Masthead News Archives
October 2004

October 28, 2004
Annex acquires six trade mags
EXETER, Ont.—Owners Peter Phillips and Peter Darbishire are selling their six-title publishing operation, AIS Communications, to Delhi, Ont.-based Annex Publishing & Printing. The deal was brokered by Vancouver-based Watershed Partners. Annex president Mike Fredericks said the cash deal is scheduled to close tomorrow and will bring Annex’s collection of magazine assets to “22 or 23” titles producing upwards of $10 million in revenues. The AIS titles will represent about 20% of Annex’s publishing revenues, Fredericks said. Phillips and Darbyshire, who are approaching retirement, will remain with the business for a minimum transition period of two years, said Fredericks, adding that all of AIS’s “dozen or so” staff will be retained and that operations will remain in Exeter. AIS publishes two regional editions of Top Crop Manager, Ground Water Canada, Glass Canada, Drainage Contractor and Canadian Rental Service.

October 26, 2004
CLB Media hires head of publishing ops
AURORA, Ont.—A former divisional president at Annex Publishing & Printing has been hired to oversee CLB Media’s stable of 19 magazines. Earlier this month, Niel Hiscox finished a three-year stint overseeing Annex’s automotive/aviation division. He started at CLB on Oct. 15 as vice-president, media publishing, reporting directly to CLB president Stuart Morrison. Hiscox succeeds executive publisher David Ritter, who was let go in May. Prior to Annex, Hiscox was a partner and general manager at New Communications (assets include Today’s Trucking, Highwaystar) and a management consultant at KPMG. What’s his mandate at CLB, a company that has said it wants to own 50 titles by 2014? “Broadly, to continue to grow. What makes this exciting for me as a place to hang my hat is a very real commitment to that [growth plan],” he says. “One of the things I’d like to do is establish real, defensible beachheads in areas of strength and not get too choppy in what we buy.” CLB Media owns such titles as Canadian Lawyer, Law Times, Canadian Occupational Safety, Advanced Manufacturing, and Plant Engineering & Maintenance. Its last acquisition was Stitches, a Punch-inspired glossy devoted to supplying the medical profession with monthly doses of humour.

October 21, 2004
Policy conference set for early 2005
OTTAWA—The Canadian Magazine Publishers Association will emphasize the industry’s importance to the country’s cultural fabric at a special conference in Ottawa slated for early 2005. "It’s going to be about a huge Canadian success story called Canadian magazines," says CMPA president Mark Jamison, adding that it’ll be the first time since the WTO scuffle with the U.S. in the late 1990s that the association and industry representatives will have trekked to Ottawa to meet with key politicians and bureaucrats. A video on the industry will be presented. The CMPA wants to formally touch base with the new federal Liberal minority government, which took office in June. "We’ve got a new government," said Jamison in a recent interview while visiting this city on leave from the CMPA’s home base of Toronto. "There are new people in [the ministries of] Heritage and Finance and we’re sitting down with people and basically doing magazines 101 to make sure that our message isn’t lost." The pow-wow, originally slated to occur next month, was rescheduled to early next year to ensure maximum attendance. Jamison said he expects no less than "60 to 70" movers and shakers from government and the private sector to attend and 125 to show at the reception following. Venue to be announced, but the Chateau Laurier is a safe bet.

October 19, 2004
Annex still dealing but no longer wheeling
DELHI, Ont.—Annex Publishing & Printing has sold its auto magazines. Bimonthly paid-circ consumer glossy World of Wheels and monthly sister trade title Canadian Auto World were sold to Oakville, Ont.-based Formula Media Group on Sept. 22. (Last December, Formula and its sister printing operation were themselves acquired by Metroland Printing, Publishing & Distribution for $6 million.) “[Metroland] initiated an interest in the spring,” said Annex president Mike Fredericks. Rumours of the sale (see News Archives, Sept. 21, 2004) have been circulating for about a month. Six Annex staffers who worked on the auto mags will move to Formula, he added. Annex is also rumoured to be on the verge of acquiring Exeter, Ont.-based AIS Communications (whose holdings include Glass Canada, Canadian Rental Service, Drainage Contractor, Ground Water Canada, and Top Crop Manager). Both AIS principal Peter Phillips and Annex’s Fredericks declined comment on that matter.

October 14, 2004
NHL strike puts St. Joseph glossy on ice
TORONTO—Leafs Nation, the quarterly magazine produced by St. Joseph Media for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment directed at Leaf season-ticket holders, is suspending operations. The magazine, which launched in February, was to have published at least four issues and possibly five for the 2004-2005 season, plus a yearbook, says St. Joseph Media group president Greg MacNeil.
The National Hockey League’s board of governors voted unanimously to lock out players in September, days before team training camps were to begin. Consequently, Leafs Nation, which attracted about 10,000 subscribers and moved another 10,000 copies on the newsstand, will publish only one number during this hockey season’s non-campaign, says MacNeil, adding that “we may do something early in the new year.” MacNeil was optimistic that despite the strike advertisers would still be interested in appearing in a magazine sporting features and articles on Leaf alumni (contractual prohibitions preclude the magazine from featuring current players), but that support was not apparent, he said. “It was a push, and we are the new guys on the block.”

October 13, 2004
Frank searching for editor, more readers
TORONTO—According to a recent report in The Globe and Mail, long-time Frank contributor Jeff Wells will become the satirical, muck-raking biweekly’s new editor. Or will he? “That’s not true,” said Wells during an interview yesterday. Frank has been without an editor since August, when former Globe and Mail reporter Kim Honey was let go after just months in the slot. Rumours that former Canadian Business editor Arthur Johnson was going to take the position are also false, however Johnson did confirm yesterday that he is an "editorial consultant” to Frank. Johnson says he’s not writing for the magazine. During an interview last month, publisher Fabrice Taylor said that he’d hired former Brunico Communications circulator Suzette Smith who is overseeing a direct-mail campaign set to launch this Christmas season. A minimum of 25,000 subscription offers will be mailed out. “We’ve been working on it for long time,” said Taylor. “We need a minimum response rate of 4%, which is going to be somewhat of a challenge but we’ll see.” Taylor has said in the past that Frank needs to have a paid circulation of about 12,000 to break even. Currently, Frank’s circulation, which is not audited, is estimated to be about half that figure. Taylor, part of a group of otherwise secret investors who bought Frank from Michael Bate last year, did address rumours that he would leave the magazine once he finds an editor. “Yes, I am leaving. My job here was always to find two people who could do it: an editor and a circulation person. I never intended on staying here. I always wanted to be out by Christmas [2004],” he said. “I’m not interested in running a little magazine. I’m not a magazine editor. I did it as a entrepreneurial experience.”

October 7, 2004
No bull—a glossy for Bay Streeters
TORONTO—Targeting the top 5% of income earners is a new 10” x 12” glossy called The Bay Street Bull, a joint venture between Roltek International and Martin Power Communications. Toronto-based Roltek provides specialized distribution and subscription services to the banking, brokerage, legal, advertising and financial sectors. Martin Power is a former journalist whose résumé includes an 11-year stint with CBC Television’s national news service where he was a writer and producer. The début October issue is 48 pages and sports nine pages of ads promoting such products as the Infinity G35 Coupe, Budds’ Imported Cars, The Wall Street Journal, Mont Blanc fountain pens, Level Vodka and Macallan single malt whiskey. Circ at the eight-times-a-year title is controlled at 23,000 copies, with 15,000 copies delivered throughout Toronto’s business district, of which Bay Street is the central artery; 4,000 copies piggyback The Wall Street Journal in Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal and another 4,000 are split equally between newsstand and promotional/complimentary placements. The one-time rate for a full-colour ad is $5,500. “The magazine gives you a ‘bull's-eye’ view of individuals who make up the Bay Street culture,” writes Power in his inaugural publisher’s note. “It gives voice to their achievements, passions, lifestyles, fears and trepidations.” The launch issue, however, was not without glitches. A binding problem resulted in a mispagination of our review issue; the toll-free 888 number in the masthead is wrong while the 416 number actually connects callers to the residence of Ivan Taylor, a retired heavy-equipment operator for the City of Toronto. “I’ve had about 50 calls,” Taylor says, adding that Power has not spoken with him. Power could not be reached for comment.

October 6, 2004
Bullock sells stake in Coast to Coast
TORONTO—Scott Bullock, former managing partner at national magazine distributor Coast to Coast Newsstand Services, has sold his stake in the company to chief executive Glenn Morgan. The deal closed Sept. 10. Bullock, formerly director of consumer marketing at Toronto Life before joining Coast to Coast in January 2000, has been on a leave of absence since last January after four years with the company. “It was time for me to move on,” he said in a recent interview, adding that he’s looking for “something else I can sink my teeth into…I have to re-invent myself. I’m just not sure how yet.” Bullock, who was named magazine marketer of the year in 2003 by the Circulation Management Association of Canada, is one of the more animated personalities in the industry, known by friends and colleagues as an intense and passionate circulator. He was part of the “dream team” assembled to operate Coast to Coast after Rogers Media relinquished its controlling stake in the company in June 2000; the other dream teamers include the veteran Morgan, who founded rival Disticor Magazine Distribution Services in 1980, and former Disticor vice-president Frank Auddino, who equals Bullock’s passion and intensity for the newsstand and remains with Coast to Coast. Bullock has no immediate successor, Morgan said in an e-mail response. “There isn’t a replacement. As we have been growing our business quite dramatically, re-structuring has been a regular necessity. Recently, Nancy McCollum was appointed director of account services, which was Scott’s largest portfolio.”

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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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