Masthead News Archives
January 2002
January 30, 2002
Reader’s Digest probed in Alberta
MONTREAL—A negative-option billing probe by the Alberta government has concluded that Reader’s Digest’s annual subscription offers failed to make clear that the arrangement would be automatically renewed unless canceled by the subscriber. (Negative-option billing relieves the service provider of having to secure an agreement by placing the onus on a customer to opt out.) “We have never engaged in negative billing,” says Barbara Robins, vice-president, legal, at the Montreal-based publisher. Rather, she maintains, Reader’s Digest has a “continuous-subscription service” which has been in place since 1994, hitherto without complaint. While fixed-term subscriptions are not offered, they can be arranged, she adds. Alberta’s Fair Trading Act prohibited negative-option billing in 1999 after cable TV customers were charged for unordered access to various channels. Reader’s Digest has agreed to obviate the terms and conditions contained in subscription offers to Albertans and to pay the province’s investigative costs of $11,000. There is no plan to change the wording of offers distributed in other parts of Canada, Robins says.

January 29, 2002
LeMay appointed editor of IE:Money
TORONTO—National Post business reporter Tracy LeMay has been hired to replace Charles Oberdorf as editor of IE:Money, the eight-times-a-year glossy owned by Transcontinental Media and devoted to examining sophisticated investment options. Prior to taking the post earlier this month, LeMay was with the Financial Post, where he has spent the past 17 years in various positions, including chief assignment editor and opinion section editor; he was also co-author of The Financial Post Guide to Mutual Funds, published in 1988.

January 28, 2002
Pittaway to become Chatelaine’s ME
TORONTO—After more than 13 years of freelance editing and writing and teaching a class in feature writing at Ryerson, Kim Pittaway has succumbed to the lure of a staff salary. “I never thought I’d be tempted,” she says, stressing the freedom she enjoyed in choosing her own workload, “but there’s a great team here.” Currently filling in as acting executive editor for managing editor Caroline Connell (who is on maternity leave), Pittaway will succeed Connell as managing editor on March 18. Connell, meanwhile, will jump over to sister title Today’s Parent in March as a four-day-a-week senior editor. Pittaway has a seven-year freelance relationship with Chatelaine, the last three as its Broadside columnist.

January 24, 2002
Monday best day to send e-mail renewal forms
TORONTO—The best time to broadcast e-mail subscription renewals is Monday morning for business-to-business magazines and after 6 p.m. for consumer magazines, an audience of circulators and marketers was told today at a seminar. Monday morning used to be a terrible time for B2B renewals because readers’ mailboxes were flooded with other e-mail newsletter subscriptions after the weekend. But since so many readers have cancelled e-newsletter subscriptions that Monday mornings are relatively calm. For consumers, the best time is after dinner, when readers typically check their home e-mails. The seminar was sponsored by the Canadian Marketing Association and presented by Kamy Zarbafi, group circulation marketing director for Transcontinental Media, and Don Lange, senior vice-president of Cornerstone.

January 23, 2002
People magazine launches “Canadian” edition
TORONTO—For the first time since 1993 (when Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated Canada was beamed over the border via satellite to circumvent existing tariff regulations), Time Inc. is offering Canadian advertisers ad space in a separate, Canada-only edition of one of its U.S-based magazines—People. According to Time Canada vice-president, strategic planning, Joan Brehl, “It’ll be the same issue as the U.S. version except with Canadian ads.” Paid Canadian circulation, she says, is about 197,000 with 75% of that on the newsstand. A full-page colour ad goes for $21,500. “We’re taking it slow to see if there’s a market here,” says Brehl of the People initiative which commenced this month. In-depth coverage of this development will appear in the February issue of Masthead magazine.

January 22, 2002
Ryerson on magazine production
TORONTO—Come September the continuing education division at Ryerson University will offer a 14-week evening course on the high-tech ins and outs of magazine production. Charles Oberdorf, former editor of IE:Money and an editing instructor at Ryerson is helping to organize the course. Instructors have yet to be selected, however various production personnel from within the industry have submitted a list of recommended subject areas.

January 21, 2002
Boycott? What boycott?
TORONTO—Marketing Magazine’s annual awards show has survived the great cunnilingus controversy of 2001. There was talk of a boycott last fall when Rogers Publishing CEO Brian Segal fired the magazine’s publisher for running a sexually provocative ad featuring implied oral sex. That sparked the immediate resignation of Marketing Awards chair Paul Lavoie who accused Rogers of gutlessness and called for a general boycott of the company’s awards show. Would it stick, many wondered. According to Marketing editor Stan Sutter, the number of companies entering the awards this year is actually up 20% to 165 while total entries are down 9% to 1,960. Only two shops boycotted: Lavoie’s Taxi and J. Walter Thompson. The 2001 Marketing Awards, held last March, generated an estimated $1 million in revenue.

January 18, 2002
Saturday Night names new ME
TORONTO—As Saturday Night preps for its April relaunch, the editorial team is falling into place. Editor-in-chief Matthew Church says Cynthia Brouse has accepted the post of managing editor. The appointment was finalized yesterday. “It’s wonderful news for us,” says Church. Brouse, who could not be reached for comment, is currently the co-ordinator of the magazine publishing certificate program at Ryerson University’s continuing education division. She won a National Magazine Award in personal journalism last year for “Gross Encounters,” (Toronto Life) and is well known for her sharp eye. From July 1996 to September 1999 she served as chief of copy editing at Toronto Life. “She is the best copy editor I have ever worked with,” says Toronto Life executive editor Angie Gardos. “She’s a great safety net.” Church says there are three candidates on the short list for art director, a post he hopes to fill by next week.

January 17, 2002
West Coast association gets $200,000
VANCOUVER—Look for the British Columbia Association of Magazine Publishers (BCAMP) to develop bigger marketing muscles this summer. The group’s application to the federal Canada Magazine Fund recently met with approval. BCAMP executive director Johanne Provençal says the funds will be used, in part, to promote the medium, conduct industry studies and increase the public profile of BCAMP itself.

January 16, 2002
WeddingBells selects new editor
TORONTO—Alison McGill replaces Crys Stewart as editor-in-chief of Key Media’s 100,000-circ, twice-a-year glossy WeddingBells. McGill was formerly editor of Salon Magazine. Stewart, meanwhile, moves on to become editor-in-chief of WeddingBells’ U.S. version, also based in Toronto but sold by Key last year, along with

January 15, 2002
Suitors prep final bids for Key Media
TORONTO—Bill Duron, executive chairman of Key Media, says at least three bidders are heading down the final stretch in their quest to acquire the company’s assets including Toronto Life, WeddingBells and Quill & Quire; Key’s 50% stake in Gardening Life and 75% stake in Ottawa City magazine will be included in the sale. Transcontinental Media is rumoured to be one of the bidders; Multi-Vision Publishing parent company St. Joseph Corp. has acknowledged it is vying for the properties. Key Media founder and principal shareholder Michael de Pencier has declared a final offer will be accepted sometime this month.

January 14, 2002
Woman magazine executing reverse takeover
TORONTO—What’s become of Woman magazine? Founder Elizabeth Scott suspended publication of her quarterly one year ago after a four-year run to develop plans for greater circulation and distribution. The new Woman was to have relaunched this month. Scott says response to her business plan was positive in the early fall, but Sept. 11 had a dampening effect. She now plans a relaunch this May and is in the process of taking over a publicly traded mining company which she intends to rename Woman Inc. and have listed on the Canadian Venture Exchange.

January 11, 2002
Business to launch French versions
TORONTO—National Post Business magazine plans to launch French-language versions of its Financial Post 500 and CEO of the Year issues in June and November, respectively, says National Post Co.'s vice-president of marketing and new business development Geoff Dawe. The issues will be distributed in Quebec via Power Corp.’s La Presse newspaper.

January 10, 2002
Marketing plans quarterly supplement
TORONTO—Marketing Magazine will launch a quarterly insert this coming March called Create. It will deal with the “executional (arts and craft) elements of advertising,” according to a company announcement. The second issue of Create will appear in time for distribution at the Cannes International Advertising Festival in June.

January 09, 2002
New wedding magazine to complement show
TORONTO—According to wedding photographer Catherine Lash, 50% of couples enter marriage engagements in December. That’s why many wedding shows convene in January. Lash is not only launching The Wedding Show on Jan. 18, but The Wedding Magazine as well. Starting as an annual, her plan is to publish biannually. The launch issue is 24 standard-size glossy pages with ads from show exhibitors.

January 08, 2002
Canadian Yachting flies new flag
MISSISSAUGA—In December, Kerrwil Publications Ltd. agreed to sell Canadian Yachting magazine to one of its former publishers—Mike Unger. The magazine was established in 1976. In November, Kerrwil reached an agreement to sell its six trade magazines and Canadian Yachting to Aurora, Ont.-based CLB Media (see News Archives Nov. 15, 2001). However, CLB president Stuart Morrison says Kerrwil retained the right to seek the highest bidder for CY. While Morrison was saddened not to have roped the glossy bimonthly—“Them’s the breaks,” he said—CLB continues to pursue its “original plan” of acquiring business-to-business magazines. Unger could not be reached for comment.

January 07, 2002
New art director at National Post Business
TORONTO—The designer who created the original look of National Post Business when it replaced Financial Post Magazine in September 1999 has returned in her original capacity. Karen Simpson succeeds Scott Gibbs as art director at the oversize monthly business insert to the National Post. “Having Karen back is fantastic,” says editor Tony Keller, adding that Gibbs has returned to his natural habitat of freelance design work. Simpson’s appointment was effective today, says Keller, noting that it does not presage a redesign at the magazine. “I think our initial design is still extremely strong.”

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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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