Canadian Magazine Industry News
19 November 2013,     TORONTO
Men's titles UMM and Toro tap out
UMM (Urban Male Magazine) and the online-only Toro called it quits this year, quietly exiting the men's marketplace.

Toro, a former print mag that ceased publishing in late 2007 and was resurrected as a strictly online venture in May 2008, reached a decision in July to close shop. Its staff of seven, including Erin Herschberg, who led editorial as managing editor and now works at The Luxe Life, had moved on by the end of August.

A screenshot from Toromagazine.com
A screenshot from Toromagazine.com

Black Angus Media, however, has continued to sporadically update the site with content that was commissioned before the closure.

"We're looking now at things to do with the site, and we'll probably keep it online as an archive for some time to come. Maybe we'll shift it as a 'best-of' and promote our favourite pieces from over the years," said publisher Christina Butterfield.

Butterfield attributes Toro's demise to a slump in ad sales and CPM (cost per thousand views) rates lowering at auction. "We had some difficult months, and we really couldn't recover from them," she said.

In its previous life as a print publication edited by Derek Finkle, the award-winning Toro was distributed through the Globe and Mail. Original founders Christopher Bratty and William Morassutti were on board when the brand returned online, though Toro's tone shifted to fit the internet audience.

"[Toromagazine.com] had a lot more humour and edge, not taking ourselves as seriously," said Butterfield. Video production became a strong focus, including how-to clips, interviews, and style, food and drink content.

UMM, Spring 2013
UMM, Spring 2013
UMM
's last issue was the Spring 2013 edition. A glossy lad mag targeting the 18 to 34 demographic, it launched in 1998.

Founder/editor-in-chief Abbis Mahmoud and Nashir Gangji, director of operations, could not be reached for comment, though the mag's parent entertainment group is still in business. Owner Mahmoud operates a number of clubs and bars in Ontario, including Ottawa's Mansion Nightclub, the Lobby Night Clubs in Ottawa and Toronto, and The Brunswick House pub in Toronto.

"There have been successful men's magazines, but I do think it is a very difficult market," said Butterfield. She notes that men's titles holding strong are bigger brand names, like Esquire and GQ, which "have more history and have access to higher-profile celebrities," or publications like Men's Health or Men's Fitness, with more narrow, targeted content.

"When you look at the general magazines…there's that idea or culture of 'be a better man,' and I don't know how well that resonates anymore," Butterfield said.

Christopher Turner, editor-in-chief of AmongMen.com, which launched earlier this year, says men are changing as consumers. "There are products for men now that have never been there before," he said, citing new dedicated sections in major outlets like Shopper's Drug Mart. "I know it's a very difficult space but we've been very fortunate."

"I think traditionally we think of men as being a hard audience to secure. I think that is changing, and that has to do with a change in mindset," said Turner. "Men are more interested in fashion and grooming right now, and they're seeking out that information."

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