Canadian Publishing Industry News
30 May 2013,     TORONTO
Q&A: Tara Tucker on Chatelaine's anniversary and new platforms
Chatelaine's Tara Tucker
Chatelaine's Tara Tucker
Chatelaine hits 85 this year and is making sure its audience knows it. The brand's anniversary push involves a series of initiatives throughout 2013, which started with a logo redesign in April.

For its June issue, the mag released a special double-issue with four flip covers, and around the same time celebrated the occasion with a Chatelaine Edition of the Cityline TV show, gifting audience members with a load of give-aways.

A new recipe app was released, a radio project is slated for June, and a line of branded products is on the way. A party, for which Chatelaine says attendees might need their passports, will be thrown in the fall. In light of these ventures publisher Tara Tucker gave Masthead a call to talk about how the brand, and her role as a magazine publisher, is changing.

Masthead: According to the latest data from AAM, Chatelaine was No. 1 for the first time in paid circulation, and single copy sales were up 8%. What do you attribute those numbers to?

Tara Tucker: It is a really exciting time for Chatelaine. I've been very fortunate to have a tremendous amount of (parent company) Rogers Media's support, so we've been able to expand into TV, we're launching radio at the beginning of next month, and we are launching products that will be in stores in June.

So these initiatives have helped the magazine's numbers?

It has. We're looking at all emerging technology, and what we've found is that this is a way to embrace a new audience and it actually has not eroded our current print or digital audiences.

What can you tell us about the upcoming radio deal?

We're still finalizing some of the details.

Gotcha. One of your already-launched cross-media ventures is Chatelaine's TV partnership with Cityline. How has it developed since its launch last summer?

Cityline kept reaching out to us to have some of our editors appear on the show. They came to us and said, this is terrific content, can we incorporate this into Chatelain Edition? So we had planned for once a month, Chatelaine works with Cityline to create the Chatelaine edition. There's very low duplication between the two brands, so it's a great trial for the Cityline audience to have exposure to the Cityline reader, and vice versa.

Chatelaine's anniversary double issue
Chatelaine's 85th anniversary issue
Was there a learning curve for you, as a magazine publisher, getting involved in TV? Did anything surprise you about the medium?

The biggest surprise was the way content can translate over many different mediums in different forms. Our end-user experiences the brand in many ways, where digitally they're turning to the brand for much more of an action-oriented activity. For print, they're looking for leisure time. And for television, it's a combination of both entertainment and information. So it's really about learning the different mediums and how the content can best translate.

Chatelaine's editors now pop up on Cityline—was there any on-camera training involved?

We have not needed to do any formal training, it's really that they're dynamic and passionate people, and passionate about their verticals.

Moving forward, is that something you have to look for in new hires? Editors who are comfortable on camera and facing the audience?

It's not just about facing the public. They have to have a voice that translates on television, on radio, on social media. They have to have that expertise—which is typically what we look for even when we're looking for the best people just for the print element. Everyone, as their brand, represents the brand.

With Chatelaine adopting all these different delivery models, what does your work week look like? Is it still predominantly mag-focused?

Of course, there is no typical work week. It changes around the priority; last week, we were shipping the magazine so I was working more at the print vehicle. This week I'll be immersed with the radio. It depends on the schedule, but I definitely share my time within the different platforms.

Do you still consider yourself a magazine publisher?

I consider myself a multi-platform publisher. The magazine is the core of the brand, the voice of the brand, however, we need to deliver that brand across all platforms.

You're a New York transplant. Do you see any differences between the New York and Toronto magazine scenes?

It's the obvious, with the U.S. having the bigger market. But I feel that in Toronto and at Rogers we've been able to be a bit more nimble. And really, Rogers Media has the assets, we can leverage more than any brand in the U.S.

Some of our readers have been critical of Canadian conferences bringing in American speakers. Is there something we can learn from our neighbours?

I believe in always looking outward. It's not just looking at the United States, though. I'd say it's much more global, international, especially now with emerging technology and content being delivered across platforms. There's less barriers. There's so much that we can all learn and benefit by sharing.

With the anniversary effort involving so many different, new properties for the brand, do you find yourself leaning more toward one or the other in terms of personal interest?

I have been extremely passionate about the 85th anniversary [in general]. This has been a long time coming. We have our collector's edition on newsstands now. And we celebrated it on our Cityline show. It's just been an enormous, very dynamic project that was very exciting to work on. That has been my passion.
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