December 20, 2007
MastheadOnline takes a break for the holidays
MISSISSAUGA, ON-MastheadOnline wishes a safe and happy holiday to all our valued subscribers. We’ll be breaking for the holidays and back on Jan. 2 with more news on Canada’s periodical publishing industry. And be sure to keep an eye out for new MastheadOnline features and services in 2008.
More good blogs and websites about magazines and publishing
On Oct. 31, we posted some links to other sites where you can get your magazine and publishing information fix. Since MastheadOnline will be closing for the holidays (more on that above), here are a few more sites to keep you satiated during the break.
Magazines Canada maintains The Shoestring Blog, which covers “small magazines in Canada—their issues, innovations and achievements.” It’s a good place to keep up on what’s going on at MC and often has interesting tips and tidbits for mini-mag publishers and editors.
BuzzMachine is an excellent media blog by the very established and accomplished Jeff Jarvis. Like a lot of media bloggers, one of his favourite topics is the digital evolution of media. The reader comments are often just as interesting as the main posts.
Paul Conley writes “a blog for those who toil in the most specialized, and perhaps the least glamorous, area in the press -- trade journalism.” This one is frequently updated, opinionated and insightful. His multi-part series “Five important question for B2B Media” is a must-read.
Rexblog.com is maintained by Rex Hammock, president of Hammock Inc., a custom publishing company based in Nashville, TN. He also co-founded the Custom Publishing Council. Not everything he publishes is related to magazines, but it’s worth reading the stuff that is.
Freelancewriters.com published Print Media News, which covers American “magazine launches, editorial staff changes, and print media news for freelance writers.”
Publishing Executive is a Philadelphia, PA-based magazine that covers the U.S. industry. The website is vast, carrying news, aggregated content from elsewhere, tips, blogs and back issues of the magazine.Finally, there’s the inestimable Robert Sacks aka BoSacks. As you’ll see from this profile page, this guy maintains eight (yes, eight) blogs, all related in some way to magazine publishing. In case you’re interested he’s also one of the founding fathers of High Times magazine.
Toronto Life moves its “little red books” online
TORONTO- Toronto Life will no longer send its popular CityGuides to subscribers as outserts. Instead, what used to appear in “little red books” will now appear in the magazine and on the Web. Toronto Life group publisher Sharon McAuley says the change allows the country’s biggest and oldest city magazine to “match the medium to the content” and to expand the reach of the guides to newsstand buyers.
Toronto Life subscribers didn't get the Good Stuff Cheap red book with the January 2008 issue. Instead, the guide was featured in the magazine and on Torontolife.com.
TL’s January 2008 issue carries a colourful four-page “Good Stuff Cheap” spread in the service-y City Survivor section, while an expanded version of the guide (with listings) is available online. Toronto Life, which is owned by St. Joseph Media, will use the same format for all future guides except the Restaurant Guide, which will continue to be published in its traditional outsert format. “It has universal appeal to our readership,” McAuley says.
Toronto Life publishes a total of ten CityGuides, which cover everything from golf to getaways. They were created by outgoing Toronto Life editor John Macfarlane in 1999 and provided a big boost to ad revenue. McAuley says the magazine is saving on printing costs by moving away from the outsert format, though extra pages added to the magazine will offset some of those savings.
Toronto Life is also adding a third book to its roster of annual publications. A real estate guide will join Eating and Drinking and Shopping on the newsstands in 2008.There have also been some recent hires and promotions at the magazine over the last month. Matthew Fox, a former fiction and associate editor at Maisonneuve has been brought in as Online Editor, while editorial assistant Courtney Shea has also been bumped up to editor of the This City section. Graham Silnicki, a former Canadian Business intern, has been hired to fill Shea’s old position.
December 19, 2007
Reminder: Important changes to Canada Post regulations
The new year will bring new rules and regulations for publications mailing through Canada Post. Here’s what you need to know.
PUBLICATION MAIL (PM) AGREEMENT NUMBER
As of Jan. 1, Canada Post will enforce the existing rule that all PM numbers must be visible from the outside of either unwrapped or wrapped magazines. Otherwise, publishers will be hit with a 5-cent/copy penalty.
The number can go on the front cover, back cover, spine, mailing label, cover sheet, etc. The key is that it has to be visible from the outside. Every publication that mails under Publications Mail has one of these agreement numbers (they all start with 400).
As of Jan. 14, publishers will have two options for dealing with undeliverable copies of magazines they distribute through the mail:
1. Under the old "rip and snip" system, Canada Post used to return the hard-copy covers only of undeliverables to the originating publisher, and charge the publisher for the service. Under the electronic notification system, publishers will get an Excel spreadsheet with the list of undeliverable copies. There is still a charge for the service; all the details are here.
This is the new system that the industry has been asking for. But to work, every publisher must supply Canada Post with a valid e-mail address by Jan. 1 (to be safe). Not all publishers have done that yet, says Dale Bemben, PM production director at Canada Post.
2. Although most magazines will use the electronic system, there is still another option to receive hard-copy returns. Canada Post will return the complete undeliverable magazine (not just the cover) to publishes who either ask for this service, or who don't sign up for the electronic service.
The kicker? Canada Post will charge a $1 handling fee for each undeliverable copy, plus the regular, expensive Lettermail rate for the weight of each magazine. For example, a magazine 100g or less will get charged $1 handling plus $1.15 Lettermail, for total of $2.15. A magazine weighing between 200 and 500g will get charged $1 handling PLUS $2.65 Lettermail, for a total of $3.65.For more information, see Canada Post customer guides or call 1-866-607-6301.
December 12, 2007
The Web will become a major revenue-source for publishers, survey says
MISSISSAUGA, ON-An online publishing survey conducted by Masthead reveals that the majority of magazine publishers believe online revenues are essential for growth.
A combined total of 87.3 per cent of respondents answered “extremely important,” “important” or “mildly important” when asked “How important are your online publishing activities for revenue growth in the next few years?”
The majority of respondents (42.9 per cent) cited banner and classified advertising sales as the primary business purpose for publication websites—an seemingly obvious and necessary choice, considering that most publication websites (77.3 per cent) offer all their web content for free.
The survey results are based on 77 responses from online managers representing 301 publication websites. The responses came from 35 consumer, 32 business-to-business, four association, three scholarly and two custom publishing companies that combined employ 508 staff members. Just over half of these companies are based in the Greater Toronto Area.The full results of Masthead’s first-ever online publishing survey will be published in January/February 2008 issue, which will be mailed to subscribers early next year.
December 11, 2007
A new player joins the media directory game
VANCOUVER — Startup company G&Y media have made it their mission to create the biggest and most comprehensive directory of media agencies in Canada—perhaps even the world. The kicker? They want the directory to be free.
e-Greenpages founded Edward Ye founded his new online media directory on the principle that "information wants to be free."
Two weeks ago, Edward Ye officially launched e-greenpage.com, an online directory that provides contact and corporate information about media companies in Canada. Unlike existing subscriber directories however, e-greenpage serves only to facilitate user-created profiles, meaning that media companies are responsible for posting and updating their own directory listing.
“We strongly believe in the philosophy of sharing,” says Ye, who still works a full-time job in the healthcare industry. “We just provide a platform that enables the free exchange of information. All the data belongs to the users.”
Espousing the open source model of his website, Ye says e-greenpage seeks to ultimately create a global media directory that is “open to the public and not only subscribers,” creating a “community for marketing and media professionals to develop relationships.”
With all these free services, advertising is conspicuously missing from e-greenpage. When asked, Ye conceded that currently the website is still seeking a source of consistent revenue.
Citing low overhead costs because all the data is user-maintained, Ye believes that “as our website becomes more established, just by putting a few advertisements on the website, we should easily be able to cover our expenses.”
Keeping a close eye on the situation is the Rogers’ Media Information Network, publishers of CARD and CARDonline, Canada’s incumbent king of media data collection.
“We are aware of the efforts being made by G&Y media to create a database for the advertising industry,” says CARD publisher Bruce Richards. “This company is not the first one to attempt this. Many others have tried—too many to mention—and failed, not appreciating the complexity of the task.”
Ye is optimistic that his idea is catching on. In just over two weeks, over 1000 listings have been created. “We receive e-mails on a daily basis, and quite a few have expressed that they think this is a really good idea,”
“The vast majority of internet users expect to find free information on the Internet, not have to buy it,” continues Ye. “This is true in the consumer environment, and also true in the business environment. Any business that ignores this basic fact will not be successful.”-Simon Yau
December 6, 2007
Unaudited publications beware: BPA is coming for your advertisers
TORONTO-A BPA Worldwide campaign that aims to capture more advertising dollars for audited b-to-b publications was unveiled last night at an event in Toronto. BPA Worldwide CEO Glenn Hansen presented the campaign’s strategy to prominent CCAB (the BPA’s Canadian wing) members, who were told that advertisers spent $2.2 billion on unaudited media in North America last year.
A new campaign from BPA Worldwide aims to raise auditing awareness. Last year, 30,000 companies bought ads in unaudited b-to-b mags.
The campaign, called Buy Safe Media, will target companies that bought advertising in unaudited trade magazines in 2006. Through display ads, advertorials and direct mail, BPA and its member magazines will attempt to deter these businesses from doing so in the future.
The campaign is already underway in the U.S. The BPA has launched a website (www.buysafemedia.com) and is sending out customized and non-customized direct mail packages to 1,250 companies, using slogans such as, “Admit you have no idea where the ad budget went” to reach CEOs and “Your ad campaign tanked. You’ll never know why if you buy unaudited media” to reach buyers.
BPA is an independent, not-for-profit, self-regulating organization that provides third-party circulation auditing to its member publishers. The Buy Safe Media campaign is non-partisan, according the Hansen.
During his presentation, Hansen offered data from a recent survey of 555 b-to-b advertisers. It showed that less than half of respondents didn’t know how much they spent in audited publications versus unaudited publications. Survey respondents were also asked to place a value of 1-10 on the importance of auditing in making purchase decisions. The aggregate score was 6.57.
December 5, 2007
Publisher wants Score viewers to give Peace a chance
TORONTO-The publisher of Peace is trying to spread the word about his independent magazine with a commercial on national cable sports network The Score. Harris Rosen, who co-founded Peace 15 years ago, says he’s trying to raise the magazine’s profile amongst The Score’s target demographic of urban males 18- to 34. “In a world where perception is greater than the reality, TV is good venue,” Rosen says.
Peace co-founder and publisher Harris Rosen is promoting his recently re-launched magazine with an ad on national cable sports network The Score. "We're just trying to hit from a number of different angles right now and see what pops off," Rosen says.
The 15-second spot will air 100 times over the next few weeks on the all-sports channel, mostly during basketball games. In it, a young man and woman soar through Toronto’s skyscrapers, eventually crashing into one another, resulting in an explosion that grows into a giant peace sign. Over top of the scene, a deep male voiceover says, “Something’s happening in this city. People are changing. We have to do something. We have to fix this.”
The commercial, directed by Toronto-based filmmaker Matthew Bennett, cost about $1,500 to produce, Rosen says, while airtime on The Score cost about $12,000. It’s unusual for independent magazines to advertise on TV, though not unprecedented—Woodbridge, Ont.-based Soccer Italia magazine has been running ads during Italian soccer league games on TLN for several years.
Rosen says part of his objective with The Score commercial is to reach former readers who aren’t aware of the magazine’s new identity. Peace launched in 1992 as a magazine devoted to hip-hop, but over the last few years, Rosen has became disenchanted with the genre and its surrounding culture. “The quality of the music and the message is so ridiculous,” he says. “To base a livelihood on it and write about it doesn’t feel right.” In 2005, the quarterly, which has an almost entirely controlled circulation of about 50,000, re-launched as an urban “street style” book, with increased coverage of athletics, lifestyle and fashion.
The magazine lost one of its founders last month, when Raymond Wallace died suddenly from a brain aneurism on Nov. 27. He was 46.
-With files from Deanna Lampert
December 4, 2007
GVIC purchases JuneWarren Publishing
CALGARY-GVIC Communications Corp. announced Friday that it has acquired 100 per cent of Colin and Lila Eicher’s JuneWarren Publishing Ltd for an undisclosed amount of cash and shares. The deal, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2008, adds six established oil and gas-related titles to GVIC’s growing portfolio of trade magazines, which already includes five oil and gas books.
JuneWarren president Bill Whitelaw says the merger with GVIC's Nickle Energy Group is a "match made in heaven."
JuneWarren’s assets include Canadian Oilfield Service & Supply Directory, Oilweek, Oil & Gas Inquirer, Oilsands Review, Alberta Construction Magazine and Canadian Oilfield Gas Plant Atlas, plus related custom publishing, directory and atlas publications and chart and map publishing. These operations will merge with GVIC’s Nickle Energy Group, which publishes Daily Oil Bulletin, the Canadian Oil Register directory, New Technology Magazine, the Rig Locator and The Profiler.
JuneWarren chairman Colin Eicher said he chose the buyer carefully. Colin had been approached by “another large publisher who has consumer and b-to-b magazines” but decided against selling because he expected the company “would have just decimated the company.” Colin, who started JuneWarren in 1989, says GVIC’s plan to continue growing the business made it the best fit. “When you’ve worked 20-plus years in a business as an owner/operator, you become friends with your employees. So you want to make sure that they’re being handed off to the right type of operation.”
The first deal between the two companies happened three years ago, when GVIC (then known as Glacier Ventures International) purchased the Saint City News newspaper from the Eichers. “We watched how they treated our [former] employees and how they treated the business and the customers,” Colin says. “They’ve grown the business. They’ve managed it well.”
JuneWarren president Bill Whitelaw says the planned merger of JuneWarren with the Nickle Energy Group is a “match made in heaven.” The Nickle titles specialize in the production side of the oil and gas industries, Whitelaw says, while the JuneWarren titles focus on the service end.
Whitelaw says he’s been watching GVIC carefully over the last few years and is impressed with what he’s seen. “What they’re not doing is creating bureaucratic layering that ended up making some of the big publishing organizations in Canadian history kind of cumbersome and bureaucratic, so that they lost their agility and nimbleness in their own markets.”
GVIC became a major player in the trade magazine industry in January 2006, when it purchased the Business Information Group (B.I.G.) from Hollinger Inc. for $134.8 million.
B.I.G. CEO Bruce Creighton says he’s looking forward to working with the people at JuneWarren. “It’s an outstanding publishing operation. They’ve got great products and great people.”
December 3, 2007
Regional newsstand promotion helps B.C. magazines
VICTORIA, B.C.-Through participation in Best of B.C, a six-month pilot project that promoted British Columbia magazines on the province’s newsstands, YES Mag nearly doubled single-copy sales of its January/February issue from the previous year. YES Mag’s improvement reflects the success of the entire campaign, which helped increase sales of the 30 participating magazines by 13.9 per cent.
The Best of B.C. pilot project helped YES Mag double newsstand sales
of its January/February issue.
“The campaign was a great way to get some extra promotion and economically, it was a great way to test the waters,” says David Garrison, publisher of YES Mag, a science magazine for kids. Sales of the Jan/Feb issue increased were up from 400 units last year to 762 this year. Newsstand sales for all magazines in B.C. increased by 2.1 per cent during the same period as the campaign.
Periodical Marketers of Canada (PMC) organized the project in association with the British Columbia Association of Magazine Publishers (BCAMP). Participating magazines were featured on special pocket displays at 2,600 retailers, backed by cards featuring the natural landscape of the picturesque province.
A PMC study conducted two years ago concluded that regional magazines would benefit from enhanced newsstand promotion. The Department of Canadian Heritage provided $160,000 worth of funding for the pilot project, enabling wholesalers to offer BC publishers $2.50 of retail space for every dollar invested.
PMC executive director Ray Argyle says plans for a similar display experiment featuring Canadian magazines is in the works.
Some of the other magazines involved in the Best of B.C. project were: British Columbia, B.C. Home, B.C. Business, B.C. Outdoor Fishing Adventures, Cottage, Gardens West, Geist, Jenish Home Plans, Modern Dog, Vancouver Magazine and Western Living.