October 31, 2006
Publisher faces unusual obstacle
DAWSON CITY—Harper Street Publishing founder Greg Karais knows what his greatest challenge is—the Yukon River.
The Yukon River at Dawson City, as photographed earlier this week. Only when it freezes up in December are motorists—and publishers—liberated from the
constraints of relying on the ferry.
Karais received the Business Development Bank of Canada's Young Entrepreneur Award for the Yukon in 1998 at the age of 27 for his publishing savvy. He’s set to launch Yukon Magazine, North of Ordinary in February. Harper Street has been publishing a local tourism guide since 1994. Local media have reported that the former waiter produced it on a laptop that was powered by a car battery in house that lacked running water. He would later launch the Dawson City Insider, the first weekly area newspaper to have launched in decades
“You had asked what the biggest obstacle was in publishing this magazine,” he writes in an e-mail. “Here it is, the Yukon River at Dawson City.” Seems the George Black ferry is none too frequent and locals have to wait until mid-December before the ice is thick enough to drive across. Dawson City, located on the eastern bank of the Yukon River, is where the Top of the World Highway (Hwy. 9) meets the Klondike Highway (Hwy. 2).
—with files from Andrew Seale
A monthly, distributed through the National Post
A bimonthly, launching next month, distributed through the Globe and Mail
October 30, 2006
Former partners to battle in luxury category
TORONTO—Adrian Donnelly of Toronto’s Bern Media was the primary creditor/investor in Privilege magazine published by Tom Vachliotis. The alliance soured in the summer (see News Archives, October 25) and it has now emerged that the two men will publish rival titles in the same category. Having seized the admittedly meager assets of Privilege (some office equipment and the name), Donnelly is in the process of relaunching the title as Privilege Lifestyle. Vachliotis, meanwhile, has joined Calgary-based Metamedia Captial Corp, a penny-stock firm focusing on Internet video streaming, and is now developing a print media division under Vachliotis’s auspices. Last week, Vachliotis launched monthly, controlled-circ Luxe out of Toronto with the National Post as the distribution vehicle. Donnelly’s Privilege Lifestyle will be a bimonthly distributed through the Globe and Mail starting with a December/January issue .
October 26, 2006
Magazine launchers spill details
TORONTO—Staff from More, Chocolat and Magenta spoke to the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors last night about the business of creating their publications.
From the left: More editor-in-chief Linda Lewis, Magenta publisher MaryAnn Camilleri and Chocolat style editor Janette Ewen
The Canadian edition of More, which Transcontinental Media is expected to launch next March under license from U.S.-based Meredith Corp, will be the first foreign edition of the eight-year-old glossy, said editor-in-chief Linda Lewis, formerly EIC at Today’s Parent. “We are their guinea pig,” she told an audience of about 50. More targets women aged 40 to 59, of which there are about four million in Canada, she said. “This is not [a magazine] for women who do not want to state their age,” added Lewis, 45, who later noted that the first issue will have about 100 pages of editorial conceived, in part, after conducting 16 hours of focus groups with Canadian women. She promised a distinctly Canadian take on the More concept, with content from the “big sister” edition never exceeding 20%. Unlike Transcon’s licensing arrangement with Hachette Filipacchi’s Elle brand, the More deal includes a clause that bars the U.S. edition from Canadian newsstands. Transcon vice-president Francine Tremblay has been in negotiation with Meredith regarding More since 2004, Lewis said.
Chocolat style editor Janette Ewen, formerly with Canadian House & Home, said that her glossy benefits by being based in Montreal, arguably Canada’s fashion and style capital. With Ewen based at the Rogers campus in Toronto and editor-in-chief Nicole Labbé and editorial director Lise Ravary based at Rogers’ Montreal office, there is a “broadened awareness” that is essential to a magazine that produces both French and English editions. The name, Chocolat, was chosen because it connotes a food many indulge in and works in both languages, she said. The tagline for the magazine is, after all, “Indulge in your home.”
Magenta publisher MaryAnn Camilleri spoke of the void that beckoned her magazine. Not since the late 1980s, she said, has there been a “portfolio magazine” which is designed to serve as a showcase for artists. Magenta, like The Walrus, This Magazine and Canadian Art, is a registered charity. Camilleri, who spent much of her career in New York’s arts publishing scene, said the magazine’s name was chosen because magenta is the most important colour and must always be used at 100%. “It’s a colourful, fun, and gregarious label,” much like Camilerri herself. She clearly revels in the challenge of selling Magenta on the newsstand, too. An adherent of the KISS principle (“keep it simple, stupid”), Camilleri pointed to her current issue on the cover of which is a posse of what appears to be bullfighting Mexican midgets. “I so have your attention on this that it’s not even funny,” she laughed. Indeed, there was not a complimentary copy of Magenta to be found at the CSME mixer by the end of the evening.
October 25, 2006
Turnstiles spinning in luxury category
CALGARY—Pasquale Cusano’s NUVO imported the trend to Canada in 1998, featuring high art and culture to attract the most prestigious brand advertising. Bassam Al-Sarraj’s Rich Guy magazine tweaked the concept in 2002, targeting men with articles on “toys for big boys.” Jets, for example.
Privilege is missing in action after being acquired by its largest creditor. It launched in 2005
Others have come and gone over the years in an attempt to nestle into the luxury lifestyle category. There was the now-defunct Luxury (Harold Zadeh), the now-defunct Toronto Living Luxury Lifestyle (Jeremy Crawford), the now-defunct Toronto Luxury Lifestyle Report (Jeremy Crawford) and the missing-in-action Toronto Elite (Crawford again).
The most recent casualty is Privilege, founded in 2005 by ad industry veteran Tom A. Vachliotis in a doomed partnership with Crawford, who was fired early on in the endeavour for reasons Vachliotis declines to discuss (Crawford has also declined to comment.)
Privilege continued to publish in 2006 and be distributed through the Globe and Mail. This summer, however, Vachliotis says Privilege was punctured by a hostile takeover attempt by its primary creditor in August. The creditor foreclosed. The status of Privilege is unknown; the website is down and no one answers the phone.
Privilege was in the midst of a friendly takeover by Calgary-based Metamedia Capital Corp. (TSX-V: MME), run by president Alexandros Kostis. While Metamedia’s core focus these days is high-definition streaming video technology, it has been publishing Metohos magazine since 2004—a glossy, 15,000-controlled-circ monthly for the Greek community
Metamedia now intends to deepen its roots in the publishing industry with the launch of Luxe, a 65,000 controlled-circ glossy that piggybacked select copies of today’s National Post. Heading up Metamedia’s publishing operations is none other than Vachliotis, who joined the company is August.
Joining the Metamedia board in September was David Titcombe, formerly sales director with CanWest Media Sales (TV Times) and now sales and marketing director of CARP magazine (formerly known as 50Plus magazine).
Vachliotis says Metamedia will launch a bimonthly publication providing media information for parents early next year. He plans to grow Luxe into a 200,000-circ, 200-page addition to the wealthiest homes in Canada.
October 24, 2006
Contra heaven at Toronto Life’s 40th anniversary
The 196-page anniversary issue
In his brief address to the gathering, editor John Macfarlane thanked the magazine’s contributors and paid homage to New York magazine legend Clay Felker, who invented the city magazine genre in 1968 and whom Macfarlane hailed as the “first to grasp” the value of service journalism. Felker is now laid up in a nursing home with failing health, but Macfarlane said if he ever got the chance to meet the pioneer, he would say this: “We play the music, Clay, but you wrote the song.”
October 23, 2006
TVA shuts Sensass, launches Moi & cie
MONTREAL—Just two months shy of its second birthday, TVA’s weekly celeb gossip glossy Sensass has been discontinued after a bruising, profit-sapping battle with rival La Semaine.
Glossy weekly folds two months shy of second birthday
Quebecor Media’s TVA Publications, Quebec’s largest magazine publisher—and third-largest in Canada—launched Sensass in January 2005 as a pre-emptive strike at Claude J. Charron’s weekly La Semaine. The ensuing battle proved disastrous to TVA’s bottom line, pushing up operating expenses at the publishing group by 27% to $76.9 million last year from $60.6 million in TVA’s halcyon, pre-Charron era. Operating income last year was a mere $273,000 compared to $15.7 million in 2004.
Far from retreating, and just one week after killing Sensass, TVA has launched Moi & cie, or “Me & my friends,” as it’s being called in the English ad community, says TVA Publications’ Toronto-based English Canada sales manager David Richardson. It’s a sign of just how vibrant Quebec’s bristling magazine market is these days, he adds.
New biweekly launched this month selling more than 115,000 copies at the newsstand
Moi & cie is published every two weeks and targets women aged 25 to 45 with women’s service journalism as well as features on culture and the arts. Unlike Sensass, there will be no nasty gossip, said TVA group publisher Suzanne McKenna in an interview with Quebec’s Infopresse. With a target newsstand circulation of 50,000, the premier issue sold 112,000 copies of its 120,000 draw when a second press run of 30,000 copies was ordered. An intro cover price of $1.99 was scheduled to rise to $3.99 by the fifth issue but normalized pricing will be accelerated given Moi & cie’s success, Richardson said.
The moi in Moi & cie is Patrica Paquin, a familiar Quebec television and radio personality. Like editor Mitsou over at TVA’s Clin d’oeil, Paquin will serve as editor and spokesperson at Moi & cie. Paquin was an actress on the popular Quebec soap opera Chambres en Ville (1989-1996) and most recently was host of Flash, Quebec’s take on Entertainment Tonight. She remains host of her own radio show on Montreal’s Rhythm FM.
October 19, 2006
B.C. capital gets a business mag
VICTORIA—An eight-year-old contract publishing company sporting more than a dozen clients has decided to launch its own magazine for Vancouver Island’s business community.
Douglas magazine—named after the downtown Victoria street on which many businesses are located—is set to launch next month with a controlled circ of 20,000 copies distributed bimonthly. Since launching in 1998, PageOne Publishing has focused on custom projects for such clients as Tourism Vancouver Island, Thrifty Foods, Tourism Victoria, Golf Vancouver Island, the Canadian Cancer Society, the BC Sport Fishing Marketing Alliance and Tourism British Columbia. This is PageOne’s first stab at its own product.
About 3,900 copies will piggyback the Globe and Mail, another 11,000 will be mailed direct to area businesses in Victoria, Duncan and Nanaimo and another 5,100 copies to subscribers and promotional destinations. A one-time, full-age, four-colour ad sells for $3,055.
“In-depth interviews bring you face to face with Victoria’s key business people—some household names with a solid record of achievement and others who are tomorrow’s success stories. Business profiles focus on helpful strategies for growth and how to succeed in Victoria’s unique business climate,” the website promises.
It would be Victoria’s only glossy business magazine and stand arms akimbo as locally-focused competition for established tabloids Business Edge, Business in Vancouver and Canadawide’s glossy mag BC Business.
October 18, 2006
Canadian mag popular in U.S. prisons
MISSISSAGUA—Robert Kennedy has built a publishing empire in celebration of hard bodies.
No nudity means this Canadian title is going to jail
Editor-in-chief Rico Marques (photo credit: Cathy Chatterton)
Kennedy, a British ex-pat who emigrated to Canada in 1967, was drawn to the human form as a young art student in England where he began photographing bodybuilders. Now, three decades later, his Canusa Group has revenues exceeding $20 million and publishes a variety of U.S.-targeted magazines, including flagship MuscleMag International, women’s extreme-fitness glossy Oxygen, Maximum Fitness and Reps. He’s also launched an apparel company, Faremon Performance Apparel.
This double-page spread from a recent issue characterizes the spirit of American Curves editorial approach
Oh yes, and American Curves, edited by Rico Marques. First launched in 2003 as a special interest publication, its frequency is now nine times a year and features some of the same women you find in Oxygen, but without the service-oriented articles on fat burning, healthy eating and bench pressing. In Oxygen, the models show their wares only incidentally. In American Curves, their wares are the show. But there’s no nudity, and as Kennedy points out in the latest issue, “Many American Curves readers are in jail. Why? Because full-nudity publications are banned in most U.S. jails.”
Or, as Marques exclaims in his editorial, “We pride ourselves on being the best in the business of women so although you may find bigger, thicker eye-candy mags out there, we’re all about quality, baby! Rest assured this issue will have you believing that and cumming back for more—much more!”
October 17, 2006
PAP cuts “disastrous” for small mags, rural subscribers
VANCOUVER — Geist editor and founder Stephen Osborne says that if the federal Publications Assistance Program shrinks by $15 million following the planned withdrawal of Canada Post’s PAP contribution, his magazine could slip into the red and the cost to send copies to rural subscribers could become prohibitive without inflicting a significant price increase. “It’s quite disastrous for us,” he said yesterday. “The bottom line is that, in a good year, we’ll show $3,000 to $4,000 above the zero point. So, there it is right there, it’s our bottom line. This is probably true for most small magazines.”
Geist editor Stephen Osborne
Last fiscal year, Geist received $7,180 from PAP; if the $60-million postal subsidy declines by 25%, Geist would lose about $1,800. The 16-year-old “literary magazine of ideas and culture” is based in Vancouver and has a national circulation of about 5,500, mostly paid.
Magazines Canada issued an alert yesterday urging members, especially small magazine publishers, to complete and sign a form letter to be sent to their respective member of Parliament. Mags Can wants the federal government to “ensure that Canada Post’s partnership within PAP is maintained until there’s been a review and evaluation of Canada’s magazine policy,” said CEO Mark Jamison in an e-mail to members yesterday that was also distributed by Canada News Wire service.
October 16, 2006
Dawe to take “exotic journey”
TORONTO—Geoffrey Dawe, group publisher and co-founder of Kontent Group (FQ, Sir and Inside Entertainment) will be taking a three-month sabbatical in January with his wife, Wendy Muller, who recently resigned as head of Google Canada’s advertising sales and operations.
Geoffrey Dawe with wife Wendy Muller at Maclean's 100th anniversary gala
Dawe, who is publisher of Inside Entertainment, has hired Veronica Williams to succeed him in that role. Williams, a former ad executive with the National Post and Sun Media, was scheduled to start work today; Dawe will remain with Kontent until the end of the year. “Wendy resigned from Google about seven weeks ago,” said Dawe in an interview last week. “She and I have decided that come Jan. 1, 2007, we would take some time to… travel while we’re young enough and healthy enough to do that. We don’t have children, we don’t have debt so it’s something that we have an opportunity to do.” Australia, Thailand and Taiwan are on the couple’s itinerary.
Dawe says he remains a 50% owner of the company he co-founded with New Zealander Michael King. Shelaugh Tarleton, who holds a 5% stake in Kontent, will remain publisher of FQ and Sir magazines. (Jeanne Beker, editor-in-chief of FQ and Sir, also holds 5%.)
“Once we get back from our exotic journey, she’ll decide what she wants to do,” Dawe says of Muller.
October 12, 2006
Battle joined—again—in competitive parenting category
TORONTO—Pulses must be quickening among ad reps at Today’s Parent as Family Communications will offer yet another alternative to Rogers’ category leader. Parents Canada will be a 120,000-circ quarterly glossy set offer “options, not commands,” says the company.
Glossy will launch March 2007 with PMB fieldwork commencing next fall
Earlier this year, St. Joseph Media unveiled a reinvigorated Canadian Family sporting perfect binding (just like Today’s Parent) and a cover-to-cover redesign as part of its plan to convert its largely controlled circ of 90,000 to paid. Today’s Parent, with a paid circ of about 210,000, is the giant in a category it longer has all to itself. And now there is a third title, or will be in March 2007.
Jane Bradley left Kontent Publishing in June to become publisher
Family Communications, which publishes flagship title Today’s Bride, has almost 10 magazines targeting pre- and post-natal parents. The company poached advertising vet Jane Bradley from Kontent Publishing (Inside Entertainment, FQ, SIR) in June and appointed her publisher of Parents Canada. Prior to Kontent, Bradley was vice-president of sales and marketing at 50 Plus. “I don’t think this is an over-saturated category,” she says.
Frequency will be quarterly to start, expanding to six and then 11 times per year. Single copy sales will be pursued with exceptional intensity, as will PMB and CCAB membership. An exclusive direct arrangement with Chapters/Indigo will see that Parents Canada occupies prime check-out locations across all 250 stores, says Bradley. For more details on this launch, see the November/December issue of Masthead.
October 11, 2006
Kingwell, Gregg among new Walrus board members
TORONTO—A meeting last night of the Walrus Foundation board affirmed the immediate appointment of five new board members, effectively replacing some recent departees.
The new board members are: University of Toronto philosophy professor and writer Mark Kingwell; pollster (and frequent Walrus contributor) Allan Gregg; Helga Stephenson, former executive director of the Toronto International Film Festival, and now co-chair of Human Rights Watch; Toronto businessman Paul Cohen; and fundraiser and event planner Bisi Williams (who is also designer Bruce Mau’s wife). The appointments fill seats recently vacated by board members who resigned last month (see News Archives, Sept. 21).
A successor to outgoing Walrus publisher Bernard Schiff has yet to be announced
Retired magazine distributor Jack Shapiro, founding chair of the board, is now acting chair and Alexander remains editor and acting publisher as Bernard Schiff transitions out of that role (he resigned last month).
Of the new board members, Alexander says “[e]ach brings a wealth of experience, contacts, smarts, and energy to the task ahead.” Alexander also says reports from Walrus circulation director Greg Keilty indicate newsstand sales of the Summer Reading issue are hovering at 16,000 to 17,000 copies, which is impressive.
October 10, 2006
CSME offers peek inside trio of start-ups
TORONTO—The Canadian Society of Magazine Editors kicks off another season of presentations and panel discussions later this month when representatives from Magenta, Chocolat and More come together to discuss their launch tactics and strategies.
Scheduled panelists are:
Magenta publisher MaryAnn Camilleri, who returned to Canada in 2004 after working for 10 years in the busy world of art publishing in New York City, launched her quarterly this spring as part of her Magenta charitable arts foundation. “We want to be the new vehicle for visual communication in Canada for art enthusiasts of all types,” she said. (See News Archives, April 10).
Chocolat style director Janette Ewen will talk about Rogers’ first glossy foray into the shelter category since the demise of City & Country Home, a Maclean Hunter title that collapsed during the recession of the early 1990s. Chocolat, with a controlled circ of 250,000, derives its distribution list by contract from Canada Post’s database of recent movers.
More editor-in-chief Linda Lewis, formerly editor of Today’s Parent, joined the yet-to-be-launched Transcontinental Media title this summer. Transcontinental signed a multi-year licensing agreement with Meredith Corporation to establish a Canadian version of More in Spring 2007. It targets “a powerful and empowered generation—a growing community of women over 40 who are more accomplished, more confident, more influential and more resourceful,” the company says. (See News Achives, May 5.)
The event will be held at 6 p.m. at Toronto’s Bar Italia on Wednesday, Oct. 25. For more info, visit www.canadianeditors.ca
Flare publisher David Hamilton, circa 1998
Hamilton has moved up through the Flare masthead steadily. In the mid 1980s, the affable, English-accented Hamilton was advertising director under publisher Donna Scott, then associate publisher before being appointed publisher in the mid-1990s.
FQ editor-in-chief Jeanne Beker and Kontent CEO Michael King at the Paris couture in January
Toronto-based Conceptual Films is producing the series for U.S.-based Voom HD Networks, which specializes in high-definition programming. The syndicated series, called Cover Stories, debuted in Canada last Friday night and can be viewed Fridays at 8:30 p.m. EST on A-Channel and FashionTelevision, both of which are owned by Chum Limited, which acquired Canadian rights to broadcast the high-definition show this year and next. FQ editor-in-chief Jeanne Beker, the long-time host of Fashion Television and a pioneer in the field of televised fashion reportage, figures prominently in the series. King and other staffers also find themselves in front of the lens.
Six episodes have been shot so far, says King, with another seven in production. Conceptual’s film crew has been tagging along with FQ/Sir since Fall 2005.
While Kontent has no financial stake in the series—its magazines are merely the subjects—King says the company is learning about the broadcast model and all its associated costs. “It’s reasonable to suggest that over time [Kontent] will provide video packets of information to people,” he says.
Earlier this year Kontent announced that it had retained financial advisor KPMG for strategic counsel on how to proceed. King says a number of acquisition targets have been “quietly explored” in the fields of publishing, communications and marketing. He said a deal might be announced by year end.
Jean Durocher, president of Gesca Publications, says opening an office in
English Canada is inevitable if his titles succeed outside Quebec.
Durocher, president of Les Editions Gesca Ltée, says an English edition of four-year-old foodie title Ricardo is set to launch next month across English Canada. Chef Ricardo has a daily television show in Quebec and his new weekly show in English begins this month on The Food Channel, says Durocher. Ricardo magazine’s French edition has a paid circulation of nearly 50,000, largely through the newsstand. The English edition, distributed by Coast to Coast Newsstand Services, will have a newsstand draw of 75,000 and a $6.95 cover price, says Durocher; prospective subscribers will be pursued. In August, Gesca launched a new bimonthly hockey magazine (Hockey le magazine/Hockey the magazine) plus and annual guide for hockey pool fanatics—in both official languages.
How-to décor glossy Inspiration, another Gesca title, may test the English market in the Greater Toronto Area this spring, says Durocher. “When we have a successful magazine in Quebec, why not do it in English?” asks Durocher, although he concedes that it’s “a very different market to attack for a magazine publisher. Distribution is more complex in the rest of Canada [than Quebec].” Nevertheless, he adds, “we think that these products are good products.”
Gesca is the holding company for seven daily newspapers (including La Presse, Le Droit and Le Soleil) and has Internet, television production, book and magazine publishing operations. Gesca is vertically integrated in the golf category with about nine golf titles, as well as a TV show. Power Corp. owns Gesca.
Gesca owns the following magazine properties: Ricardo, Styles de vie, Via Destinations Mag/Via Destinations Guide (contract publishing), Inspiration, Scrapbooking, Annuel Grand Prix, Paddock, Prestige 2006, Automobile 2007, Au jeu avec Les Canadiens, Hockey le magazine/Hockey the magazine, Annuel Golf, Québec Golf 2006, Mensuel Golf, Golf 2006, Golf les Affaires, Golf AGP International, Maxi Golf.
October 2, 2006
Whyte testing "pump" approach at Maclean's
In a move similar to decals found on gas pumps across Canada, Maclean’s publisher/editor Ken Whyte is testing a subscription offer that breaks out the price of a sub from its postal cost. In a “Professional Courtesy Offer,” special half-year subscription to the magazine is offered at $29.95 “+ $5 postage.”
“It’s a test,” says Whyte. “We’re getting killed by the rapid decline in [postal] programs and it’s meant a very fast and unscheduled change to our business model. [Canada Post] is raising their prices for delivery of magazines and they’re leaving us really no choice but to pass along that cost increase to consumers,” he says.
Gas pump decals highlight the taxman’s role in pricing.
The situation is similar to what consumers see at the gas pump, Whyte says. “If you go to the gas station it’s quite clear—it’s right there on the pump what you’re paying for gas and what you’re paying for taxes. We need to draw the revenue from the consumer on the circ side because we can’t afford to give it away for free.” Whyte says 10% of a direct-mail drop dispatched earlier this month carried the “plus shipping and handling” test package.