Friday, March 30, 2012

Print ads only 54% of SI swimsuit issue; web 31%

It's a very special case, but here's some interesting data about the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Though its print ad pages were down to 82 in 2012 from over 100 in 2008, the president, Mark Ford is not bothered. The reason? Print advertising revenue is only 54% of the pie now, while web is 31%, marketing 10% and smartphones/tablets 5%. A real, multimedia powerhouse.[This from a promotional eletter from Media Industry Newsletter (MIN), a resource I'd dearly love to read, but can't afford.)

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The Hockey News strips "man of the year" award from disgraced Graham James

The Hockey News has stripped an award from twice-convicted pedophile Graham James and he has returned the plaque he was awarded as "man of the year" at an awards luncheon in June 1989. At the time, he was riding high as a junior hockey coach. According to a Canadian Press story Hockey News columnist Ken Campbell said the award was revoked in December when James plead guilty to his latest sex charges. He was sentenced last week to two years for sexual assaults on retired NHL star Theo Fleury and his cousin Todd Holt when they played junior hockey in the 1980s and '90s.
Apparently James approached a longtime NHL scout and asked him to return the plaque to the magazine.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Advertise your magazine jobs for $1 a day
Canadian Magazines' job board is the easiest, online way to let people know about your magazine jobs and internships.Simply go to POST A JOB (or click on the link at Canadian Magazine Jobs in the sidebar.)


Google lets publishers avoid paywalls with pay for microsurveys

The spreading net of Google is now offering publishers an alternative to a paywall with Google Consumer Surveys. According to a story on paidContent, it amounts to a reader getting free digital access (i.e. no paywall) in return for filling out a microsurvey. The publisher gets 5 cents for every survey response. In effect, the customer gets access to an article that would normally be blocked by a paywall in return for answering a question or two. 
Google already has a paid content product, Google One Pass, that lets publishers sell digital subscriptions, but Google Consumer Surveys is different because it doesn’t require customers to purchase subscriptions or log in.
Google says it has 20 publishers signed up so far. It can afford to pay publishers because advertisers and small business pays it a minimum of $100 for running a question, or about 10 cents per response.More detailed analysis can cost upwards of 50 cents per response. So Google gets it three ways -- ad exposures, paid by publishers and paid by advertisers and small business.
 “This is market research that is self-serve but has the same qualities of a high-end platform,” said Paul McDonald, product manager.


Magazine finalists announced in Atlantic Journalism Awards

The finalists have been announced for the Atlantic Journalism Awards (AJAs) and they include a number of regional magazines who will know May 5 which are the winners, as the prizes are  presented at a gala dinner and event at the Delta Fredericton, New Brunswick. Atlantic Business Magazine and Halifax Magazine are multiple nominees:
  • Atlantic Magazine Article
    •  Carol Moreira - Nova Scotia Open to the World - Halifax, NS - A Place to Think.
    •  Jon Tattrie - Halifax Magazine - Halifax, NS - Justice Delayed.
    •  Sara Jewell - Saltscapes Magazine - Bedford, NS - The Circle of Life. 
  •  Atlantic Magazine Best Cover
    • Atlantic Business Magazine - St. John's, NL - The Rise of Generation Plus - March 2011.
    •  East Coast Living - Halifax, NS - Back to Life - Winter 2011.
    •  Halifax Magazine - Halifax, NS - Going to the Big Leagues - October 2011.
  •  Atlantic Magazine Best Profile Article
    • Alec Bruce - Atlantic Business Magazine - St. John's, NL - The Beautiful Dreaming of Wadih Fares.
      Jack MacAndrew - Saltscapes Magazine - Bedford, NS - Snowbird by Birth.
      Jessica Burns - Halifax Magazine - Halifax, NS - Brain Candy
  •  Enterprise Reporting -- Print
    • Tim Bousquet - The Coast - Halifax, NS - Peter Kelly's Failure of Will.
  • Arts Reporting, any medium
    •  Rob Antle - Atlantic Business Magazine - St. John's, NL - Stage Fright. 

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Canada Periodical Fund and Canada Council funding held safe in federal budget

In what was otherwise a tough day for the Department of Canadian Heritage, as a result of the 2012 federal budget, the magazine sector came off alright. Magazines Canada has posted a bulletin to its members congratulating the department for successfully defending funding for the Canada Periodical Fund (CPF) and the Canada Council.
Magazines Canada congratulates the Government of Canada for reaffirming its investment in the Canada Periodical Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts.
"We are pleased that Finance Minister Flaherty and Minister Moore have continued their commitment to the newly designed Canada Periodical Fund as an important driver of economic activity and the creation and circulation of Canadian content across multiple platforms," said Mark Jamison, CEO of Magazines Canada.
"Further, we congratulate the Government on its decision to sustain support for the Canada Council for the Arts—our most important agency of support and guidance to the broadest community of arts and cultural activity in Canada, including our arts and literary magazine creators."
Some $191.1 million is being cut in heritage programs over the next three years. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which falls under the purview of heritage minister James Moore, will lose $115 million in funding over the next three years. The National Film Board will see its budget cut by $6.7 million over the same period while Telefilm Canada will lose $10.6-million The Canada Council for the Arts, the National Gallery of Canada and national museums will not see any budget reductions.

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Digital publishing provider Texterity bought by California tech firm Godengo

Texterity, the digital content publishing company, has been acquired by Godengo, Inc. of California. The combined companies will be merged and provide services to more than 1,200 magazine titles from more than 500 publishers in Canada, the U.S. and Australia. Terms of the deal were not revealed.
Texterity was founded in 1991 and has been a privately held company based in Southborough, MA which provides digital and mobile solutions, creating and maintaining more than 750 digital editions and building magazine-branded apps. Godengo of Berkeley, California markets content management systems, digital and mobile advertising platforms, and runs an online ad network.
The current president and CEO of Godengo, Peter Stilson, will be CEO and the current president of Texterity, Carl Scholz, will be president of the combined company.  Martin Hensel, who founded Texterity, will be a consultant to the firm.
“Godengo and Texterity have complementary expertise, specializations, and cultures, and together we’ll offer a level of functionality and flexibility to clients that is well beyond anything currently in the marketplace,” said Stilson in a release. “The publishing industry has been looking for a true partner that can meet the full scope of needs in cross-platform digital and mobile integration, and now it has one.”
 “With the scope of expertise and capabilities that our combined organization has, we now have products and services to meet the needs of the more than 18,000 magazine publishers in the market,” said Scholz.  “We bring together a wealth of professional experience in management, engineering, sales, project management, customer support, and finance. There’s no question that we’re poised for dramatic growth.” 

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ABC-measured mags have doubled digital circ, however it's still only 1% of paid

Data from the second half of 2011 from the Audit Bureau of Circulations shows that U.S. magazines have more than doubled their paid, digital circulation, according to a story in Ad Age. But digital still represents about 1% of total paid and verified circulation, which means that print will remain the core business for some time to come. (There is good reason to believe that the experience for Canadian magazines measured by ABC is the same.)
The recent announcements by ABC that it will offer a blended audit report indicates the importance that publishers (and advertisers) are placing on the growth of digital editions. 
Some magazines' digital circulation is inflated by sponsored circulation, paid for by businesses for promotional purposes. But Hearst magazines, for instance, are predicting that they'll top 1 million monthly digital circulation by year's end, without plumping up the numbers with sponsored sales.
"Part of the good news here is that paid digital for us is growing very quickly," said John Loughlin, exec VP and general manager at Hearst Magazines, which publishes titles including Seventeen, Esquire and Cosmopolitan.
Seventeen magazine, for instance, has 38,167 paid digital circulation in the 2nd half, slightly less than 3% of its paid circulation of 1.3 million.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

iPad Newsstand making sales of $70,000 a month for in-app publication apps

The top 100 grossing publication apps in the iPad Newsstand are bringing in about $70,000 a month, according to a two-year study carried out by analytics firm Distimo. In that top rank are the New York Times, TheDaily and The New Yorker. According to a story in Minonline, the Newsstand  -- which is only about six months old -- represents about 7% of the top 200 grossing apps.
Almost all of this revenue is coming from in-app purchasing. For February the top 5 grossing Newsstand apps were The Daily, NYTimes for iPad, New Yorker Magazine, National Geographic and Cosmopolitan.

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Magazine world view: NatGeo tops; Fine Cooking's brand audit; NR knocks down paywall


Sheridan illustration grad show to be preceded by day-long "Illustrationism" conference

The well-regarded annual graduate show of the Sheridan College illustration degree program has been expanded this year, with a lead-up of a day-long conference called "Illustrationalism". The conference on April 19 is by invitation only and will focus on partnerships and collaboration and the skills for building of creative ideas -- responding to the environment into which the talented grads will be venturing.
"Everything has changed. A visual world needs a visual language; a language that can cast a light into the darkest corners showing us a way forward. That new language is Illustrationism," say the organizers.
Speakers and participants will include upwards of 200 members of the communications, design, media and entertainment world as well as the members of the graduating class. Among the expected participants are Sean Moffitt, a writer on social media and the director of MaRS, David Ceolin,  a venture capitalist specializing in creative partnerships, Ian Grais, a partner at Rethink,  Bob Hambly of H&W design as well as noted illustrators such as Graham Roumieu, Ben Weeks and others). 
Prior to the conference, participants are being asked to 
"engage in creating images that demonstrate the value of illustration (great concepts, flexible ideas anything that makes you engage) and post these to #illustrationism through twitter and Facebook. The images will be posted to our web site to create image collages that express the power of illustration."
The event takes place Thursday, April 19 at The Glass Factory, 99 Sudbury Street, Toronto (in Liberty Village, near Dufferin and Queen). The symposium will be capped off by the 2012 Illustration grad show from 7 p.m. to midnight.
Sheridan offers the only dedicated Bachelor of Arts Illustration degree in Canada at its Trafalgar Road campus in Oakville. Many of its graduates contribute to the look and excellence of Canadian magazines and many more should. 

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Quote, unquote: Giving grads the straight goods

"With the intense competition these days, I’m so glad I’m not a design grad just starting my career. I’m not sure I could do it to be totally honest. So when I speak with young designers, many of whom seem to have been coddled and carry themselves with a sense of self-entitlement these days, I give them the straight goods if they ask."
-- Mark Busse,founding partner and design director of the Vancouver-based strategy and brand design firm Industrial Brand; he and strategic consultants David Berman are now blogging on the Design Edge Canada website, companion to the print magazine of the same name.

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Ruth Kelly of Venture Publishing of Edmonton receives AMPA 2012 achievement award

Ruth Kelly the president and publisher of Venture Publishing of Edmonton has been given the 2012 Achievement Award in Publishing from the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association (AMPA). The award, which was presented on the weekend at the AMPA magazine conference, recognizes Kelly's outstanding contribution to Alberta's publishing industry.
Venture publishes Alberta Venture,, Alberta Oil and contract publishes WE Magazine on behalf of the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region; it won the best new magazine award.
The recognition of Kelly was a crowning achievement to the company's and her 15th anniversary year of publishing.
Complete list of winners in other categories at the awards.

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U.S. newspaper advertising fell by more than half in six years 2005-2011

Newspaper advertising revenues in the U.S. have declined 51.6% in six years -- from $49.4 billion in 2005 to $23.9 billion in 2011. This is according to a story in MediaDailyNews, based on data released recently by the Newspaper Association of America. The year 2005 was when internet and online advertising began to take a serious bite out of the business.
"The collapse has hit every major category of newspaper ads, beginning with the categories most vulnerable to online competition -- the classifieds -- but then quickly extending to the other traditional mainstays of the newspaper business, national and retail advertising," the story said.
Total classified revenues fell 71%, automotive 79%, national ad revenues 53% and retail revenues 46.4% over the six years. While newspapers' online revenues grew 167% or  over the same period, it is estimated that overall online ad revenues were twice that, growing 338%.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Long-form journalism venture launched with ebook by writer Russell Smith

An ebook memoir by National Magazine Award winner, novelist and Globe and Mail columnist Russell Smith has just been published by the Canadian Writers Group (CWG). Blindsided chronicles Smith's struggle with near blindness that began to overtake him two years ago. The ebook is the first such product by CWG, which heretofore has been an agency on behalf of many of Canada's top ranked freelance writers and authors. 
A larger digital imprint will be launching in the fall, says CWG principal Derek Finkle.
"We believe that ebooks, or more specifically, singles -- reads between 5,000 and 30,000 words -- are a tremendous new platform for our writers....We have commissioned our own original work. This will allow us to get time-sensitive stories out much more quickly than the production schedules of magazines that still carry long-form writing can allow."
A condensed version of the story was published in the April issue of Toronto Life (but is not available online.)
The e-book is available via Kobo  for $1.99.
Related posts:

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Dauphin Media leaves town and leaves subscribers to Holmes magazine dangling

It would appear that Dauphin Media has left Canada and that people who subscribed to its Holmes magazine -- which it suspended in November -- have been stiffed. A story in the Toronto Star says that the company has vacated its Toronto offices, leaving behind an outstanding $5,000 rent bill.
A spokesman for the Holmes Group, which oversaw the editorial content, but not the business side, of the magazine said that some subscribers had paid $60.50 for three-year subs (30 issues) for the magazine and that there could be as many as 40,000 individuals owed a total of $500,000 in prepaid subscriptions.
Meanwhile Dauphin has opened a New York office and launched a magazine on behalf of the National Football League.
A notice on the Dauphin website continues to say what it has for months -- that it "fully intends on fulfilling its subscriber obligations". Calls by The Star to Dauphin and its public relations group went unanswered. There is no sign of the men's magazine The Male Perspective which Dauphin said in 2010 it was about to launch.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Magazine world view: Variety on the block; are e-books plateauing?; Endangered indy journalism

Huffington Post to release weekly roundup of best posts in an iPad magazine

The Huffington Post will soon launch a weekly iPad magazine that will summarize the best of its reporting, blogs and video. According to a story posted by The Economic Times, president and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington told the Digital Media Summit in Toronto that
"It's just going to be in terms of what is considered the best quality stuff we had that week, not necessarily the most popular stuff we had that week."
It is probable that the new digital weekly will carry material selected from all of its various editions, including the Canadian one. 

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Embedded chips in Wired magazine takes NFC-equipped readers to ad for Lexus

Wired magazine is reported to be inserting near-field communication (NFC) chips in half a million subscribers copies of its April issue. Ad Age says the new-fangled item is accompanied by a traditional printed url for readers who don't have NFC-enabled mobile devices. The NFC technology is being deployed in the service of an ad in the magazine for the Lexus GS 2013; readers hold their devices near the ad to be taken directly to a video demo. This is a step beyond 2-D QR or bar codes, says the Ad Age story, because readers don't have to take pictures of anything with their smartphone cameras. It quotes Brian Bolain, national marketing communications director for Lexus
"Our estimates are that there around 3 million people in the U.S. with NFC-enabled smartphones," Mr. Bolain said. "We know it's a pretty small pool, but we need to do something more interesting in print to make it a little more of an interactive experience for those people who want it."

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Quote, unquote: Value apparently not worth
paying interns for

"These fact-checking interns, hired for a six-month stint, earn very little glory and no pay, but are vital to the work of the magazine."
-- Rachel Giese, senior editor of The Walrus, writing on the magazine's blog about the value of the magazine's interns, describing them "for my money, the four most important people on The Walrus editorial team." She was reflecting on the recent news about the US public radio program This American Life, which was hoodwinked by actor-writer Mike Daisey into broadcasting a story they were later forced to retract about Apple's manufacturing processes in China.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

VIA Destinations magazine gets a makeover

VIA Rail Canada's onboard magazine VIA Destinations! has undergone a redesign. The six-times-a-year, wholly bilingual title is contract-published by Éditions Gesca and circulates 60,000 controlled copies on the trains and in VIA first class lounges. 
The change to the magazine complements changes and investments that the passenger rail company is making to its services and facilities. Editor- in-chief Luc Boulanger said in a release
“We have reworked the graphics grid under the direction of Benoit Martin who, among other things, is the artistic director of M and XY magazines, so as to allocate more space for graphic elements, which gives the publication a far more compelling personality. We’ve also streamlined the information management to make the magazine more enjoyable to read.”
The Women's Issue features 10 Canadian women who are models in their professional field, including comedian and host Véronique Cloutier,  Bonnie Brooks, President and CEO of the Hudson's Bay Company; and CBC reporter Amanda Lang.
Digital edition.


Freelancer reaches settlement with Rogers over posting of peanut allergy story

Freelance writers can stick up for themselves, if they have the patience. According to a post on Story Board, Patricia Pearson has reached a settlement with Rogers Publishing. It took two years and with the support and help of the Canadian Media Guild and the Canadian Writers Group (which jointly publish Story Board).
Pearson wrote a controversial story called "It's Just Nuts" for the December issue of Chatelaine in 2009 that questioned whether the public was overreacting to peanut allergies. This provoked a torrent of criticism (notably from the editor of Allergic Living, Gwen Smith and also from Canadian Family editor-in-chief Jennifer Reynolds.)
Some commenters on an item we carried on Canadian Magazines suggested that the controversy and story choice was a factor in the dismissal of Chatelaine editor Maryam Sanati.
However, the dispute with parent company Rogers was over the use of the story on third party websites without permission and the failure to remove the story from Chatelaine's site once the contracted period had passed.
The process didn’t move quickly, but with the help of the CMG’s lawyer, Sean FitzPatrick of Cavalluzzo Hayes Shilton McIntyre and Cornish, Pearson reached a settlement with Rogers and she’s pleased with the outcome, as was Canadian Writers Group and Rogers. It marks an end to a long and frustrating story, but it’s one that proves writers can, and should, fight for what’s rightfully theirs.

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Winnipeg college teams unveil their concept magazines at a trade fair March 30

The team behind Black Tutu (l to r)
Katie Madziak, Lauren Parsons, Coco Brecht and Emily Doer

Always good to see bright, young people making magazines. A week Friday (March 30), creative communications students from Red River College  in Winnipeg are holding a magazine trade fair to show the community the magazine prototypes they have created. According to a post on the site, there is one called Black Tutu, a magazine for young women, another called duckface (a women's tech magazine), Hot Mic, about the Winnipeg hip-hop scene and a fan magazine devoted to the Winnipeg Jets. The event is at the Roblin Centre on Princess Street and runs from noon to 4 p.m.
“The fair itself is always a lot of fun,” said Emily Doer, a member of the four-person group behind the young women’s publication Black Tutu Magazine. “Groups work together to make their magazine concept come to life. There are always a lot of prizes, and a chance to meet the creative team...We have some really innovative and trendy magazine concepts.”

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Guide published to help publishers reduce their magazines' carbon footprints

Magazine publishers who want to improve their impact on the environment can now turn to a guide published by Magazines Canada in collaboration with its regional counterparts and other partners. The Carbon Footprint Compendium, released today, provides step-by-step information on how to identify impact and do something about it. A release said
The magazine industry is in a strong position to embrace sustainability given print products are fully recyclable and can be printed on environmentally friendly papers. The Compendium is a starting point to get the ball rolling towards a more sustainable magazine publishing industry.
The initiative is supported by the Magazine Association of BC (MABC), the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association (AMPA), the Manitoba Magazine Publishers’ Association (MMPA), Magazines Ontario, the Atlantic Magazines Association (AMA), the Ontario Media Development Corporation and was developed in collaboration with Canopy, an environmental not-for-profit organization working with publishers to protect forest, species and climate. A French version of the compendium is also available.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

U.S. B2B revenues are making a strong recovery

There has been a substantial recovery in the business-to-business media industry in the U.S., according to data prepared by the Association of Business Information and Media Companies (ABM). 
Revenue in 2011 rose 7.2% to $26.5 million and the largest increase was, not surprisingly, digital  advertising which grew by 22%. Print ads grew by 3.8%. This is in stark and welcome contrast from the recession-hammered times the sector experienced which saw print ad revenue fall 24% between 2008 and 2009 and the industry staying essentially flat between 2009 and 2010. 
[Note, the table above is aggregated from data provided by the Centre for Exhibition Industry Research (trade shows), Inquiry Management Systems, an ad tracking service bureau  (print advertising), Outsell, a research firm (data services). Digital advertising data is based on an estimate from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, PricewaterhouseCoopers and other sources.]

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Onward and upward -- Canadian Magazines blog tops 1 million visits

This blog started on a whim a little over 7 years ago, February 25, 2005. One of the early posts was about the concentration of funding for literary and cultural magazines in two federal ridings in Toronto and a national boom in magazine startups.  There has been a lot of sturm und drang in the industry since, but clearly no lack of interest in the topic; this week Canadian Magazines topped 1 million visits and almost 1.5 million page views.

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The Tyee offering its readers "master classes" taught by contributors

The Tyee, the BC online publication, has always been an innovator and continues to be by offering its readers "master classes", taught by the people whose bylines are familiar to them in The Tyee's own Vancouver newsroom.
The 7 hands-on workshops on 7 weekends from April to June are "immersion training on everything from investigative journalism to food writing to documentary photography and filmaking". Here's the course calendar. Workshops range from an afternoon to a couple of days and includes lunch, snacks and wine. Fees range from $195 to $398. 
Among the courses and presenters are:
  • Alisa Smith (author of The 100-mile Diet) on how to take memoir to a whole new level
  • Bill Tieleman (organizer of the anti-HST campaign) on organizing winning campaigns
  • Meeru Dhalwala of VIJ's excellent Indian restaurant on writing an inspired cookbook
  • Christopher Grabowski on basic photographic theory, history and technique
  •  Sean Holman on investigative journalism and finding stories hidden in public records
  • Kai Nagata giving a two-day do-it-yourself documentary workshop
  • Phillip Smith, the digital publishing expert on how to find, understand and present public data
As I say, a really ambitious program that is a canny way of building loyal reader engagement and, perhaps, nurturing contributors and supporters of the future.


The New York Times thinks it is zeroing in on the paywall sweetspot -- 10 free articles a month

Much Twittering and other commenting about the New York Times cutting in half the free articles ahead of its paywall (to be 10 rather than 20).  Canada takes it in the ear right away; everyone else March 28. All articles, galleries, multimedia and blogs count towards the limit and freebie search engine clicks will be limited to five a day. The Times said:
We think 10 articles a month, plus free access to our home page, strikes a better balance between visiting and subscribing. Most of our readers will continue to enjoy their Times experience without interruption. At the same time, the change provides us with an opportunity to convince another segment of our audience that what The Times has to offer is worth paying for.
 The NYT concurrently announced that it has reached 454,000 paid subscribers to its digital products,and the paper said that the number of non-paid subscribers who have turned over between 10 and 20 pages is relatively small. Other data from other suppliers suggests that the paywall sweet spot can safely be set lower than papers had previously been willing to do -- somewhere between 4 and 9 a month.
The site had about 48 million unique visitors worldwide in January. 
The Times is selling its cheapest online plan (all you can read) for $15 a month.Compare this with the Wall Street Journal at $8. Whether the price point is inexpensive enough and the perceived value high enough to convince regular visitors to ante up is an open question. Probably, it is.
Steven Brill, who runs RR Donnelley's Press+ metered access solution for newspapers, was quoted by saying that maybe 1% of readers will "hit the meter" and 20% will pay. A metered system that takes such facts into account means that publishers don't have to make a hard-edged choice between free and fully paid access. Brill says the sweet spot can be defined as where readers "are not angry, not surprised" about being asked to pay. 
There is a significant difference between the NYT and a mid-sized consumer magazine, however, and nobody should take this as a license to reinforce their paywall just yet.

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ABC approves new digital edition
circulation reporting

Though for most magazines digital readers are a quite small proportion of their overall audience, there is a  steadily growing trend and it is marked by a recent approval in digital reporting rules by the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), one of the two largest third-party circulation auditing organizations.
The ABC board of directors last week approved a number of changes, according to a story in Folio: and this will lead to a new prototype publisher's statement that will include measurements of reader interaction in digital editions. The new format will likely take effect by July 1, 2013. (Magazines are only required to report on their digital platforms if they have at least 3,000 copies of digital editions, representing more than 2 per cent of total circulation.)
The new prototype requires publishers to report the number of unique browsers or devices accessing their digital magazines, as well as total visits and average visit duration. The reports will also call for greater detail on print and digital magazine subscriptions and single-copy sales.
At the same time it approved the new digital reporting format, the ABC board also announced it would require larger magazines to report on an issue-by-issue basis to ensure more timely data. This would come into effect January 2013. 


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The collision at the heart of production

To say change is a constant in our business is a thumping cliche. Yet, like many cliches, it is true, and nowhere more than in the production department. 
From time to time I have guests attend the class I teach at Ryerson University (Magazine and Website Publishing) to give the students a perspective from people who are doing what we're talking about. Last night it was Kim Latreille, the national production director of St. Joseph Media and, after her visit, she posted an item on her blog about the experience -- and mostly about how difficult it is these days to explain what she does.
Gone are the days when that was a simple explanation. When faced with the question “What do you do?” at the top of the class, I had a difficult time answering.
What I do has morphed from what used to be a more simple, hands-on affair where the majority of my time was spent planning a single publishing schedule for each magazine, negotiating print contracts, booking in film for advertisements, maintaining deadlines and sorting out print budgets, to something I can’t explain in a way that has anyone comprehending how I spend my time or what I do exactly.
And they also glaze over.
Or drift into a lolling slumber.
Latreille says that print production has been digital since the early 1990s, so developing and working with it is "old hat". One of the biggest challenges is adapting to rapidly changing technology and bringing colleagues along.
The technology we use today resembles nothing we used 10 years ago or even 5 years ago. In fact, it is changing so rapidly, it’s hard to stay on top of it.
I find, as someone who sits in the middle of print and digital publishing, that due to my experience with print, it is up to folks like me to help our publishers sort out the mess that has become publishing, where two worlds are colliding that up to now have not spoken the same language.
If you want to learn more, Kim is to teach her 13-week evening course in Magazine Production at Ryerson University starting  Tuesday, May 1. It's on the menu of courses offered in the Magazine and Web Publishing program at the Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson.


Tastemaker Tyler Brûlé and his empire

A profile in last weekend's Guardian about the Canadian-born magazine maven Tyler Brûlé contains a few insights and a useful roundup of what makes the publisher of both Wallpaper* and Monocle both successful and a "punctilious tastemaker" and has seen him branch out into radio and retail. (I have some reservations about any article so precious it uses "aghast" twice, but there you are...)
Brûlé says he's selling more than 70,000 copies of Monocle at £6 each. According to ABC, who audit these things, 11,000 sell at newsstands and 2,000 by subscription in the UK, while the rest go abroad.
Last year he founded a 24-hour digital radio station which seems to want to be a baumkuchened*-up Radio 4 and although it has not yet achieved anything like the depth, you can hear the aspiration. Add a biannual newspaper and a global chain of shops selling the accessories for a Monocle-based life, and you get a picture of the Brûlé empire.
It's all based on a philosophy that runs counter to prevailing thought in the media. "It didn't make sense to us to give away our journalism for free. But we did have to think: 'How do we add value online?' We started with video then it became radio, but it couldn't replicate what we were doing in print."
*A reference to a type of cake that figured in the article. I told you it was a bit precious.
Photo by Suki Dhanda, Observer


Monday, March 19, 2012

Quote, unquote: Technology and uncertainty driving magazine innovation

"Rapid technological development and an uncertain economic background are the driving forces behind the huge amount of experimentation being undertaken by magazine media companies."
--  Chris Llewellyn, president and chief executive officer of FIPP, commenting on a report published this month called Innovations in the Magazine World 2012, which reported on everything from scratch 'n' sniff covers and an ad that works as a bottle opener to a magazine designed to be carried like a handbag. [FIPP is the worldwide magazine media association -- Magazines Canada is a member]


Magazine world view: Hearst pushes e-singles; Ebony retools; Stylist likes intelligent women

Brush up on renewals and invoices at CMC special event with Elaine Tyson

Two of the key elements in magazine circulation are renewals and invoices and even the best circulators can use a refresher on both of them. So an upcoming event hosted by the  Circulation Management Association of Canada (CMC) should be a hot ticket. The presenter is Elaine Tyson, of  the U.S. consulting firm Tyson Associates. The 35-year veteran circulator will be reporting on what works and what doesn't in the turmoil of today's challenging market environment.
The seminar is on Wednesday, March 28 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at The Academy of Spherical Arts, 38 Hanna Ave. in Toronto. (A place chosen because it does double-duty for the ever-popular CMC reception and pool tournament.) The ticket price for the seminar is $49 for CMC members, $69 for non. The seminar is sponsored by the Cornerstone Group of Companies. (The annual pool tournament is $10 for non-members and free to CMC members.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Click magazine has exclusive distribution deal with Future Shop

Click Media, Inc. of Toronto has entered into an exclusive distribution deal with Future Shop to circulate 100,000 copies of Click, the digital lifestyle (games, technology and movies) magazine in Future Shop's 145 stores across the country. 
It is complemented by, apps for iPhone and Android and episodes of web-based Click TV that accompany each issue. A full-page ad in the magazine is $9,750. A sample digital issue of its launch magazine is available.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Magazines continue to be a leading source of interest in online search

PAGE is a newsletter that Magazines Canada publishes periodically to inform media agencies and the magazine publishing community about research that reflects the realities of magazines. The March14 issue carries a graph, drawn from a December 2011 study, which shows that magazines continue to be one of the leading drivers when it comes to getting readers to search out more information on the web. (The numbers are % of respondents.)


BPA Worldwide circ audit firm to move beyond "legacy business" of print

BPA Worldwide, which provides third-party circulation audits to many Canadian magazines, has decided to expand its services to allow it to conduct auditing for organizations outside of the media industry. Its new iCompli division is intended to build broader business opportunities, says Glenn Hansen, the CEO of BPAWW, quoted in an article in Audience Development.
“The legacy business with BPA is print media, but it’s slowly transforming to be audits of a brand and not just the print channel,” says CEO Glenn Hansen. “What will remain is the auditing of a brand’s distribution channels, including print."
The new division will now perform audits of trade show and conduct social responsibility and sustainability reporting, among other things, Hansen said:
“We are now expanding our business and taking a step back and saying that we are not circulation auditors but assurance providers, which opens us up—there’s a much larger audience for things that need to be third-party assured.” 

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Monday, March 12, 2012

PWAC annual freelance writing awards
deadline is April 5

[This post has been updated] Entries are being accepted for the third annual writing awards for features and short articles, presented by the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC). These awards showcase the work of Canadian freelance writers and are open to members and non-members of PWAC. Deadline is Thursday April 5.
[Update: There are two awards: for over 1201 words and under 1,200.
The 2011 winner [for the long form] was Melissa Martin for "La lang di Michif Ta-pashipiikan" (Winnipeg Free Press); runner-up was Stephen Kimber for "Is Corey Wright the Wrong Man?" (The Coast); honourable mentions: Beverly Akerman for "Six Pixels of Separation" (Grain Magazine); Mark Cardwell for "Getting Away with Murder" (Canadian Lawyer); Terri Perrin for "All in the Family" (InFocus Magazine); Mark Witten for "Heal or Harm?" (Today's Parent)]

The 2011 winner [for the short form] was Beverly Akerman, "Woman's murder exposes need to raise age for gun ownership" (The Toronto Star); Runner-up: L. D. Cross, "How to Get the Money You're Owed" (PROFIT Magazine); Honourable mentions:  Karen Virag, "The Naked Truth About Raw" (The Tomato) and Mark Witten for "Brainwashed" (The Walrus)

 Prizes [for either award] are:
  • First Place: $750 and certificate. (Divided as follows: $500 in cash and a year's free PWAC membership worth approx. $250. Note: If the prize winner is not eligible for PWAC membership, he or she receives the $500 in cash and forfeits the free membership.)
  • Runner Up: a year's free PWAC membership (if eligible) and certificate. 
  • Other finalists: a certificate.
    Non-fiction articles of 1,201 words and over [and for similar, but under 1,200 words], for which payment was received, are eligible. They must have been published in English in a Canadian print or web media outlet with a publication date must have been between January 1 to December 31, 2011.
    The per-entry fee is $25 for PWAC members per entry and $50 for non-PWAC membersand there is no limit on the number of entries per person. Payable by cheque or money order made out to "PWAC."
    Further information.

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    ON Nature magazine no longer to be sold on newsstands

    ON Nature magazine will no longer be available on newsstands. Its parent organizaation, Ontario Naturemaking the magazine a pure benefit of membership. According to a story in Mastheadonline, the organization is now throwing in the towel in order to be able to give a 100% tax receipt to members who give $50 or more. Previously, because the magazine had a cover price (necessary for newsstands), Canada Revenue wouldn't allow a tax receipt to be issued  for subscriptions to members because the magazine was considered a material benefit.
    The magazine has been putting about 800 copies on newsstands per issue, the story said.
    In 2008, the magazine gave up its postal subsidy because of a long-running dispute with Canadian Heritage over a requirement to provide the magazine completely separately from membership in the parent organization.

    Saltscapes magazine going down the road to host East Coast consumer expo in Toronto

    Expanding the magazine brand into a consumer show is a trend that many mid- and large-sized publishers have been following increasingly. And Saltscapes has been one of them, launching and running a successful annual Saltscapes Expo, now in its 8th year of celebrating all things Atlantic Canadian. (This year's event in Halifax  is April 27 - 29.)
    Now it is going down the road, so to speak, or rather taking its show on the road, to hosting Saltscapes Toronto, its first East Coast Expo in Toronto at the Toronto Waterfront Redpath Festival from June 21 to 28 at HTO Park. It's promoting downeast seafood, hospitality, music and vacation opportunities, in partnership with Nova Scotia's department of economic and rural development and tourism, Taste of Nova Scotia and the province of New Brunswick.
    According to co-publishers Jim and Linda Gourlay, they expect to see their share of the 750,000 people expected to be on the Toronto waterfront that weekend.
    "We have discovered (and it makes perfect sense) that while we are engaged in our core business, we have the happy collateral effect of providing the most credible and effective tourism brochure ever assembled for this region," they said it their letter in the front of the March-April issue.
    Exhibitors selling products onsite will be charged $1,500 for a booth, otherwise it is $1,000. An information kit and contract is provided online.

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    Thursday, March 08, 2012

    Magazine world view: Cosmo digital soars; Sam's mag; BH&G gets pinterested

    Julie Osborne named to manage postal affairs and special projects at Rogers Publishing

    Julie Osborne, the senior director, business planning and integration, consumer publishing at Rogers Publishing Limited, has been promoted to be vice-president of business development. Reporting directly to Ken Whyte, the president, Osborne will be taking responsibilities for all contracts, partnerships and arrangements with federal and provincial departments and agencies, such as Canada Post. Essentially, she is taking over many of the responsibilities of Michael Fox, recently retired from the company. An appointment notice said
    She will oversee our magazine distribution business activities and will manage the significant costs related to those activities. This includes managing postal, ground and air delivery. Julie will also continue to manage special projects on our behalf, not only within Publishing, but also as we work with other Rogers Media divisions to fulfill our vision of being one integrated company.
    Osborne also served as publisher of Maclean's, Canadian Business, PROFIT and MoneySense.


    Globe and Mail to launch Style Advisor, a twice-annual lifestyle supplement

    The Globe and Mail is introducing Style Advisor, a twice annual oversized glossy magazine starting April 13. The focus of the 64 page "stylebook" will be editorial on key advertising categories of fashion, beauty, home style and decor and entertaining, largely aimed at a female audience. In a sense it is a line extension of the weekly Globe Style section and the new publication will be edited by Style editor Danny Sinopoli and will use many of the same contributors, including Paris-based reporter Amy Verner, interior design columnist Sarah Richardson, food writer Chris Nuttall-Smith and wine writer Beppi Crosariol.
    "The aim of Globe Style Advisor is to illuminate the season's top lifestyle trends in a smart, visually dynamic way that both informs and inspires," said Sinopoli in a press release. "Whether it's fashion, beauty, decor or entertaining, there are prevailing currents that shape seasonal trends, many of them overlapping. Globe Style Advisor will lay these out for readers in a strikingly handsome package and advise readers on how to adopt and incorporate them into their lives from enticing product pages and sumptuous pictorial spreads to context-setting essays by our roster of leading trend writers."
    The magazine will be inserted in Globe and Mail home-delivered copies nationally and be made available at Air Canada and VIA Rail lounges. There will also be a digital edition.
    A full-page ad at the one-time rate is $25,625, according to the media kit. (The kit emphasizes that the audience, based on PMB purchase data, spend over $400 million on fashion and beauty products, $3.3 billion on home improvements and decor and $1.7 billion on grocery purchases.)
    One of the heralded advantages that the Globe gained from the 18-year, $1.7 billion printing deal signed in 2008 with Transcontinental Inc. was the ability to print full colour glossy products like this, coast-to-coast with one supplier.

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    Wednesday, March 07, 2012

    The Toronto Tempest, a new tablet-only magazine, blows into town on Friday

    A new, tablet-only magazine called The Toronto Tempest is to launch on Friday, March 9. The bi-monthly is targetting Toronto, with the focus on tech-savvy, young and influential readers. It will be available through the Apple app store and Google Marketplace and, come April, will also be available for smartphones.
    "While major publications like The New YorkerWired, and Vanity Fair have innovated successfully in the tablet space, The Tempest will be this country’s first politics and culture tablet magazine," the founders say in a release. 
    The Tempest is a natural development in the magazine world,” says co-editor James Burrows. “Until the tablet, the costs of launching an independent magazine were prohibitive. We expect to be the first of many new, young, and interesting magazines that take advantage of this space. Because we’re exclusively digital, The Tempest will feature the same high quality design consumers expect from print magazines but will also include interactive content, audio materials, and videos.
    “This city doesn’t need another magazine or newspaper covering City Hall. In every issue we will publish insights into how the city’s daily life actually works. A magazine for the Occupy generation, we ask what this moment demands in terms of its politics, its journalism, its music, its art, and its humour. Our focus is the city, but readers from around the world will appreciate our perspective.”


    Tuesday, March 06, 2012

    Former WISH magazine food editor named chair of Canadian restaurant association

    The former food editor for the late WISH magazine, Donna Dooher, has been named the chair of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice Association. She is the executive chef and co-owner of Mildred's Temple Kitchen in Toronto and at one time owned the celebrated Mildred Pierce restaurant, with her husband and business partner Kevin Gallagher. As chair, she will lead the 30-person CFRA board, representing 30,000 members in the $63-billion restaurant industry in Canada.


    Best on Page agency roadshow highlights magazine advertising creative

    For several years, Magazines Canada has been promoting magazine advertising creative through its Best on Page annual competition and show (see the 2011 winners) . Now, and for the next nine weeks, it is taking a roadshow of the best work into the advertising agencies themselves. Three, freestanding wall displays will be showcasing 72 award-winning Canadian and international magazine ads in various GTA-based agencies, where staff will be able to vote on their favourites. At the end of the showcase, a randomly selected winner will receive an iPad. The promotion is being done in collaboration with Newad,which created the display walls and manages installations. Assistance for the promotion comes from the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

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    Friday, March 02, 2012

    Momentum converts to paid newsstand magazine

    Momentum, the Vancouver-based cycling lifestyle magazine has converted from being mostly controlled to being a paid bimonthly newsstand publication. beefed up by 40 pages and with a $4.95 cover price. The first newsstand issue was released March 1. It will continue to have a digital edition.
    “Our small team has worked incredibly hard to bring Momentum Mag to the 100-page newsstand magazine that it is today,” said publisher Mia Kohout, quoted on the Bicycle Retailer website. “It is exciting to see the bike industry take more interest in city riding, commuting and, most importantly, women. We feel our publication is starting to show its potential as the leading lifestyle magazine in the cycling marketplace and we are even more excited about the path ahead.”
     Kohut said that the redesign of the magazine has increased advertising revenue 100%  since March 2011.
    Until now, according to the magazine's media kit, the magazine has distributed 15,000 copies in Canada and 25,000 in the U.S. The total newsstand draw has been 6,000. Its rate card is not available online.


    Readers are consuming content how, when and how long they please

    The founder of Longreads, Mark Armstrong, mused recently about how publishers and editors might change the ecosystem and evolve into something that emphasizes quality of journalism over quantity. Not surprising, really, from someone who thinks the pleasures of curling up with a good, long read is a recurring pleasure still enjoyed by many, in contrast to the "hot dog terrordrome" by which readers are bombarded online. He describes it as
    • A place where it is sprayed at you faster than you can consume it;
    • A world where there are just two profitable modes of operation: Faster, and more;
    • A business where the accepted distribution strategy is one in which publishers are forced to drop their most valuable product into a cannon and fire as many rounds as possible at its audience, no matter whether they can even consume it (and, importantly, no way to tell whether they did consume it).
    • Where no one is happy with the results.
    "One answer, which I’ll present here in completely biased fashion, is to give control back to the consumers of this content. Let people take content with them, and they will soon value it more highly than if it is shot at them. Content creators will be rewarded with a longer social lifespan for the stories and videos they work so hard to create. And that ultimately lifts the value of a media brand. I believe this is actually possible."
    He points out that readers now have available to them the tools that allow them to save, and read and later share what they like at a time and place of their choosing. He gives an example Read It Later, an application for which he is an editorial advisor (and a free service which I use daily).
    "As we start to dig into consumption patterns, we see that users are controlling when and how they engage with content. It doesn’t mean there’s less of it, and the content is still being shot at us, but we now have tools to help capture this content and put it to use when the moment is right."

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    Three women painters explore de Kooning's signficance in Border Crossings interviews

    The just-published issue of Border Crossings magazine marks the important New York retrospective of painter Willem de Kooning through interviews with three noted women painters, one British, one American and one Canadian, reflecting on his "ubiquitous significance."
    Cecily Brown, April Gornik and Monica Tap are interviewed by senior editor Robert Enright and the article is illustrated not only by de Kooning's work but also their own.
    "All speak in the most articulate, intelligent and thoughtful manner about his work and its influence on their own impressive careers," says a release from the magazine. "All are responding to the unprecedented retrospective of de Kooning, recently mounted by the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art, New York)."

    Canadian magazine launches appear to be pulling out of their slump in Masthead tally

    Magazine launches appear to have pulled out of their steep dive, though it is a little early to claim the worst is over. Masthead has for many years done the industry a great favour by compiling a year-by-year tally of launches and closures and the latest compilation, for the years 2010 and 2011 shows that 19 titles were launched last year and 9 publications stopped. That's a 58% increase in launches, though on a lamentably small base and a far cry from the palmy days of 2003 and 2004 when net launches totalled 159.
    Masthead (itself now published only online) has been tallying online launches and closures data since 2009 and found that 12 were started last year and 9 the year before.It defines these as having "some measure of independent editorial content, whether supported by advertising or not, but something more than a blog."
    [table: Masthead]

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