Masthead News Archives
September 2006

September 28, 2006

Launches this month with a controlled circulation of one million copies
Home Depot enters shelter category
TORONTO—Starting this month, one million copies of Eco Options will be distributed exclusively through The Home Depot’s chain of 142 stores across the country.

The oversized, 82-page premier issue is an extension of the retailer’s “Eco Options” merchandizing strategy that flags a selection of environmentally friendly (or less damaging) products. The magazine is produced for the retailer on a fee-basis by Toronto’s Green Living Enterprises, a growing division of Michael de Pencier’s Key Publishers.

Green Living president Laurie Simmonds says publishing frequency has yet to be determined, as does the term of the contract, but she noted that a French-language edition of the magazine will be available next year. “They are considering [publishing] quarterly and binannually, but they have not confirmed,” says Simmonds. Company spokesman Rob McEwan says a rate card is in the process of being developed to accommodate appropriate third-party advertisers. In the premier issue, which contains mostly editorial, the few ads that do jump out are for Honeywell (thermostats), Venmar (air filtration systems) and Waterpik (shower heads)—not quite third-party ads as they are complementary to the in-store “Eco Options” merchandizing program.

Green Living Enterprises chairman Michael de Pencier sold Key Media in 2002 for an estimated $36 million.

Green Living, which also publishes its own magazine of the same name, is an environmentally conscientious for-profit operation with a growing custom publishing division (Healthy Home for the Healthy Indoor Partnership, and Clean and Beautiful for the City of Toronto). Next spring, its events division will launch the Green Living Show with products ranging from organic wine to home design, fashion and hybrid vehicles. A sister company is Investeco Capital Corp., a green/ethical mutual fund, the president of which is Andrew Heintzman, co-founder and publisher of now-defunct Shift magazine.

Eco Options is slickly designed, as one would it expect it to be, given that Donna Braggins (creative director), Gary Hall (art director) and Ken Rodmell (Green Living's VP Creative) are on staff. Braggins and Hall were the principal design duo at Anthony Wilson-Smith's Maclean's.

Michael de Pencier, remember, was the long-time proprietor of Key Media, which was sold to St. Joseph Media in February 2002 for an estimated $36 million. Titles included Toronto Life, Fashion, Where Toronto and a stake in Gardening Life. Toronto Life editor John Macfarlane once described de Pencier, now chairman of Green Living, as an “irrepressible entrepreneur.” Indeed, Simmonds says he works seven days a week and maintains his old corner office on The Esplanade, tattered couch and all.

September 27, 2006
Magazines survive cuts, but PAP axe set to fall
OTTAWA—While direct funding for magazine industry programs remains the same following federal cuts announced Monday, the industry's consumer magazine association is "actively studying" alternate mailing solutions as it girds for a dramatic $15-million reduction to the postal subsidy.

"While magazine programs were not mentioned in the announcements of cuts, our industry has not dodged a bullet," says Magazines Canada CEO Mark Jamison. "Canada Post advised us in 2005 that it would pull out of PAP [Publications Assistance Program] beginning April 2007. We do not think that their position has changed. This would reduce PAP by $15 million or 25%—a terrible hit," he says.

"We met with Minister [of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Lawrence] Cannon, who is responsible for Canada Post, in July He seemed to understand our issues as did Minister [of Canadian Heritage Bev] Oda in our talks, but Governments in general do not interfere or like to interfere in the management of crown corporation business operations—even Canada Post, one, with a cultural and social component in its mandate. We will continue to strongly encourage the Government and Canada Post to be very moderate in rate increases and prudent in any action taken. They must avoid destabilizing our industry's delivery system. At the same time, Magazines Canada is very actively studying alternate delivery as a longer-term option. Every opportunity must be considered."

Lynda Reeves' décor show will be available to more than 91 million American households next month. She's shown here taking part in a Mags U panel discussion in 2002
September 26, 2006
U.S. network picks up décor diva
TORONTO—Lynda Reeves, publisher of House & Home magazine and host of House & Home with Lynda Reeves, has been picked up by Cincinnati-based Scripps Networks and will begin airing on Scripps’ HGTV channel in U.S. markets on October 7. Potential reach is 91 million U.S. households. It’s not known whether the magazine will increase its U.S. circulation as a result of the broadened exposure. “We are excited that an American network has recognized our show as the next wave in home design television,” said Reeves in a statement. “Audiences are craving a real exploration of issues that affect the way they live.”

House & Home with Lynda Reeves already airs daily in Canada on Global Television and in Latin and South America via Toronto distributor Oasis International. The magazine had estimated revenues last year of $21.6 million, up 7.9% over 2004, making it Canada’s sixth largest title.

Kerrie Lee Brown (middle) is FAME's new VP of publishing and communications. The November issue of the bimonthly, which is sent to members of the World Natural Sports Organization, informs members of her arrival
September 25, 2006
Former Oxygen editor jumps to PR
TORONTO—Kerrie Lee Brown, who stepped down as editor-in-chief of extreme women's fitness magazine Oxygen in August, will now run the press office of FAME Media Group, an event organizer for fitness and modeling competitions. Oxygen's new editor is former senior editor Stacy Kennedy.

Former Oxygen senior editor Stacy Kennedy is the new editor-in-chief
As FAME's vice-president of publishing and communications, Brown will oversee FAME magazine, a bimonthly with a North American circulation of 200,000, Brown says. She will also be the organization's spokesperson. "Obviously for me it's a total step upwards," she says."I've stepped up to the next level to be involved in strategic planning." Brown is featured on the cover of FAME's November issue. 

September 21, 2006
Walrus board departures “a very good thing”
TORONTO—Walrus editor and co-founder Ken Alexander confirmed a blogged rumour yesterday that three of The Walrus’s nine board members have resigned, as well as publisher Bernard Schiff. Alexander, now acting publisher, says, “It’s my belief that this is a very good thing that’s happened. The editorial and art excellence of the magazine is clear and it was time for the publishing side to match that excellence in a very grown-up and significant periodical in Canada. That’s what we’re setting up to do right now. [It’s] very good news and all systems are go and I’m feeling very good about it.” 

Walrus editor, co-founder Ken Alexander says Walrus Foundation board departures mean rift is resolved
Alexander was alluding to a deep rift on the board regarding how to go about keeping the magazine, and the Walrus Foundation, financially viable. It’s estimated that the operation has annual expenses of more than $2 million per year. The Walrus is supported mostly by grants from the Chawkers Foundation, a charity that was established by Alexander’s father, Charles. As far as Alexander is concerned, he believes the departing board members and publisher Schiff lost sight of what he takes to be their prime objective: the financial survival of the Walrus. Instead, more attention was paid to governance issues. “And governance is absolutely fine [but] in a cultural organization, it’s a small part of the pie.” He continues: “It’s my view that the board and the publisher must guarantee the financial health of the operation,” he says. “I mean, someone has to be responsible…There are certain board members, and the publisher, who disagreed with that point of view…and Chawkers says, ‘Well, how can you disagree with that point of view? And if you disagree with that point of view, why should I give you any money?” 

Alexander is in the curious position of being, in his own words, a mere “employee” of the magazine, with no seat on the Walrus or Chawkers boards while at the same time the son of the man who established the charity that supports the Walrus. Alexander is also a co-founder of The Walrus (he and David Berlin launched it in 2003) and has pumped about $2.5 million of his own money into the magazine in the form of an unsecured loan, he says. 

Schiff acknowledges that he is resigning due to disagreements as to how the Foundation ought proceed with regard to fundraising initiatives and cost management. He felt “stuck,” he says. “I submitted my resignation because I thought we had an unproductive relationship because we were in conflict about too many things, around the foundation and the publishing enterprise, around sustainability—how to sustain it, how to raise money, how to cut costs. There were differences of opinion around those things, and we were butting heads too much,” he says. “Nobody wants to hurt the magazine; everyone wants it to succeed.” Schiff, who tendered his resignation earlier this month, is staying on for up to 30 days for transitional purposes. Board chair Margaret Grottenthaler is expected to make a statement today regarding her departure. Grottenthaler, and board members Mark Sarner and Sandy Houston, representing the Metcalf Foundation, which contributes to The Walrus’s internship program, resigned together last week. 

Departing deputy editor Tom Fennell "enjoyed every minute of it"
Also leaving is deputy editor Tom Fennell, who took a month’s holiday in July, and went on leave in August, then submitted his resignation to Schiff at the end of August. “Technically I’m still there,” he said yesterday, noting that loose ends are being tied up. “I really enjoyed my run there in terms of trying to build a unique magazine in Canada,” says Fennell. “I had a good run and enjoyed every minute of it…I’ve got other irons in the fire…and that’s why I’m moving on.” Asked to comment on longstanding gossip that Alexander is an uncompromising brute who burns through managing editors (four in three years), he said, “Generally, I didn’t have a bad relationship with Ken.” Alexander admits editorial life at the magazine is not easy. “This is a tough place to edit…because our standards are unbelievably high.” 

After D.B. Scott’s blog broke the story of these most recent departures, Alexander issued a press release yesterday declaring that the magazine is “right on target,” with a paid circ expected to reach 60,000 by year end, and that “all systems are go.”   

September 20, 2006
Chatelaine finally gets art director
TORONTO—More than eight months after Caren Watkins quit as art director of Chatelaine, the position has at last been filled.  

Toro creative director Cameron Williamson addresses a seminar in Vancouver this past summer. Next month, he'll join Chatelaine as art director
Editor-in-chief Sara Angel has settled on Cameron Williamson, formerly creative director at Toro. The two first met at Dianna Symonds’ weekly Saturday Night magazine, where Angel was visual features editor and Williamson was an intern. “He impressed everybody so much that he had gone from being the design intern to essentially running the style section in a matter of months,” she says.

Before Toro, Williamson was a fashion director at the National Post and, as mentioned, fashion editor at the old weekly Saturday Night magazine. He starts mid-October.

September 19, 2006
Customer publishing to boom in the U.K.
LONDON—Citing research from the Mintel International Group, Britain’s Periodical Publishers Association reports that customer publishing is set to increase by an astounding 47% over the next five years, jumping from £680 million in revenues in 2005 to £1 billion in 2011.

In Canada, the practice is known as custom publishing, with Toronto-based Redwood Custom Communications being one of the largest operators, producing magazines for such clients as Kraft, RBC Rewards, The Home Depot, Sears Canada and the CAA. Statistics on the Canadian market are not publicly available.

The Mintel study predicts that the U.K. market is poised for explosive growth; staffing levels at customer publishers have increased by 9% to keep up with demand. Retailing and financial services companies are the two largest patrons of this sort of publishing service (15% and 14% market share, respectively); the automotive sector represents a 9% market involvement; and charities have an 8% market stake.

The Mintel study was commissioned by the Association of Publishing Agencies, which represents the interests of U.K.’s customer publishers. Says the APA’s chief operating officer, as quoted on the PPA’s site:

“Not only are clients becoming more aware of the benefits of customer magazines, but we’re also seeing increased acceptance from media agencies. Traditionally there has been some skepticism, however this is clearly abating as the market continues to grow and become more developed.

“One of the main reasons why customer magazines are being regarded as such a valuable weapon in the marketing armoury is that they open the door to a more subtle and interactive dialogue with customers. They are seen as a non-threatening method of contacting a client’s customer database and regularly reminding them of products and services without the hard sell.

“They are also increasingly becoming more than just a means of contacting customers, but also a way of interacting with them; so much so that audience participation has become a measure by which clients evaluate editorial content.”

September 18, 2006
Western Standard editor jumps to National Post
CALGARY—After two and a half years of putting cantankerous Judeo-Christian conservatism back on Canada’s media map, Kevin Libin is set to pass that singeing torch to a religion reporter from the Calgary Herald.

Western Standard editor-in-chief Kevin Libin has been poached by the Post
Libin was a senior editor at Canadian Business before becoming editor-in-chief of the fortnightly Western Standard when it launched in March 2004. Led by publisher Ezra Levant, the Standard was conceived as a slightly kinder, gentler—and commercially viable—reincarnation of Ted Byfield’s Alberta Report which, despite national ambitions, failed to sell a critical mass of non-Albertans on the evils of secular society. 

Libin will leave the magazine in early October to become the National Post’s Alberta features correspondent. Succeeding Libin is Joe Woodard, a well-known religion reporter and faith editor at the Calgary Herald. Woodard is also a founding member of the national board of directors of the Canada Family Action Coalition, whose mission is to “mobilize, train and activate Canadians in defending and promoting Judeo-Christian principles in Canadian society,” according to its website.

September 14, 2006
Men’s magazine returns from the dead
MONTREAL—When Hung Le launched MUM in 2003 he set a rather ambitious publishing schedule of 10 issues per year. What was originally intended as Montreal Urban Magazine folded the following year after seven issues.

Publisher Hung Le has resurrected the magazine he folded in 2004. MUM stands for Men's Ultimate Magazine
Now 25, Le says he’s relaunched MUM (now Men’s Ultimate Magazine) after losing interest in the health-sciences program at Montreal’s Dawson College. A little older and wiser, Le says publishing frequency will be more realistic (quarterly) with circ somewhere around 30,000, including 20,000 controlled and another 30,000 placed on newsstands. The comeback issue—glossy, standard-size—was on newsstands this summer and the next issue is due out later this month. “We’re still in the red,” Le says, promising to “stick with it this time.” Editorial fare? Busty young women, guy advice, humour and, to distinguish it from Ottawa’s Urban Male Magazine (UMM), forays into culture and politics, making it a relatively high-brow offering to the same demographic. Toro, the Toronto-based men’s magazine, targets an older, more affluent and sophisticated demographic; Toro’s circulation is also nearly ten times the size.

September 13, 2006
Feds pledge $250k to boost B.C. single-copy sales
VANCOUVER—A proposal to boost newsstand sales on the West Coast has been accepted by the Department of Canadian Heritage. The pilot program will promote regional magazines based in B.C.  

A selection of some of the titles expected to benefit from the "Best of B.C." program
The Periodical Marketers of Canada, whose members include magazine wholesalers such as The News Group and Metro News, noted in a study completed last year (see News Archives, Jan. 31, 2006) that Canadian titles face overwhelming competition on domestic newsstands that are swamped by foreign titles that occupy prime rack real estate. 

The “Best of B.C.” program will launch next month with a base budget of $250,000 dispensed through the Support for Industry Development component of the federal Canada Magazine Fund. The money will be used to pay for additional retail displays, in-store promos and a PR campaign that will roll out over the next six months. Individual publishers will hopefully augment funded promos with their own initiatives. 

PMC executive director Ray Argyle
“Our studies indicate there is a great potential to increase newsstand sales of Canadian regional titles,” says Ray Argyle, executive director of PMC. “The future of public support [in other provinces] for this activity will depend on the success we see in B.C.,” he adds. The PMC and British Columbia Association of Magazine Publishers will jointly administer the program. Wholesalers The News Group of Richmond, B.C., and The Monahan Agency, of Vernon, will work with publishers and retailers; retail consulting group, nCompass Retail Navigation, will also participate in the initiative.

Titles likely to benefit from the program include: Alive, British Columbia magazine, BC Business, Business in Vancouver, Cottage, Gardens West, Geist, Modern Dog, Okanagan Life, Pacific Golf, Porch, Ricepaper, Vancouver and Western Living. 

Some interesting PMC stats:
• Annual estimated Canadian newsstand magazine sales: $750 million
• Percentage of that figure generated by Canadian titles: 14.1%
• Number of titles PMC members deliver to newsstands: 2,591
• Number of those that are Canadian: 174 

CMF funding deadline
OTTAWA— The deadline for applications to the Support for Editorial Content component of the Canada Magazine fund is Oct. 1.

Newsstand executives coming to Canada again
TORONTO—Members of the Periodical & Book Association of America are meeting again in this city. The two-day event is slated for Oct. 30-31 at Toronto’s Park Hyatt Hotel. Attendees are encouraged to show up for after-work cocktails on the 30th and return the 31st for the day’s meeting proper. The previous meeting, held on Jan. 12, saw about 100 retailers, distributors, wholesalers and Canadian and American publishers discussing newsstand trends and sharing thoughts on successes and failures in the industry. For a full report on what was discussed at the last meeting, click here and see “Newsstand Forum Report.” Contact:

September 12, 2006
Publisher flirting with trademark quagmire
VANCOUVER—After talks failed to secure a license to publish a Canadian edition of a Colorado ski-racing magazine, the Canadian publishers are going ahead anyway.

Vancouver-based skiing magazine will launch next month without having secured a license to publish from U.S. publisher
BK Media principals Gordie Bowles and Mark Kristofic say that while Boulder, Co.-based Ski Racing magazine would not be granting them a license, plans to launch Ski Racing Canada next month are on track. It will be published 10 times a year with a circ of 25,000. BK Media owns the URL and will be branding the magazine as SRC; layouts and designs, conceived originally as resembling the U.S. edition, have been changed to distinguish SRC from the U.S. title, says Kristofic.

Meanwhile in Colorado, Andy Hawk, publisher of Ski Racing, confirms there were plans to license the name to BK Media. “Unfortunately, we are not launching a Canadian edition,” he says. “We could not reach an agreement due to various factors, many of which were financial.” Informed that BK Media intends to go ahead anyway with a revised product, Hawk suggested “this isn’t going to go over well with our board.”

Trademark issues aren’t the only problem. SRC’s media kit touts Print Measurement Bureau readership data stating that SRC has 75,000 readers. Problem is, PMB isn’t aware of the magazine. “We sometimes come across this sort of thing and we always solve it through a cease-and-desist request,” says PMB president Steve Ferley. “As you might imagine, it's difficult to police the entire Canadian magazine world for misuse of PMB data.”

Kristofic says he’s looking into the PMB citation issue and will correct any inaccuracies.

Ski Canada publisher Paul Green says the ski-mag category is already pretty tight. He wonders if a title devoted to race-related snow sports, “a niche within a niche,” can survive. 

Pollution generated by special section neutralized by reduced emissions at U.S. mine
September 11, 2006
Brit mag neutralizes pollution
LONDON—Advertising Age reports that the issue of The Economist currently on newsstands spent $1,200 to prevent 118 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the environment. Those figures relate to a special 16-page section on climate change. The cut in CO2 emissions was not from the magazine’s operation, however; rather, it hired London’s Carbon Neutral Co. to calculate the amount of CO2 generated by the special section (118 tons), and then had the company neutralize an equivalent amount from a U.S. mine.

Set to launch next week.
September 8, 2006
Chocolat launches, stakes claim to unique niche
TORONTO—Neatly coiffed attendees filed into high-priced furniture store The Art Shoppe in north Toronto to attend the launch of Canada’s newest magazine. Numerous wait staff were on hand to ensure coasters were well used.

Brian Segal, president, Rogers Publishing
Published by Rogers with Canada Post as a distribution partner, Chocolat’s tagline is “Indulge in your home.” The glossy bimonthly will be sent to more than 250,000 homeowners who have recently moved; addressees are provided by Canada Post. The magazine, produced in English and French, will be available on newsstands next week for $4.95 and via paid subscription as well as an online component at Kerry Mitchell and Rogers Publishing president Brian Segal noted that a shopping magazine for the home décor sector is a Canadian first.
Chocolat publisher Kerry Mitchell with Jamie Haggarty, Rogers VP, Financial Operations
From the left: Angela Jones, Chatelaine advertising director; Amy Sullivan, director of research, Rogers Consumer Publishing; and Roberta Thomson, Chatelaine & Châtelaine  account manager, Toronto/Midwest U.S.
Angela Jones; Karen Kelar, Chatelaine marketing director; and Roberta Thomson.

The ed:ad ratio in the 154-page debut issue is 71:29, or 45 ad pages. Charter advertisers include:

MasterCard (double-page spread)
L’Oréal (dps)
Levolor (window treatments, four pages)
Poulain chocalatier
Ikea (dps)
Pizza Pizza
Canadian Tire
Vancouver Home Show
LG Electronics

As we’ve come to expect from a shopping magazine, there is some blurring. For example, contest-related content that appears to be editorial in nature stands out due to prominently displayed advertisers’ logos; proposed advertising guidelines under consideration by Magazines Canada permit this sort of thing. However, a double-page spread not marked as an advertisement, headlined “Soft and sumptuous,” that baldly shills for The Home Depot, whose logo is featured prominently, is definitely offside. But, without teeth, industry guidelines can hardly stem the tide of stealthy ad messaging intended solely to whet consumer appetites, which is what shopping magazines are all about. 

Hello! associate publisher Peter Willson with John Milne at a 2003 industry event
Rogers amalgamates trade pub divisions
TORONTO—It was announced internally earlier this week that Rogers Publishing’s Business Information Group, formerly overseen by the recently retired Harvey Botting, and the Health & Financial Group, overseen by John Milne, will be combined to create the Business & Professional Publishing Group. Milne has been promoted to senior vice-president of the group. 

Caroline Connell
Today’s Parent appoints editor
TORONTO—The departure of Linda Lewis, who resigned as editor of award-winning Today’s Parent this summer to become editor of the Canadian edition of More magazine, produced by Transcontinental Media, created a high-level vacancy. It has been filled by Caroline Connell, formerly executive editor at the magazine.

Murray Lewis
September 7, 2006
Murray Lewis joins Transcon
MONTREAL—The founding editor of Our Canada and former editor of Reader’s Digest has resurfaced as editor-in-chief of Good Times magazine, the 150,000-circ monthly English  counterpart of Bel Âge. He took up duties this week. Lewis didn’t anticipate being let go from Our Canada abruptly in early June. “It was a surprise of the less-pleasant variety, and it was very hard to leave Our Canada and RD, but business is business,” he writes in an e-mail. “A restructuring meant that my services were no longer required.” No word yet on who’ll succeed Lewis in that post.
Judy Brandow

As previously reported (see News Archives, July 24), Transcontinental Media's "magazine for successful retirement" shifted operations to the company’s hometown of Montreal. The three editorial staffers who had been based at the company’s Toronto office are completing the November issue before they say their good-byes next month. They are editor-in-chief Judy Brandow, art director JoAnn McHardy and editorial assistant Kimberly Williams.

September 6, 2006
Whither paper prices in 2007?
TORONTO—Due to declining circulations and postal rate increases north and south of the border, The Scotiabank Group is predicting that paper prices will remain stable in 2007. Patricia Mohr, vice-president, economics, predicts a 2.5% increase in #3 lightweight 34 lb. coated paper (comparable to that used by Maclean’s) and a 2.6% increase in #3 60 lb. coated free sheet (a heavier stock, comparable to that used by fashion mags, where front-to-back show-through is a no-no.) Mohr’s price projections are for the U.S. market, which tend to echo in Canada. 

“There probably will be a contract price increase in January,” Mohr says, when printers are renewing contracts. She adds that it will be “modest.” 

A full economic forecast for 2007 as it impacts the Canadian magazine industry’s various sectors (circulation, production, sales, editorial, online) can be found in the September/October issue of Masthead. 

September 5, 2006
Gloves set to come off
Brampton, ON—A webcasting company that acquired popular hockey-news website The Fourth Period will be launching a glossy magazine of the same name this month. Ottawa-based MultiCast Networks Holdings acquired from entrepreneur David Pagnotta in November 2005. The standard-size glossy will hit stands by the end of the month and come out 10 times a year; circulation is a mix of newsstand and controlled drops at hockey arenas as well as promotional giveaways. Pagnotta, now president of MCN Networks Sports division, plans to boost circulation to about 50,000 after the first four issues. A full-colour, one-time ad sells for $2,250.

MCN's David Pagnotta
Leveraging MCN’s Internet video expertise, Pagnotta says he’s finalized an exclusive arrangement with former Maple Leaf captain Wendel Clark to co-host a weekly webcast called The Fourth Period Live to debut this fall.

Several publishers already occupy the hockey category, the latest being Les Éditions Gesca’s Hockey—Le magazine, which also has an English-language sibling that launched last month. Might there be too many men on the ice? Gerald McGroarty, publisher of Transcontinental Media’s The Hockey News, a weekly that has dominated the category for decades, says we’ll soon find out. “We’re fortunate that we have a long and proven track record; that certainly gives us a competitive advantage, but I guess time will tell whether or not there is room for more.”

For his part, Pagnotta says “we’re not expecting to come in an take over…The Hockey News does an excellent job at what they’re doing. I’m a fan of theirs, but the fans are asking for something else and something more… More insight and more depth, and that’s what we’re going to bring to the table.”


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