April 28, 2003
Deal to sell Frank falls through
OTTAWA-The central Canada edition of Frank magazine will remain in the hands of owner/founder Michael Bate. "I'm willing to talk to investors but it's going to have to be on my terms," he said. Months of talks with a secret buyer representing a group of investors have broken down, he said, because that party's softer vision for the magazine was at variance with Bate's own and would have undermined the established character of the satirical biweekly. Frank ridicules Canada's cultural, political and media elite. Bate put the 14-year-old publication up for sale last year asking $150,000 at which time prospective buyer Theo Caldwell expressed interest. Caldwell was soon rebuffed-also for envisioning a softer Frank. Bate now appears to be thinking about Frank's long-term viability, including circulation and sales strategies. "I want to continue as an independent," he said during an interview late last week.
April 24, 2003
Futurist to speak at Mags U
WASHINGTON, D.C.-Whatever happened to the cashless, paperless society? "It's about to happen very rapidly over the next five, six, seven years," says futurist David Pearce Snyder. Based here, Snyder will travel to Toronto to deliver a speech at Magazines University on June 4 entitled The Future of Print. Among the subjects he'll tackle is "what happens in this infomated marketplace to the print media once the information revolution actually matures." Print magazines will continue to thrive, he says, but sophisticated Web-site strategies will be crucial. Snyder says he delivers about 150 to 200 speeches a year on what the future will hold. "The future is where we're all going to spend the rest of out lives," he says. Snyder says he's been influenced by the work of science fiction writer H.G. Wells. His most accurate "pre-play"? Predicting in recessionary 1992 that information technology would mature and lift the economy to unparalleled heights by the mid-'90s.
April 22, 2003
Toronto Life leads pack of NMA nominees
TORONTO-The National Magazine Awards Foundation released its list of nominees late last week with Toronto Life emerging as the leader with 34 nominations (33 editorial, one visual). The glossy monthly is edited by John Macfarlane and is published by St. Joseph Media. Next up was Quarto Communications' explore, edited by James Little, with 19 nominations (two in visual categories)-an impressive showing given that it only puts out six issues a year. In third spot and also impressive given its bimonthly frequency was Matthew Church's Saturday Night (also owned by St. Joseph) with 16 nominations (three in visual categories). Other multiple nominees include (with visual nominations in brackets): Cottage Life, 14 (3); Maclean's 14 (5); L'actualité, 13 (0); National Post Business, 12 (4); Elm Street, 9 (5); Canadian Business, 9 (2), Canadian Geographic, 8 (1). The full list of nominees is available at www.nmaf.net. The 26th annual awards ceremony will take place at the newly renovated Carlu Theatre on May 30 in Toronto. Former Homemakers editor Sally Armstrong, currently editor at large for Chatelaine, will be given the Foundation's Award for Outstanding Achievement. Look for a profile on Armstrong in the June issue of Masthead.
April 16, 2003
Magazine industry's big day
TORONTO - It was a hot day in Toronto yesterday. Not only did the temperature soar to a record 27 degrees, but no less than four industry events had magazine people bumping into each other all day long. In the morning, the official launch of Year 2 of the National Circulation Promotional Program took place outside the Great Canadian News Co. outlet at BCE Place downtown. Part of that crowd then moved to lunch at the annual Magazine Day hosted by the Ad Club of Toronto, this time uptown on Eglinton. About 400 publishers, sales reps and agency people applauded as Avid Media president Jacqueline Howe was awarded the Ad Club's annual merit award. Later the crowd listened to keynote speaker Adam Bly - a twenty-something force of nature - explain his vision for Seed, the "science/culture" magazine he founded in Montreal two years ago that has made waves in North America with its stylish approach to the subject. Then back downtown for the 20th anniversary party for the Ryerson Review of Journalism, the launch of this year's two issues, and an update on the Review's status - despite some press reports, it will continue to publish, but seeks a new funding structure. Finally, to Casa Loma in midtown for the lavish launch party of Toro, the new men's magazine (see Masthead, April issue). Hundreds and hundreds of well-attired celebrants crowded the entire main floor of the quirky old castle in a launch party reminiscent of the 1980s heydays. Outdoor spotlights piercing the sky, red carpet, host bar, live music, even a vaudeville act with a topless woman swinging tassels from her endowments were all part of the scene. For more details on some of these events, see the May issue of Masthead.
April 14, 2003
Gess steps down as publisher
TORONTO-Hazardous Materials Management co-founder Arnie Gess resigned recently as publisher to set up his own sales and marketing consultancy out of his home in Cochrane, AB. "I've always been entrepreneurial and it was time to get back on my own," he says. Gess launched HMM in 1989 and Solid Waste & Recycling in 1996 with Todd Latham and Guy Crittenden. Conrad Black's Southam Magazine and Information Group added the titles to his stable of 30-odd trade pubs in 1999. When CanWest acquired Southam from Black in 2000 for $3.2 billion, the trade magazines were excluded from the deal and now reside within Hollinger's Business Information Group. Succeeding Gess as publisher is Lynda Reilly, formerly associate publisher of Canadian Underwriter. Latham and Crittenden remain with Hollinger.
April 11, 2003
CMPA issues urgent call to action
TORONTO-The Canadian Magazine Publishers Association is asking members to write letters of protest to federal Department of Canadian Heritage Minister Sheila Copps regarding cuts said to be imminent to the Canada Magazine Fund and the Publications Assistance Program-valued annually at $35 million apiece. President Mark Jamison is worried by "strong indications" that these programs have been targeted as possible cost-cutting centres within the Liberal governnment's stated objective to reallocate $1 billion in spending this year. An e-mail blast disseminated by the CMPA yesterday stressed the necessity of collective action, arguing that "further reductions [to the CMF/PAP] will undermine cultural policy gains achieved through these programs over the past years." Federal officials could not be reached for comment.
April 08, 2003
CAmagazine, Marketing lead KRW nominees
TORONTO-CAmagazine, published by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, tops this year's list of Kenneth R. Wilson Award nominees with 20 (13 of which are in visual categories). Rogers Publishing's Marketing Magazine follows with 15 nominations (including five in visual categories). Sister title Objectif Conseiller (the French version of Advisor's Edge) was nominated in eight editorial categories. Now in their 49th year, the KRWs celebrate editorial and design excellence in the trade press. Award recipients will be announced at a gala dinner at The Old Mill in Toronto on June 4. The KRWs attracted more than 650 entries this year.
April 04, 2003
Magazine readership dips slightly
TORONTO-Gross readership at Canada's largest magazines has dipped slightly from 105.5 million readers to 104.6 million readers for an overall drop of 0.66%, according to data revealed earlier this week by the Print Measurement Bureau. Along linguistic lines, readership of French-language titles grew to 24.6 million readers from 23.2 million; readership at English-language magazines dipped from 82 million to 80 million readers. Coming from nowhere to being the sixth most-read magazine in Canada (3.2 million readers) is People Weekly, the Time Warner title that launched a Canadian split-run edition last year. Reader's Digest remains the most widely read magazine with 7.8 million readers per issue. Look for reaction to this year's PMB from publishers and ad buyers in the May issue of Masthead.