We recently e-mailed a cross section of people working in the industry asking for predictions about the second half of the year. Being that this is summer, at least a third of the e-mails bounced back with "Out of Office Autoreply" in the subject line. Nevertheless, six brave souls took up the challenge and we present their forecasts below. If you'd like to add your voice to the mix, feel free to send an e-mail to email@example.com or, better yet, post a prediction in the comments section.
Name: Mark Jamison
Title: President, Magazines Canada
Prediction: Magazine industry will develop an alternative delivery system called "Magazines Canada Post."
Name: Ellen Kral
Title: Group publisher, Kenilworth Publishing Inc.
Prediction: Rising paper prices, another postal rate hike, surging gas/oil prices and a stalling Ontario economy don't bode well for a robust second half to 2008. And I suspect the early part of '09 won't be much better. For publishers that means there will be more belt-tightening.
However, the news is not all doom and gloom. True, more magazines will close up their doors, but for the savvy publisher who is nimble enough to cope with these challenges, the future is bright. I think technology has a role to play relative to digital editions and customized e-newsletters, but as in most things in life, quality and service will continue to be key. When you deliver a superior product, coupled with outstanding customer service, people remember that, and in the end that will separate the good magazines from the mediocre.
Name: Colleen Seto
Title: Executive director, Alberta Magazine Publishers Association
Prediction: Magazine staffers will go on wearing multiple hats as budgets remain tight. However, new talent will still be sought to fill new positions as magazines that put out original, engaging and creative content—and use the web to build their brands—will continue to attract an audience. And regional magazine associations will take over the world. Ahem. Just postulating here.
Name: John Clinton
Title: Senior vice preisident and general manager of consumer publications, Transcontinental Media
Prediction: The biggest issue is always relevance. Is your brand the most relevant it can be? There’s always going to be lots of new magazines coming on and there’s always magazines falling off. Ones that fall off aren’t relevant enough, and some of those new ones are phenomenally relevant. That goes for any medium or any business. [Culled from an interview.]
Name: Niel Hiscox
Title: VP publishing, CLB Media Inc.
Prediction: In response to the strong negative reaction from Canadian publishers, and heeding the advice of many in our industry to think in more business-like terms, Canada Post will reverse their distance-based pricing, and instead offer distance-based discounts, rewarding those publishers who make the most use of their system. As a result of this change, B2B publishers across the country will suddenly find surprisingly large concentrations of fully qualified readers in British Columbia, Newfoundland and Northern Canada.
At least in part due to the apparent sudden growth in the executive and professional ranks in the North that these circulation changes suggest, Maclean's will do a cover story on Canada's Northern strength and vitality, and re-ignite the Canada-U.S. tug of war over Arctic Sovereignty.
Last minute diplomacy will prevent full military confrontation, but it will be years before the full impact of the Canada Post War that almost was dies down.
Name: Michael Brooke
Title: Publisher, Concrete Wave Magazine
Prediction: My crystal ball is in the repair shop but the tea leaves indicate that it's going to be a challenging 12 months. As a niche publisher, I am going to work as hard as I can for my readers and my advertisers.