Monday, February 28, 2011

Zoomer Media six-month results show $2.8 million turnaround, net income $1.1 million

Zoomer Media, the parent company of Zoomer magazine has announced that its first half results for the period ended December 31 showed revenues of $31.2 million and expenses of $27.3 million resulting in income before depreciation, amortization and interest of $3.9 million. Net income for the period was $1.1 million. For the comparable six month period in the previous year, the Company had revenues of $5 million and expenses of $6 million for a loss before depreciation, amortization and interest of $1 million. The net loss for the period was $1.7 million.
Second quarter revenues to end December 2010 were $16.9 million and expenses of $14.4 million resulting in income before depreciation, amortization and interest of $2.5 million, resulting in net income for the quarter was $898,317. This is a big leap from the comparable quarter a year earlier, with revenues of $2.9 million and expenses of $3.4 million with a loss before depreciation, amortization, interest and a  net loss, after tax recovery, of $884,136.


Manitoba magazines conference and Maggie Awards set for April 28

The Manitoba Magazine Publishers' Association (MMPA) annual conference and 3rd annual Maggie Awards, to be held at the Inn at the Forks in Winnipeg, April 28. For further details, go to:

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Two year lockout of Journal de Montréal journalists ends with 75% losing their jobs

Not with a bang, but a whimper. The ground-down employees of the Journal de Montréal voted on Saturday night to accept the latest offer from their employer, Quebecor Media.
Thereby,comes to an end a two-year struggle after 253 employees were locked out by management. The result is that 63 of the employees will return to work and the remaining 190 will lose their jobs and receive a total of about $20 million in severance (averaging about $105,000 each).
The employees can point to a slightly better deal than one they rejected overwhelmingly in October, which would have seen only 50 jobs. But there is no way to sugarcoat the defeat. According to a story in the Montreal Gazette
Many of the workers exiting the room expressed anger and disappointment at the result of the vote.
"It's a defeat for me, and for my friends," Jessica Nadeau said. "I just can't believe the way this ended. I've been fighting with everything I had. ... It's just ... I don't have the words right now.
"I wanted to keep fighting."
Other employees expressed their sadness at the results, but said they understood that people were tired after two years locked out of work.
It's not clear whether the alternative newspaper Rue Frontenac, started by some locked-out employees, will continue to publish. It is said the paper had reached about 80,000 readers a week during the lockout.
At a committee meeting at the Quebec National Assembly earlier this month, Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau blamed "union intransigence" for prolonging the lockout, accusing the employees of resisting technological change and what he called "a tsunami" sweeping the newspaper industry.. He welcomed proposed changes to the Quebec labour code and its so-called "anti-scab" provisions.The changes would allow the use of replacement workers and outsourcing jobs.


Friday, February 25, 2011

New online design, travel and food magazine Dabble launching

On Monday, a new online magazine called Dabble,focussing on interior design, travel and food, is to launch. 
Editor-in-chief is Kimberley Seldon who is also the design editor for Chatelaine magazine. 
According to a story in the Calgary Herald, the nature of online publishing means the magazine has plenty of room to cover everything lavishly. Dabble can run 10 full-sized home, interior, food or travel photos and the interactivity means readers can simply link to design stores, or a tourism board's website.
Dabble's target demographic is women and men between the ages of 28 and 58, but because of its international content, they could be European or American as easily as Canadian.
"Dabble's about being playful and having fun. We take the content super serious, but bring it across in a way that I think is really fun and approachable," says Seldon.
Advertising for the publication is being handled by BBS Media of Toronto.
Seldon, in addition to her magazine work, is the host of HGTV's Design for Living with Kimberley Seldon and guest design expert on CITY-TV's CityLine.

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Momentum, the Vancouver-based cycling magazine, unveils new look and new tagline

Momentum, the Vancouver-based cycling magazine with North American ambitions, has unveiled its new look at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Austin Texas. With the new logotype, downplaying the name in favour of an iconic 'MO', comes a new tagline. Formerly it was "The magazine for self-propelled people". Now it is "Smart living by bike". Showing off the new logo and tagline are director of marketing and advertising Mia Kohout and Jim Nissen of  Austin-based Switch Studio, now handling design . Below is the old look and logo.
The magazine is distributed in 20 North American cities and has a press run of 30,000 copies.

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Another senior digital departure at Rogers Media

More changes in the digital wing at Rogers Media: Leslie Sole, the chief content officer who joined the leadership team in December 2010, moving over from Rogers' television division, has left the company. Sole was responsible for the creation and execution of the Rogers Media content strategy, which included the integration of magazine content on other platforms and in other media. The departure comes on the heels of the exit of Claude Galipeau, senior vice-president and general manager of Rogers Digital Media and the appointment of  Jason Tafler in a newly created position of chief digital officer for the company.

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QuarkXPress 9 being released in April

Should anyone be interested, QuarkXPress 9 is being released in April. It is being presented as the answer to design automation, allowing designers to publish directly to digital devices. Virtually every magazine publisher I meet says they have either switched to Adobe InDesign or are considering it. Any views about this? Add a comment.

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Modest overall U.S. Q1 magazine ad page growth led by zooming shelter titles

Up 80.6% in ad pages
An encouraging trend in the U.S. is that two of the top five gainers in terms of advertising pages are in the shelter category, hard hit by the recent recession. According to data published by min online, Architectural Digest had an 80.6% increase in March compared with a year ago, buoyed by the recovery of luxury and housing markets. And Elle Decor was up 39.9%. Others in the top 5: People StyleWatch  (up 75% in March and 50% in the first quarter); Seventeen up 66% and with the biggest issue in three years; and Texas Monthly, up 43%. Over all, min's data showed a modest growth of 1.15% in the first quarter, the first since 2007.

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British mags association head warns of damage from soaring bulk mail prices

To quote South Park, blame Canada. A "modernization" campaign is roiling the British post office, the Royal Mail, led by the former head of Canada Post Moya Green, who took over last July. The latest move has been to remove price controls from all parcels more than a kilogram in weight and from second class pre-sorted bulk mail.
But Barry McIlheney, the chief executive of the Professional Publishers Association (PPA), in a story in MediaWeek, says that he has "serious misgivings" about a measure that will double the permitted prices on bulk mail and have a significant impact on magazines.
"At a time when the Government is looking to the creative industries as a driver of economic growth, this is a shortsighted move.

"Price increases of this level are tantamount to imposing a penalty tax on magazine publishers who are being forced to pay for Royal Mail’s inefficiencies."
McIlheney said that publishers could be forced to cut circulations and direct mail volumes and reduce future investment in subscriptions. The new measures, provisionally approved by the postal regulator Postcomm, would, if fully implemented be a short-term fix for long-term damage.
One of Green's remits from the British government is to sell off parts of the Royal Mail to help reduce the national deficit. In November, the Royal Mail reported a £66m loss in its letters division, its first significant loss for eight years.Ironically bulk mail, used by publishers and direct mail companies, has been the only source of growth -- forecast to grow to more than 7 billion items next year and be half of the mail items dropping through letterboxes. 
Green has called the modernization campaign "absolutely vital" and has warned that mail volumes may fall by as much as 40% over the next five years.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rogers Media creates new position, names Jason Tafler chief digital officer

Rogers Media has appointed Jason Tafler to the newly created position of chief digital officer for the company. Tafler comes from PointRoll a digital marketing company based in Pennsylvania, where he had been CEO since 2008, though he grew up in Toronto and at one point worked with Kemur Publishing. According to a company release :
Tafler will be responsible for strategic and operational leadership for the Digital division of Rogers Media with accountability for financial and operational targets. Rogers Digital Media is responsible for over 250 Rogers Digital products including brand websites, mobile products and client microsites as well as pure digital plays such as, BRANCHEZ -VOUS!, PoolExpert and Canadian Parents.
Claude Galipeau, senior vice-president and general manager of Rogers Digital Media recently left the company and launched Galipeau Group. He had been responsible for signing such deals as content sharing with He had previously been vice-president, interactive media for Astarl Media Inc.
The range of partnerships and acquisitions brings Rogers Digital Media over 16 million unique viewers per month and reaches 65% of Canadians online [says the release]. As well, Rogers Digital Media provides ad solutions and content for Rogers Communications and ad representation for foreign clients.


2 for Couples magazine shows around the royal couple of the moment

Toronto and Vancouver are not on the itinerary for the newly married royal couple's honeymoon tour of Canada this summer. So 2 for Couples magazine decided to rectify that with unofficial tour stops using life-sized cardboard cutouts of Kate and William. (Here, the under-dressed pair stand in with street musicians  at the Eaton Centre.)
The magazine has posted a fun photo album on, so far shot in Toronto, with Vancouver next. The magazine will be hosting a forum for discussion and will also release a special royal wedding 2011 app for iPad and iPhone in mid-March.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ontario trumpets its creative industry strengths, including magazines

[This post has been updated]The Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) has created a video to promote the diversity and prodigious output of Ontario's creative sector -- including magazines -- called "We've got it going ON". Among the facts included in the accompanying documentation is that Ontario is Canada's largest publishing centre, with almost half (48%) of all Canadian magazines published in Ontario , and the magazine industry in Ontario created an average of 9,389 direct and indirect jobs annually between 1997 and 2005.
[Update] The OMDC awareness campaign will be showcased in print ads in consumer, business and trade publications, and wide range of placements online. The 30-second ad will be seen during the Oscars on Feb. 27th and during the JUNOS on March 27th. The entire program is intended to reach Ontario consumers who use/consume creative media products and key influencers who can affect policy decisions; and  Businesses which might use the services of, partner with, or invest in, Ontario’s creative media companies.
OMDC thanked the Ontario indie band Metric for making their hit song Gimme Sympathy availablefor the video, the members of ACTRA, and the more than 100 Ontario companies that provided their content for use in the campaign.]

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The anti-Holmes? New magazine launching this spring for renovation contractors

A magazine that might be called the "anti-Holmes"* is being launched to serve Canada's renovation contractors. It's called, not surprisingly, Renovation Contractor and editor-in-chief is Jim Caruk of the Caruk Media Group, who has appeared on HGTV in such shows at Real Renos and Handyman Superstar Challenge. In the magazine's media kit, Caruk says
“After 37 years in the business, I’d started to wonder why there wasn’t a Canadian publication dedicated to renovators that was actually written and published by the people, like me, who actually do this stuff everyday. With no disrespect to the fine media companies we have in Canada, general knowledge writers and editors can't produce what we're going to produce. This magazine is coming from the trades for the trades, which will give it a no-holds-barred credibility, eliminate the BS factor and speak the truth."
The magazine, which launches May 5, will have a controlled, quarterly circulation of 27,640, most of whom are small- and medium-sized builders and renovators, the remainder specialists in plumbing and HVAC, drywall and insulation, and roofing. A full page ad will cost $8,350.
Contents will include tool reviews, articles about building techniques, ways to improve business practices and tackle the issues that concern building tradespeople the most. It also hopes to get contractors talking to each other through a regular advisory board and a website (not yet up).
Publisher for the new magazine is David Chestnut, previously of Hardware Merchandising and Canadian Contractor. The managing editor is Allan Britnell, who has covered the renovation industry for 15 years for magazines such as Cottage Life, Canadian Home Workshop and Harrowsmith Country Life. Design and production is by Mitre Design.
*Mike Holmes, the face of Holmes magazine, which is aimed principally at homeowners, has made a career out of dissing sloppy renovators and contractors on his eponymous TV shows Holmes on Homes and Holmes Inspection while praising others  who "make things right".


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Former Glow editor-in-chief , Beth Thompson named beauty editor at More

A former editor of Rogers Publishing's Glow magazine has been named the new beauty editor of Transcontinental Media's More magazine, effective March 1. Beth Thompson was editor-in-chief at Glow from 2005 to 2009. Before joining Glow, Thompson co-wrote Kidfluence: Why Today’s Kids Mean Business and worked on custom publishing projects for clients such as Hudson’s Bay Company and Zellers. Recently, she wrote her first novel.
“I am so happy to welcome Beth to our team,” enthused More editor-in-chief Linda Lewis in a release. “I’ve known her for a long time, as both a writer and an editor. She is a consummate professional and a lovely person to work with.  At 49, she also lives what More is about and will bring a reader’s perspective to our beauty pages.”
Thompson replaces Vanessa Craft, who moved to Transcon's Elle Canada magazine as its beauty editor. Coincidentally, we're sure, she also has written her first novel. 


Best Health magazine says it is the first to feature a quick response code on cover

Best Health magazine says that it is the first Canadian magazine [see comments] to feature a QR (Quick Responses) code on its cover. The March/April issue allows readers to a) download an app with their  smartphones then aim their phones at the upper right hand corner of the cover and get a behind-the-scenes video of the cover shoot with eTalk anchor Tanya Kim. She demonstrates Pilates moves.
Readers can also see the video by going to the magazine's website. 


Rogers magazines to provide content for Canadian women's portal partnership with NBC's iVillage

Rogers Media has entered into a partnership with New York-based  to launch a Canadian version of the popular website for women. iVillage is published by iVillage Inc., a division of the NBC Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks Group) 
According to a story from Canadian Press, will be launched this spring and offer content from the U.S. site, from its United Kingdom counterpart, and from Rogers properties such as, and Citytv.
Rogers will manage sales and marketing and Leigh Felesky has been appointed general manager and director, on the heels of having re-launched last year. 
"We're excited to partner with iVillage and bring the leading women's digital brand to millions of women across Canada," said Pary Bell, vice-president of digital product at Rogers Media.
iVillage claims to be the largest content-driven community for women online reaching more than 30 million unique visitors a month in the United States.

The new Canadian site will put Rogers up against the Transcontinental Media women's portal, which features the best of Canadian Living, Style at Home, Homemakers and Elle Canada.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Former Reader's Digest publisher Larry Thomas joins Golf Canada

Larry Thomas, who was downsized out of his job as vice-president and publisher of Reader's Digest a few months ago has fetched up at Golf Canada as chief commercial officer, according to a post on the organization's website.
Reporting to Golf Canada Executive Director and CEO Scott Simmons, Thomas will lead Golf Canada’s commercial and business development efforts.
"We are pleased to welcome Larry Thomas as our Chief Commercial Officer,” said Simmons. Larry brings with him a wealth of experience in helping to grow one of Canada’s most renowned, multi-faceted media brands. We believe he has the skill set, business acumen and senior management experience to help drive Golf Canada’s commercial efforts.”
Golf Canada is the common branding of the Royal Canadian Golf Association representing more than 350,00o members in 1,600 golf clubs across the country.


Natural Life magazine picks up subs of closing U.S. title Mothering

Natural Life magazine, published by Toronto-based Life Media, is fulfilling the unused subscriptions of the3 U.S.-based Mothering magazine, which has closed. Subscribers are offered the choice of waiting for the May-June issue of Natural Life or getting a digital sub on a 2-for-1 basis.
Natural Life and its companion publications Life Learning Magazine and Natural Parenting Business magazine are owned by Wendy and Rolf Priesnitz.
Mothering was founded in 1976 (the same year as Natural Life) and in recent years had a print circulation upwards of 100,000 (not large by U.S. standards, but respectable.) Editor Peggy O'Mara gives an extended history of the magazine online. Part of the reasons for closing up shop were recession-driven or caused by changes in the advertising market.
After three years of decline in advertising sales, subscription orders, and newsstand sales, with the March–April 2011 issue we saw our ad sales drop to their lowest point in 10 years. In a single year, from March 2010 to March 2011, we lost one-third of our print advertisers.
Many of our advertisers have been hard hit by the economy. Toy manufacturers have been burdened by the cost of complying with the new regulations of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). Many of our sling and baby-carrier advertisers experienced declining sales or went out of business altogether in 2010 as a result of loss of sales due to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalls of infant carriers.
Even cutting back page counts couldn't prevent Mothering from losing money every issue, said O'Mara. So it has been decided to become a web-only company, continuing to be based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, concentrating on its 1.5 million unique visitors, 35,000 Facebook fans, 75,000 Twitter followers and subscribers to its many forums.
While this change is a crisis for those of us who love the print edition of Mothering, it is also an opportunity. It forces me to ask myself, “Am I in the magazine business or the information business?” If I am in the business of providing information and inspiration to parents, then does it ultimately really matter what forms that information and inspiration take? If I am serious about providing this information and inspiration, then is it not my responsibility to go where my community goes?

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Quote, unquote: He sucked. Did not.

"Although Jack is an extremely accomplished executive, I concluded that his leadership style and approach did not mesh with Time Inc. and Time Warner."
-- Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, explaining to staff why he fired Jack Griffin as CEO of Time Inc.
"My exit was clearly not about management style or results. I leave behind a first-rate team and wish them all the best of success."
-- Jack Griffin, responding after being ousted as Time Inc. CEO by Time Warner  CEO Jeff Bewkes after Griffin was only six months into the job


Rogers b2b publishing boss John Milne chuffed about new revenue stream

John Milne, the senior vice-president of business and professional publishing At Rogers Publishing, says his division has had great success with a new "fourth" revenue stream. He writes in a column in min, the media industry newsletter
At Rogers Publishing Limited in Toronto, the Business & Professional Publishing Group has been nurturing a fourth revenue stream over the past six years: research. Rogers is Canada’s largest publisher of business and consumer magazines in both of the country’s official languages.

The seeds of the business were planted in the mid-1990s, when discussions began with a pharmaceutical industry client around the importance of demonstrating thought leadership and sharing customer insights in order to develop new ones. Eighteen months of planning led to a project that has been—and continues to be—conducted annually.

As the initial project began to grow with each deployment, thoughts turned to replicating the success. After all, if one organization was prepared to invest in the high six figures for this type of branding, wouldn’t others?

In 2004, a new research sales/project manager position was created. Today, that individual holds a senior director’s position and is responsible for a department that consists of three full-time sales staff and six project managers. Last year, the group did more than 100 projects and generated revenues in excess of $2.5 million, with a 40%-plus margin.
(The column is only fully available to subscribers.)

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

We can live with the new Apple subscription model, says Transcon CEO

Apparently, a 30% subscription commission taken by iTunes, while steep, is something that the CEO of Transcontinental Inc., Francois Olivier says his company can live with, according to what he told the Montreal Gazette. Transcontinental Media publishes the largest number of consumer magazines in Canada. The new sub model will help newspapers and magazines  make money, Olivier says.
Apple this week announced a new subscription model that will allow the sale of daily, weekly or monthly subscriptions whereas the previous iteration made subscribers buy each issue of any publication separately.
“That was one of the things that was missing in the Apple model,” Olivier said. “It was used to selling songs on iTunes piece by piece, but in the newspaper and magazine industry, the bulk of our readers are subscribing to the publications.”
Olivier said he doesn’t mind the 30 per cent cut that Apple will take off the top of any subscriptions, which has been criticized by other industry leaders as too steep. “When we sell magazines through news stands, the stores often take more than that, so it doesn’t feel like a totally unreasonable number.”
According to Advertising Age writer Nat Ives, however, many U.S. magazines are still  staying away from Apple's new iPad subscription system to protest the fact that Apple won't tell them who's subscribing through the App Store unless subscribers specifically say they can.
"Without the demographics, which iTunes won't release, the print world is castrated," said Gary Armstrong, the former Wenner Media executive who is now consulting on branded content development for media brands.That means the iPad won't help the magazine business as much as many publishers fantasized, Mr. Armstrong said. "Is it a complete failure?" he said. "No, but it's obvious it will now never be the panacea they long hoped for, and they'll have to readjust their entire business model."
Waiting and seeing may be the wisest course for publishers, since already there is competitive pressure on price that can only increase over the next few months. Google's announcement this week of a competing tablet sub system with only a 10% fee is the first of what could be many. According to the Wall Street Journal
Google said it will charge publishers 10% of revenue from sales through its One Pass service. It will let publishers set prices and give them more control over customer data.

"The publisher is the merchant of record," said Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt in Berlin on Wednesday. "We don't prevent you from knowing, if you're a publisher, who your customers are, like some other people" do, he said, a tacit reference to Apple.
 James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research, said in the story that some publishers might sign up for the Google service purely to show Apple they aren't happy and to encourage competition. 

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Quote, unquote: Building a subscriber-friendly device-agnostic front end

We're hedging our bets--Apple right now has the largest market share in tablet usage. Six months from now, Android and the whole Google platform may grow or it may not, or Apple and Google may split the market up. What we want to do--and it's been hard, especially with Apple since they haven't been too transparent--is make this a front-end experience for the subscriber that's device-agnostic. We want to engage the subscriber, get their name and address, put them in a database and then send out files to whatever device they prefer. 
-- Bob Cohn, consumer marketing director of Bonnier, explaining to Folio:'s Matt Kinsman why the magazine Popular Science was the first out of the gate to be on both the Apple and Google subscription plans

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Buy whole issue or individual articles, it's your choice says Found Press Quarterly

We've happened upon a nifty Q&A with an innovative new kind of wholly digital literary magazine. The interview is on The Literary Type, the blog of The New Quarterly and it puts its questions to the publishers of Found Press Quarterly. FP published its first issue in Januaryand its business model is unusual; you can buy the whole issue content or the stories it contains individually.
What sets us apart is that we are not, in fact, on the shelf at all. We are a one-hundred percent digital publishing company, and our quarterly is available exclusively in eBook format available for purchase through Internet stores such as Kindle and Kobo. Another thing that sets us apart is the fact that we make each story in our collection available for individual purchase. We like to think of ourselves as book version of iTunes. You can buy the whole album, or just your favourite song. 
The Found Press “slogan” is “stories everywhere,” and it works to describe what we do on two different levels. One interpretation is that there is an abundance of talented writers with stories to tell—that stories can be found anywhere, and that they are just waiting to be shared. Another way to think of it, though, is that with the Internet, and especially the rapid development of e-book technology, people can purchase our stories no matter where they are, and read them wherever they want. So while the Internet makes it easy for us to connect with fantastic authors, it is also making it easy for use to tell their stories. The production and distribution frustrations that many (perhaps most) new, independent publishers face no longer apply.
The magazine's editors are Jacqueline Lee Olynyk, a graduate of the Humber College Creative Book Publishing program who has worked as a freelance editor and currently resides in Boston, and Bryan Ibeas, also a Humber graduate who is the marketing coordinator for Cormorant Books, an independent Canadian literary publishers. They mostly use Skype to keep in touch.
The first issue is The Moment We Came Alive and features four authors from three countries -- Cynthia Flood, Danny Goodman, Kirsty Logan and Lana Storey and can be purchased for $3.75. Individual stories are 99 cents.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Folio: magazine publisher Red 7 purchased by min weekly's publisher Access Intelligence

Access Intelligence of Rockland, Maryland, the publishers of the high-priced media and marketing newsletter min, has purchased Red 7 Media, the owner of Folio: magazine, the magazine for magazine management. With the acquisition will come a new division, combining the Folio: and min brands, under the leadership of Red 7 Media CEO Kerry Smith and his senior management team; he becomes senior vice-president of Access Intelligence. 
“The ability to round out our leading position in the consumer magazine market with Red 7’s events, online communities and a leading magazine while expanding into the dynamic events business is a truly exciting prospect for Access Intelligence, our employees and customers,” said Don Pazour, president and CEO of Access Intelligence.
Smith founded Red 7 Media in 2002 and grew the Norwalk, CT-based company into a market leader, attracting more than 7,000 executives and 500 sponsors to its events and more than 800,000 unique visitors to its Web sites. Other Red 7 brands include Event Marketer, Event Design, Audience Development, Expo and Best Events.


Staffers say Globe and Mail forbids freelancing for Toronto Life, Chatelaine

The Globe and Mail is apparently forbidding its staffers to freelance for Toronto Life and Chatelaine, according to a posting on And it is imposing the same stricture on freelance contributors.
John Stackhouse, executive editor at the Globe and Mail, has reportedly told Globe staffers they can no longer freelance for Toronto Life  and Chatelaine because the magazines are now considered “competitors.” What’s more, the same policy applies to freelancers who contribute to the paper, most of whom don’t earn enough from the Globe to support themselves....
Stackhouse did not return email or phone messages to Opinion on what’s driving the ban is divided. One storyline suggests management is peeved at a feature story in last fall’s Toronto Life which painted an unflattering portrait of the paper’s much ballyhooed design. Another theory is that the “new” Globe wants to attract advertisers who normally park their ad budgets at Toronto Life and Chatelaine.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Scott Shortliffe leaves as Heritage director of magazines policy and programs

Scott Shortliffe, a fair-minded friend to Canadian magazines inside Canadian Heritage, is leaving his post as director of periodical publishing and programs to accept a promotion dealing with broadcasting and digital media in the same ministry. He will be deputy director general, broadcasting and digital communication, effective March 21. He has been working on the magazines files since June 2006.
Shortliffe, who comes from a civil service family, joined Canadian Heritage in 1994 and has had positions in the Canadian audio-visual certification office (CAVCO), the Canadian studies and youth program and, most recently, periodical policies and programs, with responsibility for the Canada periodicals fund (CPF) and its predecessor, the Canadian magazine fund.
Succeeding him is Ramzi Saad who has been heading the strategic policy and management team at Heritage secretariat federal secretariat, with trade and investment branch and other government departments, including Health Canada.
Related posts:

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Writers' Union video pushes back against proposed copyright changes

The Writers' Union of Canada (TWUC) with the assistance of ACCESS Copyright (of which TWUC is a member) is distributing a video featuring five prominent Canadian writers talking about the perils of bill C-32, which is intended to amend the Copyright Act. Specifically, TWUC and others are alarmed that educational institutions, including colleges and universities, will be exempted from having to pay license fees for the copying of published works. A press release is also being widely distributed and TWUC says it is hoping to see the video go viral.
The video features five prominent authors [says an e-mail sent out to ACCESS Copyright board members], including two-time Governor General’s Award winner Nino Ricci, and builds awareness on how Bill C-32 and the education exceptions will hurt Canadian writers' ability to make a living.
“Without strong copyright protections, professional writing in this country will be irreparably harmed,” says novelist Alan Cumyn and author of the video. “Thousands of authors and artists across the country have been writing their MPs, protesting parts of this bill. This video puts faces and voices to our concerns.”
Also featuring in the video are Canadian writers Erna Paris, Sandra Campbell and Susan Swan.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Magazines East coming up soon in Halifax

In exactly a month, Magazines East takes place in Halifax, a day-long series of workshops focussed on the integration of digital and print strategies. Online registration is open. The event takes place March 14 at the Westin Nova Scotian. The cost to members of the Atlantic Magazines Association (AMA) is $75; to non-members $150; to students $60. Among the sessions:
  • Terry Sellwood, general manager of Quarto Communications (Cottage Life, Explore, Canadian Home Workshop, Outdoor Canada) and chair of the board of Magazines Canada, talks about learning to look at your magazine as a brand
  • Max Brennan, the publisher of OptiMYz, talks about selling magazine advertising, particularly national account obstacles.
  • Norm Lourenco and Jennifer Neal from K9 Design Co. take attendees through the redesign of East Coast Living magazine, which won the $25,000 K9 Makeover contest.
  • Erin McLaughlin, editor-in-chief of Style At Home takes seminar attendees behind the scenest at a home decor magazine, from pitches and pictures, to photo shoots and touch ups.
  • David Fraser and Robert Cowan, partners in the McInness Cooper law firm, talk about copyright and intellectual property issues in the magazine industry.
More information at the conference website.

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Quote, unquote: The customer, not the medium, is the message

Romancing our customers should be our first and major mission while we are creating any medium. Falling in love with our customers and not our machines should be our goal for 2011 and beyond. Forget about the machines, forget about ink on paper, forget about pixels on a screen and forget about bytes on the airwaves. Fall in love with your customers, both on the sending and receiving ends. The result will be the best conceived media that will engage both senders and receivers. Let the love begin.
-- Samir Husni (Mr. Magazine) on why the customer -- reader, listener, viewer, user --is the message, no matter what the medium


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Many designers freelance on the side: survey

There's a good deal of moonlighting going on in the art and design sector, according to a new study of national salaries and billing practices in graphic design. On average, 48% of designers who are not full time freelancers work in addition to their regular job, averaging 7 hours of outside work a week. The median part-time income for freelance work in 2009 was $9,200.
The 2010/2011 salary survey, conducted online last summer, was published by the Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario (RGD) and Creative Niche, a staffing agency in the graphics and communications industry. The survey can be accessed at RGD Ontario (registration is required.)
Among some of the other findings:
  • Sole proprietors and freelancers account for one-quarter of respondents; the largest proportion (35%) were employees of a design or communications firm (magazines were not broken out.)
  • Sole proprietor hour billing rates nationally for art direction of photography and illustration was $82, for graphic design $73.
  • National average salaries
    • for art directors was $64,049; in Ontario $67,436.
    • for senior graphic designers, $53,665; in Ontario $55,395
    • for junior graphic designers, $34,375; in Ontario $34,329
The survey found that there is a continuing and escalating switch from investment in traditional media to new media. It found that 53% of respondents to the survey have worked in web and user interface design and 16% in social media. Speaking with Design Edge Canada magazine, Creative Niche president Stephen Hodges said "[Designers] need to be , as much as possible, media independent and able to design whether for print, interface or device." He also said: "If five years ago you were a print-only designer I would have some concerns and I would say today, it would be disastrous."

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Friday, February 11, 2011

World view:All-access Time; top deals; men's lit; digital mailboxes;what readers hate


June is just around the corner (really) and so is MagNet conference

Magazines Canada's website for the MagNet conference in June (7 - 10) went live today, as they say. The site has a refreshed design and, I think, an improved navigation to go with the look. There is an astonishing lineup of speakers and panelists.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Several magazine-related projects selected for OMDC creative clusters program

Magazines did well out of the Ontario Media Development Corporation's $2.9 million investment in creative industries. The investment in 19 projects from the Entertainment and Creative Clusters Partnership Fund is said to result in a further $7.6 million from 108 partners involved. Among the magazine-related projects (n0 specific dollar amounts announced):
  • Magazines Canada, Interactive Ontario, the Organization of Book Publishers of Ontario and Hot Docs have partnered with Cultural Careers Council Ontario to develop a business skills mentorship program
  • Magazines Canada is to launch Digital Discovery: The Next Generation, building on a previous partnership fund project and enhancing the existing site with dynamic marketing and archiving functions as well as the creation of mobile-friendly websites. There will also be a feasibility study exploring the creation of a unique Canadian digital magazine and content platform system.
  • Quill & Quire and The Walrus as leads will be partnered with Open Book Toronto and Open Book Ontario, the Organization of Book Publishers of Ontario to to create a series of thematically-related webcasts (audio and video) called the “Open Book Network.” The project will also be supported by Toronto Life magazine.
  • NOW magazine is an additional partner in a project led by North by Northeast Conferences Inc. for an interactive conference that connects the film industry with digital interactive companies.

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Caroline Connell leaving as editor in chief of Today's Parent

Staff at Today's Parent were told last Friday that editor Caroline Connell is leaving her post, somewhat abruptly, at the end of next week. No word given on the reasons for her departure. 

Connell has been a long-time employee at Rogers Publishing having joined
Chatelaine as a senior editor in 1992 and being promoted to  managing editor in 1997. She moved over to Today's Parent in 2002 as senior editor,  was promoted to executive editor in 2003 and in 2006 was promoted to editor in chief of the Today's Parent Group, replacing Linda Lewis, who had moved to be the editor of Transcontinental Media's More magazine. 

Connell was named the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME) editor of the year in 2009.


Major U.S. newsstand distributor tacks on a $50 monthly "service charge"

This is an ominous development for independent publishers. Source Interlink, one of the largest wholesalers in the magazine business in the U.S. has unilaterally announced that it is tacking on a $50 per month charge to all accounts to cover chain solicitation, distribution analysis, allotment management, and online sales tracking. And here we thought that these things were paid by their cut of the cover price. A post by columnist Linda Ruth on Audience Development says
This is the kind of action—unilaterally increasing the cost of doing business for publishers on the newsstand—that caused a firestorm in our industry and put Anderson News Company out of business. This time, of course, no one will go out of business—unless maybe it’s an independent publisher.
Isn’t that putting it a bit strongly, you may ask? After all, it’s only $50 a month, six hundred a year—not enough to cause major industry backlash. And certainly not enough to put a distributor—or a publisher—out of business.
Unless, of course, you are one of those publishers for whom the line between profitability and unprofitability is so thin that it’s a toss up, each issue, which it will be. One of those publishers that wonders, each month, if they still can make their publications available to readers via the newsstand channel.

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12 lawyers who bear watching featured in Nexus, the U of T law school alumni mag

Nexus, the alumni magazine for the University of Toronto faculty of law, has a feature in its current issue called The Decade Dozen -- 12 alumni who bear watching as they build their careers over the next decade.
Each lawyer, 10 - 20 years out of school,  is profiled by Nexus executive editor Lucianna Ciccocioppo. The candiates were nominated by the magazine's readers. [A digital edition of the magazine can be downloaded.]
Turning the spotlight away from the newest grads, we decided tofind out where the nascent superstar alumni are today (10-20 years post-graduation), those with distinctly promising careers who are set to shape and influence their professions this decade.
The twice-yearly  magazine goes to some 7,000 alumni, faculty and friends who may be interested to know that it is now accepting advertising.
The feature  bears some similarity to the annual Precedent-Setter Awards that were started by Precedent magazine, highlighting young lawyers who are making a difference in the profession.

New online tech magazine for women launched -- WorkLivePlay Cafe

A new online technology magazine aimed at women has been launched.

WorkLivePlay Cafe
was created by Heather Camlot, the editor of and Jessica Padykula; they were respectively senior editor and managing editor of Microsoft Home magazine. The WorkLivePlay Cafe site says Camlot has freelanced for a variety of print and online publications including Homemakers, Style at Home, Parents, Canadian Home and and The New York Times. Padykula has been published on,,,,,
"Our goal is to help you get the most out of your technology as you work, live and play so you can boost productivity, get organized, discover new trends and take your digital entertainment to new heights – all with as much ease as possible.


Halilfax-based OptiMYz magazine strikes deal for digital edition

OptiMYz magazine of Halifax, the official magazine of GoodLife Fitness Clubs, has signed a 3-year agreement with Planet-Tek Systems to produce digital edition of the magazine called OptiMYz Interactive. According to a release, the digital version will feature embedded videos, interactive polls and Google Maps store locators.
"OptiMYz Interactive will offer a personal and intimate experience that enables readers to consume articles, provide feedback and share with friends through social applications," says Max Brennan, Publisher of OptiMYz. "It's a perfect complement to our print magazine and it will allow us to connect even more with individuals who are committed to taking charge of their own health and fitness".
The combined readership of the print and digital editions is anticipated to reach 500,000 readers a month. Planet-Tek and OptiMYz will work jointly to sell advertising.

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Child Find Manitoba say Cedar Publishing of Edmonton is hurting its reputation

A Manitoba organization that helps find missing children is receiving some blowback from the activities of an Alberta magazine publisher. According to a CBC News story, Child Find Manitoba, a non-profit group, fears it is being associated with Child Find Newsmagazine, published by Cedar Publishing Corp. of Edmonton.It now also publishes a magazine in Manitoba called Missing Kids Newsmagazine.
Advertisers contacted by CBC News say they were led to believe revenue from their ads would be going to help the Manitoba non-profit group.

Christy Dzikowicz, who is with Child Find Manitoba, said she has had many complaints from advertisers concerned not only with the content of the magazine, but its aggressive methods of collecting ad revenue.
Cedar Publishing Corporation has in the past been sued by the Edmonton fire department and the local Crime Stoppers organization for misleading the public and advertisers to believe that the advertising supports worthy local causes. 
For instance, Edmonton Firefighters Newsmagazine is being passed off as being an official organ of Edmonton Fire Rescue. In June 2008, Crime Stoppers filed a $750,000 claim (not yet resolved) against the company for using their logo without permission, thereby making it difficult to raise money. Crime Stoppers had terminated a publishing agreement with Cedar in 2007; in defending against the suit, Cedar said that Crime Stoppers had reneged on its agreement and appropriated advertisers for its own magazine Crime Stoppers and You.
Cedar Publishing is a for-profit company run by Mohamad Najmeddine and publishes or has published a variety of magazines, including Neighbourhood Watch Newsmagazine, Alberta Paramedics Newsmagazine, Food Bank Network Newsmagazine, Safe Parent Association Newsmagazine, Alberta Arab Directory and Alberta Seniors Directory.

On its website, Cedar claims to have donated $300,000 to a list of charities, part of its longer-term goal of donating $1 million.

Related post:


NOW magazine puts up searchable archive of 1,560 issues dating back to 1981

April 5, 1984
Toronto's NOW magazine has released a completely searchable archive of every issue going back to the first, published almost 30 years ago, September 10, 1981. 
The leading alternative weekly magazine in Toronto, it started out in small offices above a shoe store on Danforth Avenue. Now it operates from its own building on Church Street and distributes 100,000 copies every Thursday from 2,300 racks and boxes across the GTA. Alice Klein, Editor/CEO said in a release:
"The new, searchable archives are a fast and fun way to dip a cup into Toronto's fascinating social, cultural and political legacy and in these strange, fast-paced times, we need access to the richness of our own past more than ever," said
Michael Hollett, Editor/Publisher said:
"Because the Archives will be searchable, we know people will have a few laughs as they take a trip down memory lane, (hopefully) remember a few concerts, the first Pride parade, the early years of TIFF – the memories are endless and the archives of NOW Magazine will take you back in time. Roughly 30 years, 52 weeks a year, 1,560 issues of NOW Magazine archived in one place – amazing!"

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Torstar's Eye Weekly to be given a whole new look (and a whole new name?)

Big changes are afoot at Toronto's Eye Weekly (published by Torstar), including a complete redesign of the print magazine and the website, perhaps topped by a new name. 
According to a story in Marketing magazine [no longer available online], the dramatic overhaul will be trumpeted by a multi-media advertising campaign devised by the hip agency Rethink Toronto.
The publisher and editor-in-chief of Eye, Laas Turnbull, who has already put 10,000 volts through the newsprint weekly and given it a real citymag vibe, with hard-hitting journalism and bracing cover treatments, says the paper is going to shift away from the heavy emphasis on arts and entertainment. (This would provide a differentiation for Eye from its older, heftier rival NOW magazine.)
"We want to be a city magazine for 20- and 30-somethings in Toronto," [says Turnbull]. "Everything is kind of up for review right now. We’re looking at every part of the business and every part of the brand–what needs to go, what needs to stay and what needs to change....”
Rethink Toronto's Pema Hagen says that the print, television and online creative will draw people to a new Eye experience:
“The changes are going to be drastic and I think the paper that is going to be launched at the end of the day is going to be something that Torontonians are going to love, and something that’s going to be very different from what’s currently out there."

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His stupid hair, his dumb book, his terrible movie, his awful music -- MAD lampoons teen idol Bieber

I guess it is inevitable that when you become a household name you are ripe for ridicule. Trust the venerable MAD magazine to take up the satirical cudgel in its April issue and let the Stratford 'tween heartthrob have it. The nebbishy Alfred E. Neumann grins from under the famous Bieberish haircut (though the singer has changed it recently).
"That was probably the highlight of his career and being on the cover of MAD is the lowlight," MAD Editor-in-Chief John Ficarra told The Associated Press [as reported in the Vancouver Sun]. "He'll hate it and buy every copy, and it will be a sellout. Or, conversely, Bieber won't even notice and we'll probably sell three copies of the issue."


CSME reschedules snowed-in Pimp Your Blog session to next Tuesday, Feb 15

The Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME) has set a new date for its Pimp Your Blog session in Toronto. It was cancelled last week because of a snowstorm. The new date is Tuesday, February 15 at the same place, Bar Italia, 582 College Street and at the same time, 6 p.m.. Tickets continue to be $30 at the door and more information can be had at

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Field and Stream editor to be keynote speaker at Alberta Magazines Conference

Anthony Licata, the award-winning editor of Field and Stream magazine, is the keynote speaker at the Alberta Magazines Conference, Thursday and Friday, March 24 and 25 in Calgary. The conference features the Alberta Magazine Awards and a number of important seminars by such industry leaders such as Martin White, talking about online sales, Luke Hayman of New York's Pentagram on digital design, Eithne McCredie on circulation and Scott Bullock talking about newsstands. There is also a Friday trade show. More information on events, speakers and prices can be found in the impressive conference brochure.

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New Edmonton magazine Be Fabulous! launched to serve 40+ women

A new print magazine is being launched in Alberta, aimed at inspiring and empowering women 40-plus. It's called Be Fabulous! and according to a press release it's the creation of Dianna Bowes, an Edmonton entrepreneur who is behind a women's group of the same name and associated Fabulous@50 trade show and website. It is published by Gryphon Publishing and designed by Creative on the Move, both owned by Bowes. 
The digest-sized magazine is a controlled circulation title with a circulation of 10,000 copies, 6 times a year, made available at retail outlets and as part of a Fabulous@50 membership.Bowes says she hopes to expand from the Edmonton market and make the magazine available across Alberta in the future.
Dianna Bowes
“The magazine was designed digest size so it can fit in a purse for the convenience of the on-the-go woman,” said Bowes. “Women of this age are the healthiest, wealthiest and most vibrant demographic to hit middle age; they are at the top of their careers or running their own businesses, but they are also faced with tremendous changes and choices. Our content will give them short articles on relevant topics with links and contacts to find out more."


Subscription skidmarks longer in Canada than U.S., but single copy sales do better: ABC

A follow-up on yesterday's report on ABC 6-month data: 
  • Canadian consumer magazines' total paid and verified circulation fell 4.03%, compared with a 1.2% drop in the U.S. 
  • Subscription sales in Canada fell 5.9%, compared with 1.2% in the U.S. 
  • Single copy sales in Canada fell 6.1%, compared with 7.3% in the U.S.

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Monday, February 07, 2011

Rogers titles show strongly in single copy sales in latest ABC circulation data

Latest Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) six-month data ended December 31, 2010 shows that several magazines have enjoyed double-digit growth in total paid and verified average per issue circulation.
Big gainers among consumer magazines:
  • Montreal Centre-Ville, up 98.3% to 3,888 (also 38,544 controlled)
  • Moi & Cie, up 44.2% to 60,073 (also 1,767 controlled)
  • Hamilton Magazine, up 39% to 24,459 (also 12,045 controlled)
  • What's Up -- Canada's Family Magazine, up 17.8% to 45,523 (also 45,790 controlled)
  • Money Sense, up 11.5% to 112,870
  • Hello! Canada, up 11.1% to 125,494
  • Canadian Business, up 8.7% to 87,580
  • Canadian House & Home, up 8.3% to 244,345
  • Canadian Art, up 5.7% to 19,311
 Big decliners in total paid and verified circulation among consumer magazines:
  • Fashion, down 18.8% to 101,581 (also 42,817 controlled)
  • Reader's Digest (Eng), down 17.8% to 627,197 (also 21,568 controlled)
  • Selection Reader's Digest (Fr), down 17.3% to 176,710 (also 7,343 controlled)
  • Canadian Gardening, down 15.7% to 116,143
  • Best Health, down 8.7% to 100,575 (also 12,306 controlled)
  • L'actualite, down 8.2% to 155,237 (also 838 controlled)
  • Elle Quebec (Fr), down 7.9% to 78,436
  • Chatelaine (Fr), down 7.9% to 175,211 (also 1,340 controlled)
  • Canada's History, down 7.2% to 38,699
  • Maclean's, down 7.4% to 336,059
  • Les affaires, down 7.1% to 72,904 (also 2,308 controlled)
  • Good Times, down 7.1% to 123,635 (also 12,461 controlled)
  • Canadian Geographic, down 6.4% to 188,693 (also 5,448 controlled)
  • Flare, down 5.7% to 124,649 (also 11,806 controlled)
In single copy sales (included in the total paid and verified figures), the big gainers were:
  • Canadian Business, up 155.5% to 21,765 average per issue
  • LouLou, up 108.4% to 42,438
  • Money Sense, up 104.3% to 25,533
  • Maclean's, up 77% to 20,460
  • Fleurs Plantes Jardins, up 48.8% to 2,229
  • Chatelaine (Eng),  up 45% to 75,058
  • Elle Canada, up 43% to 22,127
  • Canadian Art, up 28.4% to 4,332
  • Canadian House & Home, up 26.3% to 78,857
The biggest decliners in single copy per-issue sales were:
  • Canada's History, down 38% to 2,278
  • Flare, down 28.7% to 15,143
  • Today's Parent, down 21.3% to 5,420
  • Vita, down 21.1% to 7,729
  • Hockey News, down 17.3% to 16,320
  • Style at Home, down 15.8% to 43,109
  • Elle Quebec, down 12.7% to 17,694
  • Coup de pouce, down 11.5% to 40,868
  • Canadian Geographic, down 10.7% to 16,229

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