inventory resulted in CPMs 2-3 times greater than display ads on average. Also, found was most publishers in the study lack information to closely measure the impact of cross-platform sales, though most indicate focus on using cross-platform to drive volume, not price.

Barbara Amiel recycles her angst

Barbara Amiel is no slouch when it comes to selling second rights. The self-pitying column she recently wrote for Maclean's magazine has been reprinted unchanged (save for a new headline: Conrad and I were betrayed) in the Sunday Times in Great Britain. Apparently readers were unimpressed. One, quoted by the Evening Standard, said:
"Could she perhaps give to charity, seeing as her entire life has apparently been 'wiped out'? That seaside luxury home, the designer clothes, the gold jewellery and the pedigree dogs in the photo would do for a start! The woman's absolutely delusional!"

NYT mag sells cover wrap for first time

The New York Times Magazine has for the first time sold a cover wrap. Its August 10 issue comes with a half over-cover purchased by U.S. Trust, the Bank of America private wealth management arm. The decision is evidence of the increasing pressure on magazines generally to entertain arrangements with advertisers that might not have been considered before. A story in Folio: said:

The New York Times Magazine section is in good company experimenting with cover wraps. Last December, New York magazine sold a four-page cover wrap to the New Museum.

And some magazines have incorporated advertising directly into the cover itself. The September issue of Esquire magazine features a blinking, flashing electronic display designed by E-ink and sponsored by Ford. Although Ford is not mentioned on the cover, the high-profile cover leads directly to a Ford ad spread in the front of the magazine that takes credit for the innovative cover.

Last year, Harper's Bazaar delivered 5,000 VIP copies that came embedded with "crystals"--courtesy of Swarovski, also an advertiser. In 2005, The New Yorker produced a single-sponsor issue for Target that incorporated the Target logo's distinctive red-and-white coloring on the cover as well as inside the magazine.