Canadian Magazine Industry News
17 September 2009,     TORONTO
Quarto buys Canadian Home Workshop, Outdoor Canada
Quarto Communications of Toronto, publisher of Cottage Life and Explore, has purchased Canadian Home Workshop and Outdoor Canada magazines from publishing and printing giant Transcontinental.

Most of the editorial, design and sales staff will be moving to Quarto's operations in downtown Toronto from Transcon's operations in the Yonge/Sheppard area. However, sources confirm some layoffs have occurred, including layoffs at Transcontinental unrelated to the magazine sales. Watch Masthead for details as they become available.

“We are pleased and honoured to continue publishing Outdoor Canada and Canadian Home Workshop,” said Al Zikovitz, president of Quarto Communications Limited in a release. “They are prestigious names in their respective markets, in large part due to the excellent work done by the publishing staff at the two magazines. We are eager to start working with them.”

Transcontinental purchased Canadian Home Workshop and Outdoor Canada in 2004 when it acquired, for an estimated $12 million, all the titles published by Avid Media, including Canadian Gardening and Canadian Home & Country (the latter was closed by Transcon earlier this year). Part of Transcon's strategy was to build a "men's group" of titles with its The Hockey News, Outdoor Canada and Workshop.

Quarto's purchase suggests it will be able to offer more attractive advertising packages to advertisers in the marine, outdoor gear, tool and do-it-yourself categories, for example by bundling Canadian Home Workshop with Cottage Life, and Explore with Outdoor Canada, in certain categories for extended reach.

Importantly, the purchase also includes the Canadian Home Workshop Show, held every spring in Toronto. Quarto is an experienced and successful show producer with its Cottage Life Show, mounted twice a year. Shows are typically more profitable than the magazines.

Canadian Home Workshop is published nine times a year and has an ABC paid circulation of 100,000; overall circulation has slipped a little in recent years. Outdoor Canada is published eight times a year with an ABC audited circ of 90,000. Masthead's estimated revenue for the two magazines (not including brand extensions such as the shows and web sites) is $3.3 million for Outdoor Canada (No. 52 on Masthead's Top Magazines ranking by revenue) and $3.1 million for Canadian Home Workshop (No. 54).

The two magazines and affected staff members move to Quarto's offices in one week, Masthead was told. The Quarto building on St. Patrick Street (known as the home of the annual BBQ of the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors) is too small to accommodate the 13 or so people transferred; one source has told Masthead that Quarto will open a nearby satellite office for its sales and show staff.

The same source said Workshop and Outdoor suffered from inattention at Transcon, except for newsstand. Transcontinental is Canada's largest consumer magazine publisher and produces Canadian Living, Style at Home, Homemaker's, Elle Canada and Elle Québec, among other titles.

It appears the printing contracts for the two magazines will remain with Transcontinental's RBW plant in Owen Sound, Ont. The Quarto magazines are printed at St. Joseph Printing.

Watch Masthead for follow-up details.
— Staff
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