July 28, 2005
Magazine associations release study on research needs
TORONTOMagazines Canada and the Canadian Business Press, in conjunction with Totum Research Inc, released the results of its Gaps and Needs study last week. The 36-page report, conducted last year, was commissioned to discuss deficiencies in research information available on magazine publishing in Canada. Of the 56 respondents to the questionnaire, 32 consumer and 24 B2B publications, there was not an enthusiastic response to sharing secure, detailed revenue data; 39% would not participate. However, consumer and trade respondents would be willing to provide information on its mailing expenses so that overall revenue contributions to Canada Post can be calculated on behalf of the industry. Only two respondents did not have an active website, both consumer. When asked about the importance of knowing how others are using the Internet to generate revenue, B2B publishers were more interested than their consumer counterparts. Approximately 68% of total respondents participated in Statistics Canada’s Periodical Publishing Survey but only one third have used the available data. Over 37% thought the survey should be conducted every two years.
Recommendations in the analysis include creating a committee made up of consumer and B2B members to work closely with Statistics Canada in establishing criteria of importance to the industry for its Canadian Periodical Survey; adding international publishing news and information to association newsletters; encouraging the discussion of circulation ideas and issues through the use of an email forum or chat room for circ directors; conducting a study on the magazine reader engagement; and establishing a Steering Committee to oversee all the initiatives put forth in the report. The survey was funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage, The Ontario Media Development Corporation, the Ontario Ministry of Culture, the Canadian Business Press and Magazines Canada. For more information visit magazinescanada.ca.
July 26, 2005
St. Joseph appoints new publisher for Toronto Life, Saturday Night
TORONTO Three weeks into his interim presidency at St. Joseph Media, after the surprising departure of group president Greg MacNeil, St. Joseph Communications executive chairman and CEO Tony Gagliano has appointed a vice-president, group publisher of Toronto Life and Saturday Night magazines. Sharon McAuley, former Transcontinental Media director of brand marketing, consumer publications, will take up the role, which was vacated by Marina Glogovac one year ago this month. According to a company memo released last Thursday, McAuley joins St. Joseph at the end of August. Currently, she is no longer working at Transcontinental. Before her most recent position, McAuley was group publisher of Transcontinental’s Investment Group. Previous to that she was publisher of St. Joseph’s Quill & Quire, then owned by Key Media. Neither McAuley nor Gagliano were available for comment. Rumour has it St. Joseph will be making an announcement regarding another new team member shortly.
July 21, 2005
Magazine expands horror empire
TORONTOIn a morbid attempt at brand building, horror culture and entertainment magazine Rue Morgue set up shop at a new location last December, the old Speers funeral home on Dundas Street West. Now newly refurbished, the Rue Morgue House of Horror opened for business last week with its chapel converted into a 100-seat movie theatre. The cinema will screen double-billed horror flicks every Friday and Saturday nighteverything from Mexican satanic cinema to Asian shock fests. “I really hope to make [Rue Morgue House of Horror] some sort of Toronto landmark at some point,” says president and editor-in-chief Rod Gudino. The theatre will also showcase Rue Morgue’s one-man, multi-media production Nightmare Picture Theatre, which premiers next month and runs until Halloween. “Getting out of just making Rue Morgue a publishing entity and getting more into mixed media is really where our future is,” says Gudino. Its new facility will also house Rue Morgue’s radio studio, magazine offices and Shoppe of Horror, which sells high-end collectibles for the “very hard horror collector” as well as Rue Morgue paraphernalia and memorabilia, all under one ghoulish roof.
July 19, 2005
Attention publishers: postal rates are rising, again
TORONTOMagazines Canada expressed its disappointment to members in a press release yesterday after learning that Canada Post Corporation will be increasing its publications mail rates for 2006 by an average of 2.9%. This one-year rate becomes effective in January. Despite its frustration over the new rate increase, which is nearly double the Consumer Price Indexit rose 1.6% in May 2005 over May 2004Magazines Canada CEO Mark Jamison says it’s moving in the right direction. Over the last five years, rates have increased annually by 5% on average, and up to 11% for heavier titles. “This does at least mean they’re listening, maybe just not hard enough yet,” says Jamison. CPC began aggressively increasing publications mail after claiming its financial margin on delivering magazines and newspapers was not covering its operating costs. “We [wanted] to increase our margins because publication mail was and still is the worst performing product in our product portfolio because it has the lowest contribution margin due to its low price,” says CPC manager, pricing strategy, Gabriella Csoti. Next year’s letter carrier presort direct delivery rate of $0.37 for up to 200 grams is low compared to letter mail, which will cost $0.51 for a maximum of 30 grams per item, says Csoti. “That’s the best sort discount we have.” According to an analysis released in May by Michael J. Fox, a senior vice-president of Rogers Publishing and Postal Committee chair of Magazines Canada, publications mail surpassed its goal of a 25% contribution margin last year at 27% and predicts it will hit 30% for 2005. This is just one of the many arguments Magazines Canada used during countless meetings with the Crown corporation to try and persuade it from increasing rates. Another was the fact that these increases have led to an 85% loss of new business for CPC as many new magazines are choosing alternative delivery methods, such as newspapers. Publications mail volume is down 27 million pieces since 2000. However, Csoti says, Canada Post hasn’t committed to a specific contribution margin target. Jamison says Magazines Canada has now written to Canadian Heritage minister Liza Frulla, requesting that the Publications Assistance Program be topped up in this fiscal year to make up for recent cuts ($4 million) to PAP and the increased postal rates.
July 14, 2005
No signs of slowing down as Osprey acquires more mags
MARKHAM, Ont.Osprey Media Group has scooped up 12 more publications to add to its growing cache of magazine titles. The Markham, Ont.-based publisher purchased Cottage Country Communications’ five Bracebridge, Ont.-based titles, including Muskoka Magazine, in late June, and Burlington, Ont.-based Town Media earlier this month. “We’re a growing company and we’re always looking for good businesses and good entrepreneurs to join our team,” says John Leader, vice-president of finance, Osprey Media Income Fund. Osprey owns 21 dailies, 32 weeklies and now 36 magazines, directories and specialty publications. Former Town Media owner Wayne Narciso says in today's global market, independent publishers are going the way of the dinosaur. “We can create efficiencies in printing that haven’t been there before, [and] on work sharing, editorial [and] combined circulation initiatives. There are a lot of things as the independent I was paying the highest dollar for," says Narciso, who remains publisher of Hamilton Magazine, Biz, Ontario Golf, Golfstyle, Visitors, Interiors and Ontario Home Builder. Narciso, who launched Town Media in 1978, says he was also in discussions with two other publishers but saw an entrepreneurial kinship with Osprey’s head office. “I’m used to the efficiencies and the work ethic of a small business and I saw that at Osprey." Cottage Country Communications founder Don Smith agrees Osprey has a lot to offer an independent publisher. "Osprey represents an opportunity for us to grow, both our publications and our company and for the individuals within our organization to grow as well,” says Smith, who remains publisher of his five titles.The financial details of both acquisitions were not disclosed. Osprey became a public company in April 2004. In its first eight months Osprey Media Income Fund posted revenues of $155.2 million.
July 12, 2005
Business mag lands U.K. celebrity guest editor?
TORONTONational Post Business editor Brian Banks will neither confirm nor deny rumours that famous British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson will guest edit his August issue. “He will be in the August issue,” Banks said in an e-mail, but declined to elaborate. “As we’re still in production and continue to work on the final line-up, I’d rather not say anything else just yet.” Banks said the issue will focus on adventure, recreation, travel and lifestylethemes that are consistent with Branson’s image as an adventurer and his ties to the travel industry through his interests in train and air travel under the Virgin brand.
July 7, 2005
Ken Whyte rebuilds team at Maclean’s
TORONTOYesterday, Maclean’s announced the appointment of two senior editorial staff members, who will join the newsweekly next month. Two Globe and Mail staffers, national editor Mark Stevenson and Review editor Dianne de Fenoyl, have reunited with Maclean’s publisher and editor-in-chief Ken Whyte. Former National Post managing editor, Stevenson worked for several years under Whyte as national editor of the National Post and deputy editor of the weekly Saturday Night. Stevenson’s new role as editor of Maclean’s will see him share daily operations responsibilities with Whyte. De Fenoyl, Maclean’s new assistant managing editor, also worked under Whyte while she was a former executive editor of Saturday Night and Life editor of the National Post.
July 5, 2005
Magazines Canada unveils new logo
TORONTOIn step with its oft-repeated new mantra “one industry, one voice, one name,” Magazines Canada, formerly the Canadian Magazine Publishers Association, recently revealed its new logo and comprehensive website (www.magazinescanada.ca). These are the latest rebranding efforts by the association, which officially changed its name at its annual general meeting on June 9. Magazines Canada amalgamated with the CMPA to become its advertising services division in 2003. The association decided to adopt its name as it translates in both official languages, has little risk of morphing into an ambiguous acronym and as its annual report states, the encompassing name “could serve other constituents who might partner with the organization at a later stage.” (See the July/August issue of Masthead for more.)