Canadian Publishing Industry News
19 February 2014, TORONTO
Rogers Media moves to group publisher structure
Penny Hicks, who was publisher of Maclean’s, is now the group publisher for women’s service magazines—Today’s Parent, Chatelaine and Canadian Health & Lifestyle. Meanwhile, Flare publisher Melissa Ahlstrand is expanding her role to become the group publisher of the fashion and beauty titles, which include Hello! Canada, Flare and Cosmetics.
Rogers will announce a new publisher for current affairs, who will handle Maclean’s and Sportsnet, as well as a publisher for its French-language magazines, Châtelaine and LouLou, in the coming months.
"It's important to evolve our business model in order to remain competitive," said Steve Maich, senior vice-president and general manager of publishing at Rogers Media, in an emailed statement to J-Source. "The group publishing model allows us to take advantage of editorial and advertising synergies in each group, as we adapt to the rapidly changing media environment. Our focus remains on building our leading brands and making our content available to Canadians across all platforms."
It’s a move that mimics the consolidation of publishers at Postmedia Network last year. The company eliminated the role of publishers at its 10 daily newspapers and replaced them with three vice-presidents who share the publishing duties regionally for eastern Canada, western Canada and the Prairies.
Louise Leger, communications manager at Rogers Media, told J-Source that the changes will not affect L’Actualité publisher Carole Beaulieu or its business publishers, such as Ian Portsmouth, who will remain as publisher of Canadian Business, and Sandra Parente at MoneySense.
For more on how this development affects other key personnel at Rogers, visit J-Source.ca where this article was originally published.
— Tamara Baluja
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2. Group publishers are likely to be overworked, although Rogers' move to "Centres of Excellence" should also relieve group publishers of some day-to-day chores. Then again, most centralized departments aren't excellent, and Publishers will have to continually step in to help. Ken Whyte was 100% right to move to one-title publishers, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
3. Comparing Canadian magazines to American ones is apples to oranges. U.S. mags like Esquire don't have to resort to Canadian-style survival tactics because Americans spend way more per capita on marketing, and editorial costs are amortized over a much larger reading public. These are economic basics that more Canadian publishing workers would do well to get a grip on.
The best magazines have a strong Editor & a strong Publisher. Pushing the magazine through content, business opportunities, and technologies. Look at Wired's Scott Dadich & Howie Mittman. Sure Canadian Mags have less resources but that is why the Mastheads are so much smaller.
Killing dedicated Publishers is a quick fix. It has been done before at Rogers. Then they added Associate Publishers. Then back to Publishers. This is not a new model nor is it strategic. Publishing needs to be thinking 'How can we grow', 'Where is tomorrow's next opportunity'. Not 'how can we shrink faster & faster'.
Is there one US top title that does not have a brand Publisher? Anyone?
English translation - staffers who survive impending cuts will be pleased to do twice as much work for the same pay. The beatings will continue until morale improves.