Canadian Magazine Industry News
30 August 2011,     OTTAWA
Aid to Publishers funding being phased in over three years
Almost all eligible publishers will see changes in funding in 2011-12 from the Canada Periodical Fund, but any negative financial impact is being cushioned by a new three-year phase-in period.

A letter from Ramzi Saad, director of periodical publishing policy and programs for the Department of Canadian Heritage, noted a third of the funding recipients will see their amounts change by more than 50%. The good news, according to Saad, is most publications will see increases compared to last year. However, some publications will experience decreases, he added.

While the total funding available remains at $75 million, matching last year's number, the funding is now based on the success of a magazine in reaching readers, not on postal or editorial costs, explained Saad.

An Aid to Publishers Fact Sheet (download by clicking here) issued by Canadian Heritage explains that publishers receiving less aid compared to 2010-2011 will see its annual amount gradually decrease from the existing level over three years, and will not lose more than 35% of funding in the first year. That phase-in applies to publications getting more cash than last year.

Small circulation magazines will receive the highest funding per copy, with a cap of $1.5 million applied to the biggest publications. Financial support is now "tied to the reading choices of Canadians", meaning the more copies a publication sells, the greater its funding.

A table included in the fact sheet estimates that a paid circulation magazine that sells up to 25,000 copies annually will be eligible to receive up to $31,000, while up to 500,000 copies sold annually will equate to around $254,000 from the fund. A request magazine with a circulation of up to 25,000 annually will get around $9,000, while request magazines with up to 500,000 copies annually will land around $71,000 in funding.

Payments will come in two parts, with the first cheques (79% of funding) expected in September, and a second payment (21%) coming in early 2012. The two payment system will be for this year only, as the inclusion of $15 million into the federal fund (what used to be Canada Post's share under the defunct postal subsidy) will not be fully approved by parliament until the end of December.

Meanwhile, Magazines Canada applauded the new CPF funding formula, which is based on eligible annual circulation.

“We welcome the government’s decision to provide for a three-year transition period to allow magazines time to plan as they adjust to the new formula," said Mark Jamison, Magazines Canada's chief executive officer.

Jamison said Magazines Canada had raised the transition issue as early as 2007 over concern about "sudden" changes from the Canada Magazine Fund and Publications Assistance Program. That concern arose again with the formula changing to a '90/150%' model, and then changing again for this year. "However, we only recommend, not decide, so in the end this is [the government's] initiative," noted Jamison.
— Jeff Hayward
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