Finding ways to monetize digital editions is one of the most intriguing challenges in publishing today. Winnipeg-based publisher Trevor Shirtliff will be testing a digital edition model we haven’t seen before with Canadian School Counsellor, a new national magazine set to debut in September.
The print version of CSC will be mailed for free to 3,273 high school guidance counsellors across the country four times a year. In between issues, readers that pay a $20 subscription fee will receive a digital edition of the magazine that carries original editorial content not available in print. “I wasn’t sure I was going to do a digital product but I had to provide some kind of value for someone to take out a subscription,” says Shirtliff, who has worked in sales and circulation at various community newspapers and association magazines and once published a now-defunct shopping title called Heart of the City.
Shirtliff is also hoping to drive ad sales by offering the electronic edition as “value-added” for print buyers—mostly universities, colleges, governments, industry groups and trade schools—that sign up for multi-issue contracts. The cost of a one-time, full-page colour ad is $2,650.
While both Ontario and British Columbia have regional titles for high school counsellors, CSC will be the first national magazine of its kind. To reach both English- and French-speaking readers, every issue will include one exclusive French-language article and a translation of the cover story.
The cover story in the premiere is an interview with Linda Schuyler, creator of the Degrassi High series, who talks about “how the show has opened the door for teens and teachers to talk to each other about life’s toughest topics for 20 years.” Regular departments will include “Across Canada” (news briefs), “Great Idea!” (a profile of an innovative program in a Canadian high school), “On the Bookshelf” (reviews of books and resources) and “Career Opportunity” (a career profile including job requirement and outlook, plus an interview with someone on how they landed their dream job).
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