Thursday, November 27, 2014

Metro's digital city-specific ventures being shut down as Torstar retrenches

Torstar's Star Media Group has discontinued all of its digital-only city editions of Metro, the free newspaper, cut 9 jobs and moved all of Metro's operations into Torstar's Toronto headquarters, according to a Canadian Press story

The cities in which digital editions had offered some local content each day, along with the national  included Victoria, Saskatoon, Regina, London, Windsor, Hamilton and Kitchener. The company curtly said that the decision was "based on results to date", meaning that the experiment in building audience and some local advertising revenue has been a disappointment. 

Star Media had shut down print versions of the freepaper in Regina, Saskatoon and London last July. It says it will continue to publish news stories online in the seven cities where it still distributes print editions: Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. 

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Canada Post reports $39 million in profit for 3 quarters of 2014; mail volumes continue to fall

Three quarters into 2014, Canada Post has reported a profit, before tax, of $39 million, a swing of more than $200 million from the loss for the same three quarters last year. For the third quarter, the profit was $13 million, compared with $129 million in the 3rd quarter the year before. 

Results are attributed to continued growth in the parcel business, lower employee-benefit costs and new pricing related to transaction mail, the core business which continues to decline. The increase in the cost of postage to end users for letters, bills and statements, resulted in a 13.7 per cent increase in revenue to $750 million in the 3rd quarter. Cumulatively, for the first three quarter, revenue was up 6.5 per cent to approximately $2.4 billion.
Volume erosion picked up speed in the third quarter after being lower than expected in the second quarter. Compared to the same periods in 2013, volumes decreased by 58 million pieces or 6.1 per cent in the third quarter and by 175 million pieces or 5.1 per cent in the first three quarters of 2014, [said a release].
 Parcel revenue grew by 8.9 per cent to more than $1 billion for the first three quarters with increase of 4 million pieces (4.2 per cent) compared with the same period in 2013. Direct mail volumes decreased by 99 million pieces, down 2.2 per cent from the previous year. 

The conversion of home delivery to community mail boxes proceeds apace. As of November 25, approximately 100,000 addresses have been converted and a further 200,000 will be converted in 2015. 

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Capilano Review plans to go independent with some help from its friends

The Capilano Review has been published as a literary and art magazine for 43 years, housed at Capilano University in North Vancouver, BC. But now the university has cut its $85,000 operating support and the magazine is planning to move to Vancouver and become independent. Of course that means that they need to raise at least $20,000 to finance the six-month transition. 

So the 3x-a year magazine is using a Kickstarter campaign to offer donors a variety of premiums ranging from$10 a set of 6 new TCR bookmarks to $2,000 for which Vancouver artist and founder of TCR Pierre Coupey will create a painting dedicated to the person of your choice. So far, the campaign has raised more than $6,179 from 90 donors, with 23 days to go. 

In addition to its print magazine, the publication's website features ti-TCR|a web folio, also published three times a year. 

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Two leading western business magazines collaborate to talk about pipelines

Two of Canada's leading business publications -- BCBusiness and Alberta Venture -- have collaborated on a joint project to discuss various, often contentious, pipeline plans between and across the west.
Canada's Pipeline Dialogue has been in the works since the spring, and Alberta Venture editor Mike Ganley and BCBusiness editor Matt O'Grady and their respective staffs have collaborated on features, profiles and slide shows. There are also the results of a survey by Insights West which shows that the notion of the economy taking priority over environmental issues is not supported by a lot of people in both provinces. 
The two magazines are also moderating a conference in February, sponsored by Cenovus, that will include a panels in two places at once -- two in Calgary, two in Vancouver -- discussing pipeline infrastructure and what it means for BC and Alberta. 

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Monday, November 24, 2014

New "hyperlocal" magazine launching in downtown Edmonton

A brand new quarterly magazine will land in central Edmonton starting December 3. The Central Edmonton News Society, in partnership with the Oliver and Downtown Edmonton community leagues, will be distributing 24,000 copies of the premiere issue of The Yards—a hyperlocal (and highly-anticipated) newsprint magazine. 

The downtown, and those two neighbourhoods in particular, have seen enormous growth in the past decade. The magazine's name is a loving tribute to the CN rail yards that ran through the downtown just a generation ago. 

"For the first time, our community leagues has the ability to reach every  single resident," says Oliver Community League president Jarrett Campbell, "and we're very excited with the community-building opportunities that brings."

The magazine is edited by National Magazine Awards winner Omar Mouallem and designed by Vikki Wiercinzki, who revamped Vue Weekly in 2010. It will focus on urban planning, development, lifestyle and cultural stories.
"Newspapers and newsrooms are shrinking, but there's still hunger for local news—especially in a city growing as steadily as Edmonton," says Mouallem. "Nowhere is this excitement and uncertainty more visible than in the city's core. So as a hyperlocal magazine we can home in on that growth, in on our backyards, and we can understand it and access it better than anyone else." 

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This Magazine launches "alternative"
university guide


For years, Maclean's (and to a lesser extent, the Globe and Mail) have had the annual university rankings pretty much to themselves. This year, as the Maclean's guide is on the newsstand, the November/December issue of This Magazine has launched its own Alternative University Guide
"Designed with the socially conscious student in mind, This Magazine evaluates everything from environmental practices and disabilities support to progressive academic programs to help for students who are parents.  
"We tell students which schools have the best LGBT rights, the best mental health programs, and the most accessible transit. You’ll also find out what schools are fighting rape culture in innovative new ways and what schools have some of the most active student advocacy clubs.
"We wanted to cover areas mainstream guides don’t and create a resource that would help progressive, lefty students make the best choices for their post-secondary education,” says This Magazine editor Lauren McKeon 

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Spacing magazine opens retail store in Toronto

Publisher and founder Matt Blackett and
Michael Bulko, director of retail
Dropped in Friday on the public opening of the Spacing magazine retail store in Toronto. It's a very good example of expanding the brand of what is a relatively small circulation magazine (10,000 sales in print in the average issue, 10,000 or so unique visitors online) playing to its strengths as a source about many aspects of urban living. 

The shop is located in the basement at the back end of 401 Richmond Street W. -- with street frontage --  and can be reached either through the main entrance at the northeast corner on Richmond or down a set of stairs at the back of the main floor of 401. 

The stock is largely what readers could find in the longtime online store -- ranging from the ubiquitous subway station buttons and subway token cufflinks to T-shirts, toques and throw pillows and posters. And, of course, you can buy copies of the magazine, both its current issue and back issues. It's an open invitation to browse for the perfect Christmas gift or stocking stuffer, if you're in Toronto.

Spacing isn't given to extensive market research, though it did test out the retail idea with a pop-up store in downtown Toronto last year and about 18 months has gone into the planning of this venture. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Magazines win big at
Canadian Online Publishing Awards

Below are the magazine-related winners in the Canadian Online Publishing Awards (COPA), given out on Thursday night in Toronto. 

See the full list of finalists and winners

Red division (including consumer magazines)

Best media web site 
Best corporate website
Best website design
Best news coverage
Best blog or column
Best article or series
Best infographic
Best interactive story
Best use of social media
Best email newsletter design and engagement
Best digital publication for desktop and tablet
Best mobile solution
Best online campaign
Read more »

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

75 years on, Scribners Magazine loses apostrophe and comes back online

Everything old is  new again, so it seems. A venerable, long-departed magazine Scribner's (a rival in the day for The Atlantic and Harper's), which last published in 1939, is being revived, more or less, as the online literary website Scribner Magazine. According to the Speakeasy blog from the Wall Street Journal, the intention of the publishing house Scribner (a division of Simon & Schuster) in reviving it is not to create digital equivalent of its old self, but rather to be a site about authors and their books. 
Many publishers these days are looking for new ways to connect directly with readers. Nan Graham, senior vice president and publisher of Scribner, said she wanted to offer readers a behind-the-curtain peek at writers’ lives, answering the questions that come up again and again at readings: “What do you read? How do you write? What’s the origin of the book?”

“We’re trying to respond to that appetite,” she said. “I’ve wanted to do something with the old Scribner’s Magazine for a long time because it was such an important part of the culture.”
The site will be updated weekly and will feature author essays, archival photographs, reviews by booksellers and author-curated playlists as well as book excerpts in text and audio. The site will feature many Scribner authors, but not exclusively. In an opening salvo from the editors:
"We are reviving Scribner Magazine for the digital age, with the intent to pull back the curtain, to reveal a more intimate look at writers and publishers: where writers work, the music they listen to, the seeds of their books, what they talk about with other writers, even what they cook and how they parent; how editors edit; the role of the art director, the book designer, the sales rep; what booksellers are reading. Every month there will be a story or chapter read out loud by its author. We will feature writing that you might have missed, and new writing from authors throughout the literary community. 
"Scribner Magazine: for behind-the-scenes insights on reading, on writing, on living."

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Magawards change financial assistance, rebating first entry for magazines <$200,000 in revenue

The National Magazine Awards are changing their method of financial assistance to encourage entries by smaller magazines. For this year's awards, magazines with revenues of $200,000 or less are eligible for a full rebate of their first entry fee. The rebate will be the equivalent of the early-bird entry fee (in most categories, $95 + HST), whether or not the magazine takes advantage of the early entry period. The rebates are only available to entries by magazines, not by individual creators (e.g. freelance writers, illustrators, photographers).

Previously, the awards operated what they called "co-financing" whereby small publication were eligible for a partial subsidy of the cost of entering the awards. All successful applicants were approved for a minimum of three submissions provided they had less than $250,000 in total revenue. There were two levels of submission: for those publications under 20,000 circulation; and for even smaller publications, under 2,000.

Applications for the simplified entry system are being accepted now and submissions for the 2014 National Magazine Awards will open December 1. Rebates will be made in February, after all entries are processed. 

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mag world view: NYT Mag hunts advertisers; Hearst's 'secret weapon'; 30 hottest launches; Photoshopped? sure!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Transcontinental sells all its eastern Canadian consumer magazines to TVA

[This post has been updated] In what is unquestionably the largest change in Canadian magazine publishing in many years, Trancontinental Inc. has announced it is selling 15 consumer magazines based in Montreal and Toronto to Quebec's TVA Group for $55.5 million. It includes all associated websites and related platforms. Key to the arrangement is that TC Transcontinental Printing would retain the printing of all affected magazines through 2022 in an extended contract with TVA. 

The deal does not include the TC Media western properties such as Vancouver Magazine and Western Living

Magazines and digital properties changing ownership would include Canadian Living, Style at Home, Coup de pouce, Elle Canada, Elle Québec, Decormag,  Magazine, Magazine Véro, Fleurs plantes et Jardins, Quebec Green, Canadian Gardening, recettes.qc.ca,  and The Hockey News.  It means TVA assumes the 51% partnership share of Elle Canada and Elle Québec which it holds in partnership with Hearst Group. TVA Group and Bayard Group will each hold a 50% share in Publications Senior Inc., publisher of Le Bel Âge and Good Times magazines.

Subject to Competition Bureau approval, the change, which will have unknown effects on the jobs of 310 people. would see the titles of TC Media (English Canada's largest consumer magazine publisher) with TVA, which is the largest magazine publisher in Quebec. 

Francoise Olivier, the president and chief executive officer said the company is going to concentrate on local advertising, through its greatly expanded stable of more than 180 newspapers in Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and the Atlantic provinces.
"In the context of the highly competitive magazine industry that is experiencing a proliferation of platforms and generated content as well as migration of advertising revenue towards digital media, Transcontinental Inc. has decided to sell its consumer magazines in Montreal and Toronto to the TVA Group whose platforms will enable the continued evolution of these magazines," he said. 
"Today's agreement creates twofold value for Transcontinental Inc., In one stroke we have also improved the book of business for our printing sector."
Transcontinental Inc. which includes four divisions (TC Transcontinental, TC Media, TC Transcontinental Printing and TC Transcontinental Packaging) had revenues of $2.1 billion in 2013.  

TVA is the television and media arm of Quebecor Media. The company said in a release it expects annual revenues of $10 to $14 million from the newly acquired magazines. 
"Print media is facing growing competition from digital media and new technological platforms," noted Pierre Dion, president and CEO of Quebecor and Quebecor Media. "And bear in mind that the competition notably comes from increasingly powerful foreign players. In this landscape, print magazines, just like newspapers, need to be consolidated to ensure these traditional media survive and allow them to compete with digital media." 
"This acquisition is in line with the Corporation's strategy of investing in the production and distribution of high-quality, rich, diverse entertainment and news media content," said Julie Tremblay, president and CEO of Media Group and TVA Group. "We are therefore very pleased to acquire these strong brands, which are amongst the most popular magazine titles in Canada, and complementary to those of TVA Publications titles." 
"TVA Group has extensive experience in magazine publishing. This transaction will enable us to capture significant operational synergies and secure the segment's long-term profitability and viability. We anticipate that after these magazines are acquired they will contribute between $10 million and $14 million to operating earnings annually," concluded Julie Tremblay.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wake for Don Obe to be on Friday, November 21

The memorial/wake for the late Don Obe will be held in the East Common Room of Hart House at the University of Toronto, Friday November 21 5:30 to 8 p.m. All his friends and colleagues are welcomed. 

Quote, unquote: Print migration

"There's no decent evidence that journalism is dying. The only people who say it is are the people who are used to only being in print. They are seeing print numbers dying off and thinking that in five years time or ten years time journalism will be dead. It's just migrated to a new place. Print is still very important for some of us. Journalism is hard to get into but find a decent job that isn't hard to get... If you want to be a footballer you will find it a darn site harder to get into than a social media team somewhere."
-- Sun (UK) social media editor James Manning, quoted in Press Gazette

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Emerge magazine from Guelph/Humber wins feature mag of year in Pinnacle Awards

Emerge 2014, a multiplatform project of U of Guelph/Humber media studies graduating students has been named feature magazine of the year in the U.S. college Pinnacle Awards. 
The project includes a glossy magazine, with editorial and branded content, a one-day media conference and associated websites, a photography exhibition and a social media strategy. 
The Pinnacles recognize excellence in student produced college media". They were presented by the College Media Association at its national convention in Philadelphia. 
The project won six Pinnacles for 
• Best Magazine Contents Page/Spread Design (1st)
• Best Magazine Entertainment Page/Spread Design (2nd)
• Best Online Main Page (2nd)
• Best Website of the Year (Four-year program) (3rd)
• Best Ad Supplement/Special Section (3rd)
• Best Social Media Main Page (3rd)
In addition, it won best of show awards from the Associated Collegiate Press for
  • Feature magazine
  • Website (small school)

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National Magazine Awards seeking judges for 38th annual awards

Every year, the National Magazine Awards Foundation relies on the donated time of over 200 volunteer judges to select finalists and winners in the written, visual, integrated and special awards. They are looking for people with one or more of the following characteristics:
  • Editor, art director, publisher, web editor or other staff member
  • Freelance or staff writer, illustrator, photographer or digital creator
  • Journalist with expertise in a particular field 
  • Bilingual (all written categories are judged by both unilingual and bilingual juries and most other categories include one or more bilingual members)
To nominate yourself or someone else to be a judge (naturally not in a category where you or your magazine is entered) send name, contact information and a brief bio or summary of your expertise to staff@magazine-awards.com. Judging takes place between February and mid-April and the awards are made June 5.
Further information about the judging process and eligibility and rules.

(I have been a judge several times in previous years and always find it a rewarding experience.) 

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