Thursday, November 26, 2015

Digital Publishing Awards to be launched in 2016 by National Magazine Awards

The National Magazine Awards Foundation is to launch a new Digital Publishing Awards program in the new year. According to a release today, the inaugural call for entries will be sometime in January. 
Canadian digital publishers—including those that support established brands in magazine, newspaper, broadcast and other journalism, as well as those that serve their audiences exclusively as digital brands—will be eligible to participate, including those that publish in either English or French....
 "Digital publishing in Canada is robust and exciting, and now there will be a truly national and not-for-profit awards program and publicity campaign to support its achievements," said Craig Silverman, the founding editor of BuzzFeed Canada and one of the advisors on the project. "Our vision for the Digital Publishing Awards is a program that accurately and fairly reflects the incredible landscape of online media in Canada. It will recognize excellence amongst our peers, serve as inspiration and education to continue to engage audiences with impactful digital media, and will be celebrated by our editorial teams, our readers and consumers, and our sponsors and advertisers."
Read more »

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Love the city; love the store: that's
Spacing's formula

It's a soft sell. Spacing magazine created a video love letter to Toronto and combined it with a promotion for its retail store at 401 Richmond Street. (It was an interesting insight at last night's NMAF event to hear that the magazine's single copy sales have gone up 20% as a direct result of having the retail outlet.)


Mitch Dent leaving Rogers Media after 15 years

Mitch Dent, the VP of client solutions at Rogers Media for 15 years is leaving the company. He was instrumental in Rogers's acquisition of the Today's Parent Group in 2000 and became senior vice-president sales for all consumer publications, then executive vice-president sales at Rogers TV before heading up the company's custom publishing division, the position he is leaving. Client solutions publishes a number of customer magazines including Walmart Live Better.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Rush bassist Geddy Lee at home in HOSS

The bassist for the rock band Rush, Geddy Lee, and his Toronto home are featured in the cover story of the Toronto-based HOSS (Homeowner's Simple Solutions) magazine. 

The story in the November/December holiday issue is synced with the release of R40 Live, a live-in-concert album recorded last June in Toronto. Featured are Lee's 5,000-bottle wine cellar, his baseball memorabilia and vintage guitars and his love of art.

Readers have a chance to enter and win a contest for a custom Fender Squire vintage modified jazz bass '70s guitar with a custom-engraved R40 pickguard. 


Covering the world climate talks

A\J magazine from Waterloo is an ocean and half a continent away from the forthcoming climate talks in Paris (Nov 30 to Dec 11) but that doesn't prevent it bringing reporting, backgrounders, analysis and expert opinion. (It gives new meaning to punching above its weight.) There will be live tweets from the home team and editorial manager Megan Nourse  @AlternativesJ, stories from environmental leaders like Bill McKibbon, Green Party leader Elizabeth May and others. Log in to


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Survey respondents tell Western mag awards to offer a stripped-down version

The board of the Western Magazine Awards says in a message to its members that as a consequence of a survey, the awards program -- suspended last year -- is likely to come back to life, though not as the gala event of past years. 

Some 87 per cent of respondents said they hoped the WMAF would continue its work. More than half (52%) said they'd be most likely to support a seminar-based conference with an awards competition element. 70% of respondents said the awards program had been the organization's most significant contribution to the western Canadian magazine industry.

[click graphs to enlarge]

Among the suggestions made by respondents were:
  • Presenting awards in a more casual, less costly format
  • Seeking more sponsorship from private donors
  • Changing the locations of events to more truly represent Western Canada
  • Hosting more educational and professional development events
  • Collaborating with organizations like MagsBC and/or the Alberta Magazine Publishing Association
  • Collaborating with schools (publishing, journalism, design, photography) to offer educational and networking opportunities for students
  • Encouraging more students to attend by making student award entries free
  • Reviewing and expanding awards categories
Related posts:

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Magazines are big winners in Canadian Online Publishing Awards

Here are the magazine-related winners announced last night at the Canadian Online Publishing Awards  (COPAs).

Red category (including consumer magazines and b2c content)
Blue category (business-to-business (b2b) including trade and association magazines)
Green category (news and current affairs)

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Simplified 2016 Canada Post pub mail rates may be anything but simple for publishers

Changes to the 2016 Publication Mail pricing by Canada Post is making some publishers unhappy, particularly if the result is a 6 - 15% increase in costs. The changes include changing Letter Carrier Presort (LCP) to a simplified "Special Handling" blended price. Vesna Moore, the director of circulation at Annex Business Media includes in a LinkedIn post a quick calculation publishers can do to see what 2016 could look like compared with 2015.

I like the comment by Michael Fox, publisher of Garden Making magazine (and an acknowledged postal expert) in response:
It's important that publishers try to educate Canada Post on our need for sensible, long-term pricing and product design. While many of the 2016 changes intended to simplify Pubs Mail make sense, the severity of some of the changes are likely to do more harm than good for some magazines and ultimately for Canada Post.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tuesday 24 is the deadline for Aid to Publishers apps to Canada Periodical Fund

The deadline for applications to the 2016-17 Aid to Publishers component of the Canada Periodical Fund's is coming up fast. Applications must be submitted by Tuesday, November 24. The applicant's guide is available at the Canadian Heritage website.

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Major beauty advertiser L'Oreal sets up its own video content studio in Montreal

The trend for larger advertisers to create their own content -- particularly fast-turnaround videos -- is illustrated dramatically by the decision of L'Oreal Canada to open its own content division in Montreal. It's L'Oreal's first such effort among its worldwide subsidiaries. According to a story in Strategy magazine, the studio pulls together photography, videography and post-production.
“The idea was really to create…a studio that’s able to produce real-time, local, shareable, engaging content that at the end would drive business here in Canada,” says Ekaterina Dobrokhotova, consumer engagement manager at L’Oréal Canada.
She says that the company is trying to encourage its various beauty brands to get a "real-time mindset" and to turn around content for platforms such as YouTube in as little as a day.

The studio's products won't replace the company's traditional agency relationships.

Rather, it’s a way for L’Oréal’s brands to tap into trends quickly and cost-effectively. Its agencies are still important for its planned content (often seasonally-driven), Dobrokhotova says.
Of course such a development at a beauty advertiser as important as L'Oreal may have major impact on what's shown on page and online by the leading beauty and fashion magazines in Canada.  

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TVA Group closes six titles to concentrate on stronger flagship brands

One of six closed
Though it says it remains "fully committed" to print magazines, TVA Group Inc. is stopping publication of six of its titles: 150 plans, Animal, Decormag, Le Lundi, MOI et cie and Signe M. The decision flows directly out of the acquisition a year ago of the large TC Media titles, and TVA says in a story from Canadian Press that the closures will better allow it to focus on stronger brands, including Canadian Living, Elle Canada, Canadian Gardening, Style at Home, the Hockey News Magazine as well as several French titles.

The TVA Group Inc completed its $55.5 million acquisition of TC Media's 14 titles in April. Decormag was among the titles included in the deal. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Digital magazine readership up 175% since 2013: Magazines Canada fact book

Digital magazine readership in Canada has increased dramatically from 1.85 million readers in 2013 to nearly 5 million in 2015 (or about 175%). 

This is but one of the items of information included as Magazines Canada has released the latest version of its Digital Magazine Media Fact Book. The publication is viewable or downloadable in both French and English. 
"With 117 new pages and 10 updated pages of magazine media trends and benchmarks, the 2015 Digital Magazine Media Fact Book is essential reading for digital marketers, media planners, magazine sales teams and those trying to develop strategies and programs that capitalize on the digital shift," the association said in a release.  
"The 2015 Fact Book is the source for the most current research on digital editions, ereaders, mobile devices, social media and video. It demonstrates that digital magazine content has become an important part of the magazine media brand experience -- from email to display ads, audience engagement to retail, the Fact Book confirms that readers are drawn to magazine media content and experiences, regardless of the platform."

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Canadian Online Publishing Awards to be presented in Toronto Thursday night

The Canadian Online Publishing Awards (COPA) will be presented Thursday night at the Phoenix Concert Theatre, 410 Sherboure Street in Toronto. Cocktail reception 5:30 - 7:30 pm; awards program 7:30 to 10 pm. The event is produced by Masthead magazine. 

Single tickets are $35 plus HST online in advance; $45 at the door.

This year the awards have introduced "best editorial packaging" to recognize work meeting the highest journalistic standards in a multiplatform digital world. "Best video content" is now a separate category. And there will only be one ad-related category "best online campaign" this year. There is also an award to recognize smaller publishers, defined as having fewer than 20 staff, the "independent publisher of the year", sponsored by Reader's Digest. The winner is pulled from all individual entries. 

[Last year's big winners were St. Joseph Media who hauled in 11 medals (6 gold and 5 silver). In second was IT World Canada with 7 medals (5 Gold and 2 Silver) and a tie for third with 5 was Rogers Media  and TC Media  (2 Gold and 3 Silver each).]

Finalists in all categories

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British "lad mag" closures blamed on internet and changing interests of readers

The planned closure of Britain's FHM and Zoo magazines by Bauer Publishing and the April closure of Loaded marks the end of 20 years of "lad mag" publishing. According to a story in Press Gazette, young men are more interested in magazines like Men's Health that can tell them how to get six-pack abs; even then, circ is down. The era of soft porn and female pulchritude may not be over, but it's being delivered online and not in print.
The demise of the lads’ mags shows what a volatile place magazine journalism is to work in. Whereas national newspaper brands last centuries and somehow have survived everything the economy and the internet can throw at them, magazine readers are a more fickle bunch. 
Lads’ mags have become victims of the fact that much of the more racy content they provided is now freely available to young men from other new online sources. But they have also suffered because their readers changed.
The story was accompanied by the data about the British men's magazine sector:
  • FHM: 560,167 – current ABC of 72,180, set to close at the end of the year
  • Nuts: 304,751 – fell to just over 50,000 a week before closing in April 2014
  • Zoo: 260,317 – fell to 27,644 sales a week, set to close at the end of the year
  • Loaded: 237,083 – fell to sales of around 10,000 a month before closing in April this year
  • Men’s Health: 228,108 – current ABC 193,901
  • Maxim: 227,377 – closed in 2009
  • GQ: 125,050 – current ABC 121,085
  • Front: 88,154 – print edition closed in February 2014
  • Esquire: 63,605 – current ABC of 56,499
  • Arena: 46,680 – closed in 2009.


Three literaries band together to create a seasonal pop-up shop

Three literary  magazines in Toronto -- The Feathertale Review, CAROUSEL and Poetry is
Dead -- will be opening a pop-up shop and arts festival called LIT BANG! starting November 26. It will be in the Milk Glass Gallery 1247 Dundas St in Toronto (Ossington/Dundas). The three titles have banded together as Print: Art/Lit Publishers United.

The shop opens November 26 with the launch party for issue 16 of The Feathertale Review and stays in place until December 20. Shop hours are 1-7 pm week days and 11 am - 5 pm weekends. 
"It was made possible by the Canada Council for the Arts, which gave Feathertale a grant to create a dedicated store front to try to promote and sell a group of small magazines," said Feathertale editor Brett Popplewell. "To some extent it's an attempt to create a very targeted and interactive newsstand for our titles on a busy Toronto street." 
Among the highlights (of the more than a dozen events throughout the month) are an opening reception Dec 3 with an art show featuring original work and prints and an ‘All The Words’ Festival Dec 12/13 where on the Saturday, a range of fellow small presses (like Little Brother and Taddle Creek) are invited to showcase their publications; and on Sunday, enthusiasts of the genre can take part in our Chapbook Exchange. Plus artwork, readings, talks and performances by (among others) Margaret Christakos, Mark Connery, Jim Johnstone, Dakota McFadzean, Gustave Morin, Sachiko Murakami, Sarah Pinder, Michael Toke, Fiona Smyth and Jacqueline Valencia.
Full schedule


Friday, November 13, 2015

Quote, unquote: Being let down by Apple

"The traffic is underwhelming."
-- anonymous publisher, quoted in Digiday, expressing the widespread unhappiness with Apple News by the more than 70 publishers who've signed on. 


Rapper Drake is the poster boy for Toronto Life's "most influential" issue

Toronto Life magazine last night held a sprontzy launch for its December issue, featuring the 2015 ranking of Toronto's 50 most influential people. (Rapper Drake, chosen #6, is the cover subject because of his music (his most recent album won a Juno for rap recording of the year), but also because of his front row sway with the Toronto Raptors.) The issue is on newsstands November 19. By the way, Toronto's mayor John Tory was #1.

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Monday, November 09, 2015

Magawards board elects four new members

The National Magazine Awards Foundation has elected four new directors for 2015-16:
  • Jessica Ross is the Content Director, Multiplatform Editions, Books & Special Issues, at TVA Publications--publishers of ELLE Canada, ELLE Québec, Canadian Living and many other titles--and former Tablet Publishing Manager at TC Media. She previously held editorial positions at Homemakers and Canadian Home Workshop, and is treasurer of the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors.
  • Nino di Cara is Executive Vice-President, Content Marketing, at Spafax Canada, publishers of enRoute magazine, Sparksheet and other titles. Previously he was Executive Director of Content Solutions at Rogers Media and Director of Custom Publishing at TC Media.
  • Marnie Peters is the Associate Vice-President, Public Relations & Publications, at the Royal Ontario Museum, as well as a Brand Management Fundamentals instructor at the University of Toronto. Previously, Marnie spent nearly 15 years at Rogers Communications working in marketing and brand development for several publications.
  • Judith Pereira is the Managing Editor of Report on Business magazine at the Globe and Mail, where she has been a member of the team since 2005, during which time the magazine has won 50 National Magazine Awards. Previously she served as Communications Officer for the Interim Commissioner of Nunavut.


Quebec magazine association elects board, sets new priorities

L'Association québécoise des éditeurs de magazine (AQEM), the Quebec association of magazine publishers, has elected a new board of directors. Chair is Aude Marie Marcoux, associate editor of Sélection. Other board members are:
  • Vice President: Michel Nivischiuk, TVA
  • Vice President: Mariève Paradise, Planète F
  • Treasurer: Jean-François Morin, Bayard Canada
  • Secretary: Josianne Massé, Muse magazine
  • Director: Sarah Châtelain, TVA
  • Administrator: Evelyne Labonté, TC Media
  • Director: Geneviève Vézina Montplaisir, Caribou magazine
  • Director: Stephan Rene, Ovations médias
The association, which has had a  rough few years, has created five new committees, reflecting the relevant priorities about which it heard from the industry:
1. Government: subsidies, recycling and other collective interests
2. Suppliers and partners: including Canada Post; printers; distributors; audience measurement bureaus like CCAB, AAM and Vividata; advertising agencies; and digital platform providers
3. Joint initiatives with Magazines Canada
4. Research: including how readers consumer content (editorial and advertising) on different platforms
5. Digital transition


Maclean's cover story was an editorial
opportunity seized

The outrage displayed by (among others) Britain's Daily Mail about Maclean's magazines's cover showing Omar Khadr is so clearly misplaced that it's hard to know how -- or whether -- to respond. 

(That the comments the paper cited came largely from Ezra Levant doesn't help matters. It is also perhaps one of a dozen times when Khadr's image has appeared on the magazine's covers.)

The story, written by Amanda Lindhout (who spent a year and a half as a hostage in Somalia) chronicles the unlikely friendship that sprang up between her, Khadr (who spent most of his youth imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay) and Rinelle Harper (the survivor of a vicious attack in Winnipeg). The magazine acknowledged that the connection among the three was "utterly improbable"

Is there an editor among us then who, when presented with such a story, would not seize the opportunity and publish it fully and prominently? And, having such a story in an issue, would not feature it on the cover? Magazines are in the storytelling business and this is a heckuva story. 

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Friday, November 06, 2015

Meet, mingle, pitch and learn at Magawards Winners' Circle event

Nothing magazine people like better than a good schmooze with a dollop of professional development, and the Winners' Circle event being planned for Wednesday, November 25 by the National Magazine Awards should satisfy that craving between annual events. 

All NMA finalists and winners are invited to attend at the Spoke Club in Toronto (600 King Street West) from 5 - 7 pm. The event is co-sponsored by the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME).

There is a panel called Learn & Leverage and [disclosure] I'm the moderator. The speakers will be Matt Blackett, the publisher and editor of Spacing magazine, Penny Caldwell, the publisher of Cottage Life and Katherine Laidlaw, associate edtior at The Walrus, multiple nominees and winners all.

Following the panel there is the second most-favourite thing of magazine people (after winning awards) -- mingling and networking -- and the NMA is facilitating "Fast Pitch", introductions between writers, artists, editors and art directors. Finalists and winners who are from outside Toronto may be able to teleconference.

To find out more, you can go to the Magawards blog or Join Winners’ Circle on Facebook. To make their lives easier, guest are asked to RSVP to by November 13. 

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Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Mélanie Joly is new heritage minister

Lotsa other places to find out about Prime Minister Trudeau's extraordinary new cabinet. But it's worth noting that Mélanie Joly is the new Heritage Minister. And she seems to have the chops. 
Formerly a litigation lawyer and a managing partner of Montreal public relations firm Cohn & Wolfe, Joly has served on boards for various cultural bodies, including the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, the Governnor General's Performing Arts Award and Business for the Arts. 
She was the first Quebec woman recognized with the Arnold Edinborough Award, recognizing young professional volunteerism in the arts, in 2009. 
A vocal proponent of inspiring younger generations to become involved in politics, she published her first book, a political treatise entitledChanger les règles de jeu (Changing the Rules of the Game), in 2014.