September 28, 2006
Launches this month with a controlled circulation of one million copies
TORONTO—Starting this month, one million copies of Eco Options will be distributed exclusively through The Home Depot’s chain of 142 stores across the country.
The oversized, 82-page premier issue is an extension of the retailer’s “Eco Options” merchandizing strategy that flags a selection of environmentally friendly (or less damaging) products. The magazine is produced for the retailer on a fee-basis by Toronto’s Green Living Enterprises, a growing division of Michael de Pencier’s Key Publishers.
Green Living president Laurie Simmonds says publishing frequency has yet to be determined, as does the term of the contract, but she noted that a French-language edition of the magazine will be available next year. “They are considering [publishing] quarterly and binannually, but they have not confirmed,” says Simmonds. Company spokesman Rob McEwan says a rate card is in the process of being developed to accommodate appropriate third-party advertisers. In the premier issue, which contains mostly editorial, the few ads that do jump out are for Honeywell (thermostats), Venmar (air filtration systems) and Waterpik (shower heads)—not quite third-party ads as they are complementary to the in-store “Eco Options” merchandizing program.
|Green Living Enterprises chairman Michael de Pencier sold Key Media in 2002 for an estimated $36 million.|
Green Living, which also publishes its own magazine of the same name, is an environmentally conscientious for-profit operation with a growing custom publishing division (Healthy Home for the Healthy Indoor Partnership, and Clean and Beautiful for the City of Toronto). Next spring, its events division will launch the Green Living Show with products ranging from organic wine to home design, fashion and hybrid vehicles. A sister company is Investeco Capital Corp., a green/ethical mutual fund, the president of which is Andrew Heintzman, co-founder and publisher of now-defunct Shift magazine.
Eco Options is slickly designed, as one would it expect it to be, given that Donna Braggins (creative director), Gary Hall (art director) and Ken Rodmell (Green Living's VP Creative) are on staff. Braggins and Hall were the principal design duo at Anthony Wilson-Smith's Maclean's.
Michael de Pencier, remember, was the long-time proprietor of Key Media, which was sold to St. Joseph Media in February 2002 for an estimated $36 million. Titles included Toronto Life, Fashion, Where Toronto and a stake in Gardening Life. Toronto Life editor John Macfarlane once described de Pencier, now chairman of Green Living, as an “irrepressible entrepreneur.” Indeed, Simmonds says he works seven days a week and maintains his old corner office on The Esplanade, tattered couch and all.
September 27, 2006
Magazines survive cuts, but PAP axe set to fall
OTTAWA—While direct funding for magazine industry programs remains the same following federal cuts announced Monday, the industry's consumer magazine association is "actively studying" alternate mailing solutions as it girds for a dramatic $15-million reduction to the postal subsidy.
"While magazine programs were not mentioned in the announcements of cuts, our industry has not dodged a bullet," says Magazines Canada CEO Mark Jamison. "Canada Post advised us in 2005 that it would pull out of PAP [Publications Assistance Program] beginning April 2007. We do not think that their position has changed. This would reduce PAP by $15 million or 25%—a terrible hit," he says.
"We met with Minister [of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Lawrence] Cannon, who is responsible for Canada Post, in July He seemed to understand our issues as did Minister [of Canadian Heritage Bev] Oda in our talks, but Governments in general do not interfere or like to interfere in the management of crown corporation business operations—even Canada Post, one, with a cultural and social component in its mandate. We will continue to strongly encourage the Government and Canada Post to be very moderate in rate increases and prudent in any action taken. They must avoid destabilizing our industry's delivery system. At the same time, Magazines Canada is very actively studying alternate delivery as a longer-term option. Every opportunity must be considered."
|Lynda Reeves' décor show will be available to more than 91 million American households next month. She's shown here taking part in a Mags U panel discussion in 2002|
|Kerrie Lee Brown (middle) is FAME's new VP of publishing and communications. The November issue of the bimonthly, which is sent to members of the World Natural Sports Organization, informs members of her arrival|
|Former Oxygen senior editor Stacy Kennedy is the new editor-in-chief|
September 21, 2006
Walrus board departures “a very good thing”
TORONTOWalrus editor and co-founder Ken Alexander confirmed a blogged rumour yesterday that three of The Walrus’s nine board members have resigned, as well as publisher Bernard Schiff. Alexander, now acting publisher, says, “It’s my belief that this is a very good thing that’s happened. The editorial and art excellence of the magazine is clear and it was time for the publishing side to match that excellence in a very grown-up and significant periodical in Canada. That’s what we’re setting up to do right now. [It’s] very good news and all systems are go and I’m feeling very good about it.”
Schiff acknowledges that he is resigning due to disagreements as to how the Foundation ought proceed with regard to fundraising initiatives and cost management. He felt “stuck,” he says. “I submitted my resignation because I thought we had an unproductive relationship because we were in conflict about too many things, around the foundation and the publishing enterprise, around sustainabilityhow to sustain it, how to raise money, how to cut costs. There were differences of opinion around those things, and we were butting heads too much,” he says. “Nobody wants to hurt the magazine; everyone wants it to succeed.” Schiff, who tendered his resignation earlier this month, is staying on for up to 30 days for transitional purposes. Board chair Margaret Grottenthaler is expected to make a statement today regarding her departure. Grottenthaler, and board members Mark Sarner and Sandy Houston, representing the Metcalf Foundation, which contributes to The Walrus’s internship program, resigned together last week.
After D.B. Scott’s blog broke the story of these most recent departures, Alexander issued a press release yesterday declaring that the magazine is “right on target,” with a paid circ expected to reach 60,000 by year end, and that “all systems are go.”
September 20, 2006
Chatelaine finally gets art director
TORONTOMore than eight months after Caren Watkins quit as art director of Chatelaine, the position has at last been filled.
Before Toro, Williamson was a fashion director at the National Post and, as mentioned, fashion editor at the old weekly Saturday Night magazine. He starts mid-October.
September 19, 2006
Customer publishing to boom in the U.K.
LONDONCiting research from the Mintel International Group, Britain’s Periodical Publishers Association reports that customer publishing is set to increase by an astounding 47% over the next five years, jumping from £680 million in revenues in 2005 to £1 billion in 2011.
In Canada, the practice is known as custom publishing, with Toronto-based Redwood Custom Communications being one of the largest operators, producing magazines for such clients as Kraft, RBC Rewards, The Home Depot, Sears Canada and the CAA. Statistics on the Canadian market are not publicly available.
The Mintel study predicts that the U.K. market is poised for explosive growth; staffing levels at customer publishers have increased by 9% to keep up with demand. Retailing and financial services companies are the two largest patrons of this sort of publishing service (15% and 14% market share, respectively); the automotive sector represents a 9% market involvement; and charities have an 8% market stake.
The Mintel study was commissioned by the Association of Publishing Agencies, which represents the interests of U.K.’s customer publishers. Says the APA’s chief operating officer, as quoted on the PPA’s site:
“Not only are clients becoming more aware of the benefits of customer magazines, but we’re also seeing increased acceptance from media agencies. Traditionally there has been some skepticism, however this is clearly abating as the market continues to grow and become more developed.
“One of the main reasons why customer magazines are being regarded as such a valuable weapon in the marketing armoury is that they open the door to a more subtle and interactive dialogue with customers. They are seen as a non-threatening method of contacting a client’s customer database and regularly reminding them of products and services without the hard sell.
“They are also increasingly becoming more than just a means of contacting customers, but also a way of interacting with them; so much so that audience participation has become a measure by which clients evaluate editorial content.”
September 18, 2006
Western Standard editor jumps to National Post
CALGARYAfter two and a half years of putting cantankerous Judeo-Christian conservatism back on Canada’s media map, Kevin Libin is set to pass that singeing torch to a religion reporter from the Calgary Herald.
Libin will leave the magazine in early October to become the National Post’s Alberta features correspondent. Succeeding Libin is Joe Woodard, a well-known religion reporter and faith editor at the Calgary Herald. Woodard is also a founding member of the national board of directors of the Canada Family Action Coalition, whose mission is to “mobilize, train and activate Canadians in defending and promoting Judeo-Christian principles in Canadian society,” according to its website.
September 14, 2006
Men’s magazine returns from the dead
MONTREALWhen Hung Le launched MUM in 2003 he set a rather ambitious publishing schedule of 10 issues per year. What was originally intended as Montreal Urban Magazine folded the following year after seven issues.
September 13, 2006
Feds pledge $250k to boost B.C. single-copy sales
VANCOUVERA proposal to boost newsstand sales on the West Coast has been accepted by the Department of Canadian Heritage. The pilot program will promote regional magazines based in B.C.
The “Best of B.C.” program will launch next month with a base budget of $250,000 dispensed through the Support for Industry Development component of the federal Canada Magazine Fund. The money will be used to pay for additional retail displays, in-store promos and a PR campaign that will roll out over the next six months. Individual publishers will hopefully augment funded promos with their own initiatives.
Titles likely to benefit from the program include: Alive, British Columbia magazine, BC Business, Business in Vancouver, Cottage, Gardens West, Geist, Modern Dog, Okanagan Life, Pacific Golf, Porch, Ricepaper, Vancouver and Western Living.
Some interesting PMC stats:
• Annual estimated Canadian newsstand magazine sales: $750 million
• Percentage of that figure generated by Canadian titles: 14.1%
• Number of titles PMC members deliver to newsstands: 2,591
• Number of those that are Canadian: 174
CMF funding deadline
OTTAWA The deadline for applications to the Support for Editorial Content component of the Canada Magazine fund is Oct. 1.
Newsstand executives coming to Canada again
TORONTOMembers of the Periodical & Book Association of America are meeting again in this city. The two-day event is slated for Oct. 30-31 at Toronto’s Park Hyatt Hotel. Attendees are encouraged to show up for after-work cocktails on the 30th and return the 31st for the day’s meeting proper. The previous meeting, held on Jan. 12, saw about 100 retailers, distributors, wholesalers and Canadian and American publishers discussing newsstand trends and sharing thoughts on successes and failures in the industry. For a full report on what was discussed at the last meeting, click here and see “Newsstand Forum Report.” Contact: www.pbaa.net.
September 12, 2006
Publisher flirting with trademark quagmire
VANCOUVERAfter talks failed to secure a license to publish a Canadian edition of a Colorado ski-racing magazine, the Canadian publishers are going ahead anyway.
Meanwhile in Colorado, Andy Hawk, publisher of Ski Racing, confirms there were plans to license the name to BK Media. “Unfortunately, we are not launching a Canadian edition,” he says. “We could not reach an agreement due to various factors, many of which were financial.” Informed that BK Media intends to go ahead anyway with a revised product, Hawk suggested “this isn’t going to go over well with our board.”
Trademark issues aren’t the only problem. SRC’s media kit touts Print Measurement Bureau readership data stating that SRC has 75,000 readers. Problem is, PMB isn’t aware of the magazine. “We sometimes come across this sort of thing and we always solve it through a cease-and-desist request,” says PMB president Steve Ferley. “As you might imagine, it's difficult to police the entire Canadian magazine world for misuse of PMB data.”
Kristofic says he’s looking into the PMB citation issue and will correct any inaccuracies.
Ski Canada publisher Paul Green says the ski-mag category is already pretty tight. He wonders if a title devoted to race-related snow sports, “a niche within a niche,” can survive.
MasterCard (double-page spread)
Levolor (window treatments, four pages)
Vancouver Home Show
“There probably will be a contract price increase in January,” Mohr says, when printers are renewing contracts. She adds that it will be “modest.”
A full economic forecast for 2007 as it impacts the Canadian magazine industry’s various sectors (circulation, production, sales, editorial, online) can be found in the September/October issue of Masthead.
September 5, 2006
Gloves set to come off
Brampton, ONA webcasting company that acquired popular hockey-news website The Fourth Period will be launching a glossy magazine of the same name this month. Ottawa-based MultiCast Networks Holdings acquired TheFourthPeriod.com from entrepreneur David Pagnotta in November 2005. The standard-size glossy will hit stands by the end of the month and come out 10 times a year; circulation is a mix of newsstand and controlled drops at hockey arenas as well as promotional giveaways. Pagnotta, now president of MCN Networks Sports division, plans to boost circulation to about 50,000 after the first four issues. A full-colour, one-time ad sells for $2,250.
Several publishers already occupy the hockey category, the latest being Les Éditions Gesca’s HockeyLe magazine, which also has an English-language sibling that launched last month. Might there be too many men on the ice? Gerald McGroarty, publisher of Transcontinental Media’s The Hockey News, a weekly that has dominated the category for decades, says we’ll soon find out. “We’re fortunate that we have a long and proven track record; that certainly gives us a competitive advantage, but I guess time will tell whether or not there is room for more.”
For his part, Pagnotta says “we’re not expecting to come in an take over…The Hockey News does an excellent job at what they’re doing. I’m a fan of theirs, but the fans are asking for something else and something more… More insight and more depth, and that’s what we’re going to bring to the table.”