|Toronto firm launches new JCPenney title
Toronto, Ont., Jan. 31, 2000: The Toronto publishers of JCPenney's teen-oriented magalogue Noise are launching another title for the Plano, Tex.-based department store chain. RealYou, a fashion and lifestyle glossy, debuts next month with a 100-page issue and an initial print run of four million. Targeting the American retail giant's female clientele aged 35 to 54, RealYou is published by Toronto-based Redwood Custom Communications Inc. The Toronto-based firm changed its name from Redwood CMP last July, around the same time it began publishing Noise. According to Redwood president and CEO Eric Schneider, this latest launch may soon be followed by several other new projects, thanks to Redwood's newly formed business development team. "We do feel very positive about 2000 and beyond," he says, adding that it's still too early to reveal details about any upcoming contracts. Enlisted as publisher of RealYou is former Canadian House & Home publisher Jennifer McLean, who joined Redwood last August as publisher of Noise. She will now maintain both portfolios. The editor, meanwhile, is Renate Ruge, who had been editor of the customer magazine for U.K.-based retailer Marks & Spencer. As it ramps up for next month's launch of RealYou, Redwood has been tapping into Toronto's consumer magazine talent pool to help flesh out the masthead. Maria Deotto, former national account manager with both Gardening Life and Canadian House & Home, has been named associate publisher of RealYou alongside publisher McLean, her former associate at Canadian Home Publisher. Joining Redwood this week as advertising director for both titles is Laurie MacLean, who was most recently the national advertising director at Where Toronto. Also leaving Key for Redwood is former Toronto Life FASHION retail account manager Jennifer Hoffman, now RealYou's senior sales executive. Flare associate art director Stephanie White will soon take on the job of associate art director, and former House & Home staffer Erin McLaughlin is now features editor. Other Canadian staff include: designer Jessica Reid; director of promotions and publicity Rhonda Hartling; assistant fashion editor Lisa D'Linnocenzo; features assistant Brenda Hampton; and editorial assistant Claire Kennedy.
|Transcon purchases Telemedia Publishing
Toronto, Ont., Jan. 28, 2000: After failing to successfully woo a foreign investor, Telemedia Communications Inc. has opted to get out of the magazine publishing business altogether. Late last night the Montreal-based media giant accepted a bid for its publishing division from Transcontinental Publications Inc. The sale--unconfirmed reports peg the price tag at roughly $150 million--is slated to close by the end of March. Along with the 11 French and English core titles under the banners Telemedia Publishing and Les Editons Télémédia (e.g. Canadian Living, Homemaker's, Coup de pouce), the deal encompasses: Telemedia's 50% stake in Trustmedia, publishers of TV Hebdo and Teleoromans; a 50% partnership with MediaLinx Interactive Inc. through Sympatico NetLife magazine; a 75% controlling interested in Elle Québec (Paris-based Hachette Filipacchi Magazines holds the other 25%); and
Telemedia's Open&Save coupon business. Acting on the direction of its board of directors, Telemedia began courting Canadian buyers roughly two weeks ago, says Telemedia Publishing president François de Gaspé Beaubien. Several other Canadian companies were also in the running, he confirms, including Rogers Media, Quebecor, St. Joseph Corp. and TVA Group, which purchased Trustar just last week (see "Trustar sold to TVA Group" in this conference). The decision to sell was made after Telemedia gave up on attempts to lure a foreign publisher into a minority partnership last fall. "I looked really hard for months to make a deal with a foreign publisher, like Hearst," says de Gaspé Beaubien, noting that the plan was for the investor to bring both cash and strong brand identity to the table. According to de Gaspé Beaubien, Telemedia's board of directors decided that the company had to concentrate either on its burgeoning radio broadcasting division or publishing. The decision was to go with Telemedia Radio Inc., which has grown from 22 to 76 stations in the past 10 months alone. "And the growth curve is not finished," says de Gaspé Beaubien. "We had to make a choice. I couldn't continue without a minority partner." "It's an industry I love and what makes me feel good is that I'm leaving the magazine brands in very good hands," he adds. "I'm going to miss it. Once a publisher, always a publisher." As for Transcontinental, the purchase puts the Montreal firm well ahead of its plans to reach revenues of $125 million by the end of 2000. Last September, the purchase of Plesman Communications Inc.'s seven core titles and associated offshoot publications brought Transcontinental's projected earnings to roughly $90 million. Add on the $120 million in annual revenues expected from the Telemedia books and Transcontinental is now looking at a total yearly income of approximately $210 million. Masthead Online has yet to establish contact with Transcontinental Publishing president André Préfontaine.
|B.C. business book goes bust
Langley, B.C., Jan. 27, 2000: Poor ad revenue has been blamed for the demise of a two-year-old magazine serving the business community in B.C.'s Fraser Valley. Enterprise magazine, published by Langley, B.C.-based Think Communications, officially folded on Monday. According to a press release announcing the closure, Think had planned from the outset to suspend the title if it failed to become self-sufficient after two years. Launched in December 1997, the glossy monthly was distributed free to approximately 13,000 B.C. businesses in Surrey, Abbotsford and Langley. It was the first magazine venture for three-year-old Think Communications, a marketing and graphic design company co-owned by Sherry Carrier and Chandra DeLair. DeLair says the fledgling firm will continue to act as a graphic designer and marketing consultant for area businesses. In October 1998, DeLair, Carrier and former associate Nicole Wiltermuth were honoured as Entrepreneurs of the Year by the Langley Chamber of Commerce for their work on Enterprise.
|New title hopes to pocket the billiard biz
Mississauga, Ont., Jan. 26, 2000: Lawyer Sheri Richardson was once a professional snooker player. In fact, she's played billiards for 30 years. Now Richardson has parlayed that experience into a new magazine for Canadian pool players, fans and those in the billiard business. Based in Mississauga, Ont., Chalk and Cue debuted with its December 1999 issue. "Almost everyone you know has picked up a cue at one point or another," says Richardson, explaining that her new magazine aims to "inform and entertain" both recreational and competitive players. As such, the standard sized book carries tournament reports, schedules and results--as well as player rankings--alongside relevant features, profiles and instructional pieces. Roughly two-fifths of the national magazine is printed in full colour, with the remainder in black and white. Advertisers include billiard supply companies and clubs. Available by subscription, Chalk and Cue can also be found on newsstands.
Cover price: $3.95
Colour ad: $1,500
|Investment Executive gets French sibling
Montreal, Que., Jan. 25, 2000: Four months after it was purchased by Montreal-based Transcontinental Publications Inc., Investment Executive spawned a French-language sibling: Finance et Investissement. "It's been something that we had wanted to do for quite some time because the [Quebec] market is underserved," publisher Liz Martin says of the November launch, explaining that it was Investment Executive's acquisition by Transcontinental that made it possible. "It actually gave us the opportunity to take advantage of their editorial expertise and their writers," she says. "It would have been difficult for us to do it on our own, to find those people who are knowledgeable about investment and business and French speaking." Targeting mutual fund dealers, managers and marketers, as well as financial planners, stock brokers, investment advisors, bankers and insurance salespeople, the tab-format title covers the likes of financial news and regulations, business advice and new products. Up to 30% of the editorial is translated from Investment Executive. While the editorial offices are based in Montreal, sales are conducted from Toronto. Advertisers include fund operators, insurance companies and hi-tech manufacturers.
Cover price: free
Colour ad: $6,185
|Wax Magazine ups circ, unveils new logo
Calgary, Alta., Jan. 24, 2000: The current winter edition of the alternative sports title Wax Magazine features a graphic redesign, complete with a new logo and a revamped editorial well. And according to publisher and managing editor Russell Reimer, the Calgary-based quarterly also now provides editorial on snowboarding for both The Calgary Straight and Edmonton's Vue Weekly during the ski season. "It gives us a chance to take a lot of the stories that we wouldn't necessarily do in Wax--by the time our quarterly turns over it might be a bit stale--and turn them over in a week," says Reimer. Meanwhile, the title is now distributed via The Calgary Straight, Vue Weekly and Banff's The Wild Life--as well as across Canada through snowboard and skateboard shops--driving up circulation from 7,000 to 12,500.
Literary mag plans to drop listless moniker
Toronto, Ont., Jan. 21, 2000: The Lazy Writer will be known as Write magazine as of the Toronto quarterly's upcoming spring issue. "I think that a lot of people see the word lazy' as a four-letter word," says publisher and editor Chris Garbutt in explaining the change. "Calling someone lazy is about as bad an insult for some people as you can get," he explains. "We wanted to be a little more inclusive and we also wanted to have just a more active title." The literary magazine's new identity will also include colour on the cover (it will remain black and white inside), new fonts, more graphics and a restructuring of the editorial content.
|Barrington takes over from Bullock at Key
Toronto, Ont., Jan. 20, 2000: Stephanie Barrington has been promoted to the position of director of consumer marketing for Key Media Ltd.'s Toronto Life, Toronto Life FASHION and Canadian Art, effectively replacing Scott Bullock. Bullock left the Toronto-based consumer magazine publisher at the end of last year to join Coast to Coast Distributing Company as vice-president of publisher service and retail sales (see "Another defection to CTC" in the October 1999 Daily News archives). Barrington, who had been consumer marketing director for the three Key titles, took up her new post effective Jan. 1. "Over the past three years [Barrington] has demonstrated an ability to manage record-breaking new business campaigns," a press release announcing the promotion quotes Key president William Duron as saying. Immediately before joining Key three years ago, Barrington was operations supervisor in the director marketing department at Rogers Media Inc. Meanwhile, there have been two new appointments in Toronto Life's ad sales department. Former Pattison Outdoor account executive Kim Peacock is now overseeing the city book's largest national territory as national account manager, while retail and U.S. account manager Whitney Ross has been promoted to national and U.S. account manager.
Contact: 416-364-333, ext. 353
|Saturday Night goes weekly, loses editor
Toronto, Ont., Jan. 19, 2000: Ending almost a year of rumour and speculation, Southam Inc. announced today that Saturday Night magazine will become a weekly insert in the Saturday edition of the National Post starting in May. The last edition of the 112-year-old title as a glossy monthly will be the upcoming March issue. Along with this morning's news, it was revealed that current editor Paul Tough, who joined Saturday Night in September 1998, will not be carrying on with the new weekly. Tough was replaced today by Dianna Symonds, who served as deputy editor under both Tough and his predecessor, current National Post editor Ken Whyte. Also cleaning out her office today is Saturday Night publisher Maureen Cavan, who also relinquishes her title as executive vice-president and general manager of sister title National Post Business. According to Cavan, her role has been made redundant now that the title's business operations will be integrated with those of the National Post. She noted that Saturday Night will maintain its editorial independence. Cavan, who indicated that her departure was on amicable terms, says she plans to take the next three months off. "I just want to relax and then see whatever is around in the woodwork," she says, noting that she plans to take golf lessons in Arizona and shop around for a country home with her partner, Morris Caiger. "I'm not married to a career in publishing." As for Tough, it remains unclear as to whether he was fired, or whether he decided to walk. While Cavan declined to comment on Tough's status, she did reveal that he is staying on to guide Symonds through the transition. Also unclear at present is what format the new weekly will take. Industry speculation is that it will be modeled after the New York Times' Sunday magazine. A Southam press release on Canada NewsWire this morning put a positive spin on the publication's downgrading, noting that Saturday Night was originally launched as a weekly by founder Edmund E. Sheppard. "We are very excited about returning Saturday Night to its historic roots," the release quotes National Post president and publisher Donald Babick as saying. "A weekly publishing schedule allows us to offer readers more of what they've come to expect and enjoy from Saturday Night. This bold move also grants us the opportunity to be a much stronger and frequent contributor to the national conversation."
|Quebec television network buys Trustar
Montreal, Que., Jan. 18, 2000: Trustar Limitée, publisher of French-language entertainment and lifestyle magazines such as Star Inc. and 7 jours, has been sold to the Quebec television network TVA Group Inc. Half the $46-million price tag was paid in cash, with the balance paid out in non-voting TVA shares, valued at $25 a piece. The deal, which closed yesterday morning, includes Trustar's 50% stake in Trustmedia Inc., which publishes Téléromans and the French-language television guide TV Hebdo. The other 50% of Trustmedia remains in the hands of Telemedia Communications Inc., confirms Trustar president Jean-Paul Leclair. "We are still partners with the Telemedia group," says Leclair, noting that for the most part, operations will continue as usual at Trustar "It will remain with the same people, the same office, the same everything," he says of Trustar's publishing business. "The only thing that may change is the development of the product." TVA owner Groupe Vidéotron Limitée boasts 75% of Quebec's cable subscriber market, while TVA itself has made no secret of its plans to further expand by venturing into English Canadian media.
Contact: 515-526-9251 (TVA); 514-848-7000 (Trustar)
|B.C.-based bikers' book boasts birthday
Victoria, B.C., Jan. 17, 2000: Canadian Biker celebrates its 20th anniversary with a ride down memory lane in its current January/February issue. The retrospective by editor John Campbell revisits some of the people and events that helped shape the magazine over the past two decades. According to Campbell, the Victoria, B.C.-based title originally launched as Motorcycle Magazine, a bimonthly newsprint tab "flawed by blurry photography, grammatical warts, maudlin fiction and knee-jerk rhetoric." Since then it has evolved into a glossy magazine with 12,000 copies distributed nationwide 10 times a year. Says founding publisher Len Creed: "We just bring the world of motorcycling to the man on the street."
|Fledgling CARP title folds as standalone
Toronto, Ont., Jan. 14, 2000: LivingWell, launched last June by Canada's Association for Retired People (CARP) to promote healthy living among boomers, is no longer a standalone publication. In October the quarterly was downgraded to a mere section within sister title CARPNews FiftyPlus, the magazine format successor to the now-defunct tab CARPNews. Associate publisher Jude Gravelle says LivingWell served as a "dry run" for CARPNews' transition to a magazine format. According to Gravelle, LivingWell was a test to see how the process would work and how readers would respond. "So readers got a bonus [of two publications] for a couple of months, while we worked out the kinks," she says. The new "LivingWell" section in FiftyPlus--published by Toronto's Kemur Publishing Co.--has its own cover and table of contents.
|Cottage Life editor announces resignation
Toronto, Ont., Jan. 13, 2000: Cottage Life editor David Zimmer has succumbed to the lure of the very lifestyle he's been covering for the past 11 years. In April he's stepping down and moving to the town of Huntsville in northern Ontario's cottage country to "pursue other interests." While vague about his exact plans--which will include freelance writing--Zimmer stresses that his decision to leave Cottage Life was not easy. "It's a great place to work. It's a great culture," he says of the award-winning consumer title he joined after graduating from Ryerson in 1989. "There's nowhere like this." Along with personal reasons, Zimmer says his decision to resign was spurred by the fact that he's been "yearning more and more for the country" in recent years. "One of the first questions people ask when they hear you work at Cottage Life is, Do you get to spend a lot of time in cottage country?' But you don't," says the Etobicoke, Ont.-born editor, adding that the move was "something I had in mind for a while." Zimmer, 33, originally joined Cottage Life as an editorial assistant, moving up through the ranks first as assistant editor and then managing editor before taking over from founding editor Ann Vanderhoof in July 1997. During his tenure as editor, Zimmer continued the Toronto-based glossy's tradition of earning a healthy number of National Magazine Awards, taking home three gold and four silver in 1998 and 1999 combined. Also while editor, he guided the 12-year-old magazine through a redesign in March 1998.
|Plesman titles return to biweekly frequency
Toronto, Ont., Jan. 12, 2000: Plesman Communications' two core titles revert to their biweekly frequencies this month, two years after going weekly to thwart potential competition from American IT books. While Computing Canada and Computer Dealer News were never at a loss for content, says publisher George Soltys, a lack of advertiser support forced the cost-cutting return to a biweekly format. According to Soltys, some of the savings will be plowed into the company's Web site (www.plesman.com), which is expected to be revamped and "beefed up" by March. The changes come three months after Plesman was purchased by Montreal-based Transcontinental Publications (see "Plesman publications sold" in the September '99 Daily News archives).
|Maclean's adopts CTP printing process
Toronto, Ont., Jan. 11, 2000: Canada's national newsmagazine is poised to be produced using computer-to-plate technology (CTP). Starting with its Jan. 17 issue, Maclean's will do away with the film stage of the printing process, confirms the vice-president of business development with Rogers Media Inc.'s news and business group. According to Immee Chee Wah, two other Rogers titles--Canadian Business and Profit--are also expected to adopt CTP workflows later this year. Established in 1905, Maclean's has a weekly paid circulation of about 503,000 copies. It is printed by Quebecor.
|Moving To mags sold to Homes Publishing
Toronto, Ont., Jan. 10, 2000: Homes Publishing Group has added eight new titles to its stable of publications serving the new home market with the late 1999 purchase of Moving Publications. Established in 1973 by Anita Wood, who will be staying on as publisher, the Moving To series of magazines target consumers relocating to different communities in southwestern Ontario, Ottawa, Montreal, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. The acquisition brings Homes Publishing Group's total number of magazines to 19, for a combined annual circulation of 2 million. The deal also marks the 15-year-old Toronto company's first publishing foray outside of Ontario. "We've been able to augment our properties with non-competing books that fit our home-focused strategy perfectly," Homes president Michael Rosset is quoted as saying in a press release announcing the purchase. Homes Publishing also publishes Homes Magazine, Condo Life and Renovation & Decor, among other trade and consumer titles.
|Farm & Country returns as Better Farming
Milton, Ont., Jan. 7, 2000: When Agricultural Publishing Company (APC) took Farm & Country out behind the barn last summer, it wasn't completely over for the 63-year-old farm title. In fact, the magazine has since reappeared, albeit with a new publisher, a new name and a new look. Launched in November, Better Farming is published by three former APC employees through their new Milton, Ont.-based company, AgMedia Cooperative. The seeds for the relaunch were sewn last summer after the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), which owned a 90% stake in Farm & Country, opted not to plow more money into the beleaguered title. According to the APC's former COO, Ken Larone, the OFA "wanted to get out of the publishing business" after balking at the cost of converting Farm & Country to paid circulation. Other observers suggest, however, that the title's cash flow problems were ultimately responsible for its demise. Paul Nolan, who handled Farm & Country's national advertising accounts and is now publisher and advertising director at Better Farming, says APC had been relying on the OFA for financing since late 1998. Lending credence to this is OFA field rep Don Stevenson, who wrote in the December 1999 issue of Farm Review that APC's ad revenue had been dropping since August 1998 and that the OFA had to step in to pay staff that following December. According to Stevenson, it was in January 1999 that the APC and Larone proposed the conversion to paid circulation. Under the plan, the OFA was to advance $1.2 million to finance the transition, but the OFA called in a consultant who concluded that the risk was too high. Instead, the consultant said the OFA should develop a loan program--a scheme rejected by the APC last June when it chose instead to liquidage Farm & Country. A month later all APC employees were laid off and in September the company declared bankruptcy. At Better Farming, meanwhile, the OFA is not a shareholder. Instead, a contract sees the Federation buy advertising space each month for its newsletter, while AgMedia mails copies to all OFA members (the title is also available to non-members). Along with publisher Paul Nolan, the two other principals formerly with APC are senior staff editor Don Stoneman and managing editor Robert Irwin, Farm & Country's former western and eastern Ontario bureau chiefs respectively. Like its predecessor, Better Farming covers new farming technology and equipment, as well as marketing and finance issues, for the dairy, beef, pork, poultry and market crop industries. "We've just chosen to more clearly define our role as a business magazine," Nolan says of the standard-sized, full-colour glossy. "What we've said to our readers is that we intend to focus primarily on the issues that affect the profession of farming."
|Menz now published by Ocean Drive team
Toronto, Ont., Jan. 6, 2000: An all-new Menz relaunched this past fall under the same publishing team that produces the slick Montreal-based giveaway Ocean Drive. Publisher Martin Wardman says his Ocean Drive crew was asked to revamp the men's magazine by financial backer Mount Real Corporation, which also holds an interest in his title. The request came after former Menz publisher and part-owner Bhakshar Patel stepped down due to personal reasons, although Wardman says the "door remains open" for Patel's ongoing involvement. Former editor Vanessa Berkling, meanwhile, is now pursuing other projects in the U.S. According to Wardman, plans are also afoot to bring both magazines--along with his sales and marketing firm, Boulevard Media Group--together under one corporate identity to be listed on the Alberta Stock Exchange. Other titles may also join the new shell company, he says. On the creative side of Menz, the new editor-in-chief and creative director is François Guenet, who holds the same titles on Ocean Drive. Guenet says design changes include a bolder logo, whiter paper stock and a larger trim size. Fashion shoots are now produced in-house, and fashion, food and grooming have become regular sections. There is also less focus on celebrities and more on business. As well, circulation is up to 50,000. As for Ocean Drive, it also debuted a redesign with its current winter issue.
|Elm Street goes partly paid to help cut costs
Toronto, Ont., Jan. 5, 2000: Multi-Vision Publishing president and CEO Greg MacNeil says his flagship title, Elm Street, is on track with plans to convert a portion of its controlled circulation to paid. According to MacNeil, the Toronto-based magazine reached its goal earlier last year to convert between 40,000 and 50,000 names to paid for one year one, leaving roughly 650,000 as controlled. The aim is to maintain a mix of both to help lower distribution costs, he says. Meanwhile, the search continues for someone to take over the day-to-day editorial duties of running Elm Street from editor-in-chief Stevie Cameron--a task complicated by the fact that executive editor Elizabeth Renzetti will be leaving at the end of February (see "Renzetti to leave Elm Street" in this conference).
|CMPA installs two new board members
Toronto, Ont., Jan. 4, 2000: Lee Simpson's vacated seat on the board of the Canadian Magazine Publishers Association (CMPA) has been filled by MoneySense publisher Deborah Rosser, who is also vice-president of the News and Business Group at Rogers Media. Simpson stepped down late last year after resigning from her position as vice-president and group publisher with The Women's Group at Rogers (see "Lee Simpson resigns" in the October '99 Daily News archives). Telemedia Publishing president François de Gaspé Beaubien has also left the CMPA board, although he will continue to participate in the industry Task Force now working with Ottawa to set up a subsidy program. He has been replaced by Style at Home publisher and Telemedia Publishing vice-president Kerry Mitchell. The changes were ratified during the CMPA's early December board meeting. On the staff side at the CMPA, Margaret Eaton has been hired as director of research and development, Yuri Shegera is the new office accountant and Emily Sinkins has stepped down as marketing coordinator to pursue other interests.