Friday, July 28, 2006

Compterworld picked top U.S. b-to-b book

Computerworld , a weekly tech magazine, was named the best B-to-B publication in the United States for 2006 in the over 80,000 circulation category Its web site also won for best "overall web publication." A sister publication CSO (aimed at security executives) won for publications under 80,000 circ.

Both magazines are published by the International Data Group of Framingham, Massachusets. The awards were made at a gala dinner held by The American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) last week in Chicago.

Judges said Computerworld was “packed with useful information with never a fluffy issue—difficult for any monthly magazine, and they do it weekly.” They said CSO “takes risks with subject matter," and that “design and copy complement each other extraordinarily well,” with covers that “have attitude.”

A full list of the winners in the "Azbees" (awards are given in 40 categories) can be dowloaded from the ASBPE website.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

New mag stores

We were impressed by a visit recently to the relatively new Journo store in downtown Toronto operated by HDS (Hachette Distribution Services). It is apparent that the combination of coffee shop and magazine rack is here to stay (a natural fit). It has certainly eclipsed the old "smoke shop" model that prevailed for many years.

Chapters/Indigo, of course, works hand-in-glove with Starbucks. The Journo cafe serves Van Houtte coffee. Some chain magazine stores, like Great Canadian News (HDS), Maison de la Presse (also HDS), Pages in Toronto and Shoppers Drug Marts everywhere apparently don't see themselves as being in the cafe business, but given that there is , seemingly, a coffee shop in every block particularly in Toronto and Vancouver, it may be that serving coffee on the premises is redundant.

Here's a little exercise for you. Post a comment to this item (click on the word "COMMENTS" at the bottom of this item), giving your review or analysis of your favourite magazine store, either where you live/work, or anywhere else in Canada, and make sure you say howcum you think so. We'll be particularly interested in rugged independents who do a great job of selling magazines, whether or not they sell anything else.

If you like, you can also lament magazine stores of the recent past, no longer with us. Lichtman's is still remembered fondly around my house.

Note to all you "attention-based" vehicles out there...

Estimated internet advertising in Canada is expected to reach $801 million during 2006, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, as reported in Media in Canada. That will be up 54% from last year's $562 million. By comparison, total magazine advertising in Canada is about $1 billion ($590 million in consumer magazines).

"There's no question that Canadian marketers are getting the Internet religion," says Lynn Fletcher, formerly Arnold Worldwide's chief strategic officer and now a partner in Toronto-based Fletcher Weir Consulting. "In many cases, agencies are rushing to catch up, (but) clients are well aware that, as they move on from attention-based connection strategies, they need larger investments in the Internet to really deliver engagement - especially among key youth and business-to-business targets."

"Attention-based connection strategies". Magazine publishers, this means you.

Paula Gignac, the President of the IAB (and formerly in charge of Rogers Media's women's service websites -- Chatelaine, Flare and Today's Parent -- says in a release on the IAB's website that the share of dollars allocated to Internet advertising (almost 7 percent of total ad spend in Canada for 2006), is quickly moving towards the 10-15 percent mark.
"And while 7 plus percent is a good result, it's definitely shy of where Internet spending in Canada should be, given that there are over 21 million unduplicated users, or 62 percent of the total Canadian population Online every month. To compare, in the United States, only 57 percent of the total population uses the Internet every month.

"If we can get the Canadian industry to a billion plus dollars by 2007, and Internet spending closer to 9 percent of the total, then," says Gignac "we're really going to see a tipping point for the medium."
Meanwhile, a report from Jupiter Research says that the 9 per cent internet ad spending in the U.S. is largely being done in conjunction with search engines.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hear the sabres rattling

According the Ezra Levant, the Publisher of the Western Standard magazine, a strong case exists for going to war with Iran, which he characterizes as a bunch of "hotheads and nutbars". Levant's argument is echoed by a clutch of like-minded, right-wing commentators who were interviewed by Richard Foot of CanWest News Service for a column that went over the wires today and will likely appear in most CanWest papers. Their view is that the world must smash Iran else it wake up one morning with a North American city flattened by an Iranian nuclear weapon.

“The Iranian regime is not bound by any concepts of international law,” says Levant. “The Soviets were containable by the notion of mutually assured destruction. Ahmadinejad regards himself as a messianic figure who exults in the death cult of Islamo fascism. You cannot use statecraft to fence in someone like him.

“They’re not just a rational evil like the Soviets were. “They’re an irrational evil. Together with the leader of North Korea — the last two pieces of the ’axis of evil’ — they’re a collection of hotheads and nutbars.”

If you thought that was an extreme view (not surprising from someone who hosts the Shotgun Blog, as wild a collection of spitting-mad and vituperative opinion from the far right as you're likely to see), just look at what some of the other commentators quoted said:
“If Iran gets nuclear warheads, we will surely awaken to a morning much like Sept. 11, 2001, when it will have been cities, rather than merely buildings, that have been immolated,” says David Harris, a former agent with CSIS, Canada’s spy agency, who is now an Ottawa-based senior fellow with the Canadian Coalition for Democracies, a national security lobby group. “I don’t know how far they are from that ability,” says Harris. “It could be decades, or it could be months.”
“At the end of the day, Hitler pushed the West so far it realized it had no choice but to fight, but it avoided doing so as long as it could, and tried to rationalize its avoidance by thinking that negotiations would make everything OK,” says David Bercuson, director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary. “The trouble is, Hitler’s formula was not negotiable. And I think we’re at that same point with Iran.”
“Iran’s mullahs are about to produce their first home-built nuclear weapons this year [says U.S. political author Thomas Holsinger]. If we permit that, many other countries, some of whose governments are dangerously unstable, will build their own nuclear weapons to deter Iran and each other from attack,” he wrote. “This rapid and widespread proliferation will inevitably lead to use of nuclear weapons in anger, by terrorists and by fearful and unstable Third World regimes, at which point the existing world order will break down.”

Why does Eustace Tilley face left?

The chief librarians of the New Yorker, Jon Michaud and Erin Overbey have started Ask the Librarians, a blog-within-a-blog where every month they answer questions from readers about the inside workings of the magazine. It's over at the blog EmDashes (which is also quite interesting). If you ever wonder if the New Yorker fact checks its cartoons, now you can find out.

Time marches on, leaving Teen People behind

Time Inc. is stopping the print edition of Teen People magazine. It is retaining the brand on the web only. This is almost identical to the decision by Hachette Filipacchi's a few months ago to discontinue all but the website presence of Elle Girl. Teen People, which was started in 1998 as a spinoff to People (arguably the most successful magazine in the world), has about 50 employees. It is very much in the mainstream tradition in U.S. publishing, a sort of hybrid of women's service magazines and celebrity titles. A redesigned Teen People was unveiled in September 2003.

According to latest ABC data, the magazine had about 87,000 Canadian circulation, roughly half of whom were paid subscribers. Its total per issue circulation was more than 1.5 million, ranking it about 53rd in the U.S. The magazine's overall revenue, according to industry figures, was in the area of US$30 million. However, according to Publishers Information Bureau figures, total ad pages for the first half of this year fell 14.4 from 2005--from about 353 to 302--while ad revenue fell over 10 percent in the same time period.

Magazine consultant and commentator Samir Husni told Media Daily News that Teen People may have been a victim of its own success. It prompted the launch of dozens of imitators or celebrity titles, many (like In Touch Weekly) of which were cheaper to produce and sold for less. This made the more expensive teen magazine hard to sustain.

Husni said he was skeptical of Time Inc.'s contention that the magazine brand would be as profitable online
:

"The beauty of the Web is it gives magazine publishers the excuse,
'We're not really killing the thing, we're staying on the Web.' If people could only survive on the Web, don't you think Playboy would have folded its print edition long ago?"

(References are inapt to the decision in May by CanWest Global to discontinue Dose, a daily magazine/street tab for young people (not teens) distributed in cities across Canada. Teen People was paid, apparently popular and, as far as is known, still profitable, while Dose was controlled and a constant revenue struggle.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Globe delves into U.S. magazine sales in Canada

James Adams of the Globe and Mail takes the Canadian magazine industry seriously, which is not often the case in most newspapers. This is demonstrated by his detailed look today at trends in U.S. circulation in Canada, based largely on data from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, Statistics Canada and consulting group Pricewaterhousecoopers.

In the past quarter-century, he reported, the average circulation per American title has been slashed in half, to 13,243 in 2005 from 26,303 in 1983. But, he says, the slack has not been entirely taken up by Canadian magazines. He quoted a recent study by the Hill Strategies Research on cultural spending in Canada by consumers (as opposed to advertisers) which found "from 1997 to 2003, magazine-buying was largely flat, the median dollar value being $705-million. In fact, adjusting for inflation, spending on magazines by Canadian consumers declined by almost 6 per cent in that period."

The guck stops here; magazine data shows what the industry can do to help the planet

For magazine publishers who are concerned, as many are, a recent comprehensive study shows that the highest percentage of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) comes from manufacturing at pulp and paper mills, with transportation the second highest contributor of GHG emissions. (Our thanks to Neva Murtha of Markets Initiative in Vancouver for putting us onto this.)

Potential ways to reduce GHG emissions for the magazine supply chain include improving energy efficiencies in the pulp and paper manufacturing process, source reduction, using more efficient modes of transportation and working with transportation providers to encourage fuel-efficient engine designs.

These findings are in a study called Following the Paper (Trail: The Impact of Magazine and Dimensional Lumber Production on Greenhouse Gas Emissions: A Case Study prepared by Dr. Stith T. Gower of the Department of Forest Ecology & Management at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The study was financed and produced by the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment in Washington, in cooperation with a number of major players, including
  • Canfor Corporation— a leading integrated forest products company based in Vancouver
  • The Home Depot—the world’s largest home improvement retailer based in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Stora Enso -- a global integrated paper, packaging and forest products company, the leading producer in North America of coated and supercalendered papers for the printing and publishing industries with seven mills in the Midwestern United States and one mill in Nova Scotia. And
  • Time Inc. , which publishes over 149 titles with more than 300 million readers. In 2005, Time Inc. magazines accounted for 23% of the total advertising revenue of U.S. consumer magazines. People, Time and Sports Illustrated were ranked one, three and four in ad revenue respectively.
The study followed the greenhouse gas life cycle analysis of two huge magazines (In Style and Time). It found that
  • The final fate of unrecovered magazine (landfilled, incinerated or recycled) can potentially have a large effect on the GHG shadow of the magazine
  • Consumers, governments, and society can all impact the paper and wood product chains by determining the final fate of paper waste products.

“This is a pathbreaking study because the participating companies provided actual data from their own production chains,” according to Anthony Janetos, Vice President of The Heinz Center, who served as a scientific advisor for the study. “Few studies have quantified the carbon content and emissions from wood and paper materials and none have had access to the industries’ own data,” he said.

Data from the study can be used to identify potential opportunities to reduce GHG emissions, to highlight management practices that can potentially increase carbon sequestration and to identify improvements in disposal practices of end products. Janetos noted, “Opportunities to improve the life cycle of the paper and wood products span the industrial sector, government forest management agencies and the consumer. Opportunities to improve must also consider cultural, social and economic factors.”

Concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHG) have increased over the 20th century as a result of human activities, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2001 report. From the years 1750 to 2000, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) increased approximately 31 percent. The rapid rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration, and other GHG, is one of the most pressing environmental problems facing society today due to a variety of environmental, social, and economic problems caused by global climate change,Janetos said.

“Only some of the potential actions identified above are under the direct control of the individual companies in this study,” Janetos noted. “Others and perhaps especially those actions that potentially affect GHG emissions from purchased power must be addressed broadly by society.”

To view the study in its entirety, please click here.

The Heinz Center, established in 1995 in memory of Senator John Heinz, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan institution dedicated to improving the scientific and economic basis for environmental policy and to developing innovative solutions to environmental problems.

(As an aside, the vice-chair of the Heinz Centre is Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of the erstwhile presidential candidate and the widow of the ketchup heir, Senator Heinz.)

Monday, July 24, 2006

OMDC tweaks the rules

For those Ontario-based magazines who were going for it, the Ontario Media Develoment Corporation Magazine Fund has issued a couple of eligibility clarifications in advance of its application deadline August 24. [Note: we have edited the notice for clarity]

1. Only commercial revenues count towards the rule that a corporation must derive more than 50% of total revenues from direct magazine sources such as advertising, circulation and subscriptions, including related brand extension of the core business (i.e. trade shows, website, television properties) Small magazines published by not-for-profit corporations who were going to include donations, bequests and the like in their sums, are out of luck.

2. The requirement for 75%+ Canadian editorial content defines such content as text, photographs, graphics, and/or illustrations which are authored or translated by a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada or adapted or condensed by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and derived from content created by a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident.

Where it stops, nobody knows

Reptile over at Rep Life, has an interesting take on the revolving door at agencies; no sooner does a rep establish a good, working relationship with someone there than they are gone, and the rep is back to square one.

Hallmark Magazine's first issue fat and prosperous

It's not even on Canadian newsstands yet, but according to a story in Media Daily News, Hallmark Magazine, the new bimonthly title from the greeting-card giant (set to start distribution in August) closed its premier September-October issue just 12 weeks after forming its sales team, says Carol Campbell-Boggs, its publisher. "We exceeded our goals by 30 percent on the revenue side and 20 percent on the paging side," says Campbell-Boggs. Major advertisers include Estee Lauder, Epson, Unilever, and Kraft. "There was just one Hallmark ad planned for the first issue, for Hallmark Flowers," she says, "and that got bumped. We're going head-on in women's lifestyle magazines."

Department of weird mags from all over

If you want to stretch your mind beyond the parochial bounds of the Canadian industry, you might like a website run by Jean Snow (he's a guy). He is, among other things, an editor for MoCo Tokyo, a site covering contemporary design in the city and he publishes a regular spot called The Week in Magazines and the titles he talks about will take you right out of the Canadian orbit; every magazine he names comes with a handy link. (Beware: it is a supreme blend of work avoidance and a consummate time waster.) Here's what the site says about him, or what he says about himself:
[He] lives and breathes design and pop culture in Tokyo -- sustained by an unhealthy addiction to magazines and frequent visits to his favorites cafes. He has reported on these obsessions for the following online/offline publications: Time, Inside (Australian Design Review), Gizmodo, Gridskipper, Tokyo Q, Superfuture, OK Fred, Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, I.D. (International Design), Metropolis, and The Japan Times. He is also the editor of MoCo Tokyo, covering contemporary design in the city, and collaborates with the Swedish design outfit Next Century Modern.
An unhealthy addiction to magazines? Hmmmm.

Computing Canada to produce information technology supplement

A partnership has been struck between Computing Canada magazine and the Canadian information Processing Society (CIPS), which will see the Society's magazine, CIPS Across Canada discontinued in favour of a bi-monthly supplement to Computing Canada. This, according to a story in IT Business.ca, the website of Computing Canada and its related publications. Computing Canada is published bi-weekly by the IT Business Group of Transcontinental Media.

The new supplement, to start with the issue of September 15, will be called The Professional and will reflect the new realities of the IT world, according to CIPS president John Boufford. The market is changing and so must the way the Society communicates. For instance, practitioners are joining IT from different work backgrounds, creating a new richness in the field, but also creating new definitions of what it means to be an IT professional, he said. “We have now opened the door to people that don’t have the traditional IT education that we required in the past,” said Boufford. “We’ve tailored applications for certain parts of the profession in a way that allows them to focus on things that are most relevant to them.”

Martin Slofstra, the editor of Computing Canada, said:
“IT professionals are too focused on technology. They need to round out skills like improving their relationship with business users. They need to be more well rounded and look beyond just having just specific technical skills. They need to look at being much more a part of the profession. Certification is one aspect of that.”

Articles appearing in The Professional will be written by Computing Canada staff members, as well as CIPS members. The first installment will focus on risk management.

“It really is a joint effort,” said Computing Canada publisher Joe Tersigni of the new supplement. “We believe that one of Computing Canada’s roles is to help grow the community. That’s one of the things that a good industry publication should do. We felt that was something we could achieve by helping CIPS put this out.”

The CIPS members who don’t already receive Computing Canada will be added to the subscription list, which is already distributed to approximately 40,000 IT managers and decision-makers across the nation

Cannabis Culture publisher weds

There will be at least time for a nice, long honeymoon before the extradition hearing. Marc Emery, the publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine and indefatigable campaigner for legalization of pot, got married Sunday in Vancouver even though he may soon be shipped south to stand trial on drug charges. A story in Maclean's magazine quotes Jodie Emery, 21, his new bride saying: "I will support him no matter what happens in any situation. I'm just so happy right now to be married to him."

Emery, 48, heads the B.C. Marijuana Party and is currently charged with selling marijuana seeds to Americans through the mail, conspiracy to manufacture pot and conspiracy to engage in money laundering. Over 10 years, Emery happily claims to have sold about $15 million dollars worth of marijuana seeds in his store and over the internet.

He was arrested last July along with Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek and Greg Williams after police raided Emery's pot paraphernalia store in Vancouver following an 18-month investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The happy couple met in 2004, when Emery spent 62 days in a Saskatoon jail (he's been in jail 21 times) for trafficking after passing a joint at a marijuana rally. They became close after she transcribed his blogs from jail, he said.

The wedding ceremony took place under a white tent in the city's Queen Elizabeth Park where about 100 guests sat in suits and dresses continually passing around joints. After the ceremony the bride, wearing a long, white strapless wedding dress, lit up what she called a "wedding doobie."The Emerys then shared their first joint as husband and wife, inhaling the smoke and then kissing each other.

Emery said he was upbeat and positive, even though his lawyer tells him he is about 98 per cent sure to be extradited to face charges in the U.S. A date for his extradition hearing will be set August 21.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

SEED takes a gay walk on the wild side

The June/July issue of the science magazine SEED reports on some controversial findings of a sex-changed researcher about the number of mammals, birds, fish and bugs that practice homosexuality. Jonah Lehrer writes about Joan Roughgarden, a former man who underwent a sex-change operation and who says:"The more socially complex the animal, the more sexual `deviance' it exhibits.

"That "deviance" includes all-male giraffe orgies and rampant lesbianism among macaques, both of which serve valuable purposes to the broader community in which they occur. If sex were only about the continuance of the species, argues Roughgarden, then evolution would have bred out any tendency toward homosexuality a long time ago. She proposes that instead of trying to shoehorn 450 (so far) exceptions into the framework of Darwin's theory of sexual selection, the framework should change instead. Maybe, she says, homosexuality is a "defining feature of advanced animal communities." SEED is

In a related article, the issue contains a story about a group of Stanford researchers who say Darwinian sexual selection theory wrongly models interactions between the sexes as competitive. "The group has a new theory, social selection, which models mate selection as a cooperative game where parties seek to maximize group welfare.

"Darwinian sexual selection is a theory of conflict: It asserts that men and women have different goals in terms of what they look for in a partner. Males want to have sex with several females in order to create as many offspring as possible, while females want to have sex with very few, high-quality males, who will give their eggs the best genes."

SEED is published by the Seed Media Group in New York; the magazine originated in Montreal.

Quebecor World retrenches in Buffalo Niagara region

Quebecor World's decision to cut 200 jobs, or a a fifth of its workforce at its Depew printing plant in the Buffalo area has come as a real blow to upstate New York and Erie County, which depends on such high wage manufacturing job, according to a story in the Buffalo News.

Kevin Clarke, the president of Quebecor World North America's book and directory publishing services group was said to rarely let an opportunity go by to rail against what he thought were New York's high business costs (taxes, electricity and regulations) and how they make it hard for companies here to be competitive.

The announcement about the Depew plan "was another dose of sobering news for the Buffalo Niagara region, which has barely been able to muster any job growth since the recession ended almost five years ago," said the story. "And it was another sign of the struggles facing the region's manufacturers, which have been decimated by intense competition from Third World countries and other low-cost parts of the United States."

The immediate catalyst for the local job cuts was Quebecor World's impending loss of AAA TourBook production to a sister plant in Corinth, Miss., that is expected to be completed by next May. The Depew plant currently employs 875 people and layoffs are expected to begin in December and be spread out over several months, said the story. Restructuring goes beyond the local plant, it said, which also makes paperback books, board books, coupon books and newspaper inserts. Quebecor's profits have dropped for five straight quarters after the company lost three major clients last year and price competition intensified, analysts say.

Quebecor has been struggling "to adapt to the difficult conditions within the print industry," said Matt Wilcox, an analyst at KDP Investment Advisors in Vermont, in a report last week.

To adapt, Quebecor has been revamping its printing operations in North America and Europe. It's closing a magazine plant in Brookfield, Wis., and a book printing facility in Kingsport, Tenn., eliminating a total of 735 jobs. The company late last month said it would cut another 150 jobs by shutting a magazine plant in Red Bank, Ohio, and shifting that work to a nearby facility in Lebanon, Ohio, and other company facilities. Over the last five years, Quebecor has slashed more than 12,000 jobs worldwide, or about 28 percent of its work force, the article said.

The two-pronged restructuring strategy also has Quebecor investing heavily in new equipment, including the purchase of 22 new printing presses, according to Adam Shine, an analyst at National Bank Financial in Canada, who likened the company to a "falling machete" in a report earlier this year. None of the major equipment purchases revealed so far have been earmarked for Quebecor's Depew plant.

"As part of that $330 million North American investment plan," said the story, "Quebecor also is trying to boost its efficiency by shifting its assets to bigger, more specialized facilities.

"Quebecor officials believe the plan will put the company on the right course. But last week's news makes Quebecor workers here understandably nervous about whether they'll be around for the ride."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Now leaving, on track two...

Ryan Bigge over at his blog The Bigge Idea, has a spoof memo that pokes fun at Chatelaine and the turmoil there.

National Geographic most engaging

National Geographic magazine is the most engaging magazine in the United States, according to a recent survey conducted by Monroe Mendelsohn Research (MMR). This was reported as an item by Folio: magazine.

I
n terms of reader engagement and perceived quality, the 2005 MMR Publication Reader Satisfaction Survey says National Geographic edges out Guideposts, Smithsonian, The Economist and Departures.

For the survey, 16,000 men and women rated more than 200 major consumer magazines and national newspapers in 21 categories on a variety of topics including readers’ perception of the overall title as well as product satisfaction (editorial content, covers, visuals/illustrations and advertising).

Turnbull quits Report on Business magazine

Laas Turnbull, the editor of the Globe and Mail's Report on Business Magazine has resigned, to move to Brunico Communications, the publishers of the advertising and entertainment trade magazines Strategy and Playback.

UPDATE According to a story on mastheadonline (sub requ'd), Turnbull didn't want to be an editor past 40 (!) and wanted to test his mettle on the business side.

Canada Post gets seriously into the catalogue business

If you've been thinking about ramping up your marketing efforts by getting into catalogues, but are afraid of the cost and risk, you may want to pay attention to the multi-merchant catalogue Canada Post will be testing this fall. It will be about 24 pages and feature double-page-spreads from 10-15 merchants, ranging from home and garden to apparel to travel. The only confirmed merchant as of today is Ottawa-based kitchen accessories retailer Ashton Green.

David Coulson, acting director, retail and catalogue marketing at Canada Post says that the concept is similar to the American in-flight catalogue SkyMall. He adds that the biggest draw for merchants is Canada Post's use of its own proprietary prospecting tool SnapShot, which will allow the catalogues to be highly targeted.

"We've invested quite heavily in SnapShot. It predicts a propensity to purchase," explains Coulson. It was developed for Canada Post using 13,000 different variables, and it's capable of clustering analysis and producing detailed profiles based on purchase behaviour.

About four years ago, Canada Post identified that there was a problem growing the direct mail industry in Canada, and decided to focus on how to improve that to help grow its own business. "Canada has been a lot behind. We see a phenomenal growth opportunity," says Coulson, adding that the direct mail markets in the U.S. and U.K. have been growing exponentially, and that Canada Post is focusing on stimulating similar results up here with tools like SnapShot and the multi-merchant catalogue.

The test catalogue is set to come out this fall and land in 500,000 households and 200,000 email inboxes. It offers three different pricing models for a double-page-spread: a flat fee of $59,000; a risk-share fee-per-buyer of $56 per buyer (so if you don't get a response, you don't pay anything); and a mixed model with a $29,000 flat fee plus $28 per buyer.

If the test is successful, Canada Post will make the multi-merchant catalogues a regular feature, with likely four or more issues per year at a beefier 100+ pages.

Home Depot goes into the ad business

According to an item in Ad Week, Home Depot is starting to sell ads on its website to home improvement suppliers (Moen faucets has already signed on). What's being sold by the Home Depot Direct division is access to 4 million visitors a week to the website and more than 6 million subscribers to various Home Depot specialty newsletters.

This is yet another example of the complicated nature of the advertising mix these days as traditional magazine advertisers essentially also compete with consumer and trade magazines as a delivery vehicle. Visitors can click on ads and be taken directly to suppliers' own branded sites. And it would be a very brave supplier who didn't see it in his best interests to buy into such an arrangement.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Le Good Times?

The entire Toronto-based staff of Transcontinental's Good Times magazine (the Canadian magazine for successful retirement), including Editor-in-chief Judy Brandow, will be out of work within the next few weeks as the magazine is being transferred to Montreal, where the English edition will be put out by the staff of its French language counterpart Le Bel Age. Brandow, a former editor of Canadian Living, said she was surprised by the decision. (It is an echo of a decision a few years ago by Transcon to move IE:Money, a personal finance magazine, to Montreal to be put out by the editor of its French language counterpart. Within two months, it was discontinued.)

Chatelaine copy and research chief departs

It was announced today that the copy and research chief of Chatelaine , Ruth Hanley, had resigned. Craig Offman, the executive editor penned a brief note to staff saying on behalf of the editor Sara Angel, "[we] are extremely grateful for her tireless effort and boundless cheer, so please join us in wishing her all the best in her new endeavours as a freelance copy whiz." Hanley's departure is the second this week following close on the resignation of Senior Features Editor Dré Dee.

Redesign and repositioning works, just look at The Beaver

The Beaver— Canada’s History Magazine, was re-designed and re-focused entirely, starting with last October's (October/November) issue as it headed into its 85th year of publishing. The magazine had been holding its own in circulation at about 47,000 for a few years, but had essentially stayed flat; there was concern about an aging readership and the failure to grow.

A new art director was brought aboard, Michel Groleau from Montreal, charged with bringing a fresh look to the sometime serious subject of exploring Canada’s stories, heroes, wars, inventions, politicians, artists, and rascals. He took the previously tentative and somewhat fusty conventions of the magazine and put 10,000 volts through it; everything from a full-bleed cover format and employed more aggressive graphic imagery, bolder typefaces, strong sky bar treatments, and occasional starburst devices into his cover treatments.

The results are in, at least from the newsstand (where The Beaver had a history of doing poorly) and it is clear that Canadian magazine readers love the new look. Even calculating on the previously small base, the redesign and repositioning has paid off.

  • October/November 2005 (85th anniversary issue), up 86%
  • Dec/Jan 2006 (Silk Train) up 172% (the best seller in all the magazine's 85 years)
  • Feb/Mar (Rivals Under Sail) up 164% (the best Feb/March ever)
  • April/May (Explorer Roses) up 173% (the best April/May ever)
In a release, Deborah Morrison, the president of Canada's National History Society and publisher of The Beaver said: “Our editorial team have done a fabulous job of bringing energy and excitement to the magazine, and Michel’s art direction is magnificent. Clearly, Canadian magazine lovers are voting with their wallets. We’d also like to thank our retail and distribution partners for their enthusiastic support in merchandising our magazine prominently, it really reinforces the orchestral nature of the magazine business!”

Among the members of the orchestra is Scott Bullock, who was advising The Beaver on newsstand strategy.

Canada Post 2007 rates go up, as predicted

Canada Post has come out with the official price list starting January 2007, and with it the increases which are pretty much as predicted. There is a summary of the changes at the Canada Post website and a complete price list, too.

UPDATE -- Magazines Canada here provides a detailed analysis of the rates, not only for this year, but comparing it with previous years. As it points out, while this year is slightly in excess of the cost of living, it is a substantial moderation from the "brutal" increases of previous years. A lot of the thanks for that goes to the association, which lobbied ferociously on behalf of its members and the industry generally.

Flipping hell. Have we got it all wrong?

So the woman's husband hands her a copy of Nuvo magazine and selects a copy of Maclean's for himself, off the waiting room pile. Then both start to thumb through the magazines. They both started from the back and flip-flip-flipped forward, pausing from time to time to point out this or that.

On closer attention every one of the magazine-reading people in the waiting room were all flip-flip-flipping from the inside back page forward. And the thought occurred: what if we have been doing this all wrong all these years? What if people want a magazine they can read from the back and we simply haven't twigged to it yet? Do magazine architecture and design conventions matter as much as we thought or is it a load of tosh? Consider what this quite unscientific waiting room observation* means.

  • The last page, facing the inside back cover, becomes one of the most important pages in the magazine, setting the tone for all that flipping to follow.
  • The standard structure of most magazines -- front of book, well, back of book -- counts for naught with casual readers.
  • The well of most magazines will be approached from the back and, even if they reverse course and read through it the other direction, all the effort of carefully constructing opening spreads, running heads and anything that is told in linear fashion is likely completely lost on them.
  • These readers are surfing through the magazine looking for something that catches their attention and it means that sub heads and decks and other display writing, as well as photography, illustration, sidebars and captions, means the difference between catching them or not.
  • Opening spreads and single page openers have to be compelling not because people will come to them first, but because readers need to be motivated to stop and reverse course to read the story.
  • Good advertising becomes as important as good editorial. It's also a reminder that, as the late great Howard Gossage said: "People read what they like, and sometimes it's an ad."
  • The tradition of stacking small ads at the back actually gives these greater purchase with pass-along readers than they get with subscribers.
  • Good ads in the back of the book are just as likely to be seen and read as at the front; just what we've been telling advertisers for years.

*Our observation is that people flipping through the magazine at the newsstand tend to flip from the front. Go figure.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

First Nations want small business help

One member of the brains trust behind the election of Phil Fontaine to his second term as chief of the Assembly of First Nations was Roland Bellerose, publisher of the Bragg Creek, Alberta-based bi-monthly Aboriginal Times Magazine. In a story from First Perspective, a national aboriginal news service, Bellerose says "We’re always labelled as people who are a tax burden or don’t pay taxes ­ and that’s as false as it comes."

He is a proponent of encouraging small aboriginal businesses and said that Fontaine could introduce national strategies that help small businesses grow, encourage more public-private partnerships, and "help us level the playing field and get involved in the economic engine of Canada." Ottawa and the provinces should give Aboriginal businesses the same fiscal tools that "mainstream" companies get, such as public funding, government guarantees, credits similar to the ones farmers receive, and tax breaks, in return for investment.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Dré Dee resigns from Chatelaine

[THIS POST HAS BEEN CORRECTED] There may finally be a cap'n on the bridge, but the crew is still restless. Dré Dee, the Senior Features Editor at Chatelaine magazine, is leaving effective August 9 to quote pursue other opportunities, one of which apparently is not to work for Sara Angel, the new editor. Dee was previously senior editor at Saturday Night magazine where Angel also worked, although not at the same time (Angel worked at the weekly when it was with the National Post; Dee worked for Matthew Church and latterly Gary Ross at SN when it was published by St. Joseph.)

A bounty of city mags for Edmonton

Edmonton, which for a time didn't have a "city" magazine at all, now is about to have two. Apparently the much vaunted Alberta energy boom is throwing off benefits to the retail sector on which such "lifestyle" magazines depend heavily.

Edmonton Life launched in May and is put out by the Captive Multi Media Group, which is a successor to the Vogel Communications Group, formerly best known as the publishers of Orbit and Satellite Direct television listings magazines. Captive also is part owner of Modern Dog magazine.

Avenue magazine will launch in mid-August, using the template of Calgary's glossy Avenue , but published under a license to an Edmonton firm Odvod Publishing, an offshoot of Odvod Media, a marketing and communications company.

Ruth Kelly, head of the Edmonton-based Venture Publishing group (Alberta Venture business magazine), was quoted in a recent Edmonton Sun column as having seriously considered a similar publication, but decided to wait this round out. "We'll see what happens," she says.

Post says it's really, really sorry to Spacing

The recent appropriation of an item from the Spacing magazine's "Spacing Wire" by the National Post has been pretty thoroughly covered by both a longish item in Masthead online, by Spacing itself and by uber-blogger Antonia Zerbisias in her blog for the Toronto Star. Rather than raking it over, here is a very thorough summary from Spacing itself. Of greatest interest were the comments on all sides of the issue from readers and other bloggers.

It seems that the National Post is keen on paying attention to blogs because it is hip and new and a good way of finding out what is going on out there. Also because it holds the promise of not costing much (which is no small thing when you're losing as much money as the Post is). There seemed to be large dollops of ham-fisted inadvertence in the way the story was presented in the pages of the Post, either as something they commissioned, or as something with which Spacing collaborated. Neither of which was the case.

One of the most contentious aspects was that the Post changed the tone and argument of the story and hacked out any references to things like comments from Globe and Mail columnist John Barber. But there seemed to be some significant degree of contrition in the fact that the Post apologized, and paid a fee to associate editor Shawn Micaleff to make the matter go away.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

CMA accepts recommendations for editorial independence at its journal

An advisory panel to the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has recommended that the editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal should be made wholly independent of the association board, and that the journal revert to association ownership instead of being required to serve a CMA Holdings, a for-profit division. The governance review panel, headed by Dick Pound, issued a long and detailed report, and the Association has accepted all 25 recommendations and will implement them, said CMA President Ruth Collins-Nakai. Among other things, the report recommended the creation of an independent oversight committee to which the editor would be responsible.

This is the outcome of a fierce and bitter struggle at the CMA that resulted in the firing of the previous editor, Dr. John Hoey and his assistant Anne Marie Todkill. For earlier postings and background on the story, go here and here and here.

In a story in the Globe and Mail Saturday, Anne Marie Todkill was cautious in commenting on the situation. "If you have an editor who is timid and who shies away from controversy, they might never be challenged, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have a truly independent journal," she said. "[But the report] still assumes there can be disputes that can arise over content, and if an editor really is immune or independent, where does that potential for dispute come from, unless it's some untoward pressure exerted for political reasons by the owners of the journal?"

Friday, July 14, 2006

Maxim, CBS say let's get digital together

The porous border between the U.S. and Canada makes it imperative to understand what is happening in the big U.S. networks and specialty cable channels and the relationship with magazines that sell both sides of the border. As but one example, the announcement was made today that men’s lifestyle property Maxim.com (the online manifestation of Maxim magazine) has formed a 'strategic content-sharing partnership' with CBS SportsLine, a component of CBS Digital Media.

This means that Maxim.com will carry CBS sports headlines and scores which will link to CBS Sportsline for the full stories. Maxim.com will provide entertainment items and "irreverent" sports content for the Sportsline site, which will link to the Maxim website and, ultimately, the magazine.

The acceleration of the such web-based synergies can only work when there is a common or substantially overlapping audience -- the youthful, heavily male audience of Maxim and its website are just the audience that CBS Sportsline is looking for and wants to encourage. The sports-mad CBS audience is just Maxim's kind of guys.

It can also happen only when the content is complementary, in this case sports and whatever.

The Maxim/CBS deal is not unique, it's not even unusual these days. It's becoming a given. This kind of a model won't work for every magazine company, but every magazine company has to look hard at creating content that can be marketed elsewhere, spanning any gaps between print and online and online and broadcast.

There may be no accounting for the taste or the sense of humour of the Maxim audience, but it's hard to quarrel with their success in building and then exploiting its audience. It is hugely successful worldwide and in Canada alone sells 1.8 million copies annually (12 issues; 33,000 subs; 115,000 singles per issue).

Aussie rule changes may mean foreign media ownership

Given the many parallels between the way government has gone in Australia and Canada, perhaps it is a bellwether of where media ownership legislation in Canada will go, too. A story about just-announced changes in ownership rules for Australia's $12 billion media industry says limits will be lifted on foreign companies owning a share of the national media. And Australian firms will get the chance for the first time to own print, radio and TV interests in one city or regional area. (In this latter case, Canada is way ahead, or behind, depending on your point of view.)

Cover that! There are commuters passing!

The ever-shifting margin between pulchritude and pornography apparently shifted across the line for the latest issue of FHM magazine in the U.S. According to a story in Media Daily News, the August issue of the popular, though raunchy, "lad's mag" was wrapped in a plain brown wrapper at three Hudson News outlets in Grand Central Station in New York City.

"With one black vinyl-clad forearm draped demurely over her breasts and a license plate tastefully snapped to the matching bikini bottom, Tera Patrick's photo has thrust FHM across the blurry line between acceptable newsstand images and soft-core porn," said the short item.

"The brown wrappers leave the FHM title visible, pointing to the erotic question: What's more titillating, that which is seen or that which is hidden? In a New York Post article on this subject, an FHM spokeswoman claimed the move was deliberate, saying, 'We sell better when we're partially covered,' adding that the magazine hoped to sell 400,000 copies, exceeding its usual circulation of about 360,000."

Being yanked from Indigo newsstand not all bad news for Harper's

Being banned by Indigo may be good for single copy sales elsewhere, apparently. According to a story by Judy Stoffman in the the Toronto Star, the decision by Indigo to pull the June issue of Harper's may have increased demand for the issue elsewhere.

That issue of the magazine carried a commentary by cartoonist Art Spiegelman illustrated in part by the so-called Danish cartoons (and other images). Indigo yanked the issue, (as it had an issue of the Western Standard containing some of the same images).
" 'We did sell out pretty quickly and we got more,' said Greg King, manager at Pages on Queen St. W. 'People commented that they appreciated being able to find it.' Guilia Melucci, Harper's spokesperson, said, 'We received quite a few calls and emails from Canada inquiring where it could be purchased.'

"The average issue of Harper's sells 7,800 newsstand copies here. Shawn Green, the magazine's head of circulation, said no final tally is available on Canadian sales of the June issue (returns are still being counted) but the magazine is aware of numerous requests from distributors such as Metro News in Toronto for additional copies. 'We supply copies to the wholesalers and they distribute it to the (distributor) chains,' Green said from New York. 'When the distributors ask for more early in the month, that's an indication of a strong seller.'
The Star article also indicates that decisions about pulling a magazine, or not, rests solely with Indigo proprietor Heather Reisman, which makes people uncomfortable.
"Deborah Windsor, executive director of the Writers' Union said: 'When a large bookseller who controls 60 to 70 per cent of the marketplace blocks a magazine, it becomes unavailable for a lot of readers.' "

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Jailed sue jailers over ban on skin mags

Two inmates have filed a lawsuit on behalf of more than 20,000 state prisoners against the Indiana Department of Correction to overturn a policy that went into effect July 1 barring adult magazines and other printed material that depict nudity or sexual content.

"The policy is written so broadly that it includes within its prohibitions such things as personal letters between prisoners and loved ones and much of the world's great literature and art," said the complaint, which was prepared by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.

Is it Digg-ing a grave for magazines?

"Magazines are prepared by professional editors. San Francisco-based Digg.com is laying assault to that notion. The site's 300,000 registered users submit links to articles they find on the Web, and then vote on the most intriguing ones; the top vote-getters graduate to the front page at Digg.com. Since its December '04 launch, Digg has focused on tech news, but now it's expanding to entertainment, world and business (which includes politics), science and videogames. Videos, another new category, allows users to submit and vote on the top homemade movies from sites like YouTube and Google Video."
-- Newsweek, July 17, '06 issue

'Caster becomes Media, rather than Cable

One must move with the times and cable is so yesterday. Effective with its June/July issue, the trade magazine Cablecaster is being rebranded Mediacaster (Broadband and Content)

"This change is being made to reflect dynamic developments and expanding opportunities for new products and service offerings in the digital media and telecommunications industries," Publisher Grenville Pinto of the Business Information Group says.

"We have been serving the Canadian broadband industry since 1989 and will continue to do so, bringing you the most relevant and up-to-date news as the Canadian communications marketplace keeps evolving."

Qualified subscribers for the new, improved Mediacaster will be Canadian Cable Specialty/Pay-TV and PPV Service Providers; Audio/Video and Interactive Content Creators; Advertising Agencies; Telephone Companies; Wireless Providers; Satellite Providers; OEM’s and Distributors/Dealers; Government agencies (federal and provincial); Internet Service Providers; Program Producers, Directors and Programming Managers and Industry Consultants.

CanWest muscles small mag for its name

Swerve is a relatively small 12-year-old magazine in Winnipeg which, by virtue of having steadily published its magazine for its gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered audience, might be presumed to have a copyright on the name and a lock on its audience.

However, there is another Swerve, a startup entertainment magazine that was launched last year in Calgary by CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc., wants the name all to itself and has applied for a trademark to that end. The original Swerve is opposing the trademark application, but is daunted by the muscle of CanWest since fighting this issue all the way could cost as much as $30,000.

Richard Wood, the treasurer of Swerve One (as we'll call it) had assumed that he could just walk down the street to CanWest's Winnipeg HQ and work something out. “I took a small-town attitude that it was something we could just talk about and work out face-to-face because we were in the same block,” Wood recalled. “We were in the same city. We were both publishers. I never expected it would become a confrontation like this.”

This David and Goliath story is detailed in Straight.com, the website of the Georgia Straight.

An interesting sidelight: Swerve Two, as we'll call it, won Magazine of the Year at the Western Magazine Awards in Vancouver last week.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Supersize me, says Bell Globemedia

At least they had the decency to wait a couple of weeks after the Senate report on the dangers of media concentration before they flouted it altogether. Bell Globemedia has offered to buy all of CHUM Media to create a gargantuan company. It doesn't have too much direct impact on magazines, except for Report on Business magazine, part of the Globe. But if you want to read more (and the business pages (web and print) are already overflowing with analysis, speculation and opinion), here is a fairly succinct take by Strategy magazine, as published in Media in Canada.

Wordy Harry: Maximum Impact II

Wouldn't like you to miss one of the winning entries in the annual Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest for writing the worst opening sentence for a novel. (The annual contest is named after the writer who coined the ultimate cliche opening: "It was a dark and stormy night.") The contest is run by San Jose State University and the complete list is available here.

Personally, we like the second place winner best. Stuart Vasepuru of Edinburgh, Scotland. parodied the well-known lines spoken by Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry.

"I know what you're thinking, punk," hissed Wordy Harry to his new editor, "you're thinking, 'Did he use six superfluous adjectives or only five?' — and to tell the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement; but being as this is English, the most powerful language in the world, whose subtle nuances will blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel loquacious?' — well do you, punk?"

Barenaked laddies a no-no in the North

Canadian North Airlines has pulled the current issue of Up Here magazine from its seat pockets because of a cover shot of a nude hiker. The August issue shows a cover view of a man, wearing nothing but socks and hiking boots. The main cover line is "Northern hikers are getting naked. Find out why". Canadian North, which serves the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, said it found the cover offensive and not consistent with the airline's values.

Up Here publisher Marion Lavigne has agreed to change the cover photo for the issues distributed on the airline to one of fried fish.

Up Here is published in Yellowknife and has a circulation of about 25,000.

First half U.S. magazine ad numbers

The first half advertising numbers for U.S. consumer magazines are in and the winners and losers are no surprise to anyone. In fact, ad pages are flat and revenue overall up slightly. The full results are available from the Publishers Information Bureau at the Magazines Publishers of America. (Note, all PIB data is based on reported page counts multiplied by published rate card price and no allowance is made for discounts or premiums.)

PIB says the overall revenue for the measured magazines is up about 3.2% but ad pages are off 0.2% percent. Nine of 11 ad categories showed dollar and page growth in June.
  • TV Guide's redesign and reformatting apparently failed dismally and the publication lost $100 million in ad revenue and published 550 fewer ad pages. Nothing, apparently, can reverse the publication's death spiral.
  • ElleGirl, which was closed, was up nearly 20% in ad pages and 50% in revenue to $19.1 million.
  • Martha Stewart Living was up 75% in ad pages (586 vs. 336 last year) and 92% in revenue to $74 million — roughly $35 million more than it pulled in over the same period last year.
  • The New Yorker is down 17.6% in ad pages (833, over 170 less than last year's first half) and about a 10 percent in revenue ($86.9 million)
  • New York ran 15.9% more pages of ads than the first half of 2005, totaling $95.86 million, a 23.9% gain.
  • Despite cresting 1,000 issues, Rolling Stone's ad pages were down 12%, though its $90 million in ad revenue is just $2 million off of its 2005 pace.
  • Star saw an 11.5% increase in ad pages and 33.6% in revenue, a gain $18 million.
  • Vanity Fair was down 11.4% in revenue to $103 million, and down15.3% in ad pages.

Questions being asked about Transcontinental succession plans

Quebec columnist Konrad Yakabuski in the Globe and Mail (sub requ'd) raises interesting questions about the recently announced hiring of Natalie Larivière as President of Transcontinental Inc.'s major subsidiary Transcontinental Media, which holds all the company's many magazine properties. Ms Larivière comes from rival Quebecor and seems to have leapfrogged over the heads of Isabel and Pierre Marcoux, the children of Transcon founder Remi Marcoux.
"Not to knock Ms Larivière. But it's a perplexing choice that raises more questions than it answers about Transcontinental's future, particularly as it pertains to succession," said Yakabuski.
Isabelle Marcoux, a lawyer, is now working as vice-president of corporate development. She deputized at Transcontinental Media during the period between the departure of André Préfontaine as president of the division and the arrival of Ms Larivière. Pierre is vice-president responsible for the company's French language business publications.
"As far as heir apparents go, Pierre and Isabelle Marcoux are so low profile their names elicit blank stares in most Quebec business circles," said Yakabuski's column. "That's not necessarily comforting news for investors who want to know if either of them can anticipate where the puck is headed. A stint at the top of the media division might offer an indication."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Canadian Geographic increases to 8 issues with themed travel books

Canadian Geographic is increasing its frequency from 6 to 8 issues a year, according to Media in Canada. The two extras will be themed issues of Canadian Geographic Travel, with cover months of November and May. A new companion website for travel issues will feature their "Canadian Atlas Online" and be available through www.canadiangeographic.ca. Canadian Geographic has a paid circ of roughly 220,000 with 40% of its readers living in Ontario.

One possibly troubling aspect is that, in the past, when these were special sections, they were branded on the cover as having been brought to readers by an advertiser, in this case Visa. It's not clear whether the two new themed issues will also be selling cover exposure to advertisers in this way.

The news of the expanded frequency comes less than a week after the announcement that André Préfontaine has taken over from John Thompson as President of Canadian Geographidc Enterprises and Publisher of Canadian Geographic.

Why didn't we think of that?

Dog Fancy magazine, the largest of the U.S. dog magazines, and all of the other dog magazines published by its owner, Bowtie Inc., is celebrating the relaunch of its website, DogChannel.com. And to do so, it is offering a free ringtone of a barking dog for your cellphone. Click here to listen to it. It is also offering, to people who register for Club Dog (clever way to get people to return to the website frequently), a personal website for their dog. The Canadian hook? The editor in chief of Dog Fancy and Dog World is Alan Reznik who, a few years ago was recruited to move to California by the publishers of Dog Fancy. He had until then been Editor of Dogs in Canada.

Toronto Life ending summer fiction issue

After 10 years, Toronto Life is discontinuing its summer fiction issue. John Macfarlane, the editor, makes this known in his editor's column in the August issue:
"A city magazine should do more than make its readers happier consumers. It should also add to their knowledge and understanding of their city. We had hoped that some of our summer fiction would—as Michael Ondaatje’s 1987 novel In the Skin of a Lion did— help us discover, or rediscover, how it is with Torontonians. Sometimes it did, but much of it, set in places like Delhi, Croatia and Los Angeles, might have prompted more than one reader to ask, “If it isn’t about Toronto or written by a Toronto writer, what’s it doing in Toronto Life?”

"I wish I could say that in publishing such stories we were creating an appetite for fiction. But, while I’m certain they found an appreciative audience, there’s no evidence it was growing. So with regret—it’s been a labour of love—we’ve decided to make this, the 10th summer fiction issue, our last."
This year's issue contains stories by Margaret Atwood, Joan Barfoot, Denise Ryan and Shyam Selvadurai.

Linda Lewis leaves Today's Parent to edit More for Transcon

Linda Lewis, the editor-in-chief of Today's Parent magazine, is leaving Rogers Media and joining Transcontinental as editor of the soon-to-be-published More magazine.

Lewis was with Today's Parent for 13 years, the last 8 as editor-in-chief and only two weeks ago won Best Magazine (large circulation) in the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors awards.

Transcontinental recently made a deal with Meredith Corporation to publish a Canadian edition of the very successful magazine aimed at a mature woman's market. The new magazine is to debut in spring of 2007. Originally, Diane Rinehart was to edit it, but she decided to withdraw in order to pursue educational opportunities.

[UPDATE] Here is the official Transcontinental press release.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Ralph Ginzburg remembered

Belated notice of the death of Ralph Ginzburg, who died last week and in his own unique way was one of the most influential people in magazine-dom and who broke trail for many of today's most outrageous and in-your-face publications. He went to jail for eight months (his prison mugshots in 1972 at right) for obscenity for publishing his magazine Eros (which never published its fifth issue) and later wrote a book about the affair called "Castrated: My Eight Months in Prison". Eros was notable for being hardcover and beautifully designed by Herb Lubalin and sold via mail order (a business for which Ginzburg showed a particular aptitude). A tribute was published in the New York Times.

"'Obscenity' or 'pornography' is a crime without definition or victim," Ginzburg said. "It is a bag of smoke used to conceal one's own dislikes with regard to aspects of sex."

From 1968 to 1971 Mr. Ginzburg also published Avant Garde, an art and culture magazine designed by Herb Lubalin, whose logo for the magazine was the basis for one of the most popular typefaces of the era. Although Avant Garde included erotic material (an entire issue was devoted to John Lennon's erotic lithographs), this time the focus was more on radical politics, including the "No More War" poster competition. It published 14 issues during the various levels of appeals before his jailing in 1972.

"Mr. Ginzburg shut down the magazine when he started serving his sentence," said the Times. "Afterward, he and his wife tried to revive it as a tabloid newspaper, but it lasted only one issue.

"It was a costly mistake that drove them to the brink of bankruptcy, which was averted only through the success of yet another periodical, the consumer adviser Moneysworth, which attained a circulation of 2.4 million."

Moneysworth showed again Ginzburg's flair for copywriting and direct mail promotion. His ads were dense with copy and with arresting, bold black headlines like "You're Being Robbed!".

Ginzburg had the distinction of being the first to publish Ralph Nader's writing in an earlier magazine called Fact. And he was successfully sued by presidential candidate Barry Goldwater for what was written about him in Fact, but (after going all the way to the Supreme Court) Goldwater got $1 in damages.

In recent years, he moved away from publishing and concentrated on photojournalism, selling his first work at the age of 55. He died of multiple myeloma at the age of 76. He blamed his conviction over Eros for derailing his career. "I have always felt that I might have become a major force in American publishing had it not been for my conviction. Instead, I'm just a curious footnote."

Anokhi trying to move to the next level

[This post has been updated and corrected; incorrect information appeared in the Toronto Star] "Some have called it a South Asian Vanity Fair," says Rajwant Girn the Toronto publisher of Anokhi, one of the best-known South Asian lifestyle magazines in North America. "We're as revolutionary as Playboy, Maxim and Oprah. They created their own markets." The magazine is featured in an article in the Toronto Star.

"Like many Toronto immigrants, Girn (left, below) loves being a hyphenated Canadian. Her Anokhi concept was to reflect modern, global, South Asian Canadians like herself," said the article. (Anokhi means 'unique' in Hindi.)

Girn has put $300,000 of her own money into Anokhi and found herself a silent partner for the initial stage through a pitch she made in an elevator. She met her editor, Pamela Arora, in 2001 at a mutual family friend's wedding. Arora had recently graduated from journalism school and was working in corporate communications. "I told Pamela it would be a hell of a ride," laughs Girn. "There were no guarantees because there was no formula."

"Our goal wasn't to grow fast and make oodles of money," says Girn.The company is looking for $5 million in outside investment as part of its second phase, with a plan to increase the print run(now about 60,000 per issue) and add online and TV components. Girn backs up her pitch with numbers."Since 1990, the market of South Asians in North America alone has grown by 109 per cent," she says. "It's a growing, affluent market. We have a purchasing power of $6 billion and 38 per cent of our subscribers are non-South Asians. Our men to women ratio is 63 to 37. We couldn't have predicted numbers like this."

Cinema Scope scoped

It's always a pleasant surprise when a Canadian magazine enjoys deserved regard elsewhere. So it was with a mention in the New York Times about the magazine Cinema Scope.
Edited by Mark Peranson with contributions by an international roster of writers, this bimonthly Canadian magazine advocates for a passionate, political and purist engagement with the movies. The cover of Issue 27 displays a T-shirt reading "Vote for Pedro," not in reference to the cult of "Napoleon Dynamite," but to the Portuguese cineaste Pedro Costa, whose "Colossal Youth" was much abused at the recent Cannes Film Festival but vigorously championed in the magazine's pages. This Cannes-heavy edition also goes to bat for Richard Kelly's reviled "Southland Tales," and spills happy ink on the latest by Richard Linklater among much else. A generous sample is available at cinema-scope.com, but you'll definitely want to nab a hard copy to read what Rob Nelson has to say about "Marie Antoinette."
The quarterly, published in Toronto, offers both a print edition and additional web-only articles. The print edition sells for $20 a year and the magazine can be reached at ( 416 ) 889-5430 or email info@cinema-scope.com. Its mailing address is Cinema Scope Publishing, 465 Lytton Blvd, Toronto, ON, M5N 1S5.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Chatelaine, parsed, poked, prodded, dissected...

If you want to read a longish piece about the goings on at Chatelaine, there is such a piece by Style section editor Wendy Warburton in the Ottawa Citizen. It seems to be thorough in the bases it touches and the people it interviews, and there is some surprising new information (well, OK, gossip). The article asks the question whether Sara Angel will be able to make things right at the magazine. (It's an open question why newspaper people feel that long articles about the inner working of a Canadian magazine, even one as iconic as Chatelaine, is of interest to its weekend edition readers; but people inside the business will probably read it avidly.)

OOPS! Indigo says mag ban was a mistake

Indigo Books and Music has told the publishers of a small, U.S.-based magazine that it was a mistake to remove its copies from store shelves, according to a story by James Adams in the Globe and Mail.

"Canada's largest retail bookseller says it accidentally blocked the distribution of a small U.S. current affairs magazine from its 260 stores and plans to start selling the magazine's June-July issue as soon as possible," said the story. "Joel Silver, senior vice-president of print procurement for Toronto-based Indigo Books and Music, telephoned Tom Flynn, the editor of Free Inquiry, with the news late yesterday afternoon.

"According to Mr. Flynn, the Indigo executive 'gave me a sort of a stammering apology, said that the June-July issue was blocked by accident, and that they have contacted [Ajax, Ont.-based Disticor Magazine Distribution Services] to send it through again.' "

Free Inquiry, a relatively small circulation magazine from upstate New York, sent a letter last week to Indigo founder and CEO Heather Reisman saying after it learned from its distributor that Ms. Reisman's company had declined to stock the June-July Free Inquiry without giving a reason, and that future issues would be "inspected in advance on an issue-by-issue basis to determine [their] suitability" for Indigo and its Chapters, Coles and SmithBooks subsidiaries. Mr. Flynn speculated it was some elliptical sort of retaliation because in the previous issue, the magazine had published the so-called "Danish cartoons" (including a prominent coverline about it), but that Indigo hadn't intercepted that issue (despite pulling Harper's and the Western Standard for the same apparent 'offence'.)

Paradoxically, Mr. Flynn said in the Globe story that he also speculated Indigo's apparent ban may have been prompted by an editorial in the current issue by the Princeton bioethicist and animal-rights activist Peter Singer titled "The Freedom to Ridicule Religion -- and Deny the Holocaust." The editorial touched on the question of publishing the cartoons and said "in hindsight, it would have been wiser" for the Danes not to have published them given the bloody riots and protests that followed. "The benefits were not worth the costs." At the same time, "we should forcefully defend the right of newspaper editors to publish such cartoons, if they choose to do so."

[As we said in our earlier post, this entire process makes Indigo look somewhat foolish. Either it has a policy or it does not (no matter how wrongheaded). Clearly we think that free expression suggests it should not, but if it does, it should be consistent. Apologizing to Free Inquiry would seem to indicate that an apology should be forthcoming to both Harper's and the Western Standard. But we're not holding our breath.]

Swerve takes top honours in Western Magazine Awards

Swerve, a startup magazine tabloid published as a supplement to the Calgary Herald, led the field at the 24th annual Western Magazine Awards presented Friday evening in Vancouver. It won both Best New Magazine and Magazine of the Year for Western Canada, as well as Magazine of the Year, Alberta/NWT and 2 other categories.

Stephen Osborne, the editor of Geist, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. He made a funny and moving acceptance speech that recalled the early days of alternative publishing in Vancouver.

Western Living won 4 awards, including the Gold award for best article in BC/Yukon. Vancouver magazine and the Georgia Straight each won 3 awards. Other winners were:
  • Magazine of the Year, Manitoba -- Border Crossings
  • Magazine of the Year, Saskatchewan -- BlackFlash
  • Written categories
    • Business -- Charlies Smith, "Boon or Boondoggle", The Georgia Straight
    • Science, Technology & Medicine -- Andrew Struthers, "Barney's Vision", Western Living
    • Arts, Culture and Entertainment --Bill Reynolds, "Too Old to Rock", Swerve
    • Travel & Leisure -- Kerry Banks, "All Roads Lead to Moscow", Westworld
    • Regular column or department --Jason Henderson, Music, Swerve
    • Fiction -- Lee Henderson, "Conjugation", Border Crossings
    • Profile -- Richard Littlemore, "The Most Hated Man in Business", BC Business
    • Human Experience -- Russell Wangersky, "Desperate", Prairie Fire
    • Public Issues -- Terry Glavin, "This Haunted Place", The Georgia Straight
    • Service -- Staff and contributors, "The 16th annual restaurant guide", Avenue magazine
    • Gold award best article Manitoba, Charlotte Gray, "85 Years of The Beaver", The Beaver magazine
    • Gold award best article Saskatchewan, Norm Sacuta, "The Gleaners", Alberta Views
    • Gold award, best article BC/Yukon, Andrew Struthers, "Once Were Planters" Western Living
  • Visual categories
    • Best photograph, architectural, landscape or still life, Martin Tessler, "Living on the Edge", Western Living
    • Best photographic feature or series, Sylvain Bouthillette et al, "Paradise", Blackflash
    • Best photograph, people and portraiture, Martin Tessler, "Malcolm Parry", Western Living
    • Best illustration or illustration feature, Mark Atomos Pilon, "Running on Empty", The Georgia Straight
    • Best art direction, article, Randall Watson, "Lady Killers", Vancouver magazine
    • Best art direction, cover, Sandro Grison & Chris Wellard, Color 3.1, Color magazine
This year, for the first time, winners receive a prize of $1,000.