Canadian Magazine Industry News
3 August 2010,     GATINEAU, QUE.
Ottawa launches new magazine and online grant program
THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED: The Department of Canadian Heritage has launched its previously announced Business Innovation grant program for both print and online publishers. For the first time, the new fund will accept applications from qualifying online-only publishers, and DCH spent many months coming up with a definition of an online magazine.

UPDATE: There are staggered application deadlines depending on the government’s fiscal year and whether publishers are applying for the print or “digital periodical” component of the fund.

For publishers wishing to apply for the print-periodical portion of the fund in the current fiscal year ending March 31, there is no deadline, but DCH encourages publishers to apply as soon as possible since funding will get used up.

For publishers with projects related to digital periodicals, the deadline is Sept. 17 for the current fiscal year.

Any applications submitted after Oct. 1 may be considered for the following fiscal year starting April 1.

With a total of $1.5 million to distribute to publishers in the current fiscal year, the Business Innovation program is part of the new Canada Periodical Fund launched this year. The CPF replaces the Publications Assistance Program (postal subsidy) and the Canada Magazine Fund.

Business Innovation offers support for projects to eligible small and mid-sized print and digital periodical publishers, with a maximum of $25,000 available per project depending on project category. The program is part of DCH’s effort to help publishers adapt to a changing industry.

While the government says the program is aimed at eligible “small and mid-sized” print and digital periodical publishers, the criteria essentially limit the program to small publishers only.

DCH limits the program to print publishing companies with total per issue average circulation, of all titles, of 45,000. For example, a publishing house with two magazines, one with a circulation of 15,000 and another with a circulation of 35,000, would be ineligible for the program, since the total per issue is 50,000.

Magazine circulation must also be at least 50% paid or request, with exceptions for aboriginal, ethnocultural, official language minority and gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered periodicals.

UPDATE: Publishers wishing to apply for the digital periodical component must have total annual publishing revenues of less than $500,000. That includes revenues from all existing print and online publishing activities, such as advertising and circulation sales. Revenues from non-publishing activities such as trade shows are not included in the calculation.

DCH defines a digital periodical as: “Primarily text, photographic and illustrated editorial content delivered via a Web site, download or email that is published on a regularly scheduled basis under a common title and governed by an editorial function.”

The department further stipulates that a digital periodical must:
  • be published by an eligible publishing firm.
  • be majority owned and controlled by Canadians.
  • not be available in print.
  • have completed at least one uninterrupted full 12-month publishing cycle and have been in operation for a complete financial year prior to the application.
  • be published at the time of application, during the application process and throughout the project.
  • contain an average of at least 80% Canadian editorial content
  • contain an average of at most 70% advertising content
  • maintain a regular publishing or update schedule, not less than twice a year.
  • contain editorial content that is primarily original (over 51%).
  • present a clearly displayed masthead or equivalent.
  • maintain an editorial function where the editor is named.
  • present editorial content from more than one person.
  • have a publishing revenue stream for the periodical (e.g. subscription revenues, advertising sales, donations).
  • must have a valid URL address.
  • Maintain one of the following over a period of six months:
  • if a paid subscription service: maintain an average of 500 paid subscribers;
  • if an email-based service: maintain an average of 2,000 registered email recipients; or
  • if an open-access service: maintain an average of 5,000 unique monthly visitors
There is also a long list of digital publications that are not eligible, including those published by newspaper and book publishers.

Eligible projects under the BI program include advertising, editorial, circulation, design, training and other initiatives intended to improve the publisher’s bottom line. Grant limits are:
  • $25 000 per project, per periodical, per government fiscal year;
  • $10 000 for a business plan.
  • $15 000 for a marketing plan or market research.
As a bone for those arts and literary magazines cut from the larger Aid to Publishers portion of the CPF due to its new 5,000 annual circulation minimum, the DCH web site says: “Arts and Literary periodicals recognized for excellence and awarded a grant by the Canada Council in 2009-2010 will be given priority in the assessment of their project proposals” for the Business Innovation program.

Publishers receiving assistance under the Aid to Publishers component of the CPF can also apply for Business Innovation grants, at least for the current transition year (2010-1011). This will be reviewed for following years.

For full information, click here.
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