Masthead Blogs
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock
Art Director Amy McCleverty has just unveiled her “refreshed” new look for Motorcycle Mojo. The title has been on a roll of late, with the last nine straight issues outselling the same issue from prior year.


Here’s what Amy had to say about the re-design:

“We are very excited about our new look, a refresh was overdue! Freelance art director, Gary Davidson got the ball rolling with the new direction. Bold new fonts, big images and more white space give the magazine a fresh, modern look. Motorcycles are our reader’s passion, so we are keeping it fun and the focus on beautiful bikes, amazing travel, and industry news. The cover is very different, with a white bar behind the logo, which we hope will make us stand out from the crowd on the newsstand. It also allows for a sky bar that is legible and room for more photos. The cover lines are bold, and lots of them.”

Thursday, September 25, 2014
Gadget Blog
Martin Seto
The CRTC will be making some decisions about the digital airwaves very soon about what they will do with online video broadcasting and cable tv pricing models. The current market structure is an industry cartel model where supply economics are used by corporations to corner the market to ensure high profits. This page out of the corporate playbook, is not good for consumers, just look at how this is done in oil and gas markets, diamonds and the 407 toll roads in Toronto.
I have empathy for the CRTC as an instrument of public policy to ensure Canadian content and consumer protection is caught in middle of these market forces. The latest noise from the CRTC hearings, is in my opinion a witch hunt to get Neflix out of the Canadian market based on the Canadian content rules for broadcasters. When the cartel says Canadian jobs are at risk, the CRTC should ask them how much of their staff has been out sourced in the call centre, IT and accounting departments.

But is Netflix a broadcaster or a digital video entertainment subscription service that has no advertising or programming schedule, just on demand video downloads. So if Netflix is banned in Canada what will happen? The cartel will launch their own service, just like they did when they banned TIVO, a TV recording hardware device that was popular in the USA, but was packaged as a hardware upgrade for cable subscribers in Canada.

Now what are the implications for publishers that produce video channels of their content online will they be included in this new definition of broadcaster. Will these publishers be banned too or better yet regulated? If you have a YouTube channel will that be included too?  How about the CRTC try and ban Adult content digital channels instead, it will be a losing battle. Whatever happen to FREE TRADE, I guess this does not apply if the cartel’s profits are threatened.

I was one of the early cable chord cutters and I now get 20+ stations through an antennae as I did not want to pay $100 a month for cable TV anymore. I got a customer friendly internet service from TekSavvy for $40/mo for 300 GB and then got Netflix for $10/mo. I use a free Chrome browser plug-in that hids my identity (Hola Unblocker) on the internet and now I can now stream the USA version to my computer TV plus other stations like CBS, ABC, Fox and Hulu. Who needs to watch conventional cable TV anymore, except for live sports programming. I would like to buy a subscription to a sports channel, but I have to buy stations that I do not want, so I do not buy it. So I hope you will allow me to buy such a subscription when you make your final decision.

I believe that the Newton Law of physics applies here as for every action there is a corresponding opposite action and in this case the choices in underground economy of the internet will flourish instead. If you ban Netflix, there is already a service that is for free called Popcorn Time an open source project that looks and feels like Netflix that people can go to based in Europe. If the CRTC believes in freedom as a core value you will not succumb to the lobby efforts of the cartel in Canada, who btw are all saying the same thing in a concerted effort to control markets. Be aware that when somebody tries to control the internet the open source software community will step in and help out with some new code to share to circumvent that.

Now, if the CRTC can  look at the interesting pricing models for smartphones that are inflated in telco contracts, instead of being distracted with Netflix who provides great value to the 4 million+ Canadian households that use the service. I still can’t figure out how you can get a Apple iTouch for $200 but an iPhone costs $650 and all you get extra is the phone, now if you can stop this practice I will be impressed. The internet is a place where freedom and democracy flourishes as consumers can vote with their wallet as the internet has no geographic boundaries that can be controlled.

Yours Sincerely,

Thursday, September 18, 2014
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock
The 2014 Hunting Annuals (SIPS) from Outdoor Canada and Ontario Out of Doors are on newsstands now.  Both covers are interesting, and each has taken a radically different approach to the cover design.

Outdoor Canada has produced a classic SIP. The mother brand is clearly identified in the upper left corner.  The word HUNTING played out loudly.  SPECIAL ISSUE in the traditional “sky bar” space at the top can’t be missed. The “celebrity” cover boy is a Giant Buck.   The main sell line in the classic position upper left, and is handled beautifully tucking in behind the left ear, with a blue “starburst” tucked under the right ear.  Lots of hooks with great benefit-oriented sell lines.


Ontario Out of Doors has opted for the “less is more” approach. The mother brand is handled nicely at the top right.  The word HUNTING is about as large and powerful as it could possibly be, with the word Annual in script layered nicely. This approach uses a montage of images, both predators and prey, that evoke the feeling of actually being out in the field.

Both covers are powerful in their own way.

Which cover do you like best and/or think will sell best?  Cast your Vote here.  We will report back later in the year as sales firm up.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock
The September 2014 issue of Chatelaine features a “tumble” cover, according to Sarmistha Roy, the magazines consumer marketing manager.  

On one side, a fabulous food cover, flip it over and on the other side is a gorgeous beauty cover. It’s great to see such creativity and attention to detail on both these covers.

Tip of the cap to the entire team for what looks like a very hot issue.


Thursday, August 21, 2014
Gadget Blog
Martin Seto
Web publishing technologies have been very disruptive to newspaper business models by creating numerous challenges for the industry. It started with the drop in advertising revenue through free classified ad sites for jobs and products like, Craig’s List, EBay and Kijiji. Players in the news industry have seen a TV station become an online news publisher, newspapers providing online video like TV, magazine publishers now publishing daily with video and tech companies producing news sites.

This has created a hyper-competitive online media landscape during this digital transformation of the media industry. I predict that we will see consolidation in the industry as the market can only support so many players in the Canadian market, as digital adoption starts to level out. We are already seeing some of those signs now in the marketplace.

The demise of print that has been predicted has not unfolded. I guess tech gurus can be wrong too or make exaggerated predictions to get headlines as "News" as a medium is as strong as ever according to this Newspapers Canada 2014 report (below). It shows that 86% of Canadians read a newspaper in print or digital every week, which has stayed the same over the past two years. How news is consumed today through traditional media like TV, radio and print methods has changed. Today 30% read news digitally with 50% of digital consumption via a tablet or smartphone, that means 70% still prefer print. 

According to NADbank in their 2013 report cumulative weekly newspaper audience is growing slightly (5.4% overall growth since 2009) with print staying about the same (0.2% decline since 2009) with growth attributed to digital. Cross platform usage saw 76% of website readers also read a printed edition of a newspaper. NADBank predicts that tablets will be the preferred everyday digital device long-term.

In the same report from Newspapers Canada they look at ad effectiveness vs. other media to demonstrate that newspapers still work as part of the media plan. Historically, this is why newspaper advertising was so effective and it looks like it is still true today. The effectiveness of the internet versus other media suggest that digital has one of the lowest levels of engagement. The numbers suggest that digital perhaps is now losing its luster as it matures with consumers and perhaps their share of people's time has peaked.

What the newspaper industry has yet to determine is how to monetize digital eyeballs after giving it away for free for so long. The newspaper pay wall that has been used the past two years with a 10 article free sample is now the new norm for some newspapers. The ad marketplace for digital is a buyer’s market with an oversupply scenario that generates low CPMs and ROI for publishers.

Newspapers Canada produces an annual conference INK+BEYOND that takes a look at issues and challenges facing newspapers, and showcases the latest innovations used by newspapers around the world. This event was in Charlottetown, PEI, on May 28-30 in 2014 and in 2015 it will be held in Toronto. I put together a roundtable of vendors that were pitching their wares at the event this year to share in a Part 2 of Tech Notes this summer. The vendors fall primarily in three general categories content creation, content production and ad sales support.
INK+BEYOND 2014  Vendor Roundtable
Affinity Express
Product: Advertising and media solutions
As the SMB marketing supply chain company, Affinity Express is the leading white label creative and production partner for companies that serve the marketing and advertising needs of SMBs. Its services are offered to tens of millions of companies under the guise of some of the most well-known media, internet and retail brands.
Affinity offers SMBs custom print, digital marketing and advertising services—including print ads, logos, websites, video ads and more—without adding fixed costs. Grow your digital ad business, using Affinity to create and traffic the ads. Drive new profitable revenue and improve advertiser loyalty with Affinity Express.
Kelly Glass:, (847) 930-3205

BBM Analytics
Product: Newspaper Ad Tracking Service
In the increasingly competitive newspaper landscape, get a better understanding of who is advertising and your share of voice. BBM Analytics’ newspaper ad tracking services provides you with comprehensive and timely competitive intelligence at your fingertips. All advertising activity is tracked in daily newspapers in 7 key markets across Canada. The online database is easy to access and quickly identifies strategy, volume, messaging and placement of existing advertisers and more importantly who is not advertising. Contact us to find out how to use the service for new business development, smarter negotiations/selling or as value add for clients.
Michael Abraham,,  416 847 2054

Business Wire       
Product: Commercial news distribution           
Business Wire, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is the global leader in press release distribution and regulatory disclosure. Investor relations, public relations, public policy and marketing professionals rely on Business Wire to accurately distribute market-moving news and multimedia, host online newsrooms and IR websites, build content marketing platforms, generate social engagements and provide audience analysis that improves interaction with specified target markets.
Founded in 1961, Business Wire is a trusted source for news organizations, journalists, investment professionals and regulatory authorities, delivering news directly into editorial systems and leading online news sources via its multi-patented simultaneous NX Network. Business Wire has 32 offices worldwide to securely meet the varying needs of communications professionals and news consumers.
Matthew Allinson,, (206) 405-4000

Fundata Canada
Product: Canadian Investment Funds database
In all areas of our business, from raw financial data feeds to hosted web solutions, our goal is to develop strong, long term client relationships and to become a trusted business partner for our clients. Fundata offers a variety of products and services that solve problems in a number of industries and businesses. Whether custom or white labeled, Fundata’s team of professionals can customized either solution to client specifications. The information we provide currently reaches over 80,000 financial advisors, millions of investors, and scores of institutions every day through our network of newspapers, web and corporate clients across North America.
Brooke Biscoe,, (416) 445-7445

Product: Cloud-based publishing CMS for media companies
Libercus is an efficient, economical and comprehensive cloud-based news publishing CMS designed for today’s digital and print media realties. Print, web, mobile, video, social media and e-Editions are published from one streamlined, modern platform. Journalists, editors, and production personnel work in Libercus. Libercus streamlines costs, uncertainty and vendor bloat impeding media companies in an era requiring innovation and speed.

Libercus is a single system, user interface and database. Browser-based and cloud-architected, Libercus is not a legacy CMS with multiple products, databases, and interfaces. It eliminates significant infrastructure and software expense. Content is delivered to multiple channels efficiently. Libercus delivers workflow flexibility and is cost effective in terms of total cost of ownership.
Steve Lett,, (847) 274-0490
Metro Creative Graphics, Inc.
Product: Creative & Ad Development Solutions for Publishers
Metro Creative Graphics, Inc. helps today's media companies expand ad revenue by providing advertising, creative and editorial solutions for optimizing their print, online, mobile and social products. With an unparalleled dedication to providing the finest resources available for ready-to-use images, spec ads, sales ideas, stock-quality photos, logos/trademarks, auto manufacturer photos, marketing/sales materials, copyright-free editorial features, fully-templated print and online sections, and groundbreaking digital ad development tools -- including the new Metro interactive Ad Designer (MiAD) Mobile App for sales reps -- Metro services the creative and sales needs of today’s media companies.
Jennifer Steiner,, (800) 223-1600

Myles Mellor Theme Crosswords
Product: Crosswords and puzzles         
Myles Mellor crosswords offers all types of crosswords, easy, medium, Sunday size and very large. You can also order sudokus, word searches, cryptograms, diagramless crosswords and anagrams (a form of jumble). Currently servicing over 90 community newspapers with syndicated content, Myles' service is personal and economical. The company also offers interactive crosswords, sudokus and word searches that can be solved online. Myles also writes theme crosswords for advertisers, a proven money-maker for newspapers using this service. 
Myles Mellor,, (818) 890-8065

Product: Content, advertising, circulation and audience engagement
NEWSCYCLE Solutions - which was formed by the combination of DTI, SAXOTECH, MediaSpan, and the Atex AdBase business - delivers the most complete range of software solutions for the global news media industry, including news content management, advertising, circulation, audience, and analytics. NEWSCYCLE Solutions is a trusted technology partner serving more than 750 media companies with 8,000 properties across more than 30 countries on 6 continents. The company is headquartered in Bloomington, MN and has U.S. offices in Florida, Michigan and Utah; with international offices in Canada, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Rob Dumas,, (734) 887-4400

Product: Ad management  & Digital Production Software
News-Net provides first-class software solutions, programming, integration and development to over 1,800 newspapers throughout North America. A trusted supplier to the publishing industry since its inception over 30 years ago, News-Net develops affordable cost-cutting and leading-edge technologies for Ad Management, CRM, Production Workflow, Pagination,Tearsheets and more. We offer complete services from consultation, installation, configuration, set-up & user training. News- Net has the right combination of professionals and expertise for delivering quality integrated solutions on time and in budget)
Khymn Glover,, (905) 844-0524

Newspaper Toolbox
Product: Revenue-generating tools and ideas           
With over 700 subscriber clients in Canada, the USA, New-Zealand and Australia, Newspaper Toolbox is the premier sales building tool available to the newspaper industry today. Created by a professional team with more than 25 years of experience in the media industry, Newspaper Toolbox offers a wealth of ready-to-sell share pages, an online sales calendar, ready-to-sell concepts, reader contest concepts, special section packages, an extensive editorial library, money making ideas and a whole lot more. In essence, it is the best idea generator for revenues in small and medium size newspaper markets. With a brand new website, extensive archives and the launch of new services such as EZ Contest and EZ Newzsite, Newspaper Toolbox is helping publishers follow the money trail.           
Candide Grégoire,, (877) 444-4034

Product: Publishing software and service solutions
Newzware Business System Software - The greatest performance value in the new media industry. Circulation, Display & Classified Advertising, Financial, Editorial and Ad Production tools are deployed separately or integrated as a complete publishing business environment. ICANON Services insure a legacy of performance with unequaled personal customer support. Stable ownership since 1990, innovative solutions that keep pace with technology demands and cost effective ownership including free license upgrades make Newzware the smartest decision you can make. Installation can be either premise based or hosted as a cloud resource in our secure datacenters. Your unique product deserves the flexibility of Newzware.
Gary Markle,, (215) 822-5519

Product: Digital distribution and publishing solutions
PressReader, a Vancouver-based company, is the global leader in multi-channel, cross-platform content distribution and monetisation, and the chosen partner of more than 4,000 publishers from over 100 countries.
PressReader connects local, national and international newspaper and magazine publishers with readers around the globe and across all platforms including web, iOS, Android, Android for Amazon, Windows 8 and BlackBerry 10. It offers the world’s most engaging reading experience to millions of readers and can be found in thousands of libraries, hotels, airlines, corporate and government offices, and aboard cruise ships worldwide, providing publishers with new revenue opportunities and increased global circulation.
PressReader Technology, a fully customizable digital publishing solution, helps publishers of all sizes and media types digitise and monetise their content on all devices and platforms. This award-winning solution offers an enhanced digital edition experience with its intelligent multimedia features and functionality.
Nikolay Malyarov,, (604) 278-4604

Research and Analysis of Media
Product: Media Research for Advertisers
In today’s competitive marketplace, advertisers demand solutions that provide quick and accurate results regardless of media choice.  Knowing what your customers think is exceptionally valuable. Our role at RAM is to help you understand how the market and your audience connects with your brand.
At RAM we provide unique and strategic solutions with relevant insights to help increase our clients’ revenue, grow their audience and give them a clear understanding of the markets in which they operate, be it local, regional or national. Everybody Wins.
Ryan Busch,, (904) 206 2160 

Monday, July 28, 2014
Gadget Blog
Martin Seto
Keeping up with technology changes and picking the winners and losers is no easy task. Twenty five years ago I created my first ad using digital illustration software and today you have movie animation software for the creative arts. I wanted to take this ad out of my portfolio to illustrate the ad’s theme for Software City, that is still appropriate today - “Cut Through the Jungle”. The names may have changed, but the jungle just got thicker. Does anybody remember Lotus 123 the leading spreadsheet software in 1990 or Ami Pro a word processing solution? It seems like a technology software brand can’t last a generation in today’s disposable technology market.

While we have been distracted about all the latest tech toys for the reader and all the digital delivery systems that are required. I thought it was time to look at what other technology tools that are available for publishers out there. I made the rounds with all the exhibitors of Magnet 2014 in June. Here is a roundtable of the vendors and their 100 word sales pitch for the people that did not make it to the conference this year.

After reviewing the list, each company has a unique product that I tried to describe in a few words, some overlap with each other in their approach. Before you make a decision just make sure you have measurable objectives before you embark on a technology solution to solve your business needs. Sometimes the old way is still more effective, like cold calling on the phone to personally talk with someone, but technology can help you do it better with more data at your fingertips in today’s just-in-time information society to prepare for the cold call.

I am a firm believer in technology, but I feel that there are limits on how technology can impact your company’s performance. For example, I believe technology cannot make a hockey player a better goal scorer that is a natural creative instinct. Through technology you can track the shooter’s tendencies for defensive strategies so it can help. If you can increase team goals against performance by 2% it can be the difference in winning and losing in professional sports.

There is an argument (Limits To Growth, published in 1972) that there is a limit on how much you can grow no matter how much technology you have and you can witness what is called “Overshoot,” where you have constant growth with finite resource depletion and it all crashes when the resources are depleted. The best example is the North Atlantic Cod fisheries collapse through over fishing and no sustainability strategy. Just like there are a limited number of advertisers, it its hard to grow on a straight line curve if the ad market (eco-system) is volatile or collapses for your market segment.



Bard Business Solutions Inc.
- Magazine Manager
Product: Magazine database solution 
In dealing with today's markets, it is imperative that your company maintains accurate data on advertisers, rates, publications, contracts/insertion orders, production dockets, production scheduling, articles, subscribers and invoices. The power of this application is derived from the philosophy that you "enter data once and use it many times". The Magazine Manager is developed in FileMaker Pro and runs on both the Mac OS X 10.7 or higher and Windows 7, Windows 8 and iPad OS platforms for a multi-user environment.
J. Stephen Bard,, (416) 410-2273


EquiSoft - Publisher Elements
Product: Magazine Automation Solution
“PublishersElements is specifically designed to help publishers increase their revenues through a set of flexible and integrated web modules including digital/print subscriptions fulfillment and circulation management as well as newsletters administration, e-commerce and multi-platform digital publishing (online, mobile, tablet). PublisherElements easily connects to existing websites and email marketing solutions, so it helps increase web presence in a cost-effective way. By gathering all customer information into a single database, PublisherElements allows publishers to achieve a 360° view of their customers and thus permit to deliver them the right content at the right time. With PublisherElements and Equisoft’s publishing expertise, going digital has never been easier.” Martin Boucher, Product Manager – PublisherElements
Camile Diodati,, (514) 989-3141 x 104

Product: Digital Publishing Solution
GTxcel helps thousands of Fortune Companies & Publishers monetize, discover & engage with their digital content; Desktop Web, Tablet Web, Mobile Web & Apps. Typically we work with companies who are frustrated with readability across multiple devices; concerned about the expense of software solutions that take over 40 hours for each device type, screen size and orientation; anxious to get more scale out of their publications by publishing once and getting it everywhere; desktop web, tablet web, mobile web, apps and disappointed in decreasing ad revenues with replica editions and looking to maintain replica while generating new digital revenue stream.
Matt McGinty,, (508) 804-3041

Hallmark Data Systems
Product: Reader Behaviour Optimization Software
Engaging, acquiring and connecting the right content, audience and advertiser is Hallmark's mission.  It is Hallmark's industry-leading audience engagement platform; marketing database, digital marketing, fulfillment and more, in combination with industry expertise and rich heritage that sets us apart. With our modular, seamlessly integrated platform, your marketers are directly connected with your audience's behavior, your audience is connected to the content they crave and your advertisers are connected to their prospects. Find out why Hallmark's solutions are chosen by more media owners.  Get started at today!
Joel Besner,, (323) 782-6959


Product: Ad sales management software
MagWizard automates the administrative tasks associated with print and digital advertising. The web-based software allows you to easily collect and organize ad insertion orders (I/Os), ad materials, and payments, eliminating the busywork your team hates and leaving them more time for sales. The thing that sets MagWizard apart from the other publishing software, is our focus on automation. While most software is designed to help you keep track of your daily tasks, Magwizard is designed to automate those tasks. The goal of MagWizard is not just help you track the ad sales process but to do the administrative tasks for you so that you can focus on more important things.
David Averbach,, (641) 209-3959 


Product: Social Media Metrics Tracking solution
Partnering with companies of all sizes – from start-ups to Fortune 500 enterprises – Marketwired is an innovative communications company offering best-in-class global news distribution and reporting. Powered by social intelligence engine Sysomos, Marketwired products also provide state-of-the-art social media monitoring and analytics. This critical business intelligence delivers instant and unlimited access to all social media conversations, allowing brands to see what’s happening, why it’s happening, and who’s driving the conversations. Serving more than 15,000 clients worldwide through 20 offices on four continents, we help our clients find better ways to create and distribute content, influence the people who matter most, and open up new opportunities. Follow us at @Marketwired 
Tara Tomulka,, (416) 814.2535

Product: Ad Sales Data Mining solution
MediaRadar helps websites, magazines and newspapers dramatically improve ad sales and client management. The company provides detailed analysis on over 1.9 million brands, with advertising, editorial, and social media insights from more than 8,000 media properties. MediaRadar will give you a competitive advantage by placing the best prospects and most relevant pitching advice onto the desktop of every member of the sales team. “Raw” data is good; information you can use right now is better. MediaRadar makes it happen.
Paulette Moir,, (646) 439-4007


Mirabel Technologies - Magazine Manager
Product: Ad Sales and Digital Production software
The Magazine Manager® is the only web-based software integrating your entire publishing workflow from: CRM, Ad/Order Entry, Production, and invoicing to Online Pagination and Digital &Tablet Edition creation. It’s the industry’s first and most mature web-based platform.  Ideal for companies with multiple offices, offsite employees, and companies wanting to reduce their IT infrastructure costs. Used by over 10,000 magazines, newspapers, websites and events worldwide. For every fifteen licenses of The Magazine Manager®, you can expect to save an average of 43,000 CAD annually.  
Watch our Video.
Andy Balch,VP Sales & Marketing, 1-(954) 519-2023  


The LoweMartin Group
Product: Print Production Technologies
In keeping with its vision of helping customers improve the quality of their communications and reduce their overall cost of doing business, the Lowe-Martin Group has focused on introducing technology which makes the printer an extension of the magazine’s production team. Advances in secure file transfer, online proofing and electronic scheduling reduce the lead time in production. Proforma pricing tools allow the magazine’s publishers to calculate costs in real time as they decide on page counts, run lengths and stock selections. Real-time pricing also let the magazine’s sales team calculate costs for advertisers without delay.
Pamela Falkner,, (613)741-0962 x3433
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Gadget Blog
Martin Seto
This June 4, I was invited to speak at Magnet 2014 in Toronto by Mara Gulens and Daniella Girgenti from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) that put on on seminar on email newsletters before an audience of 80 people. I describe email newsletters as the Yin of the Yin-Yang relationship with the web site the Yang, as without each other there will not be any online success. I use this description as email newsletters are a “Push”  strategy and the web site is the “PULL” strategy for online content. Two polar opposites of each other just like Yin and Yang in Chinese philosophy.

Why are email newsletters so important? Email newsletters are the number 1 driver of traffic to your web site (sometimes up to 80%). That’s right it is not social media or SEO that drives the majority of traffic to your web site it is email newsletters. I have worked with magazine publishers in the launch of  email newsletters, digital editions and web sites so I saw this first hand. The claims of social media and SEO are over hyped by some of the media out there trying to get noticed or companies making misleading advertising claims that should be banished.

On July 1, 2014 the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) in Canada goes in effect. After looking over the Act it is like closing the door after the horses have left the barn as I feel it will be ineffective with spammers and phishing threats (identity theft artists). It will cost companies money for compliance and this looks like a lawyer gravy train for the uninitiated. Just like security software the bandits will always be 2 steps ahead as they have no ethics or care about laws as they are criminals trying to steal from you. So you can lock the door, but they can still break in. The best deterrent is education ie: digital street smarts not digital book smarts.

This underground economy of spammers have been part of the internet fabric forever. My innocence and naivety of the internet was broken when I talked to a security software expert that says you can hire spammers to do a denial of service attack on your competitor’s web site by them hijacking somebody’s computer and using it as an email server and flooding the target web site with requests and thus crashing the site. This legislation is not going to be effective with this crowd as their servers are most likely in a jurisdiction outside of the reach Canadian lawmakers anyhow and they have been doing this since 2003 or before the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 in the United States was introduced.

Canadian publishers have already lead the way in honest and ethical behaviour for email newsletters since the 2003 CAN-SPAM Act was passed in the United States that required email newsletters be opt-in and have the ability to unsubscribe. And if you use a USA vendor for email services they have protocols to ensure spam laws compliance. For companies this is another matter as they most likely have a list that needs to cleaned up as it very unlikely that their list are opt-in, which explains the flood of emails I am receiving from companies the past two weeks that I have already sent to the junk folder and forgot about. The CASL is also forcing companies to have consent to install computer software on your computer like they do in Europe for cookies that track your online habits. This is a major victory for privacy advocates.

The seminar portion put on by Mara and Daniella talked about their journey in launching an email newsletter  for their organization. They had to clean up their list first and have the people on the list opt-in . Once this was done they saw the open rates of the email newsletter increase. Here is there checklist that they shared with the audience on their learning.


The metrics for email newsletters are open and click through rates (CTR) in addition to list size and reach of the desired target market. Open rates depend on the quality of the list and good writing in the subject header. Open rates I have experienced range between 20-65% depending on the message and time of year. CTRs can range form a low of  0 up to 10%, depending on the message or offer. Open rates are underreported as through my experience technology does not always works as I have had responses from people , but in my report the email was not opened.

Email newsletters are an important part of the marketing mix for advertising as it provides the same quality audience as a magazine subscriber. The question publishers have to deal with is how many emails do they send out before they irritate their readers and they will unsubscribe. In my opinion anything more than once a week is disrespectful and it should have personal salutation to that person. No one like online stalkers that send you emails everyday.  I believe we should go beyond the SPAM requirement and treat your reader with the utmost respect and transparency as it is just good business. The new spam laws will make email list rentals or sponsorships obsolete as I do not think people will ever opt-in for 3rd party emails and when the person signed up to receive the newsletter it is implied that it will be an editorial message not a sales pitch that will only have them unsubscribe from your list and that is bad for business.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Gadget Blog
Martin Seto
Sometimes it is good to get out of your sandbox for a change of scenery, so I thought I would take a look at how other traditional media are adapting to the new digital media landscape. Before we do that lets have a look at the media universe according to the 2013 Media Digest published by Marketing and the Canadian Media Directors Council (CMDC).

The media consumption habits of Canadians shows that traditional media still captures over 80% of a person’s attention. The chart below also shows the share of advertising dollars vs media consumption share. Magazines are doing very well in this analysis as it shows magazines have less than 1% of media consumption share but have a 4.5% of ad dollars share with an industry index of 555.


This great infographic gives you a good birds eye view of what is happening in the Canadian media universe and the choices a media planner has at their disposal. You you can drill down to see more stats.

Canada’s major media companies now offer a suite of solutions that may include TV, radio, web, newspaper, magazines and out of home.  The chart below on cross media ownership in Canada from the  2013 Media digest outlines the relative offerings and competitive positioning.


One of the digital leaders in Canada is TSN, a tv station, and they were the keynote at the ClickZ digital marketing conference in Toronto on May 15. Mark Silver, the Head of Digital at TSN, talked about the changes TSN is undergoing in the bridging of TV to digital for their audience and advertisers by offering a multi-platform experience. He revealed that TSN will be growing from 2 channels to 5 and will be unveiling a new web site this fall, plus new apps.

Their planned digital offerings will include native apps such as TSN Go (a TV  companion app for paid cable subscribers) plus free specialized content apps, TSN Hockey and TSN Golf. They currently have a free TSN mobile app available that gets high usage on smartphones. The TSN offerings also include Sports AM radio stations with local broadcast rights of NHL games.  The appetite for sports content will be tested with Sportnet’s bold moves that includes TV, radio, magazine and online as part of the brand’s offerings and Rogers ownership of pro sports franchises as content.

Radio has not died but has maintained it position as the #2 most used medium and there has been some interesting usage habits. The #2 ranking is no surprise as smartphones are banned in cars and 51% of radio usage is in cars. Another fact 30% of radio usage is online. This trend is supported by the launch of Indie 88.1 a FM radio station in Toronto that was launched this past September 2013. In February 2014, it had 230,000 visitors per month with 50,000 listening to the station online for 1 hour a day 6 times a month and 11,000 daily. Typically, a 30 second radio spot will reach 10 - 20,000 people in the Toronto market through traditional methods. The station is actively selling display ads on their web site in addition to 30 seconds spots that reach both traditional and online audiences.

The media offerings from TV and radio stations, perhaps, spur or fine tune an idea to help give your media brand a competitive edge in today’s hyper-cluttered media landscape. The question I ask? Do advertisers really care how the message is sent as long as the target market is delivered with enough frequency that will generate the expected marketing outcome. In some cases digital will not work in the car as  media planner use radio or OOH to reach this audience.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Gadget Blog
Martin Seto
Today’s media environment is a world with no borders. Traditional boundaries between mediums like print, TV and radio have become blurred in the digital universe. The best example is how media brands no longer exist in a single platform, like a TV station. Now they are offering website ads and a magazine (print and digital), or a radio station with both radio and internet listeners plus a website. We have companies launching their own media brand as part of their content marketing strategy. There is also a strong underground economy on the internet that causes publishers and advertisers a lot of pain.

This is an exciting time in the publishing world as the old school models are no longer valid. The mission of the COPAs is to foster digital publishing excellence in Canada and reflect what is happening in the marketplace. Great content cannot survive without great ads and corporate web sites that link to them.

Competition brings out the best in both people and companies. It shows you where your weaknesses are and inspires you to do better. The Call for Entries for the 2014 COPAs begins May 1. Click here to see the 2014 rules. To help inspire you, I have two comments from last year’s judges below on how the industry can do better.


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Charlene Rooke

Charlene is the group editor of the custom publishing team at the Globe and Mail. She has written about travel for various magazines and authored two books on the subject. She was a judge in the Best Online-Only Article or Series category in 2013.
“I enjoyed reading most of the entries in this category the same way I would enjoy reading a well-written, long-form magazine article. Yet I expect more from top-notch digital storytelling: I expect it to take advantage of the digital platform and how people consume digital content. I expect it to make the most of multimedia and programming capabilities. I expect it to be daring, in content and format, in ways that print publications would not. Most of the entrants, surprisingly, didn't realize the full potential of online content.”

Jean Snow

Jean is based in Tokyo and is the executive director of the Pecha Kucha organization. He runs The Magazine, a website about magazine culture.

“More than any problem with the content itself, which I found to be generally strong throughout all the entries, the biggest problem with the current crop of blogs lies in the design and layouts. For the most part, we are dealing with a basic look that has barely progressed from the early days of Blogger. Although it's a tried and tested format, as readers who are now getting used to reading all manner of magazine content in digital form (especially on tablets), blogs on the web need to compete with that and web technologies these days can certainly enable more adventurous design layouts, as well as the inclusion of various media (slideshows, audio, video, etc.). The biggest offenders tend to be the websites of print magazines. For the most part, all of these sites follow the same basic structure, and they're all indistinguishable except for the top logo.”

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As we try to innovate, the latest buzzword is engagement. But what makes effective engagement for publishers and advertisers? Does it follow the traditional ladder of involvement (i.e. awareness – interest – desire – shop – buy – repeat customer)? I have seen publishers thinking that a Facebook ‘like’ is the path to success online, but where does it fit in the ladder of involvement. New metrics have been invented by technology companies that have minimal marketing value, like clicks, likes and shares, that at best contribute to awareness. The promise of shortening the customer sales cycle through technology may be an over-promise.

When I wear my media buyer’s hat all I am looking for is to reach of my target audience in a trusted media brand, and cost efficiencies. I do not see how a Facebook like or share has any impact on a media plan. Clicks are good but not as important as a brand impression. The goal of any advertising program is top share of mind at time of purchase and sales are always the best metric at the end of the day.

Thursday, April 24, 2014
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock
Legion Magazine has won first place at the Gala Gutenberg awards for the outstanding printing and design of the 2013 special interest publication Canada’s Ultimate Story: Canada And The Victoria Cross.

The award was announced April 22 at a gala in Montreal.

The Gala Gutenberg awards are presented by the Printability and Graphic Communications Institute, formerly known as the Quebec Institute of Graphic Communications, to recognize excellence in graphics and the printing industry.

Printed at TC Transcontinental Quebec, the 100-page magazine published in the fall featured archival photos and illustrations and a text by historian Hugh A. Halliday. An embossed Victoria Cross was featured on its cover, designed by the magazine’s art department.


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