September 27, 2007
Magazines welcome the Internet age, survey says
TORONTO-It seems magazine publishers and editors might not be as afraid of the Internet as they’re often made out to be.
In a recent survey conducted by a University of Stirling MBA student, 87.5% of the respondents said the Internet has had a positive influence on the magazine industry, while 12.5% said the web has had both a positive and negative influence.
Krista Glenn, a Canadian who studied in studied in Scotland, conducted the survey as part of a larger study on the effects of the Internet on the Canadian magazine publishing industry. Her survey was sent out to 150 magazines across the country; 37 magazines responded.
While this represents a tiny fraction of the magazines being published in Canada, the fact that not one respondent said the Internet is having an entirely negative effect on magazine publishing is worth noting.
Some of the study’s other findings:
or a summary or complete version of Glenn’s study, e-mail her at: mailto:email@example.com
September 26, 2007
Canadian Living tests a new website recipe
While the web may not be the best place to publish lengthy features or thought-provoking essays, it does offers readers things they can’t get from print, including the opportunity to engage and interact with content, editorial staff, and other readers.
The team at Canadian Living has realized this, and new interactive features are playing a major part in the CanadianLiving.com re-launch.
“We’re trying to create a community for our readers and users,” says Lynn Chambers, group publisher of Canadian Living and Homemakers (Transcontinental).
One of the site’s new features is MyCL, a social networking platform where registered readers can upload photos and recipes, share recipes, and interact with one another—kind of like Facebook for Canadian moms. “It gives our users a place to play,” Chambers says.
The website’s forums have also been bulked up, while blogs on parenting and food have been added. The website is also sending four weekly e-newsletters, each centred around one of Canadian Living’s four “pillars”: food, family, health and community.
Brand extension is the name of the game, says Chambers, who became group publisher in March 2006. “We realized that we were looking at each of our properties as single entities and I think the rethinking that I’ve brought to the organization is: Canadian Living is a brand,” she says. “Our real goal is to understand who our readers are, how they interact with Canadian Living, and to be able to serve them on many different platforms.”
While adding value for readers is the main reason for the re-launch, user-generated content has added benefits for the magazine—it gives editors the chance to better gage the tastes and interests of readers. As an example, Chambers points to the e-newsletters. “If they sign up for life and family news, we know that life and family is important to them. As new products are launched, we’ll understand how we can serve them better.”Canadian Living has a team of four dedicated staffers working exclusively on the website, though all editors are expected to contribute. The magazine’s traffic rose from an average of 472,000 visitors per month in 2006 to 621,000 per month in 2007, according to comScore Media Metrix. All content from the magazine is freely available on CanadianLiving.com after an issue has been replaced on newsstands.
September 24, 2007
CLB Media Inc. fills green space with two new B2B titles
TORONTO - It seems everything is going green these days and magazines are no exception. Titles diverse as Canadian House & Home, The Economist and The Catholic Register have put together “Green Issues,” while more and more magazines are using FSC-certified paper.
Then there’s the green launches. CLB Media Inc., publisher of 23 business-to-business publications in Canada, including Canadian Lawyer, Workplace News and Law Times, sensed an opportunity in the increasingly environmentally aware business world. In December, the company will launch Green Business, a bi-montly B2B mag that targets “senior executives who need to build their businesses while facing growing sustainability issues.”
Issues surrounding sustainability are creating new risks and opportunities for Canadian companies, and executives are in need of information about how to proceed in this new environment, said Niel Hiscox, CLB Media vice-president and publisher of Green Business. “While [sustainability] is being covered in a variety of different of ways, we didn’t really see a dedicated national Canadian magazine in this space approaching it from the stand point of a business magazine.”
Green Business has sent 60,000 copies of a prototype issue to senior execs across the country. The plan is to convert this into a request-circ subscription model. CLB is also offering free subscriptions to digital editions of the magazine, produced by Zegapi. A full-page colour ad is going for $8,220.
CLB is in a good position to put together a strong title in this category, Hiscox, said, since the company covers related subjects in many of its other magazines. “We know those companies well. We are hearing the stories of what they’re doing in their operations, and I think there’s an awful lot of learning in those stories.”
CLB is also launching Energy Matters in December, a bi-monthly mini-tabloid which showcases “energy-efficient products and technologies to more than 17,000 owners, property managers, facilities managers and engineers in industry, commerce and government.” The circulation is controlled and a full-page colour ad is being sold for $4,975.
While the two publications are very different, releasing both at the same time presents a good packaging opportunity for both advertising and editorial, Hiscox said, since both magazines are filling green space.
September 20, 2007
Blue Box fees increase again for Ontario magazines
TORONTO - The recycling levy charged to magazines in Ontario for Blue Box usage has increased for the fourth year in a row.
Stewardship Ontario, an administrative arm of the Waste Diversion Act (2002), has raised the annual rate charged to magazines, catalogues, telephone books and other printed paper from 1.84 cents per kilogram of waste last year to 2.193 cents/kg in 2008, a 19% increase. The new rate also represents a 2,700% increased from 2003, the year the program began.
There are three reasons for this year’s increase, explains Barbara McConnell, a Stewardship Ontario spokesperson:
-In 2008, stewards will for the first time pay the full 50% share of total recycling costs. In previous years, this cost was discounted by Stewardship Ontario. Net costs for recycling went up, from $55 million to $66.5 million, which means everyone is paying more. (Calculations for 2008 are based on 2006 numbers.)
-The increase in recovery of printed-paper from blue boxes was larger than the increase in packaging. At the same time, the commodity market for recycled printed paper was less valuable than the market for packaging.
-A new “equalization” formula, approved last year, has shifted more costs in the printed paper category onto magazines.* Exempt are trade magazine publishers and those publishers generating less than $2 million per year in revenue in Ontario or under 15 tonnes of magazines in Ontario (including ridealong material).
September 19, 2007
Incoming Toronto Life editor Sarah Fulford: “Firing is the last thing on my mind”
TORONTO—If you’re an ambitious, young, opinionated writer who wants to make good money, then Sarah Fulford’s appointment as Toronto Life’s incoming editor-in-chief should please you.
Fulford, 33, will take over as editor-in-chief of the 41-year-old St. Joseph Media title when John Macfarlane leaves in December. Fulford has been with magazine for eight years and was promoted from associate to senior editor in 2003. In an interview with Masthead today, Fulford identified some of her goals and ambitions as she prepares to take over Toronto Life.
“The best thing about this magazine is its tradition of introducing new voices,” Fulford said. “The number one priority is to identify who the next generation of new talented writers are. In order to that, we have to be able to offer incentives to writers beyond just the excitement of being in a magazine like Toronto Life, so I am hoping to pay more—pay them what they deserve. Yes, it is possible.”
Fulford, who will become the magazine’s first female editor-in-chief, also said she would like to see writers inject more opinion into their stories. “Great reporting, good solid research, and lots of background is essential to a story, but I think what gets people talking is when a strong opinion is voiced. I would like to see that more and more on the pages of the magazine.”
There will be new bodies coming into the Toronto Life offices over the coming months. The magazinehas been without an art director since Carol Moskot left for New York in June to launch Jewish Living. Food editor Chris Nuttall-Smith and web editor Jason McBride have also recently left the magazine to go freelance. “It’s funny, people have asked me…’are you planning on firing anybody?’ God no!” Fulford says, laughing. “Firing is the last thing on my mind, I’ve got so much hiring to do.”
Fulford, who is the daughter of former Saturday Night editor Robert Fulford, offered praise for Toronto Life’s current team. “The staff here is such a blessing. The executive editor, in particular, Angie Gardos is totally brilliant and I’m really lucky that she makes such a big contribution.”
Fulford recently returned to Toronto from New York, where she had been living with her husband, novelist Stephen Marche, and their 19-month-old son. The “hunger and ambition to do things differently” on display in the Big Apple’s magazine scene inspired Fulford. “If there’s anything I can bring back from that experience, it will be that spirit of ‘why do we always do it that way?’”
Macfarlane leaves the magazine after a 15-year run (he was also editor from 1972 to 1974). The former Saturday Night publisher helped turn the fledgling title into a money-maker by blending service journalism with more lengthy research features and profiles. Macfarlane also introduced the popular “red book” city guides in 1999.
“Magazines need to be constantly renewed and after 15 years I think you’ve probably done what you can do. It was time for the magazine and it was time for me,” Macfarlane told Masthead.
He will now dedicate his energies to board work, including sitting on an advisory board for St, Joseph Media. He also plans on doing some traveling and to devote more time to his R&B band, 3 Chord Johnny, and writing.Asked what he’ll miss most about his job, Macfarlane said: “I’ll miss the power. I don’t mean that in terms of power over people, I mean the ability to wake in up the morning, and look around, and see something, and think ‘that’s interesting’ or ‘that’s a problem’ and I can do something in the magazine that addresses it. That’s a very privileged position.”
September 17, 2007
David Hamilton’s celebrity challenge
TORONTO-David Hamilton couldn’t stay away.
Recently hired Hello! Canada publisher David Hamilton, circa 1998
The Englishman says his new position represents a different kind of challenge than his old job at the top of Canada’s leading fashion magazine.
Hello! Canada is a much younger title than Flare—it launched in August 2006—and Hamilton thinks there are a lot of untapped growth opportunities.
“A huge number of people don’t know about it,” Hamilton says. “They don’t know what it is, or they don’t know there’s a Canadian version of it. Thinking about the customers we want to pick up, anybody and everybody who reads celebrity magazines is a potential customer, so that’s the pond we want to go and fish in.”
Hamilton won’t be dealing with a strong editor-in-chief like Flare boss Lisa Tant at Hello!. Rogers re-structured the weekly tabloid in January, letting go of editor Christopher Loudon (rehired by Rogers in March to edit Marketing) and publisher Shelley Middlebrook (now vice-president and publisher of Kontent Publishing's Inside Entertainment). Hello! Canada’s editorial is now a collaborative effort between a Toronto-based team headed by managing editor Ciara Hunt and a Madrid-based office headed by editor Isabelle Courson. Hello! is licensed from the Spanish publisher of the original title, Ola!
Still, Hamilton says he’s happy with magazine’s editorial direction and thinks the title is positioned differently enough to avoid direct competition with American celebrity gossip rags such as Us Weekly and In Touch Weekly.
“ It stands out—it looks different, it’s bigger and it’s more positive toward celebrities. We’re not looking for the bad stuff...People aren’t reading Hello! for dirt—they’re reading it for the beautiful pictures and because they want to see the beautiful people in the pictures. I think that fits very well with the Canadian sensibility.”
After a shaky start, it appears Hello! Canada may be turning into a winner for Rogers. Last week, the company announced it had reached its circulation target of 180,000 per month (45,000 per week), up from 100,000 per month when it launched. Hamilton believes those numbers can rise even higher.“The key is to get the message out, to get advertisers and get lots of buzz around the Hello! brand. That’s really what my challenge is.”
September 13, 2007
The facts of life (for fact-checkers)
TORONTO-In October 2006, a Ryerson journalism student posted an item on the Ryerson Review of Journalism blog, reporting that, instead of a house guide, she had received a scanned copy of Cynthia Brouse’s A Guide to Fact-Checking Magazines, copyright 2002, from Montreal-based Maisonneuve. After noting how Brouse’s guide had permeated the Canadian publishing industry, the student asked the question: “Shouldn’t she receive some compensation for the seemingly universal usage of her rules?”
Brouse, of course, was aware the guide was being used outside of her magazine fundamentals classroom at Ryerson. “I have received numerous requests from people who want to use this booklet, and have usually granted permission with the condition that I be credited,” Brouse wrote in response to the student’s post. “But like any freelancer, I need to profit from my writing.”
This month, Brouse self-published After the Fact: A Guide to Fact-Checking for Magazines and Other Media. The booklet was a project she had been thinking about for a long time—the student’s blog posting provided the push she needed to get it done. She’s selling the 56-page booklet as a textbook to her students at Ryerson, and marketing it to consumer magazines and journalism schools in Canada. It’s available for order online here.
The guide is a “tweaked, polished and extended” version of the material Brouse has been putting together on fact-checking since she began teaching the skill in 1987. For the book, she added sections on checking memoirs and a small section on Canadian libel law.
After the Fact is divided into two parts: the first half, directed at editors and publishers, considers these questions: “What is fact-checking, why should we do it and how can we make it work?” The second half is a practical “how to” guide aimed at fact-checkers.
“I hear some horror stories from people who don’t believe in fact-checking or who don’t like fact-checking,” Brouse says, “or they complain about a particular fact-checker who didn’t do the job properly. And when you really scratch the surface, and try to find out what the problem is, the problem is not with the checker or with fact-checking per se. The problem is they’re not doing it right.” Her book addresses ways for editors to make sure checking is done properly. “It’s got to be supported by editors.”
In the book’s first part, Brouse lays out common objections to fact-checking (including classic lines such as “does fact-checking make writers lazy?” and “will fact-checkers encourage sources to retract what they told the writer?”) and tries to respond to them one at a time. “It’s sort of my sneaky way of writing a section of the book that just supports having it done at all.”
Writing experiences have only strengthened Brouse’s faith in checking. She remembers writing her first article for publication at Canadian Business magazine. “Because I had been a fact-checker, I thought ‘There’s not going to be any errors in my article…I’m a fact-checker.’” The checker did of course detect errors— but “not very many,” Brouse adds. “It was really interesting to me to see that I too made mistakes and needed to be fact-checked.” Brouse tries to convey this to her adult, night-course students by assigning them to write a profile of a classmate and then have it checked, providing them with the opportunity to play writer, checker, and source.Brouse isn’t doing much fact-checking herself these days, focusing instead writing, copy-editing and teaching. The occasional reference to her as the “queen of fact-checking in Canada” embarrasses her. “But I don’t mind being called the queen of teaching fact-checking in Canada,” she says with a laugh. “Though that’s not a hard thing to be, because not many people teach it!”
September 12, 2007
CSME looking for a place to “hang our hat”
TORONTO - The Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME) will discuss how it might benefit from a relationship with Magazines Canada at a board meeting today.
The discussions among CSME board members are preliminary, said outgoing CSME president Douglas Thomson. CSME has not formally approached Magazines Canada, or vice versa.
“It’s not like there’s anything imminent,” said Thomson, also editor of Canadian Home Workshop magazine. “We haven’t even agreed as a board that it’s something we want to do.”
The possibility of entering some sort of agreement with Magazines Canada was first discussed at a CSME board meeting in June, Thomson said. The ideas have ranged from using Magazines Canada office space to hold board meetings to “something more integrated.”
“As an organization, we are really looking to solidify ourselves,” Thomson said. “All the board members believe in the mandate of the organization, and we just want to make sure it has a place to carry on from tenure to tenure.
“We’d like a place to hang our hat.”
A relationship with Magazines Canada could have many benefits for CSME, said vice-president Bob Sexton, including office space, access to Magazines Canada resources and more opportunities for government grant money. Maintaining the CSME’s independence is a priority, he added. “Keeping our own identity is paramount.”
The CSME board has looked at a variety of other organizational arrangements, said Sexton, an associate editor at Outdoor Canada, including the American model, where the American Society of Magazine Editors and the Magazine Publishers Association are affiliated but separate organizations.
No official discussion about any agreement between the two associations is taking place at Magazines Canada, said president Mark Jamison. “There are always advantages to [being under] one tent, even if it’s not a merger,” Jamison said. “There’s always something that Magazines Canada is willing to do for NMAF, or CSME, PWAC, or CMC, because we’re the largest organization.”An election for a new CSME president will probably take place next month, Thomson said. Sexton is considered the frontrunner.
September 11, 2007
Redesigned L’actualité will keep covers clean
MONTREAL - Beginning with the redesigned Sept. 15 issue, l’actualité will feature just three stories on its covers.
Carole Beaulieu, editor-in-chief of the 30-year-old Montreal-based public affairs magazine, said the reduced sell lines are part of the magazine’s broader move toward an uncluttered, clean look.
“We know that the trend is to have 15, or 12, or 8 stories [on a cover] but we just took the bold step to cut it down to three key stories,” Beaulieu said. “Readers said they wanted sharp and edgy. Well, we’ll give them sharp and edgy.”
All future covers will display one main story in the centre, with two more getting pushed on a bright red banner, which the magazine has added to its front-end design.
The redesign comes after a year of reader surveys, focus groups, online forums and polls conducted by the magazine (with additional research conducted by CROP). The magazine’s readership was generally happy with l’actualité’s editorial content, Beaulieu said, but felt the title was lacking visual appeal. “They were saying: ‘We like you, but we’d like you better if you dressed better,” said Beaulieu, who became editor-in-chief eight years ago.
Long-time l’actualité art director Jocelyne Fournel handled the visual redesign, which includes new fonts and a bolder colour scheme. The objective was to give the illusion of more space without sacrificing content, Beaulieu said. “We’ve opened new windows,” Beaulieu said. “There’s more light coming in.”
Some editorial changes will also accompany the new look. The magazine has hired three new contributors: scientific interpretive writer Binh An Vu Van, novelist Martine Desjardins and Quebec illustrater André Phillipe-Coté, as well as a new food column by Yanick Villedieu.
The magazine’s website has also been redone. The magazine’s columnists have all been given space to write outside their print confines while readers are given the chance to participate in online forum discussions.
The accompanying advertising campaign will include advertisements in newspapers, magazines, radio, television, billboards and the web.l’actualité is the second Rogers title to redesign this fall (Flare launched a new look with its September 2007 issue). Canadian Business also will launch a major redesign campaign later this fall while Chatelaine will unveil a new logo to accompany its recent changes sometime next year.
September 7, 2007
Chocolat unable to attract advertisers and subscribers
TORONTO/MONTREAL - Lack of advertising support and a low conversion rate are the likely business reasons for Chocolat’s demise.
Rogers announced the folding of the shopping/home décor title yesterday, after just one year of publishing. The last issue will be distributed Sept. 17.
About twenty Rogers employees are directly affected by the closure, according to Marc Blondeau, Rogers senior vice-president of consumer publishing. “I would say that we will be able to reassign about half,” Blondeau added. “And some of the others might have some freelance work with us.”
In an internal Rogers memo announcing the closure yesterday, Blondeau wrote: “While advertiser support has been favourable over the course of that year…we have realized that the path to profitability is longer than we had expected.”
In a phone interview with Masthead this morning, Blondeau said advertising support was good, but not good enough. “Although we’ve had good advertiser support, with over 100 advertisers as partners in the last year—and we’ve taken a few million dollars out of the marketplace—we believe that not enough advertisers saw the value of this well-targeted distribution plan.
“In this case, we were coming to market with a very different shaded distribution circulation strategy and a lot of advertisers liked that, and we had a lot of our major partners come in and advertise in the magazine, but we would have had to see more advertising partners come in more quickly…You gotta respect what the marketplace tells you.”
Chocolat was launched in September 2006 as a cooperative venture with Canada Post. The distribution model was indeed unique: Rogers shipped the free magazine to 250,000 homes selected from Canada Post’s list of paid address change requests.
The free distribution would end after a year. The idea was to get readers to switch to the $14.95 paid subscription. The conversion rate was low: Chocolat had 3,802 English subscribers and 942 French subscribers as of Feb. 13, 2007, according to a sworn statement published in CARD.
Rogers circulated 30,000 copies of each issue on newsstands, selling it for $4.95. According to CARD, the average single copy sales of the English version were 12,500, while the French version averaged 8,000.Asked whether Rogers would attempt a similar distribution model in the future, Blondeau said: “We were trying something new here with Canada Post and we won’t shy from any other opportunity, if other opportunities come up.”
September 6, 2007
New list ranks Canadian newsstand performance
TORONTO - Canadian Living has the best newsstand performance of any Canadian title, according to a new list released by Coast to Coast Newsstand Services Partnership(CTC). The Transcontinental Media magazine grossed $4,786,741 on the newsstand in 2006, moving 1,439,038 units. More>>>
The Canadian Newsstand BoxScore ranks 2,700 English-language magazines by gross newsstand revenue in Canada. Canadian Living ranked 15th overall in the first ever list of this kind. American celebrity weekly People easily topped the chart with gross newsstand revenues of $32,024,033, way ahead of second place Star, which earned $20,368,050 in 2006.
CTC has sent about 1,000 printed BoxScore copies listing the top 200 magazines to Canadian retailers, wholesalers, publishers, and national distributors. The entire list of 2,700 is available online.
CTC compiled the list with data from The NewsGroup, Newswest, Metro News, Benjamin News and MediaLogix. Included for each title is the number of units sold and retail revenue for 2005 and 2006, the average retail price for 2006, and numbers comparing units and retail revenue for 2005 and 2006. The data reflects approximately 96% of the mass-market newsstand sales in Canada.
CTC president Glenn Morgan said the list was compiled for the benefit of the entire industry. “It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time,” Morgan said.
In an interview yesterday, Morgan spoke about the list’s objective with regards to retailers. “Our hope is that retailers will look at this and will see where the magazines rank,” he said. “And that will help them display the magazines more effectively.”
In a follow-up interview today, Morgan talked about how the list could benefit publishers. “Often a new publisher comes to us and they’ll have a really cockeyed formula for newsstand distribution,” he said. “By showing them comparative titles, we can bring them down to earth. [For larger publishers], it’s also a good tool to measure yourself against the competition. ”
Below, Mastheadonline has excerpted a list of the top 25 Canadian titles in 2006:
|2006 Retail $||Overall Rank|
|2.||Canadian House & Home||4,699,518||16|
|3.||Style at Home||3,388,785||19|
|5.||TV Guide – All Editions||2,561,015||30|
|11.||The Hockey News||1,738,349||47|
|13.||Canadian Living SIP’s||1,451,013||59|
|17.||Lou Lou City & National||839,267||123|
|18.||Dogs in Canada Annual||825,709||126|
|19.||The Hockey News Yearbook||629,710||163|
|21.||Canadian House & Home: SIP||621,165||167|
September 5, 2007
Coast to Coast to distribute Canadian Geographic
TORONTO - Coast to Coast Newsstand Services Partnership (CTC) has been appointed as the exclusive newsstand national distributor for Canadian Geographic magazine. CTC won the title from rival Disticor Magazine Distribution Services.
“At Coast to Coast our mandate has always been to represent all the premier magazines in Canada,” CTC president Glenn Morgan said. “The fact is that Canadian Geographic was one of the few really, really good, really successful magazines [we didn’t represent]. We wanted to represent them for a long time and we were finally able to come up with the right action plan that would work for them. We’re really proud to welcome them as part of the family here.”
A growth strategy session between the partners is scheduled for the fall. “We both have some very definite ideas about what we’d like to do,” Morgan said.
Andre Préfontaine, president and publisher for Canadian Geographic Enterprises (CGE) since July 2006, said the deal will give Canadian Geographic a “broader footprint in the marketplace.
“We wanted to develop a newsstand expansion strategy and when we looked at the players, Coast to Coast seemed like the best players to do that with,”
Préfontaine said. The former president of Transcontinental Media (which also partnered with CTC under Préfontaine’s leadership) cited the distributor’s marketing experience, “unique” relationship with wholesalers and “leading edge” sales monitoring system as enticements.
Préfontaine is confident that CGE will be able increase its newsstand presence and sales. Canadian Geographic’s 2006 newsstand revenue was $375,555. Its greatest revenue source is subscriptions, which last year brought in $6,392,110 for the independent company, according to the Masthead Top 50 Magazines rankings.
Under Préfontaine, CGE has outsourced fulfillment services operations to Indas Ltd. and discontinued its merchandizing and catalogue operations.“The strategy is very simple for Canadian Geographic—it’s to focus on publishing,” Préfontaine said. “Publishing on paper with the magazine and on the web. There are great opportunities for us there. We have an incredible brand.”