Masthead News Archives
February 1999
Latest ABC report shows newsstand sales hit hard
Toronto, Ont., 26 Feb., 1999: Newsstands sales among Canada's top consumer magazines took a tremendous beating in the latter half of 1998, recent figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations indicate. According to the ABC Fas-Fax for the six months ending Dec. 31, 1998, a total of 29 titles reported newsstand losses while just 16 showed gains. Worse still, 19 magazines recorded double digit losses--meaning more than 40% of magazines reporting showed a 10% or more decrease. Across the board, there was a 6.5% decrease in single copy sales for all 45 magazines reporting year-over-year figures. In the CCAB's ConsumerTRAC report for the six months ending September 1998, meanwhile, 20 magazines recorded newsstand losses while 17 showed gains, for an overall 2.9% decline in yearly sales. Last year's ABC figures mark the worst newsstand sales decline since Masthead started tracking these figures. For a full analyis, watch for Terry Sellwood's report in the April issue of Masthead magazine.

Revamped Saturday Night debuts tomorrow
Toronto, Ont., 25 Feb., 1999: It started out as an idea to create two new sections, but when the March issue of Saturday Night hits the newsstands tomorrow, readers will find an entirely revamped magazine--from the logo on the front cover through to the back page. "The more we started thinking about it, really messing around with things, the more it seemed like we should do a complete redesign," says editor Paul Tough in explaining the genesis of the 112-year-old magazine's latest incarnation. Along with the graphic redesign, which entails a new look for the cover, logo, masthead, table of contents and regular columns, is the addition of three entirely new sections. "Surveyor" features three "offbeat" profiles each issue using "maps and paintings and tell different stories," says Tough, while "Canadian Letters" provides a platform for contributors from across the country to write about local stories. Then there's the new back pager, "One Moment," which outlines a specific moment in Canadian history. Also new is the contributor's page, which will carry mini profiles of the writers featured in each issue. "I hope it will help readers feel like they're creating a relationship with the magazine," says Tough, who's been on the job since mid-September (October 1998's "People in Print"). As for the all-important logo, Tough says that although it's now much more modern looking with its block letters, it was in fact inspired by the nameplate from the 1930s. Says Tough: "It's a bit of a nod to the magazine's history--as well as representing the present."
Contact: 416-368-7237.

Magazines Canada launches new ad software
Toronto, Ont., 24 Feb., 1999: For magazines still battling to convince ad agencies that there's life beyond television, help is on the way. Magazines Canada is launching an interactive software program that shows how magazines can capture "high-value" consumers not reached by television-only advertising campaigns. The launch of MagAdvantage is officially slated for tomorrow. According to Magazines Canada president Gary Garland, typical television campaigns fail to adequately reach 40% of television viewers, leaving room for magazines to make up the shortfall. With MagAdvantage, users can experiment with various ways of distributing ad dollars to better reach their target audiences--without increasing media funding. The new software, which runs on any computer equipped with Windows '95 or higher, can be downloaded for free from the Magazines Canada Web site ( Agencies wishing to use MagAdvantage must be registered users of IMS Crosstab software with access to the Print Measurement Bureau's database.
Contact: 416-596-5318

Publicor's l'essentiel closes after 10-year run
Outremont, Que., 23 Feb., 1999: Publicor has bid adieu to one of its four women's titles. The current February issue marks the last appearance of 10-year-old l'essentiel. According to editor-in-chief Linda Priestley, the main reason for the closure was that the monthly had become "too expensive" to sustain. The glossy offered practical information on such topics as sewing and recipes, as well as articles on personal finances, social issues and psychology. Publicor continues to publish the women's titles Clin d'oeil, Femme Plus and Filles d'aujourd'hui, along with a stable of French-language shelter books. Watch for a full report on the demise of l'essentiel in the April issue of Masthead magazine.
Contact: 514-270-1100

Magazine launches continue to outpace closures
Mississauga, Ont., 22 Feb., 1999: According to a sneak preview of Masthead's ninth annual tally of magazine launches and closures, a total of 88 new titles debuted in 1998, just two launches shy of the initial tally totals for both 1996 and 1997. Meanwhile, there were only 30 closures last year--again paralleling the initial findings for 1996 and 1997, when Masthead recorded just 34 and 31 magazine closures respectively. Although the totals for 1996 and 19997 have since been revised with the addition of previously unreported launches and closures, the net gain for each of the past three years continues to hover around 60 new magazines. The figures for 1998 could still change for the worse, however. Eight magazines suspended publication last year, while another 16 disappeared and their closures could not be officially confirmed. That means the margin separating launches and closures could become much slimmer when the tally is updated next year. Fortunately, however, the annual tally updates also tend to discover previously unreported launches (there were an extra 27 in 1997, for example), so things could yet balance out. For the complete tally, watch for the March 1999 issue of Masthead magazine.

Elm Street takes bigger share of cosmetics ads
Toronto, Ont., 19 Feb., 1999: Multi-Vision Publishing Inc. is continuing to give publishing giants Maclean Hunter and Telemedia a run for their scented perfume strips, according to a recent analysis of cosmetics advertising in Canadian magazines. Compiled by Repentigny, Que.-based Cosmetic Info, the study found that Multi-Vision's Elm Street and Images have been eating into the share of beauty industry ad dollars traditionally enjoyed by the two publishing giants (see chart below). Of the $50 million spent in 1998, three-year-old Elm Street was the fourth largest recipient, up from its sixth-place ranking in 1997. The French and English editions of Images, meanwhile, crept onto the top 10 list to collectively capture eighth spot. Also new on the list is Maclean Hunter's Modern Woman, while Telemedia's Homemaker's and Coup de Pouce have been bumped off. The complete study appeared last month as an advertisement supplement in the Maclean Hunter trade magazine Cosmetics.

1998's top 10 recipients of cosmetics industry advertising
(Last year's rankings are in parentheses)

1 (1) Chatelaine/Maclean Hunter
2 (2) Flare/Maclean Hunter
3 (3) Canadian Living/Telemedia
4 (6) Elm Street/Multi-Vision
5 (4) Chatelaine (French)/Maclean Hunter
6 (5) Elle Québec/Telemedia
7 (10) Clin d'oeil/Publicor
8 (-) Images/Multi-Vision
9 (9) Toronto Life Fashion/Key Publishers
10 (-) Modern Woman/Maclean Hunter

Contact: 450-582-5222

Magazines Canada develop digital ad standards
Toronto, Ont., 18 Feb., 1999: Magazines Canada is bringing the 27-year-old Magazine Advertising Canadian Standards (MACS) program into the digital age. Now known as dMACS--the "d" is for digital--the program is being updated to bring it in line with the magazine industry's gradual switch over to entirely digital workflows. "It's not a matter of imposing standards," says dMACS project leader Shane Steinman, "but rather consulting with publishers, printers and advertisers to establish what works well and what doesn't." Steinman says his workflow reports will be made available in early March, while still other reports, such as how to format documents, will be ready by May. Magazines Canada president Gary Garland says the cost of dMACS "is in the six figures," but well worth the money. "It is expensive to do," he says, "but it is the right thing to do because it is the future."
Contact: 416-596-5318

CMPA now charging 10¢ per stale-dated cover
Toronto, Ont., 17 Feb., 1999: Planning to distribute your winter issue when spring is almost upon us? Always neglecting to print your retail price on the cover? Or maybe you didn't know you actually needed a bar code. If your magazine is distributed by the Canadian Magazine Publishers Association, such newsstand faux pas will now cost you an extra 10¢ a copy. The reason? The CMPA must cover up stale-dated covers, absentee cover prices and missing bar codes with special stickers in order to keep retailers happy--an exercise that costs both time and money. While publishers can avoid the charge-back by doing the stickering themselves, the CMPA recommends they avoid the problem altogether. In the case of stale dating, for example, publishers could advance the cover date to the next season or omit it entirely, displaying instead only the volume and issue numbers. If the date must be included, the CMPA recommends burying it in the masthead. Stickers must also be used to compensate for missing bar codes, which are a must for titles distributed to Chapters stores (the chain rejects magazines if the all-important UPC stripes are not printed on their covers). The best solution, though, is for publishers to ask the CMPA to assign them their very own reusable bar codes.
Contact: 416-504-0274

Brian Banks takes over McGugan's post at CB
Toronto, Ont., 15 Feb., 1999: Canadian Business editor Arthur Johnson has announced the promotion of two senior staffers in the wake of executive editor Ian McGugan's recent departure. Taking over McGugan's number two position on the editorial masthead is Brian Banks, most recently CB's senior features editor. Banks, 40, celebrates his fifth year with CB in April. The National Magazine Award winner's resumé includes previous stints on CAmagazine and The Financial Times; he has also been a freelance magazine writer. Also advancing up the editorial masthead is senior writer Jonathan Harris, who jumped to CB from Maclean's in the summer of 1997. A University of Edinburgh law graduate, 31-year-old Harris is now investment editor at the fortnightly business glossy. Ian McGugan, meanwhile, is heading up the editorial team for Maclean Hunter's new, yet-to-be-unveiled personal finance title. Watch this space for details.
Contact: 416-596-5100

Broadcasters group endorse fight for Bill C-55
Ottawa, Ont., 11 Feb., 1999: The "current American assault" on Bill C-55 is "just the leading edge of a broader assault to come" on Canadian cultural industries in general, warns the president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB). "Magazines are just the beginning," Michael McCabe said yesterday during a Broadcast Executive Society (BES) luncheon. "We can't fail at this. If we do, it will damage not only our businesses, but our country." According to McCabe, it is the success of Canada's cultural policies themselves that has lead the U.S. to so vehemently attack the likes of Bill C-55. "When we were a little ‘cultural' industry, they didn't have to pay much attention," he said. "Now they do. This undoubtedly means that they will come after the system of cultural supports we have built in this country.…" In urging his audience of 100-plus senior executives to support Bill C-55, McCabe noted that Canada and other smaller countries must "insist on the freedom" to support their own culture. "We have to be able to maintain in this country a set of cultural policies that ensure that we can tell our own stories to our own people, and to others," he said. "The American proposition that it's just business and there should be a level playing field is a myth--and a dangerous myth--given their size and market power." Ottawa-based CAB's support of Bill C-55 comes at a time when more and more cultural associations are endorsing the magazine industry's battle against U.S. split-runs. Among the groups that have so far lent their support are the:
• Directors Guild of Canad;
• Association of Canadian Publishers;
• Canadian Association of Film Producers and Exporters;
• Cultural Industries Council of Ontario; and
• Alberta Magazine Publishers Association.
Contact: 613-233-4035 (CAB)

Passage of Bill C-55 enters final stretch
Ottawa, Ont., 10 Feb., 1999: The federal government appears poised to call Washington's bluff over threats of trade retaliation over Bill C-55, despite persistent reports that attempts are continuing behind the scenes to avert a trade war. Slated to begin third and final reading today, the Bill was expected to carry a new proviso stating that once passed, it will first be vetted by a "fast-track" World Trade Organization panel before being implemented. This crucial amendment is seen as putting the onus on the U.S. to agree to use existing dispute settlement mechanisms to resolve the issue, rather than unilaterally launching punitive measures. The wild card, of course, remains whether or not the U.S. will agree to a return to Geneva. And if it doesn't, it also remains to be seen whether Washington will forge ahead with some form of trade retaliation. Meanwhile, there are reports of concurrent back-channel negotiations between the Prime Minister's Office and the United States Trade Representative to try to resolve the potential trade clash outside the auspices of either the WTO or NAFTA. Observers believe, however, that any concessions made outside the rubric of international trade accords, or beyond Canada's bilateral trade agreements with the U.S., would indicate capitulation on Ottawa's part to American bullying tactics. Officially, at least, the government claims to remain solidly behind the Bill. Talking to reporters following question period yesterday, International Trade Minister Sergio Marchi acknowledged that there was "ongoing constructive engagement" between Ottawa and Washington, but that Canada "will not do anything that we do not want to do." Yesterday's political intrigues formed the backdrop for Magazine Day, a lobbying campaign organized by the CBP and the CMPA to support Bill C-55. More than 50 editors and publishers representing large and small consumer and trade magazines met with more than 70 MPs, cabinet ministers and senior bureaucrats throughout the day to urge them to pass the now controversial legislation. During a reception capping off the day of intense lobbying, Heritage Minister Sheila Copps assured Masthead Online that the Bill would go ahead--U.S. threats notwithstanding--noting that no viable alternatives have been forthcoming to date. Also during last night's reception, at least two senators indicated that the Bill would find a favourable climate once it reaches the Senate.

New title on personal investment for the rich
Toronto, Ont., 8 Feb., 1999: Even those in the top 1% of income earners like to dream. So says the publisher of Investment Life, a new magazine that aims to help the rich get even richer--and entertain them along the way. "Within the context of providing them with relevant investment information," says Henry Roberts, "the magazine also tells a pretty good story and allows readers to dream about life's possibilities." Launched last September by Toronto-based Pursuit Publishing Group Inc., Investment Life covers all manner of investment opportunity, unlike sister title All-Canadian Mutual Fund Guide, which focuses solely on mutual funds. Since most of Investment Life's readers already have financial planners, the thrice yearly title's main aim is help them become more conversant in the investment issues of the day. Also included in the glossy's editorial content, meanwhile, are lifestyle articles on upscale pursuits (recent issues, for example have focused on pedigree dogs, private schools and fine scotches). The standard-sized magazine can be found on newsstands across the country (cover price $4.50). It is also distributed by various financial planners, for a total circ of 103,000. A full-page, colour ad costs $7,225, while subs sell for $11.56.
Contact: 416-480-9425

The Globe revamps its TV guide amid launches
Toronto, Ont., 5 Feb., 1999: Couch potatoes across the land have been treated to new and improved ways of finding their favourite television shows in recent months. The fledgling National Post, for example, now offers its very own televison listings guide, distributed weekly with the Saturday paper. Post TV made its first appearance on Jan. 23. According to Alex Beer, editor-in-chief for Southam's Editorial Services, the "most important part" of Post TV is that it presents the listings on a horizontal grid, rather than in traditional columns of type. Although the bulk of Post TV is listings, each issue does include one feature article and two regular sections on upcoming highlights. Says Beer: "It's a tool for readers to get them through their TV week." Also now accompanied by its very own weekly television guide is Montreal's Le Devoir. Launched last September, Télé Choix & Agenda Culturel is Le Devoir's first-ever programming guide, says news editor Claude Beauregard. But more than simply offering television listings and brief movie reviews, the new publication also covers "what's going on in the city," says Beauregard, with theatre, art and museum exhibit listings. Finally, The Globe and Mail unveiled a revamped Broadcast Week on Jan. 23, complete with a new logo, more features and expanded versions of existing departments. Also added were weekly columns on children's television, videos, technology and sports. A redesigned listings section is slated to follow this month.
Contact: 416-445-6641 (Post TV); 514-985-3333 (Télé Choix); 416-585-5600 (Broadcast Week)

Canadian Living unveils $1 million makeover
Toronto, Ont., 4 Feb., 1999: Hot on the heels of Chatelaine's much-publicized redesign comes news of yet another big bucks makeover, this time for rival Canadian Living. Telemedia Communications Inc. officially announced today that it had invested $1 million in its 24-year-old flagship title, both to improve the graphic design and to expand the editorial content. Canadian Living's 2.3 million readers will have their first opportunity to view the new and improved glossy when the March issue arrives on the nation's newsstands next Monday. According to a press release issued today, readers will "find an updated, contemporary graphic design, making the magazine more appealing and easier to use." The new look was executed by consulting creative director Gary Gray and consulting art director Ulrike Balke, along with the magazine's existing graphics team. The most noticeable changes, however, will be to the editorial, with expanded content related to the key areas of health, home, relationships and fashion. The changes come after six months of testing with research groups. "Our readers have a unique sense of trust and ownership when it comes to Canadian Living," states editorial director Bonnie Baker Cowan. "We've maintained that trust by listening to them on a daily basis, by understanding their concerns and by providing them with the relevant information and support they need. As their world evolves, so do we." Coinciding with the redesign's debut next Monday will be the launch of an accompanying print and radio campaign to promote the changes.
Contact: 416-218-3539

Government moves forward with Bill C-55
Ottawa, Ont., 3 Feb., 1999: Bill C-55 returns to the House of Commons a week today for third reading, putting to rest rumours and speculation that the Liberal government was backing away from the proposed legislation. The reappearance of the Foreign Publishers Advertising Services Act on the order paper coincided with yesterday's cabinet meeting, where insiders say overall government support for the legislation was reaffirmed. News that the Bill will soon receive third reading should come as a relief to the magazine industry, given the increasingly virulent opposition to the legislation stemming from the U.S. Indeed, there had been fears that American threats of unilateral trade retaliation would weaken Ottawa's resolve to move forward with the proposed law. Plus, U.S. trade officials have recently met with their Canadian counterparts to discuss a compromise to the legislation. Today's news that the Bill is now going to third reading, however, would suggest that the Americans have put nothing new--or palatable to Canadian interests--on the table. It may also be an indication that the stepped up lobbying campaign by the CMPA and the CBP is proving effective (see "C-55 lobby intensifies"in the Jan. 99 archives folder). To have the third reading next Wednesday is most fortuitous for the magazine industry, which is sending teams of publishers and editors to Ottawa on Tuesday to lobby MPs in support of the legislation. Still, final passage of Bill C-55 will be anything but a cakewalk. The Reform Party--the only federal party to oppose the Bill--is expected to throw up a slew of procedural roadblocks to try to delay the legislation as long as possible. And once passed--which is pretty much a given thanks to the Liberal House majority--the Bill must still be debated in the Senate before returning to the House for royal assent. Even if all goes smoothly, observers suggest the Bill will not become law until as late as the end of April. In the worst case scenario--where Reform's delay tactics prove successful and the Senate process drags on--passage could be delayed until June. Nonetheless, confidence remains high that Bill C-55 will finally become law. Telemedia Publishing Divisions president François de Gaspé Beaubien, spokesperson for the joint CBP-CMPA task force on Bill C-55, views today's news that the Bill be heard next Wednesday as a welcome development. Says de Gaspé Beaubien: "I am confident that we will persevere and eventually triumph."

Fifteen-year-old Up Here looks to cover Alaska
Yellowknife, NT., 2 Feb., 1999: Up Here celebrated its 15th anniversary in January while gearing up to extend its coverage of the great white north into Alaska. The glossy lifestyle magazine about things northern celebrated the recent milestone with a special retrospective of some of its best articles and photographs over the past 15 years. While no changes to the magazine itself are planned, publisher Marion LaVigne says it will begin reporting on Alaska as of the upcoming March/April issue. To date, the magazine has focused on Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut. Up Here (its tagline is "Life at the top of the world") is published eight times a year by Yellowknife, NT.-based Outcrop Ltd.

World of Wheels gives green light to new annual
Toronto, Ont., 1 Feb., 1999: Helpard Publishing Inc. is about to roll out a new annual to accompany World of Wheels and its French-language counterpart, Le Monde de L'Auto. Car Catalogue 1999, Toronto-based Helpard's first-ever annual, hits newsstands across Canada early this month, taking the place of the usual February/March of World of Wheels and Le Monde de L'Auto. According to Helpard marketing director Lise Anne Parker, the annual will include listings of standard auto equipment, with features and reviews on every new car and light truck for sale in Canada. Also included will be the magazine's newly minted "Editors' Choice" awards. The English edition will have a circulation of 75,000, with the French version capped at 30,000 in French. Car Catalogue 1999 will retail for $5.
Contact: 416-438-7777

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Jaded says:
Wow, Torstar really seems to be on a mission to bankrupt one magazine after another....
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Full of terrific information, Thanks!...