Masthead News Archives
November 2002
November 26, 2002
Rogers Web sites get "reprieve"
TORONTO-Rogers Media has stepped back from an earlier decision to close 20 Web sites co-branded with various trade publications, such as Canadian Grocer, Coatings, Canadian Printer and Plastics in Canada (see news item from November 15). The sites were have closed by the end of October but "we got a reprieve," says James Hicks, group publisher, retail group. The sites will remain open till then end of the year at which point their fates will be determined-again. Rogers outsources the job of hosting the sites to Moncton, N.B.-based ShareLine Systems. Meanwhile, Rogers rival, Hollinger's Business Information Group, is investing in its Web presence, with a recent redesign of its main portal esourcecanada.com which serves as a gateway to its 25-plus trade mags. BIG president Bruce Creighton-who is also chair of the Canadian Business Press-says he has no intention of discontinuing Web operations. He says he'll be inviting independent publishers to hook into esourcecanada.com's extensive site. "If you don't have an Internet strategy to keep [readers] in your environment, then I think you will pay for it over the long run," Creighton says.

November 21, 2002
Rogers title polishes auto-renewal strategy
TORONTO-What's L'actualité got that just might be the envy of magazines everwhere? An automatic subscription renewal program that 95% of eligible subscribers have embraced. When the 185,000-circ French-language current affairs title first sampled the auto-renew offer in 1995, response was positive, says Ellen L'Ecuyer, director of subscription sales operations at Roger Media. By 1999, about 66% of subscribers had opted in. L'Ecuyer detailed L'actualité's success during a panel discussion on direct marketing innovations held here yesterday and organized by the Canadian Marketing Association. "It was really important to push the benefits," she said, adding that subscribers were told they'd not only enjoy 17% off the regular subscription price but also simplify their lives by not having to deal with pesky renewal forms. The savings, said L'Ecuyer, have been "huge."

November 19, 2002
Canadian magazines sign with American syndicate
NEW YORK CITY-Shift and This magazines have recently signed up with Featurewell.com-a U.S. syndicate based here offering mostly second-publication rights to freelanced articles. The site was launched in September 2000 by Washington Post travel columnist David Wallis, who just so happened to parlay his jailhouse interview with former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega into US$20,000 in reprint revenue. While Wallis modestly calls himself "the accidental syndicator," he says sales hit US$200,000 last year and should reach US$1 million by 2005. More than 800 freelancers (including Jimmy Breslin, Christopher Hitchens and former This editor-and Ryerson drop-out-Clive Thompson) and 900 editors have registered with the site. Clients range from the National Post to Mother Jones magazine, Wallis notes. Featurewell is known for cutting writers a healthy share of the pie-around 60% of the sale price.

November 15, 2002
Magaziners launch rock band, to appear in GQ
TORONTO-Forgive John Macfarlane if he seems a little distracted by the end of next week. The editor of Toronto Life and vice-president of new business development at St. Joseph Media will no doubt be running signature moves through his mind for his debut performance as singer/guitarist in a rock band. The 60-year-old Macfarlane plays a Fender Cyclone (he says he only contorts his face when he misses notes, not when he nails them) and he'll be joined by bandmate and National Post Business senior correspondent David Hayes on bass and United Church Observer associate editor David Wilson on keyboards. A Fender Stratocaster will hang from the 50-year-old neck of Globe and Mail columnist, author and magazine writer David Macfarlane (no relation). Pro drummer Doug Cameron will beat the skins. The lot of them are known as Three Chord Johnny, a literary bunch reminiscent of Stephen King's Rock Bottom Remainders-a rock band largely composed of writers. Loose young women do not yet hound TCJ's every move but one member notes that if Keith Richards still has groupies there is hope yet. Fast living will not be their hallmark. "We sip Earl Grey while we practice," says David Macfarlane, whose 3,600-word article on the group's formation (in 2001) and its impact on his life will appear in the January 2003 edition of GQ magazine.

November 13, 2002
Magazine ad contains unintended porno link
TORONTO-Fraud and extortion are to blame for a porn-laden Web portal contained in a prominent magazine ad, says the lawyer representing the advertiser. Brad Hanna of McMillan Binch LLP says the ad for CiCi calling cards appearing on the back cover the current issue of Leisureways-the 678,000-circ glossy produced by Formula Publications for the Canadian Automobile Association-contains a URL (www.goldlinegroup.com) that CiCi parent Gold Line thought it owned but doesn't. The company thought it had secured the rights to the domain but was in fact duped. The real owner, "a rather unscrupulous fellow," says Hanna, is now attempting to extract thousands of dollars from Gold Line (formerly-and now currently-at www.goldline.net) for rights to the URL or else the porn will graduate from heterosexual in nature to gay-based. Leisureways publisher Scott Robinson says the steamy URL has "created a real ruckus out there." The ad was also printed into 600,000 copies of sister-title Journey (another CAA title) but was recalled by Robinson before delivery. The offending URL was inkjetted out.

November 08, 2002
Rogers closes B2B Web sites, directories
TORONTO-Canada's largest magazine publisher has pulled the plug on 20 business-to-business Web sites and 23 online directories. Rogers Media business information group senior vice-president Harvey Botting could not be reached for comment but a recent issue of Rogers-owned Marketing magazine quotes Botting as saying that the sites were too sophisticated-and expensive. "We had built a Cadillac of B2B sites, but what we needed was something like a high-end Chevrolet," Botting reportedly said of the Bizlink family of URLs. Many of the sites are Web extensions of such titles as Canadian Grocer, Coatings and Cosmetics. In its third-quarter report released last month, parent company Rogers Communications stated that "continued weakness in the trade publishing division" has prompted cost-reduction measures. Q3 publishing revenue dropped to $64.3 million, 5.6% lower that the same period last year.

November 05, 2002
Feminism resurrected
KITCHENER, Ont.—After a two-year hiatus due to financial crisis, Vox Feminarum is back keeping the faith. Without charitable status, the non-profit biannual struggled to build an adequate donor base. Now the 2,000 circ literary mag is published by the charitable, Toronto-based not-for-profit educational organization, Across Boundaries Multi-Faith Institute. Never intending to disappear forever after ceasing publication in 1999, editor Ginny Freeman MacOwan believes Vox Feminarum must continue because otherwise “there will be no such thing as a truly national multi-faith feminist publication.” Relaunched in September, the new issue explores the theme of feminist ritual with contributions from authors of Protestant, Jewish and Wiccan faith.

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