Thursday, July 28, 2011

Public magazine does the suburbs and provides a bonus "flip" catalogue

The interest in "flipbook" formats continues with the current issue of Public magazine, a special issue on the suburbs. Flip the magazine over and there is a related 90-page catalogue for a 2009 exhibiton called The Leona Drive Project. The catalogue details a show that took place in six, postwar houses in the suburb of Willowdale. 
The single copy is available on select newsstands and in some bookstores for $15. A one-year subscription to the twice-a year Public is $20.


General Idea survivor AA Bronson talks to Canadian Art magazine

Canadian Art magazine has published an online interview with AA Bronson, the sole survivor of the three members of the Toronto-based groundbreaking contemporary art group General Idea. 
It coincides with the opening Saturday 30th of "Haute Culture" at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the sole North American showing of a retrospective created by theMusée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Bronson is quite forthright in describing to Tess Edmonson the environment in the early '70s in which the trio (him, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal) essentially had to conjure up an audience for their art. He's also frank about their complicated relationship over the years with the AGO which wanted the group's archive in the early '90s but simply didn't have the staff or budget to handle it (it went to the National Gallery of Canada instead.)
Image: General Idea Baby Makes 3 1984–9 Courtesy the Estate of General Idea and the Art Gallery of Ontario

Fun stuff: "Tabrella" allows you to keep working out on the deck

Like to work outside but suffer from the agonies of screen glare? Here's a new laptop shade from a German design firm called the "Tabrella". It costs about 30 Euros and can be bought online at Amazon.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Militaristic tone of citizenship guide decried in Geist magazine essay

It refreshing to read the essay by author Stephen Henighan in Geist magazine, detailing the propogandistic nature of the government citizenship study guide that is now given to new immigrants (and, if the current government has its way, may soon be put in the hands of every high school student.) Henighan points out that the guide evokes a Canada unrecognizable to older Canadians and takes on a deliberately militaristic tone:
If I did not rec­og­nize the land described in Discover Canada, that was the volume’s inten­tion: to drive a wedge between old Canadians and new Canadians; between me, who did much of my school­ing in Canada, and my part­ner, who arrived here as an adult; between the lib­eral, sta­tist, inter­na­tion­al­ist cul­ture of the past and what the authors hope will be the con­ser­v­a­tive, decen­tral­ized, mil­i­taris­tic cul­ture of the future. 
He says that the Canadian tradition of opposition to militarism is censored in a document which mentions war 35 times but makes one, grudging reference to peacekeeping and where a spread about the rights and responsibilities of citizens is "emblazoned with photos of happy soldiers".
"Discover Canada is not so much Canada for Dummies as Canada for Spartans." [he says]

Magazines increasingly turning to Polar Mobile to launch mobile apps

Recently there's been some attention paid to one of the ascendant players in the mobile app revolution as it relates to magazines. Polar Mobile is a Canadian company founded in Waterloo in 2007 and now based in Toronto that has more than 1,000 apps with 9 million subscribers on behalf of 300 customers -- including some of the largest magazine publishers -- in 10 countries.
Last week it entered into the largest mobile deal in Canadian history to launch over 500 mobile apps for the local newspapers of Torstar's Metroland Media. It recently partnered with such diverse clients as TVO, the NFL Players and Major League Baseball Players associations and in March estimated it would be launching 100 apps for Research in Motion's PlayBook.
Polar's reputation is for creating mobile content solutions for better-known media brands, ones that work across all major smartphone devices (Apple, Blackberry, Android, Windows Phone, Samsung). Among the titles with which it is or has worked are Canadian Living, Elle and Hockey News from Transcontinental Media, Maclean's, Marketing and Canadian Business from Rogers and big U.S. titles such as TIME, Sports Illustrated, Wired, Variety, CBS Sports, Crain's, CNNMoney and Advertising Age.


Steady as it goes for the PMB readership of Canadian medical publications

Readership of the leading Canadian medical publications has remained steady, according to the 2011 Medical Media Study (MMS) released by the Print Measurement Bureau (PMB). The study was last done in 2009 and since then has been augmented with questions about online readership for 21 medical titles, including The Medical Post (Rogers), Canadian Medical Association Journal and Canadian Family Physician
According to a story in Marketing magazine, average readership of the top 5 English and top 3 French medical titles have remained relatively unchanged since 2009 at 16,341 and 5,876 respectively.
The MMS is based on interviews with 1,500 GPs and physicians in six specialties selected at random.
While the number of physicians using a print publication declined from 98% in 2009 to 97% this year, the MMS found that use of media publications’ websites increased from 43% in 2009 to 48% this year.
More than half of all survey respondents (58%) agreed that medical publications are a valuable source for information on prescription products – second only to medical meetings (62%) – while 70% agreed that they are a valuable source of information for patient treatment (again trailing medical meetings at 73%).

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bloomberg Business Week plunges ahead with alternative delivery

In the wake of our recent post about the need for Canadian magazines to get cracking on alternative delivery comes word that Bloomberg Business Week magazine since December has been working on a strategy to get its magazine delivered by daily newspaper contractors in metropolitan markets. 
Right now, 9% (about 75,000) of the magazine's 860,000 circ is delivered this way, according to a story in Folio: and the company has plans to see 1 out of 3 issues (250,000) delivered this way by year's end. It's not just because of the cost of mailing, apparently, but because of the delivery problems with the USPS.
Right now, the weekly magazine achieves about a 60 percent cumulative delivery rate between Friday and Saturday with the Postal Service. The remainder of subscriber copies arrive sometime between Monday and Wednesday-the latest arriving almost a week after the issue ships.
By partnering with a major newspaper and/or a private carrier, the magazine has a guaranteed Friday delivery by 6 am.
Bloomberg Business Week's director of manufacturing and distribution identified regions where there was a combination of problems with delivery, sufficient entry points and congenial delivery partners. Though he declined to specify costs, he said that overall they were comparable with traditional delivery.
"I don't have a budget to increase my costs, I can tell you that." 
Customers are given the option to stay with postal delivery or take alternative Friday morning delivery and so far only .01% have asked to go back to mail delivery. The magazine is delivered in its own polybag, soft folded and handled separately from the newspaper. 
In Canada, smaller-scale example is set by the Guardian Weekly, which delivers some copies on Thursday mornings, bundled in a plastic bag with the Globe and Mail. (Previous to this , the mailed copy could sometimes arrive as much as five days late (it wasn't unheard of to receive two copies at once).

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Martha Stewart Omnimedia looking for sale or "strategic partnerships"

Time was that Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia could do no wrong (perhaps aside from its namesake going to jail in 2006 for a while for consipiracy and obstruction of justice) , going from strength  to strength financially in publishing (Martha Stewart Living, Everyday Food, Martha Stewart Weddings and Whole Living), broadcasting and other ventures. But data released about its Q2 results shows that total revenues of its publishing division have slipped $3.4% to $34.1 million, blamed on "continued volatililty in the print advertising market". 
While the company made up some ground with merchandising, both publishing and broadcasting slid, according to a story in MediaDaily News. The result is that the company has put itself in play. 
MSLO retained Blackstone Advisory Partners to "review and respond" to potential offers for "strategic partnerships," including a sale to another publisher or media company, private equity buyout, or joining forces with foreign partners to boost overseas sales. Other potential high-growth areas include boosting merchandise sales through big-box retail partners.
At the same time MSLO also appointed Lisa Gersh as the company's new president and COO. Gersh, a co-founder of Oxygen Media, who served as president and COO from 1998-2007, will eventually transition into the CEO spot as well. Thus, MSLO is finally filling the spot left vacant by the departure of Wenda Harris Millard in 2009.

Rogers media arm saw 15% increase in revenue and 12% profit increase in first 6 months

The media division of Rogers Communications Inc. saw a 15% increase in operating revenue and a 12% increase in operating profit in the first six months of 2011 compared with the same period a year ago, according to information released from the company. (The media division includes publishing , sports entertainment, radio and digital media. Magazine results are not broken out.) Six-month operating revenue for the division was $776 million and profit was $67 million.
The company attributed the improved results to increased advertising sales and new subscriber fees, noting that there was a slight decline in revenues from The Shopping Channel.
Over all, Rogers reported $6.1 billion in revenues and net income of $890 million for the six months ended June 30.Wireless contributes about 57% of over all revenues, cable 31%, media about 12.7%.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Readings and music mark landmark collaboration between Arc Poetry and The New Quarterly

The innovative QuArc Issue, a summer edition collaboration between The New Quarterly and Arc Poetry magazine, is being marked with a reception and readings on Wednesday, July 27 at the Bookshelf in Guelph (41 Quebec Street). The doors open at 5pm, the evening kicks off with a poetical musical set by Kay’la Fraser at 6. Readings begin @ 6:40 and include Erin Noteboom Bow, Shane Nielson, Tanis Macdonald and Jim Johnstone. It's pay-what-you-can. You can see samples from the double, flipbook issue here. Contributors to the magzine includeChristian Bök, Don McKay, Alice Munro,Margaret Atwood, and many more.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Magazine world view: Time bundling; Bye-bye Borders; Future shrinks


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Melony Ward leaving as publisher of
Canadian Art magazine

Melony Ward
Melony Ward, the publisher of Canadian Art since 2000, is leaving the magazine, it was announced today. Ward, who was also on the board of Magazines Canada, is being replaced by Ann Webb in a reorganized role as CEO and executive director. A release from the board of the Canadian Art Foundation said that Webb will be responsible for the foundation's finances, strategic direction and programming. In an interim role, she will also act as publisher of the magazine. 
Ward had been executive director and publisher and the board, in announcing her departure, said she "is leaving behind an incredible legacy" of having pushed the organization in new directions, with an expanded program offering, increased government funding, the redesign of the magazine and the launch of and
Ann Webb
Webb has worked with the foundation in both volunteer and staff roles since 1995, organized the first Gallery Hop in Toronto, founded the Reel Artists Film Festival and has worked with numerous Canadian and international artists, writers, and curators to present Canadian Art Foundation programs across the country.
The Canadian Art Foundation is celebrating 20 years as a not-for-profit and charitable organiziation.

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Reader's Digest Association said to be up for sale to raise at least $1 billion

Reader's Digest Association (RDA) is reported to be for sale for around $1 billion, according to a story in the Financial Times. The story goes on to say that this is not necessarily a package deal and that the company might be open to selling parts rather than the whole.  
The company, which has about 90 magazines, went into bankruptcy protection in the U.S. last year and only emerged in February. Its Q1 results saw revenue down 21.2 percent to $326 million although ad pages for Reader's Digest were up 7.9 percent.
Since emerging from bankruptcy, Reader’s Digest Association has not been able to right itself [said FT]. In the last 10 months of 2010, the company lost $30m on $1.45bn in revenues.
RDA's Canadian subsidiary Reader's Digest Association (Canada) Ltd. publishes print and web properties of Reader's Digest, Selection (the French equivalent), Best Health magazine and Our Canada

Monday, July 18, 2011

Quebec Blue Box levy increase soars for magazines

The province of Quebec has changed its Blue Box recycling program and according to calculations by Magazines Canada  costs to publishers will be up about 340% in the province in 2012 when industry is expected to cover 90% of costs.
Bill 88 was adopted June 10 and amendments mean that magazines  (previously categorized as "written media" are now lumped in with all other "printed matter" (flyers, inserts, catalogues, phone books etc.) as the province attempts to collect 100% compensation from industry for the net costs of running the Blue Box program by 2013.
Quebec's levy is now to be seven times its Ontario equivalent:

Magazines & catalogues 14.366 1.97
Other printed matter 14.366 1.97
Plastic film 26.026 24.65

Magazines Canada points out that, unlike "other printed matter", magazine paper is in demand, comparatively easy to recycle and desirable environmentally -- all things that are not reflected in the new tariff.
Another change is that magazines will no longer be able to pay their levy through a swap of advertising pages, though newspapers still will.
In neither Ontario nor Quebec has the longstanding issue of U.S. magazines paying nothing towards the program been addressed, despite the fact that it is estimated they account for a large part of the magazines going into the recycling stream.


Alberta Magazine Publishers Assoc searching to replace executive director

[This post has been updated] It was a bit of a surprise to see on the weekend a posting for the position of executive director for the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association. Not only was Colleen Seto not returning in the fall, as expected after her maternity leave, but Andrew Mah, who had been acting ED, was not applying for the gig was asked to apply, but had other plans. Seto put up on the AMPA blog a post explaining in part her decision:
While the work at AMPA is never done, I feel like I've done all I needed to do to set the organization up for a long and successful future. Early on, I dealt with some dark financial times, which was important because it taught me to be frugal and creative about how to stretch a dollar. Now we are more fiscally secure than we've ever been. And, after seeing Andrew's hard work in my stead, I'm even more confident the good work AMPA does can and will carry on. Unfortunately, it won't be Andrew who will carry the torch moving forward (he has some exciting plans of his own!), but I'm sure we will find another capable and passionate individual to continue down this path.
 Posting for ED position


Federal funding cheques may not come until September, and then only part

Be prepared to wait for federal funding; that's the reminder that Magazines Canada has sent to its members in its biweekly newsletter:
If you are eligible for the Aid to Publishers component of the Canada Periodical Fund, you should be aware that support to publishers will be delayed in 2011—and the delay could be quite substantial.
In the 2010 "transition year" (the first year of the CPF), publishers were notified of the amount they would receive and cheques started to be delivered starting in mid-June. In 2011, cheques are not likely to be mailed to publishers before August or September and the first payment publishers receive will be for only 75% - 80% of their final allocation. There are several reasons for this delay:
  • This is the first year in which all magazines were required to fill out full applications. Each had to be assessed by the Department: extensive and time-consuming work.
  • The budget for the CPF was only finalized in March of 2011, when the federal budget was tabled.
  • The budget was further delayed by the federal election.
As a result, Department of Canadian Heritage officials have only recently been able to move the payment process forward. It is now expected that publishers will receive payment later in the summer—probably in August.

Also, as a result of these factors the Aid to Publishers payment will be broken into two parts. While the full budget of $75 million has been allocated to the program, $15 million of that funding was announced in the recent budget and further steps have to be taken to secure Parliamentary approval before it can be distributed. In the interest of expediting payment to publishers, officials will proceed with payment of the first 75% to 80% of the program this summer, and follow up with a second payment for the remainder, likely in January 2012.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rue Morgue teams up with rep cinema to present monthly festival of terror shorts

Rue Morgue magazine, has teamed up with production company Unstable Ground and Toronto's newest rep cinema (a somewhat endangered species) The Projection Booth, to provide a monthly festival of short films called Little Terrors. Starting July 26 and each month thereafter, horror fans will see two hours of shorts and to meet some of the filmmakers.  The first event has seven films ranging from 8 to 35 minutes. (Lineup for the first event.)


Geez magazine blogger says buy a Bible from Murdoch, but pay 10% to a worthy cause

Will Braun, the former co-editor of Geez magazine, has a new blog at the magazine and has an intriguing post about Rupert Murdoch (I know, you think you're "Murdoched-out", but bear with me.)
The post highlights News Corporation's Bible-publishing business through its ownership of HarperCollins. One of HarperCollins's divisions is Zondervan, the world's largest publisher of Bibles. Among other things and versions, the company owns exclusive rights to the New International Version.
"For those us of who care about the Christian scriptures," says Braun, "what are we to make of this mix of billionaire media tycoonery, allegations of phone hacking and bribery, and the Holy Word of God? What are we to make of the fact that every time we buy a Zondervan product we contribute to Murdoch’s mogul-dom, which includes a personal fortune that Forbes pegged at $6.3 billion last year.
While enterprises like the Church of England are threatening to withdraw their investments from News Corp (in the CofE's case, $6 million), Braun promotes an idea he attributes to Geez editor Aiden Enns that Bible purchasers pay a self-imposed "tithe" or 10% "ethical compromise tax" on any purchase of a Zondervan/News Corp. title, giving the proceeds to some worthy local cause.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Quote, unquote: Defending freedom and fairness in journalism

"As journalists, we believe in free speech and a robust free press and media. We also believe we have an overall duty to serve the public interest and the common good. The press should be fearless, exciting, entertaining, waspish, commercial and competitive.

"At the same time journalistic integrity must be respected, encouraged and protected from political, commercial and other pressures. Any reforms to press regulation should seek to strengthen the ability of journalists to report the news without fear or favour – and not further weaken it."
-- from an online petition being promoted by Press Gazette in Britain in response to fears that -- in the wake of the News International phone-hacking scandal -- draconian controls will be instituted for the media.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Magazine finds women write most stories, but men get quoted more

I wonder how many magazines take the time or care to tally up how they are doing in reflecting the breadth and depth of their audience? This Magazine's Hilary Beaumont took on the periodic task of totting up the bylines and locations of stories and the gender of the authors and the sources they referred to. 
Not surprisingly, this lefty magazine found it was a bit Toronto-centric but, as befits a magazine with a male editor and female publisher, its bylines are reasonably egalitarian: 53% of bylines over the past year were female. However the research found that only 28% of sources/quotees were female and male writers were less likely to quote female sources, which Beaumont attributes to the disparity of women in positions of authority. 
The magazine makes the spreadsheet of its counts available.
[Disclosure: the editor is my son]

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Giant swap, still subject to approval, sees Transcontinental take over former Quebecor World printing plants

Canada's largest printer, Transcontinental Inc. (which is also the country's largest publisher of consumer magazines) just got a whole lot bigger as it has conducted a huge swap with U.S.-based Quad/Graphics for the assets Q/G took over from the troubled former printing giant Worldcolor Press (formerly Quebecor World). Quad/Graphics retained only a Vancouver plant to service its U.S. Pacific Northwest clients.
Under terms of the swap Transcon sold three Mexican printing plants and some other assets to Quad/Graphics and bought 6 Canadian printing plants and a prepress firm. No value was announced for the deal itself but it would be worth tens of millions of dollars in property value alone. Quad/Graphics has said that Transcontinental takes over about US$75 million in pension and post-retirement obligation. The Canadian plants employ 1,500 people and the Mexican operations had 900. Three of the former Quebecor World plants are located in Ontario, two in Quebec, one in Alberta and one in Nova Scotia and the forecasted revenue for all of them was about US$310 million in revenues in 2011while revenues for the Mexican assetswere expected to be C$67 million. Francois Olivier, the CEO of Transcon says in a company release that the transactions will generate at least $40 million in earnings within a year or two of the deal closing. Olivier said that the print markets suffered from overcapacity and the takeover of the plants would allow Transcon to make better use of about $700 million in investments it has made recently.
Quad/Graphics bought the Canadian assets of Worldcolor Press Inc. (previously Quebecor World) in early 2010 for about $1.3 billion and at the time the CEO said the takeover would enhance its leadership position in the printing industry. At least in Canadian terms, that mantle now rests squarely on the shoulders of Transcontinental.  
The deal is subject to approval under the Canadian Competition Act and one of the questions that might be asked is whether approval would have been forthcoming had Transcon done a straight-ahead takeover offer for Worldcolor when it was in trouble and available. Whether this consolidation gives Transcontinental leverage that could significantly reduce competition in the industry, hence driving up print pricing, remains to be seen.
It seems highly likely, however,that there will be significant rationalization of plant, management and staffing. 
Related posts:

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Corporate Knights magazine to launch U.S. edition with reception at Canadian embassy

Corporate Knights, the Canadian magazine that promotes good corporate citizenship, is exporting it to the U.S. with the launch of its first issue (Summer 2011) aimed at the U.S. market; 100,000 copies carried as an insert in tomorrow's (July 14) Washington Post.
The magazine, which has latterly proclaimed that it stands for "clean capitalism", is holding a launch reception in the Canadian embassy in Washington at which the featured speaker -- introduced by Ambassador Gary Doer -- will be Jason Grumet, President of the Bipartisan Policy Center speaking on ‘‘Tapping North America's clean energy super-power potential.'' 
The summer issue releases the magazine's Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World (announced earlier this year at a conference in Davos, Switzerland.) The magazine has also, for 10 years, run an awards programs about the best 50 corporate citizens in Canada and last week gave former Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams its 2011 Corporate Knights award of distinction.
Corporate Knights has a total quarterly circulation of 108,000 copies in Canada, including 95,500 to select subscribers of the Globe and Mail. The magazine was founded in 2002 as an independent voice for humanizing the marketplace by highlighting good policies and practices. Its definition of clean capitalism is "An economic system in which prices fully reflect social, economic, and ecological opportunities and costs and actors are clearly aware of the consequences of their marketplace actions."


Quote, unquote: The internet is improving/ruining journalism. Talk among yourselves

If we can agree that the internet, by altering the underlying economics of the news business, has thinned the ranks of professional journalists, then the next question is straightforward: has the net created other modes of reporting to fill the gap? The answer, alas, is equally straightforward: no.
-- author and blogger Nicholas Carr, staking out one side of the interesting Economist debate about the impact of  the internet on the quality of journalism. 

Jay Rosen, author, blogger and journalism professor at New York University, takes the other side and says in part:
The internet is improving journalism by driving towards zero the costs of getting it to people, and by vastly reducing the capital requirements for quality production. This has opened the market to more players, allowing more ideas to be tried.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

First (cover) Lady

For the first time in 48 years, Better Homes & Gardens will have a public figure on its cover; in this case, the U.S. first lady, Michelle Obama. Its August issue will feature healthy eating for children, a particular interest of Ms Obama, and features shot at a picnic she held for fifth-graders in May. 
The cover shot itself is a rather stagey and staid view of her sitting at a picnic table. According to a story in the Des Moines Register, the last celebrity on the cover was actor Cliff Robertson.

Magazine world view: Oath for journos?; Beastly Newsweek; Condé bumps up leases

Flat Q2 ad page sales figures reported for U.S. magazines

Data from the U.S. shows that first half advertising page sales for magazines are up 1.3% from 2010, although Q2 sales were basically flat at 0.3% increase over the same quarter a year earlier. Q1 sales had been up 2.5%. The data is from the Publishers Information Bureau and was reported by MediaDaily News.
2011 has seen a continuation of a previous trend, which saw both losses and gains concentrated in a relatively small number of titles. In the first half of the year, 73 titles of the 212 tracked by the PIB saw ad pages increase or decrease more than 10%, with the rest experiencing smaller changes.
Specifically, 33 titles saw ad pages decline 10% or more in the first half of 2011, while 40 grew 10% or more. Sixty-nine titles saw ad pages grow less than 10%, and 59 experienced ad page declines of less than 10%.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Permission to be still: Geez magazine supplement promotes contemplation

Enns with current, and previous, booklets
It's not the first time that Geez, the Winnipeg-based magazine about faith and activism, has provided its readers with a l'il extra. It has done so three times before -- with tiny supplements about technology, social change, and wisdom. 
This time around, subscribers and single copy buyers of the five-year-old quarterly will be getting a 16-page, illustrated, black and white A Beginner's Guide into Contemplation, written by associate editor Bre Wollgroski. According to a story in the Winnipeg Free Press, the booklet is meant to provide a seven-day guide to bringing out their kinder, gentler side. 
"It's meant to be refreshing," explains editor Aiden Enns of the tiny 16-page illustrated Beginner's Guide to Contemplation included in the summer issue of the Winnipeg-based Christian activist magazine.
"In the context of the magazine, that's bound like a book, out pops this little book that is light and easy to read."
He said that the booklet's summertime focus is to provide some degree of comfort to its readers in a difficult world. 
"My intention with the contemplation (booklet) is to help people who are struggling with prayer because they abandoned the faith of their youth. But they still want to do something spiritual," says the B.C.-born-and-raised Enns, who co-founded the ad-free magazine in 2006.
"This book gives them the permission to be still, be creative, and simply breathe and to know that they are there."
[photo: Joe Bryksa, Winnipeg Free Press]

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Friday, July 08, 2011

Graffiti cover is parting shot for
Toronto Life art director

Jessica Rose's final cover as art director of Toronto Life (she is moving to Britain) has a timely graffiti theme, what with the current mayor Rob Ford whitewashing wall art wherever he finds it. It illustrates the popular annual August Best of the City issue which will be on newsstands July 14.
The cover lettering is by London-based artist/typographer Henrik Kubel/A2/SW/HK and the photograph was by Liam Mogan.

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Transcontinental Media signs up to rep and other sites

Transcontinental Media is to be the exclusive Canadian sales arm for and various sister sites including and, all owned by The New York Times Company. The sites will be added to the digital ad inventory that Transcon is able to offer, adding about 5.8 million unique Canadian visitors monthly (based on May 2011 Comscore data).
"We are proud to have become's exclusive representation firm in the Canadian market" said Andrew Osmak, vice president business development for the new media and digital solutions group at Transcontinental Media in a release. "The combined power of trusted expert content and user-centric sites is what makes an ideal environment for Canadian marketers to successfully engage consumers online. We are pleased to grow our presence in digital advertising representation with such premium brands and extend these new opportunities to our business collaborators".
Marc Goldberg, senior vice president of business development at added "Transcontinental has an impressive footprint and extensive sale expertise in Canada. The solid relationships they have built over the years with Canadian marketers and their strength in multiplatform sales played a key part in our decision to give them full rights to our advertising inventory. We look forward to innovative, exciting executions through integrated marketing campaigns for Canadian advertisers, helping them connect with consumers at the moment of need."
Recently, a representation partnership was signed with Ziff Davis. Transcon now reaches 11.3 million unique visitors per month in Canada through more than 1,000 websites, including its own brands such as, and bringing its global reach to almost 1 in 2 Canadian Internet users.

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U.S. online ad share in 2011 is expected
to be 15% of total

Interesting graphic from Business Insider showing the recent and estimated U.S. revenues achieved by various media. It shows that magazines are  holding their own, although online advertising is the fastest growing sector in the ad business. The graph, based on data from Barclays Capital shows that online ad spending is expected to be $30 billion in the U.S. this year or a little more than 15% of the overall ad market (and up 15% from its estimated for 2010). TV is still the biggest recipient of ad dollars...which also makes it the biggest target.


Thursday, July 07, 2011

Publishers of Cottage Life sell a share to television and digital startup Blue Ant Media

Quarto Communications, the publishers of Cottage Life, explore, Canadian Home Workshop and Outdoor Canada, has sold 15% of the company to Blue Ant Media Inc, a new company recently launched by Michael MacMillan, the former executive chairman of Alliance Atlantis. Blue Ant has the option to increase its stake to 24.5% within a year. The value of the investment was not released.
According to a joint release,Al Zikovitz will continue as CEO of Quarto, and he says the initiative will help push its brands further into television and digital media.
“We want to better serve our audience and our advertisers by expanding our reach to cover the broadest possible range of our consumers’ interests and needs,” he says.
Blue Ant Media recently announced it had reached an agreement to purchase controlling interest in GlassBOX Television, subject to CRTC approval and has developed a range of digital and broadcast properties including BITE TV, AUX TV and the Travel & Escape Channel.
“I am thrilled that Blue Ant is partnering with Cottage Life and Quarto’s other great brands and to be a part of growing these franchises to a whole new level," said MacMillan. "Al Zikovitz had developed a great company, a loyal following and consumer brands that have tremendous appeal to a broad cross section of the population.”

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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Spafax to custom publish and sell ads for Toronto tourism publications

Spafax, the publishers of Air Canada's enRoute magazine and a custom publisher of some note, has taken over responsibility for Tourism Toronto's annual Toronto magazine and Toronto Visitors Guide. The publications total a circulation of one million, according to a release quoted by Marketing magazine. As part of the deal, Spafax will also be selling ads for

Adobe & CDS Global deal means print subscribers can get tablet content seamlessly

CDS Global has partnered with Adobe Systems Incorporated to develop technology that will allow "device agnostic" merchandising of digital content for print magazine subscribers. 
According to a story in Audience Development, the partnership means CDS (which operates the largest magazine fulfillment company in Canada) can enable print subscribers to access tablet content seamlessly from participating publishers.
“Through our alliance with CDS Global, publishers can now leverage their existing print accounts to drive increased digital subscriptions, offer print-digital bundles and cross promote related titles for greater profitability,” Nick Bogaty, director of business development for digital publishing at Adobe, says in a news release.
[Disclosure: CDS Global is an advertiser on this blog.]

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British Vogue study says glossy readers mix print and digital in "heightened engagement"

Research recently released by Condé Nast in Britain says that readers of glossy magazines aimed at women are increasingly mixing their consumption of printed and digital titles, but using each for different purposes. Media Week reports that the study, commissioned by flagship Vogue, found that glossy readers are using both print and online titles distinctly.
The study said the number of women using magazine websites had risen 40% in the past two years and the number of readers of high-end glossies had risen 43%.
However, readers saw print and digital versions as distinct entities offering different experiences, as 82% of the total sample believed websites would not entirely replace print.
Just 6% of respondents now only read the printed version of a magazine, while 75% of print readers said they also accessed their brands on other platforms.
Digital platforms have become an accepted way to access magazine brands, with 39% of glossy readers accessing digital magazine versions regularly, and 22% now accessing content via apps, the Vogue study suggested.
The study found that 77% of glossy magazine readers now use magazine websites at least once a month, with more than 29% using these sites at least once a week.
The so-called "hardcore" everday or "fashion first"  readership of websites is only about 7%; but 17% read print magazines online via apps and digital editions. 
Stephen Quinn, publishing director of Vogue, said: "Where once it were imagined that digital might kill print, it has instead heightened the level of engagement the reader has with her magazine of choice."
Condé's digital division generated revenue of £6.18m last year – up from £4.97m in the previous 12 months, the story reported. In the same period, the main print publishing business also recorded an impressive bounce back from the recession, with pre-tax profits almost tripling year on year to £15.14m.

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Magazine world view: Newsweek 'Di' issue flops; global ads gain; tablets are a guy thing

Magazines BC dealing with staff turnover and CPF funding disappointments

The Magazine Association of BC is undergoing some major changes in both its staff and programming. Recently, we reported that Rhona MacInnes was leaving as executive director; her interim replacement, program coordinator, Heidi Waechtler has stepped in to cover the job, but will herself be leaving at the end of July to enter the Master of Publishing program at Simon Fraser University.
The role of project coordinator will be vacant for some time, the association says in its newsletter, as the incoming executive director (to be named soon) sorts out how to respond to cuts in project funding from the Canada Periodical Fund. MagsBC had asked the CPF for a total of $246,389 and has been given permission to apply for only $151,695; this is $20,000 less than it received last year.
While full funding was granted for some new projects, including its direct mail campaign, research into introducing BC magazines into the school curriculum and market research to be conducted by the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, funding it had hoped for was either cut in half (bursary program, internship) or denied altogether (Conference on the Coast, Magazine Writers's Craft Fair, transit shelter advertising, Main Street Magazine Tour).
"This news came around the time of a statement by Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty warning cultural institutions that they could no longer rely on federal funding. While MABC has always operated with this reality in mind, we are frequently placed in a position where we must begin (and in some cases complete) projects before learning the review committee’s decisions on our applications, making it extremely difficult to plan strategically for the organization's future."
The association's new board of directors has been elected:
  • President: Steve Ceron, Publisher, Arrival
  • Vice-President: Elizabeth Bachinsky, Editor, EVENT
  • Treasurer: Alexandra Samur, Managing Editor,
  • Secretary: April Cuffy, Editor, Visitors’ Choice
Directors at Large:
  • Dave Allen, CEO, Just Business People 
  • Jenn Farrell, Editorial Collective Member, subTerrain 
  • Michele MacKenzie, Marketing Consultant, Business in Vancouver magazines
A farewell for the two key staffers and a meet 'n'greet with the board has been  scheduled for Thursday, July 28, at the Railway Club (579 Dunsmuir St., Vancouver), starting at 5:30 p.m.

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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Toronto Star to publish Toronto edition of U.S. satirical pub The Onion

The Toronto Star has cut a deal to publish a Toronto edition of The Onion, the U.S. satirical weekly, starting this fall. The deal includes a non-satirical entertainment section offshoot the A.V. Club. It does not involve The Onion's online business in Canada.
The Onion has been shopping around the franchises of its paper for some time, looking for partners who wanted to take on responsibility for ad sales, distribution and administration of the free, city-specific street papers while leaving creation of editorial strictly in hands of Onion's management. This apparently suits the Toronto Star fine and it is therefore the first time that a print edition of The Onion has been distributed outside of the U.S. 
The Toronto edition would include some local content, though it does not typically accept freelance contributions.
The Onion now had 14 print editions, including New York, Washington, Chicago, Denver/Boulder, Philadelphia and Madison, Wisconsin (where it was launched in 1988). The paper has been launched and folded for lack of advertising support in at least two other markets, including  Los Angeles and San Francisco. In the past couple of years it has struck very similar partnerships with mainstream papers: The Denver Post, Austin American-Statesman, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Wisconsin State Journal and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
"The Toronto Star is pleased to enter into this agreement with The Onion," said John Cruickshank, publisher of the Star and president of Star Media Group, in a release. "It is an agreement that benefits both companies and provides the Star's business-related teams with another publication to offer to audiences in the Greater Toronto Area."
"Toronto has long been one of the Top-10 cities for The Onion's online audience," said Steve Hannah, president and CEO of Onion, Inc. "I think it's the perfect place for The Onion and A.V. Club to make their first foray outside the United States. Toronto has a tradition of great comedy as well as being a really smart, cosmopolitan city that has a natural audience for our pop culture coverage as well."
Recently The Star bought the startup digital beauty and wellness magazine The Kit, relaunched its street paper Eye Weekly as The Grid  and redesigned and relaunched

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Monday, July 04, 2011

Ryerson Review of Journalism wins six student magazine awards

Nice to see, again, that the Ryerson Review of Journalism has picked up six awards (and accompanying judges' accolades) at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication student magazine contest. Among the winners (reported by proud faculty member Tim Falconer) were:
At risk of repeating myself, if the RRJ didn't exist to report on the business, we'd be compelled to invent it. Nice to see that recognized elsewhere. (Disclosure; I'm a subscriber.)

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    Plays well with others -- The New Quarterly and ARC Poetry publish joint double issue

    [This post has been updated]
    ARC Poetry and The New Quarterly have collaborated on a joint special double issue this summer. The "Quarc Issue" is presented in flipbook style and is literally two magazines in one.
    "This special double issue...presents scientists and artists alike with a unique opportunity to observe what happens when two solid, award-winning magazines smash into each other like a pair of star-crossed atoms—and the charm and magic that live at the intersection of the arts and sciences."
    There are two, full-colour art features and contributions from Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Christian Bök, Don McKay, Joan Thomas and others.
    The venture is also an opportunity to promote subscriptions and people who subscribe to both magazines for $42 receive a 38% discount.
    [Update: As made clear from the first comment below, if you want to order a single copy, you need to do so by July 10; because of its size, it is being shipped by parcel post.]

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