Friday, December 21, 2007

The year in Canadian magazines

Canadian Magazines is taking a brief holiday, back on January 2 with a whole new year of news, notes and comments on the industry. To wrap up this year, here's an almost completely arbitrary listing of some of the things that we posted about this year, with links to the actual stories.

Best of the season to you and yours.

Make a new year's resolution to send us a tip in 2008.

January


The big dogs play nice together

Rogers and Quebecor announced an alliance whereby Rogers magazine and website content would show up on Quebecor's Canoe site.

No tag days for them, then
Masthead
magazine released a salary survey that showed the median salary for a big magazine publisher was $100,000 (and for a small/medium one $36,000).

Cover-up girl
A Toronto-based company launched Muslim Girl, aimed mostly at teens in the U.S. market. The first issue had a hijab-wearing 16-year-old girl from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

But it's a dry cold
Regina's Mayor Pat Fiacco goes ballistic over an article in Maclean's that his city contains Canada's worst neighbourhood.

So far, not so good
Six months after launching the Canadian edition of Hello!, Rogers dumps its entire team (publisher, editor and art director) and hands the magazine over to be administered by the franchise holder in Spain.

Unpaid, but undaunted
Research seems to show that Canadian magazines benefit from more than 631,000 volunteer hours a year.

Waddadeal!
Magazines Canada launched a "Buy 2, Get One Free" direct mail offer to more than 1 million Canadians on behalf of member magazines.

May contain nipples
Maisonneuve magazine had to polybag an issue in deference to the tender sensibilities of Chapters/Indigo stores to permit it to be sold on their racks. The magazine contained some tasteful nude photos.

Well-written, though
An article by an anonymous student from an unnamed journalism school said that she routinely cheated and made up interviews to fulfill her assignments.

IPA. R.I.P.
The Independent Press Association folded.

February

Asper-ation
CanWest Global Communications buys The New Republic magazine.

Less is more at Marketing
Rogers's Marketing magazine cuts its frequency to biweekly and trims its page size, putting more faith and attention to its daily online news service.

Last gasp for Toro
Toro magazine closes because its rich owner lost interest; posts its last issue online, without ads.

Big and mean
In a move that scared the wits out of small magazines, Chapters/Indigo announced that magazines would have to sell 50% of their draw if they wanted to stay on their racks.

And the silver goes to...
The Canada Council for the Arts celebrates its 50th anniversary.

March

More readers, that's good isn't it?
Hill Strategies Group reported that an analysis of Statistics Canada data showed that there were 3.2 million more readers in Canada than there were in 1992.

10 years and counting
Alberta Venture magazine, the business title that covers a booming province, marks its 10th anniversary.

Green and keen
Canada Wide Media launches Granville, a title about sustainable living for Vancouver.

Buying the sizzle
Transcontinental launches More magazine (a joint venture with giant Meredith Corporation -- Better Homes & Gardens etc.) with 70,000 subs already signed up.

It seemed like a good idea at the time
Maisonneuve
magazine of Montreal announces that it won't, after all, launch a city magazine.

No more moose mugs
Canadian Geographic announces it is getting out of the merchandise business.

Saint June
June Callwood wins the Writer's Trust Outstanding Contribution Award. Best known as a campaigner for the disenfranchised, the longtime freelancer told the crowd her proudest accomplishment was to be a journalist and said: If any of you happens to see an injustice, you are no longer a spectator, you are a participant and you have an obligation to do something.
Callwood died in April.

The doyenne of Chatelaine
Doris Anderson, who turned Chatelaine magazine into one of the most successful magazines in Canada in the 1960s and '70s, dies age 85.

April

Online and on a tear
Online advertising tops $1.1 billion in Canada in 2006, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada.

Guess what we're thinking
The Canada Council was roundly criticized for changing the rules for its Supplementary Operating Funds initiative in mid-process, then lamely saying that the changes were published on its website. After asking people to "think big" and being overwhelmed by applications, the result was that many applicants "got small"; asking for $50,000 and getting $10,000.

Once the smoke had cleared...

A new open-source online medical journal called Open Medicine springs from the aftermath of the firing of the editors of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Peeling away
Rob Laidlaw and Jessie Rasch sell their extremely successful Modified Automotive Group to Primedia for an undisclosed sum.

Toronto Life
's name in lights
St. Joseph Corporation buys the naming rights to the intersection of Yonge and Dundas Streets in Toronto and dubs it Toronto Life Square.

Big payday for Brunico
Brunico Communications Inc., publisher of Strategy, Playback and Media in Canada, is sold to a group of private investors for an estimated $10 million.

May

A standup guy

Maclean's editor and publisher Ken Whyte testifies as a character witness at the trial of his old National Post and Saturday Night proprietor, Conrad Black.

Hook, line and merger
Ontario Out of Doors (Rogers) decides to merge its Spring Fishing Show with the Canadian National Sportsmen's Show.

Always with his hand up
Terry Sellwood, the general manager of Quarto Communications (Cottage Life, explore) and former president of the National Magazine Awards, is named Volunteer of the Year by Magazines Canada.

Maybe the magazines just got heavier
A report by Michael Fox for Magazines Canada reports that Canada Post's margins for delivering magazines slid to only 4% because of an astonishing 10% increase in costs.

The lure of the open road
Bill Shields, the editor of Masthead magazine, resigns after six years to spend time travelling around and motorcycle racing.

June

Selling and buying
Quebecor Media buys Osprey Media Income Fund for $517 million.

Young and fuelish
Venture Publishing announces the launch of unlimited, a business magazine for the young and hip of Alberta, and elsewhere.

Double-booked
Both MagNet (Magazines Canada etc.) and Magazines University (Canadian Business Press and Masthead) hold industry conferences within weeks of each other.

Fair dealing
The first rumblings of discontent emerge about differential pricing between Canada and the U.S., as the loonie gains ground.

Best face forward
Maisonneuve
wins best of show at the annual newsstand awards.

R.I.P.

Beloved circulator Terri DeRose dies.

Up is the new down
A study shows that the magazine and newspaper trade deficit with the U.S. has grown by 18% since 2000.

July

They like us, they really like us
The Canadian Business Press cuts a membership deal with its American counterprt, American Business Media. Under the deal, CBP members get passwords for the ABM site and access to various deals and benefits.

Print is so yesterday
Digital Journal magazine goes wholly online.

Sara, we hardly knew ye
After only 13 months on the job, Sara Angel departs Chatelaine.

It's an honour just to work here
The Walrus magazine internships -- originally among the most generous in the business -- switch to unpaid when Metcalfe Foundation funding ends.

Timmies on us!
The Canada Council receives a permanent $30 million funding increase.

Take it out in trade
The Professional Writers Association of Canada starts an online store to sell mugs, t-shirts and bumper stickers.

The rats aren't too happy, either
Maclean's
cheeses off lawyers by calling them rats on its cover.

What didn't you understand about "worst"?
The Beaver's contest to find The Worst Canadian backfires somewhat when people flood the site and name former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

August

Jim takes it easy
Jim Ireland, the well-known art director for many Canadian magazines, sells his shop , retires and gets some time for painting.

Please allow six weeks for delivery
Magazines Canada's second direct mail campaign on behalf of participating member magazines sells a record 10,000 subs.

Trading places
Marco Ursi is named editor of Masthead magazine, replacing Bill Shields (see May).

Madame Minister Meets Magazines
Josée Verner, formerly Minister of International Co-operation and Minister for La Francophonie and Official Languages is named Minister of Canadian Heritage, responsible for the Canada Magazine Fund and PAP. Her first question? What's PAP?

Pass the K.D.
Redwood Custom Communications loses the account to produce custom magazines What's Cooking (Canada) and Food and Family (U.S.) for Kraft Foods. Layoffs ensue.

Flare gets a makeover
Flare magazine unveils a new look with its September issue.

Block that error
Cynthia Brouse publishes what we think is the first Canadian textbook on fact-checking (or is that fact checking?).

September

Espace
Spacing magazine launches a Montreal blog, complementing its Toronto version.

Singles and available

Canadian Living and Canadian House & Home are best Canadian newsstand performers in a list compiled by Coast to Coast Distribution Services.

Not so sweet
Rogers venture into a partnership with Canada Post, using its lists of people who recently moved, ends with the closure of Chocolat. Move they did. Subscribe? They did not.

Explanation for the nation
Christopher Moore in the Literary Review of Canada, tries his best to explain the many nuances of the decision in the case of Robertson vs. Thomson et. al. Freelancer Heather Robertson has spent 10 years fighting for the right to be paid by publishers who put her stories in databases and online.

Single and substantial
The Canadian single copy magazine market is demonstrated to be 13% of the North American single copy market, the first time that figure has been known.

Miss you already, John
John Macfarlane announces he will be stepping down after 15 years as editor of Toronto Life; to be succeeded by Sarah Fulford.

Osprey dives into the sun
Former Osprey Media Income Fund CEO Michael Sifton takes over as CEO of Sun Media after his company is swallowed.

No chicken neck yet
Fashion magazine celebrates 30 years.

October

Our man in Toronto
Rogers Media announces that it is going to sell ads in Canada for Hearst Magazine online properties.

Indas morphs into CDS
Indas Limited, one of Canada's two major fulfillment companies, which has been owned for a while by CDS Global, is rebranded to make it official.

What rhymes with 40?
Malahat Review marks 40th anniversary by celebrating work of co-founder Robin Skelton.

The right has left
The Western Standard folds its print edition; may carry on online.

Here's your list, what's your hurry?
Canadian Geographic lets its entire circulation department go, on top of other recent departures and the closing of its merchandising division.

But who's counting?
Ontario gets its 6th culture minister in 7 years.

Getting the lead out
Consumer advocate magazine Protégez-Vous
beats back an attempted injunction to stop it publishing a story that say MegaBlocks toys have lead in them.

Bedside companion
Harrowsmith Country Life publishes an "all Canadian" almanac. Sells out 100,000 and reprints.

MARD?

Marketing and CARD merge their staffs.

Crosstown trip
Andrew Coyne the columnist leaps from the National Post to Maclean's.

Bad enough that I don't get paid...
Readers get to vote on applications for online interns at Flare.

November

Someday my print will go
Quebecor World sells its perennially troubled European printing division. [Within weeks, the deal falls through.]

Mazel tov
Former Toronto Life art director Carol Moskot and her husband, former ad agency guy Daniel Zimmerman, launch Jewish Living in New York to some acclaim.

CP Gone
The Canadian Press retires its CP symbol.

Not what we had in mind
Universities, many of whom were boycotting the whole business, howl because Maclean's changes its methodology for its university rankings and their standings fall.

Sneaky
This blog reveals that some U.S. publishers are using split run covers to remove U.S. prices and keep higher Canadian prices instead, despite the soaring loonie.

No more Mr. Nice Copy
Access Copyright sues Staples for $10 million for copyright infringement because it won't police profligate use of pay-as-you-go photocopiers.

Depressing news
Two, competing, magazines about depression are to be launched in the spring; one from each of the former partners in Schizophrenia Digest and BP magazine.

Fine-tuning the Magawards
The National Magazine Awards Foundation board approves a bunch of changes.

We're outta here
Rogers announces that it is pulling its trade magazines out of membership in the Canadian Business Press.

December

Et, voila!
Quebecor's TVA magazines join Magazines Canada, adding a much needed boost of French titles to the national association.

It pays to advertise
A special 6-month promotion called the Best of B.C., co-ventured by the Periodical Marketers of Canada and the British Columbia Association of Magazine Publishers, resulted in a 7-fold increase in sales.

Dinged by Disticor
Disticor Direct increases its fuel surcharge by 20%, without notice.

Zoomer moves
Bonnie Baker Cowan, the editor of CARP, the magazine for the 5o-plus, has resigned, following the takeover of the magazine and the parent association by Moses Znaimer.

Vive le difference
The Beaver magazine publishes for the first time in both English and French editions, marking the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec.

Wish it hadn't happened?
In a bizarre twist, the reader forums of Wish magazine (St. Joe's) is hacked by radical Turkish nationalists.

Little gone books
Toronto Life discontinues its "little red books", the outserts that were polybagged with each issue. The decision is coincident with the departure of the man who invented them, editor John Macfarlane.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Where names top 10 new Canadian restaurants

Visitor magazine chain Where has published its list of Canada's Top 10 new restaurants. Interestingly, three of the 10 are in Alberta and none of them are in Quebec. [UPDATE: Where apparently only names restaurants in areas where it circulates a magazine.] They are
  • niche - Victoria
  • Fuel Restaurant - Vancouver
  • The Trough Dining Co. - Canmore, Alberta
  • Bolero - Calgary
  • Chop - Edmonton
  • Fresh Café - Winnipeg
  • Lucien - Toronto, Ontario
  • Wabora - Muskoka
  • Benitz Bistro - Ottawa
  • Mosaic Social Dining Lounge - Halifax

Toronto Life's "little red books" discontinued

Toronto Life's "little red books", an innovation of outgoing editor John Macfarlane, are being discontinued. The content will be posted online and some of it will be incorporated into the ROP pages of the magazine, according to a story in mastheadonline (sub req'd).

The so-called monthly "outsert" magazines, which were polybagged with subscribers' copies, were something that readers valued highly. But, according to Group Publisher Sharon McAuley, publisher St. Joseph Media will be saving a considerable amount in printing costs by posting the material online, net of the costs of additional pages in the main magazine.

The original idea for the "little red books" came from a concern that supplements to the magazine on food, golf, real estate and other topics were "eating the parent", making it hard to find the core content of Toronto Life. The idea was to publish digest-sized guides and include them as a premium for the magazine's 90,000 subscribers. After a fairly lean time at the beginning, according to Macfarlane, all of the red books made money from advertising. And readers told the company that they kept the little books on hand for a whole year until the next issue came out.

According to the Masthead story, Toronto Life is also launching a third standalone newsstand title about real estate. It will join Shopping and Eating and Drinking on the newsstands.

Convergence selling? Fuggedaboutit

Scott Karp over at Publishing 2.0 challenges the whole concept of "convergence selling", where online jockeys with print for the time and attention of sales people. He says it is simply wrong:

Now, as print publishers confront the reality that their center of gravity needs to shift to digital (let’s leave aside for a moment the critical question of how long it will take),the overwhelming evidence is that the only way for the online business to become self-sufficient — and ultimately carry the whole business — is to free it from being the bastard stepchild of the print business.

It’s time to cut the cord.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kayak grows up, from digest
to comic book-size

Kayak, the children's history magazine from the publishers of The Beaver, is growing up. Starting with its January-February issue (#19) that should be landing in mailboxes in the next week or so, the digest is increasing to more of a "comic book" size 6-1/4” x 9-3/8.

The publishers, Canada's National History Society, have always had a warm relationship with the Hudson's Bay Company (Hbc), which started The Beaver many years ago and endowed the Society to carry it on. The support continues with a new feature racking program at Hbc’s Zeller’s stores with checkout counter positioning and premium placement on their main magazine lines with Kayak racks designed for the new format.

Edmonton's Hub Cigar and Newsstand sold to employees

Western Canada's oldest independent newsstand (and, arguably, one of the best in Canada), Hub Cigar and Newsstand in the Strathcona district of Edmonton has been sold to three loyal employees who plan to sell even more magazines there.

A story in the Edmonton Journal reports that owner Ken Knowles is retiring at the age of 75 after 44 years working there. The new owners are Steve Tsang, Don Kung and Steven Cleall.
(Edmonton Journal pic by Ed Kaiser.L to R, Tsang, Kung, Knowles and Cleall.)
"We'd like to get the old sign back up," said Tsang, a 14-year employee, recalling the big, neon Star Weekly sign that was damaged in 2005 by a fire that destroyed the original store on Whyte Avenue between 103rd and 104th streets.

If the old sign can't be repaired, Tsang said, they may build a replica.

Meanwhile, the current location just south of Whyte is marked by Tsang's fenderless Model A hot rod, which is always parked out front.

Though the store reopened soon after the fire, the new owners may advertise more aggressively, Tsang said.

"We still have a lot of people who don't know we're still open or where we are."

Kung, a three-year employee, said they also hope to expand the magazine selection from 6,000 titles to at least 8,000.

Despite the growth of online magazines, Hub retains a loyal clientele and attracts new customers, Kung told the Journal.

"Some people prefer the experience of holding a magazine in their hands, and they know they're welcome to browse or just hang out."

Canadians tend to trust traditional media more than online, study says

According to a new study commissioned by the Information Technology Association of Canada, readers in Canada tend to trust traditional media more even though their eyeballs are frequently and increasingly straying online. A report on the study appeared on IT Business.ca

"The message is clear for marketers. Don't forget about TV, radio, newspapers and magazines when you consider advertising," said Lawrence Surtees, vice-president of communication research for IDC Canada.

There is a shift in viewing behaviour and marketing expenditures but "the existing media is not yet ready to go the way of the Dodo bird," Surtees, a former journalist, said.

Much of the older media's strength lies in the people's perception of its trustworthiness, the professionalism of its practitioners and the quality of its content, he said.

"Canadian are very tech savvy but also staunch traditionalists," said Bernard Courtois, president of ITAC.

The survey found that larger families tend to access and trust online media more than smaller families and almost 50 per cent of Canadians aged 18 to 24 are likely to obtain information online.

Only 11.5 per cent of the respondents believe that online media is unbiased and just 12 per cent believe online media is accurate.

Surtees said older media sources have built a tradition of trust and quality that is backed by a large talent pool of professionals highly trained for their work. "The emerging media is just beginning to develop its own professionals."

As a result, most high profile online news sources are linked to traditional media outfits. "The successful traditional organizations realized that they can bring their content online to reach more consumers."

"Rather than shrink the market, the introduction of Web-based technology has expanded the pie," Surtees said.

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Transcon might be interested in the right pieces of Quebecor World

Transcontinental Inc. might be interested in parts of troubled Quebecor World, but only if it fits with the company's "niche" strategy. CEO Luc Desjardins told The Canadian Press that the company is always interested in opportunity, but while it wants to continue to grow, it plans to focus on very specific niches that have proven successful. These include direct marketing, digital media and outsourced printing of U.S. newspapers.

"We always look at evaluating all opportunities in North America, but only opportunities that enhance our niche strategy," CEO Luc Desjardins said in a conference call to discuss fourth-quarter and 2007 results.

"We don't look at becoming the largest printer but the best in our niches."

"If there are assets that become in these areas, it's something that we would look at, regardless of the owner," CFO Benoit Huard said.

Transcontinental reported Tuesday a 24 per cent drop in quarterly earnings, pulled down by the strong Canadian dollar. The company earned $38.6 million, 46 cents per share, in its fourth quarter ended Oct. 31, compared with year-ago net income of $51.1 million, 59 cents per share.

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Jewish Living named a most notable
launch of 2007

Jewish Living, the startup run by former Toronto Life art director Carol Moskot and her husband, former ad agency exec Daniel Zimmerman, has been dubbed one of the most notable launches of 2007 by min, the media industry newsletter.

Min is an deceptively plain little weekly publication that commands a premium price ($895/yr) and respect among leaders in magazine management for its inside view of the business and its prodigious gathering of data about circ and ad sales.

See earlier posts for more on this launch.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Vogue competes with its own
in-house ad agency

Vogue magazine not only dominates fashion, now it is seriously vying to dominate fashion advertising with the success of its three-year-old in-house advertising agency, according to a story in Women's Wear Daily. Vogue Studio has already worked with 29 brands, including Valentino, Montblanc, Cartier and Lancôme, and is the agency of record for Via Spiga and Adrienne Vittadini.
The in-house agency is under publishing director Tom Florio. Deborah Cavanagh, associate publisher of creative services, said the approximately three-year-old agency competes with many big-name agencies for business and doesn't offer discounts. Its connections to photographers such as Patrick Demarchelier and Arthur Elgort, who has had a relationship with Condé Nast for more than three decades, also help attract clients. "We can spot emerging trends in fashion and culture; clients come to us for that," Cavanagh added.

Ad Age looks with favour on 10 great covers

Advertising Age magazine has published an entertaining look at great U.S. magazine covers of 2007, plus a look back at magazines that -- at least in print -- are no longer with us.

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Wounded Quebecor World being circled
by possible buyers

Speculation is rife that troubled printing giant Quebecor World, owned by Quebecor Inc., may be a takeover target, as its chief executive was shown the door yesterday and the company's share price plunged another 10% to $1.57 (it was more than $17 last February). According to a story in the Globe and Mail, quoting anonymous sources, U.S. printing giant R. R. Donnelly and takeover specialist funds Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Cerberus Capital Management LP and QW's crosstown rival Transcontinental Inc. are among those eyeing the wounded company.

It was announced by Quebecor Inc. boss Pierre Karl Péladeau that CEO Wes Lucas, who has been with the company less than two years, has left to pursue other opportunities, replaced by chief financial officer Jacques Mallette. Péladeau.
[Péladeau] wants the new boss at Quebecor World to cut any remaining fat at the company and the word is out that each unit must sink or swim, a source said.

Quebecor World has already been through several waves of cost cutting over the past years as it struggles with difficult market conditions and razor-thin margins.

Some analysts warned last week that the company faces an uncertain future, and possibly insolvency, in the face of a potential liquidity crisis.

For background, see earlier posts on this company.

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Wish magazine reader forum hacked by Turkish nationalists

[UPDATE: Wish has removed the forums altogether.]

If you were to name a less likely place to promote radical, Turkish politics, it would be the forum of the fashion, home and lifestyle magazine Wish, published by St. Joseph Media. But a group of hackers have hijacked the forums of the Wish website with an ominous black page that says Hacked by Turkish Nationalist and Republican Group.

While the main website and the magazine is full of pastel colours, Christmas cookie recipes and how to make your silver shiny, the forums, which normally is a place for reader comment and discussion, is draped in black and says it is under control of a group whose aim is
"to repulse every kind of attack which is made to Turkish Republic, to stop publication systems which are aiming to change the constituonal order,this hacker group hack the sites that are Anti-Turk, Anti-Islam, Satanist and pornographic."

Monday, December 17, 2007

Slow pay or no pay; freelancers are seriously cheesed off at The Walrus

The Walrus magazine was, at one time, considered a godsend to freelance writers, with public promises of a huge premium over usual per-word fees. Some even intervened and wrote to Revenue Canada on the magazine's behalf when it was struggling to get charitable status.

But the bloom is most definitely off the rose, as evidenced by a posting on the Toronto Freelance Editors and Writers list by veteran freelancer David Hayes.

Hayes tells of an (unnamed) writer who delivered a story for which he was supposed to be paid half on acceptance, half on publication (an unusual arrangement that is, as far as we know, unique to The Walrus) and months later hasn't received even the first payment.
"I can’t speak for whether staff members get their income direct-deposited into their accounts each month without fail," [says Hayes]. "But I know that many writers wait & wait & wait for even part of a fee that should, by all rights, be paid in full sometime during a reasonable editing process. These are the writers who provide The Walrus with all of its credibility, the people responsible (in collaboration with the magazine’s editors) for The Walrus’ many National Magazine Awards. Without whom, I will argue, The Walrus would no long exist except, perhaps, as some kind of educational charitable foundation putting on events and doing other laudable work. But not putting out a national magazine."
This list is read by many of the best freelancers in the country and such stories will only serve to make them wary of any dealings with The Walrus. How that can be good for it or its readers is hard to see.

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The Beaver publishes in both official languages for Quebec's 400th anniversary

The Beaver magazine, which a few scant years ago counted itself lucky to sell a few hundred newsstand copies, has gone from strength to strength in single copy sales, with the help of circulation specialist Scott Bullock.

This is certainly true of the forthcoming issue in which, for the first time, the magazine is being published in both French and English editions to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec. (French cover shown; same image as in English.)

The magazine, published by Canada's National History Society, is going to be
  • 100 pages
  • perfect bound (normally saddle-stitched)
  • premium-priced ($9.95 rather than usual $6.95)
  • a free copy to every school in Canada
  • special sponsor distribution
  • with the biggest newsstand draw ever: more than 11,000 in English and 10,000 in French
  • aggressively promoted with end-cap displays at Chapters/Indigo, feature pockets at Benjamin News, a full flat program at HDS and in pockets at Presse Commerce and Zellers
  • plus delivery to the regular 50,000 subscribers

Friday, December 14, 2007

Trouble stirring at the
Toronto Small Press Book Fair

The mags and books may be small but the controversy is certainly getting fierce surrounding the Toronto Small Press Book Fair. The fair featured a number of small magazine presses.

According to Quillblog, one of the fair's exhibitors, Stuart Ross, who is also a co-founder of the fair, has made his displeasure with the fair's organization and organizers known on his blog and the organizers, Halli Villegas and Myna Wallin, have fired back on the fair's Facebook. Ross says the organizers did a poor job of promoting the event; the organizers say they did a lot and they wish he'd talked to them before going public.

If you think this sounds like it’s getting personal, well, you’re probably right. Angry wall posts have been flying on the Facebook page, and Ross says Villegas and Wallin have been censoring his comments. Now another Facebook page, “Friends of the Toronto Small Press Book Fair,” has been created, and comments are flying there, too.

And Ross has even taken his grievances to his personal Facebook page’s “status update,” which as of this writing reads, “Stuart Ross thinks the Toronto Small Press Book Fair coordinators are using the tactics of dictators and repressive regimes. Censorship, exclusion, disinformation.”

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Hearst : wholesalers asked us to remove U.S. cover price & keep higher Canadian

A major U.S. publisher is removing the U.S. pricing from their its covers and keeping the higher Canadian prices at the request of their Canadian wholesalers, according the a story in the Toronto Star. This confirms a posting here a month ago that some publishers were doing split runs to remove U.S. pricing and keeping the higher Canadian price.
Hearst Magazines, which publishes such popular titles as Cosmopolitan, The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, Good Housekeeping, Popular Mechanics and Esquire, confirmed yesterday it had changed its pricing policy for Canada.

"The reason we put a single price on our magazines in Canada was to eliminate any confusion in the marketplace," said a spokesperson for the New York-based publisher. "This was done at the request of Canadian wholesalers who have asked us to maintain our pricing."

Despite the fact that the Canadian dollar is at parity or nearly so, a Cosmopolitan magazine in the U.S. retails for $4.79 but $5.99 in Canada. Oprah sells for $4.50 in the U.S. but $5.75 here. Canadian pricing remains 25 to 30 per cent higher than U.S. pricing, the story says. Comment was not available from other U.S. publishers such as Condé Nast.

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Quebecor World's sale of European
business falls through

Worse and worse. Giant multinational printer Quebecor World, controlled by Quebecor Inc., which is also is the largest magazine publisher in Quebec, saw its shares plunge more than 30 per cent on Thursday when it announced that its sale of its European printing business to a Dutch company had fallen through. Quebecor World shares dropped 79 cents to $1.47 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. A year ago, it was in the $17 range.

According to a Reuters report, shareholders of the Dutch group Roto Smeets de Boer had rejected the $341 million purchase of the Canadian printer's money-losing European business.

The setback will only exacerbate Quebecor World's struggle over liquidity. Last month QW withdrew a refinancing plan and it had also suspended dividends on two series of its preferred shares.

For background, see earlier posts.

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Transcon opts for bio-degradable plastic bag

One of Canada's largest printers and its largest consumer magazine publisher has announced that its Publi-Sac, which is used to distribute its community newspapers and flyers to the doorstep, has opted for a certified biodegradable plastic bag to deliver its materials in Quebec and eastern Ontario. It will begin using the bags in early 2008, according to a release.

Doubtless the company hears the approaching footsteps of government regulation on unwanted and proliferating plastic bags; some municipalities and other jurisdictions are considering banning them altogether.
"Transcontinental is committed to implementing ways of doing business that promote sustainable development," said Luc Desjardins, President and Chief Executive Officer, Transcontinental Inc. "The Publi-Sac is of coursereusable and recyclable. Now, it's also biodegradable. This is an importantstep that reflects our commitment to the environment."
The company chose this particular plastic because contains an additive which enables the plastic to degrade and totally fragment in 90 to 120 days and to biodegrade in a further 12 to 24 months after disposal. The plastic remains capable of being recycled. (Of course, environmentalists point out that if plastic is buried in oxygen-free landfills, it may takes years to break down.)

Transcontinental, which established its first environmental policy in 1993, won a 2007 award from PrintAction magazine in the category Most Progressive Environmental Process. Recently, the company announced the implementation of a Paper Purchasing Policy that promotes the use of environmentally preferable papers.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

389 new magazines launched
in the U.S. in 2007

In 2007, 389 new magazines were launched in the U.S., according to online directory publisher MediaFinder.com. Regional magazines topped the list (42 new titles) with such titles as Miami, Edible Jersey and Garden & Gun, according to a press release. Luxury was the next largest category with 36 new magazines, cutting across many different subject classifications.

There were 24 new business magazines such as St. Louis CEO and Conde Nast Portfolio.

Lifestyle, home and interior design, and ethnic magazine categories had 16 new magazines such as Lofts, Lodges, Zeba (Afghan) and Jewish Living.

"Regional publications are doing well because they target a local, often upscale audience interested in local news, people, and events. They enable advertisers to target that audience as well," said Trish Hagood, President of Oxbridge Communications, publishers of MediaFinder.com. "A large percentage of regional magazines are targeted to the luxury market, making them especially attractive to readers and advertisers alike. Of the 538 luxury magazines listed in MediaFinder.com, 205 publications are regional."

MediaFinder.com, a media property of Oxbridge Communications© is the largest online database of U.S. and Canadian periodicals, with information on more than 70,000 magazines, journals, newspapers, newsletters, directories, and catalogs.

By the way, Samir Husni, the University of Missouri professor known as "Mr. Magazine", counted 636 launches in 2007; he counts any magazine for which a physical copy has been received, whether or not a second issue comes out. MediaFinder counts only multiple issue launches. Both sources agree there were fewer launches than last year (MediaFinder says 498, Husni says 842, for 2006).

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Enter early, enter often: National Magazine Awards deadline looms

Submissions are now being received for the National Magazine Awards, with a deadline of January 9, 2008. The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) is searching for the best in Canadian magazine journalism for the 2007 National Magazine Awards. The Foundation will present Gold, Silver and Honourable Mention Awards in 39 categories at the 31st annual gala on June 6, 2008 in Toronto. The entry fee for most categories is $85. Gold awards carry a prize of $1,000; Silver $500.

Changes in the submission process this year were reported on this blog and are detailed in the NMAF What's New newsletter.

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Is Quebecor cooling to the printing business?

Andrew Willis of the Globe and Mail has an interesting posting on the Streetwise blog about Quebecor World, the massive printing arm of Quebecor Inc. Essentially, he is saying that recent actions of the parent company means it is leaving its printing subsidiary to twist in the wind. (See earlier post for background)
The oldest adage in business journalism is, follow the money. Doing so at Quebecor leads to interesting conclusions about the future of the media company’s stake in Quebecor World.
Willis points out that the company is investing most of its cash in its Nurun interactive media division rather than bailing out Quebecor World. QW has told preferred shareholders they have until the day after Boxing Day to convert their preferred shares (which stopped paying dividends last month) to common shares. The result would be to dilute the common shareholders by 66 per cent.
The harsh reality for Quebecor appears to be the view that printing is part of its past, while subsidiaries such as Nurun are the future. The parent company seems prepared to accept massive dilution on its stake in Quebecor World, and quite happy to let the printer refinance its debts on its own in 2008.

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Transcontinental needs more time to restate earnings

According to a story carried by Reuters, Transcontinental Inc. needs a bit more time to release its latest financial statements while its auditors finish their work following a restatement of historical results. (Transcon announced last week it had found $20 million in accounting errors.)

The new release date is Dec. 18. They were originally expected today.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Editor of CARP magazine resigns as Znaimer consolidates control

Bonnie Baker Cowan, the editor of CARP, the magazine for the Fifty-plus, has resigned. Cowan was at one time editor of Canadian Living. Her departure comes not entirely coincidentally with the ascendancy of Moses Znaimer at the organization. His acquisition of the magazine is a substantial part of Znaimer's plan to dominate the 50-plus demographic in Canada by building a media and services company.

Znaimer is perhaps best known as one of the founders of CITY-TV. Znaimer is Chair and Executive Producer of Classical 96.3FM and 101.3 FM radio, Toronto and heads up a boutique TV production/distribution company. This year he also acquired 740 Radio.

Znaimer, through his private holding company Olympus Management Limited and Fifty-Plus.Net International Inc. , of which Znaimer is President and CEO, purchased Kemur Publishing, the online and print arm of CARP, the association. By doing so, he now controls CARP, the magazine for the Fifty-plus and 50-plus.com, its associated website.

The deal saw the Morgenthau family, the founders of CARP, exit the scene. Effectively, Znaimer has taken control of the for-profit online and print publishing division and of the not-for-profit association.

(Znaimer is now also on the board of the parent organization, CARP, and is serving as its temporary chief executive in place of the ailing co-founder Murray Morgenthau while a replacement is being sought.)

CARP at one time stood for the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, but the tagline has been changed to Canada's Association for the Fifty-Plus, principally to take account of the boomer bulge and the marketing opportunities it represents. The organization was founded in 1984 at the kitchen table of Lillian and Murray Morgenthau.

Membership in CARP includes the 9-times-a-year magazine, although it can be purchased separately for $11.95 a year. The magazine has a circulation of about 190,000.

FPN operates as The 50Plus Group and www.50plus.com is its key property delivering a wide range of information, entertainment, community (forums, dating, blogs) and commerce together with four electronic newsletters (health, money, travel, lifestyle), each of which has over 120,000 opt-in subscribers. The company also manages www.carp.ca, the online home of CARP, Canada's Association for the Fifty-Plus, with almost 400,000 members.

It can be speculated that Znaimer has, as his model, the fabulously successful AARP in the U.S. which has 30 million members and a terrifically successful magazine. (If you were to follow the "rule of 10" (that Canada is one-tenth the size of the U.S.) then it is reasonable to assume that there is some significant upside potential for the organization. AARP's magazine AARP The Magazine has 23.5 million circulation; might there be potential for 2 million circ for CARP?)

Information about undeliverable magazines will now come electronically

Starting January 14, the old system of magazines receiving a bundle of covers and address blocks torn off undeliverable magazines will be going the way of the dodo. After consultation with the industry, Canada Post is instituting an electronic reporting system.

Publications currently pay for the undeliverables service as part of their publications mail agreement. Now, though they'll have to register for it, they can receive a weekly electronic report showing the address and keyline (subscriber account) information from undeliverable copies by e-mail, at no extra charge. The undeliverable magazines will be disposed of by Canada Post.

[UPDATE] The sharp-eyed Shoestring blog for small magazines (Magazines Canada) spotted that returned copies for magazines that don't register will now cost $1 apiece! Yikes.

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Best connections corrections of the year

'Tis the season for lists, and few are as entertaining as the Crunks, the listing of the best corrections of the year over at Craig Silverman's Regret The Error website.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It will be a blue, blue new year as Pantone picks the colour of 2008

Pantone Inc., which last year chose a "hot" red as the colour of the year for 2007, for the coming year has chosen a cool, deep blue called Blue Iris (Pantone 18-3943) as the colour for 2008. This is expected to show up in part in fashion, home decor and cosmetics, according to a story in Design Edge Canada magazine.

Pantone cited the colour's calming and mystical qualities, combining blue and purple character that is both mysterious and exciting.

Blue Iris follows on the heels of last year’s Pantone colour of choice, a bold red hue named Chili Pepper (Pantone 19-1557).

“From a colour forecasting perspective, we have chosen Blue Iris as the color of the year, as it best represents colour direction in 2008 for fashion, cosmetics and home products,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

“As a reflection of the times, Blue Iris brings together the dependable aspect of blue, underscored by a strong, soul-searching purple cast,” continues Eiseman. “Emotionally, it is anchoring and meditative with a touch of magic. Look for it artfully combined with deeper plums, red-brown, yellow-greens, grapes and grays.”

Life after magazines is sweet; Wired co-founder invests in organic chocolate

Wired magazine co-founder Louis Rossetto has started a company making organic chocolate, according to a post on Boing-Boing. So there is life after magazines (particularly after starting, and making a killing on, one of the iconic magazines of the 1990s).

Worldwide magazine adspend projected to be $60 billion in 2009

Zenith Optimedia has released its projections for future advertising share worldwide and magazines are expected to increase modestly to about $61 billion in 2009, although this represents a marginal decline in the share of total advertising spending in all media.

Adspend (%) for various media in 2009 is expected to be Newspapers 26.2,Magazines 12.1, Television 38.1, Radio 7.8, Cinema 0.5, Outoor 5.9 and Internet 9.5.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Martha Stewart kills startup Blueprint

It's worth remembering that even the big guys make mistakes, sometimes. Martha Stewart Omnimedia is folding its startup, Blueprint, rolling its print edition into Martha Stewart Weddings. According to a story in mediabistro, staffers were told that the company had "misjudged the market" for the "fresh, fun guide to personal style." The final issue will be January/February 2008.

Bluelines, the Blueprint blog, will continue and Blueprint content will carry on as special sections within the homes component of MSW.

Blueprint had been named one of the hottest launches of 2006 by min magazine and the Society of Publication Designers awarded the magazine two gold medals and one silver at its 42nd Annual Magazine Design Competition.
"We are constantly evaluating the best ways to position and grow our brands. Weddings and Blueprint appeal to women at a similar life stage and we believe this strategy will allow us to better leverage the synergistic relationship between the two publications," said Susan Lyne, President and CEO of MSLO. "By publishing Blueprint in a special interest format, we can provide newlyweds with useful ideas and inspiration for their homes; and advertisers with a targeted platform to reach this highly desirable consumer."

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Insider trading, from inside a magazine
printing plant

According to Reuters, a young worker at a printing plant in Wisconsin that produced Business Week magazine, apparently used his privileged previews of the weekly issues to indulge in insider trading that netted more than $6.7 million. Juan Renteria, 22, who worked at a Wisconsin printing plant, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and insider trading charges during a hearing before Magistrate Judge Frank Maas in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Western Standard staff to try and make a go of it as an online publication

[This post has been updated.]

Former staffers of the Western Standard magazine -- although not Publisher Ezra Levant -- are intent on making a go of publishing the magazine online. This was revealed in a e-letter from Levant who says he is "moving on to other projects" but wishes Matthew Johnston (one of the founders of the magazine and its associate publisher) and others well in their endeavour.

The Standard suspended publication of its print magazine recently, after four years. The reason given was that there was simply not enough support for it, even though the magazine said it was on track to book $1 million in revenue this year.
Working with other long-time Western Standard staff like writer Kevin Steel and sales manager Josh Frederick, they're going to try to make a go of it online — and I wish them good luck. They loved the magazine and I'm sure they'll do a great job of the new venture.I'm moving on to other projects, but Matthew and his team have invited me to continue to blog from time to time on the site, and I'm sure I will.
[UPDATE] A posting by Levant on the Standard's Shotgun blog on Sunday said that the blog and the magazine's website has been sold to the members of the team that wants to carry on. The magazine has also made arrangements with Maclean's magazine to fulfill part of its outstanding subscription liabilities. Every Standard subscriber will get six free issues of Maclean's and a "special offer" if they want to continue. And the parent corporation of the Standard is staying in business so that Levant can fight the human rights complaint that was brought against the magazine for publishing the so-called "Danish cartoons".
Finally, I should mention that the corporate entity that published the magazine still exists, and I am still president of it. The reason that's important is because we intend to fight the human rights complaints that have been filed against us over the cartoon kerfuffle. (Here's the hand-scratched complaint; here's our reply.) The formal "investigation" begins next month, and I'll be there.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Disticor Direct increases fuel surcharge for single copies by 20%

According to Magazines Canada, Disticor Direct, the distributor through whom Magazines Canada access Chapter/Indigo stores, has raised its fuel surcharge by 20%, to 12 cents from 10 cents per copy served. There was no advance warning; the increase was effective October 1 but MC is only finding out about it now. It has warned affected members that it cannot absorb the extra cost and will be passing it along by deducting it from forthcoming payments.

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TV and web favoured sources for health information, says CTV poll

Only a small minority of Canadians get their health and science news information from magazines. Most get it from television and the Internet, according to a poll conducted for CTV by Angus Reid Strategies, with 36 per cent saying they prefer TV and 32 per cent saying they prefer the Web. The rest divided their loyalties between newspapers, magazine and radio.
The survey also found that Canadians are eager for even more coverage of science and health issues. While most Canadians found the media effective in presenting information in an accessible manner, the scientists who conducted the research were seen as the most trusted source of credible and accurate information.
The poll found that 9 out of 10 Canadians said they had made some sort of lifestyle adjustment as a result of information received in the media.

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Transcon to restate financials after finding $20 million in errors

Printer and media company Transcontinental Inc. is restating its financial statements for prior years to correct $20 million in accounting errors. The Canadian Press reported that the errors involved $10 million in accounting provisions for income tax liabilities in fiscal 2006 and $10 million in overstatement of the value of assets in the far-flung company's Mexican properties in several prior years.

"The restatement will not impact Transcontinental's business, its current earnings or its ability to generate cash flow," said Benoit Huard, chief financial officer. (Before the restatements, the company had said it earned $137.9 million in 2006 and total property, plant and equipment was $713.6 million.) The company said it did not expect the restatement to affect its reporting of 2007 results later this month.

In addition to being the largest consumer magazine publisher in Canada and its second-largest community newspaper publisher, Transcontinental is Canada's largest printer and the sixth-largest in North America.

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Pay up, said Spacing blogger,
and the Toronto Sun did

Magazine bloggers sticking up for themselves department:

When the Toronto Sun recently appropriated the entire contents of a blog posting, plus the accompanying picture, from Spacing magazine's blog, the writer took a firm but unequivocal stance: pay me the standard rate for this. And you know what? They did.

Blogger Sean Marshall wrote an item about and posted a picture of an old TTC subway car going to its reward, ignominiously riding on the back of a flatbed truck. The Sun picked up the whole item and ran it in their "Best of the Blogs" feature.

Marshall wrote, saying he would invoice them but needed to know what their standard freelance fee was. Rob Granatstein, the editorial page editor of the Sun, wrote back and told Marshall to bill him $75 for the article and $25 for the pic.
I did throw to the site, but throwing to the permalink just doesn't look great in the paper [said Granatstein]. By running it immediately, the piece is usually not hard to find. That said, send me an invoice and we'll do better next time.
This is not the first time Spacing's blog has been treated in this way: the same thing happened at the National Post. And (unsuccessful) mayoralty candidate Jane Pitfield ripped off an entire blog item for use in her campaign.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Publishers need to cope with the plummeting value of distribution

Digital publishing is threatening traditional print publishing because it severs the link between content and distribution, according to an article by Scott Karp at Publishing 2.0. The value of distribution has changed radically, he says and the value of content and the value of distibution -- until now deeply intertwined -- are made separable by digital means.
Print publishing won’t be dead until the people who value print distribution are dead — and that’s going to take at least a generation. People will still pay for print publications when they DO value the print distribution, e.g. the newspaper on the doorstep, the book or magazine in your bag on the plane or at the beach.

But the reality that print publishers need to face is that the number of people who value print publishing will continue its long, slow decline, as the digital generation grows up. That means print publishers need to completely re-evaluate the economics of their print publishing operations according to a 50% rule, which means asking:

What if the number of people who value my print distribution dropped by 50%?
He goes on to say:
People ARE willing to pay for certain digital content, but they AREN’T willing to pay for the distribution — specifically, not the analogue distribution premium.
While the article spends most of its time talking about e-books and their impact on traditional book publishing, the observations about people's view of the value of distribution are useful to magaziners.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Rogers pullout costs CBP 20% of membership revenue

The president of Canadian Business Press, Phil Boyd, says the impact of Rogers Publishing's departure from the Canadian Business Press is about 20% of membership revenue, not 40% as reported here in a recent post. He also says the amount represents a loss of just 9% of total CBP revenue.

Want chips with that? RFID transponders tested for magazine readership

Mediamark Research and Intelligence, a well-known U.S. magazine audience measurement firm is partnering with DJG Marketing's Waiting Room Subscription Services to put radio frequency identification (RFID) chips in magazines in waiting rooms to determine just how many customers actually read them, according to a story MediaDaily News.

It marks the first external test of the small transponders. The goal is to find it the chips can accurately measure not only the time spent reading, but the exposure of a reader to specific pages. It's hoped that these results would be better and more reliable than self-recorded diaries kept by readers.
The new measurement initiative may help resolve a controversial issue in magazine ad sales: Should free or discounted copies distributed in public places count as quality circulation? Often dismissed as "junk circ" used to inflate publishers' figures, proponents argue that these magazines have value that can be measured in terms of reach and frequency, akin to booming place-based video media.
Earlier research by Time Inc. and Mediaedge:cia tracked readership of six different magazines in a sample population of about 5,000 people, focusing on Entertainment Weekly, In Style, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Parenting and People.
It found that over 80% of waiting-room readers act on ad or editorial content they see in magazines there. The Internet The study also found 85% said they "didn't mind waiting if magazines were available," while 97% thought "waiting rooms should provide things to read while you wait."

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Quote, unquote: readers need to know what to pay for and how to do it

The digital revolution is no different from any of the other new, unprecedented so-called threats to hit us. Everything’s new the first time it happens. Of course it’s faster, bigger, slicker, more efficient and encompasses the globe in a way we’ve never seen before. That’s the way the world works. It’s called progress. But not everything changes. Most people won’t knowingly break the law and will be happy to pay a fair price for what they use. All they need to know is what to pay for and how to do it. Of course, the how-to-do-it had better fit the falling-off-a-log model of 21st century convenience.

-- From a post by Guardian blogger Penny Grubb
[Thanks to Quillblog for tipping us to this.]

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Why are magazines such liars?
Because it works

Readers, such as the ones who routinely mail back business reply cards and postage paid forms blank to "get even", often wonder why magazines insist on sending them. And the answer is invariably that blow-in cards and direct mail work, that's why.

In a post on his blog, Wired magazine editor-in-chief Chris Anderson asks the question why magazine circulation departments are such liars.
I love magazines, but the way we treat our readers is infuriating. I've already explained the perverse economic incentives that result in us carpet bombing the world with "blow-in" subscription cards. Now I want to highlight the subscription offers that magazines send through the mail. They're full of lies.
Among the lies routinely found on subscription solicitations, he says, are:
* there is no such thing as a "special courtesy rate"
* "guaranteed savings" is a meaningless phrase (and indeed you can often find magazine subscriptions cheaper through an agent--check eBay--or a credit card loyalty program)
* it makes no difference if you reply by the "reply by" date
* "statement of benefits itemization" are just empty words meant to invoke an invoice
* all those "free" or "included" things are just the regular content that's in the mag for everyone.
Why do magazine circulation departments treat people like idiots? Well, sadly you know the answer to that one, too: because it works. Is the sort of reader who responds to this kind of insultingly dumb deceit really the target audience for this magazine?
If you want to find an entertaining series of rants, look at the lonnnnggggg list of comments to this posting, some of which come from circulators, others from aggrieved Wired subscribers who talk about their outrage that the magazine uses a collection agency for subs!

[Thanks for passing this on, Jessica.]

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Lush magazine acquired by
digital signage company

Bassett Publishing, a newly formed division of a company whose principal business is in digital signage, has acquired Lush magazine (and says it plans to launch a second title this spring called Argyle aimed at "elite corporate executives.")

The parent company, the Bassett Media Group specializes in out-of-home digital advertising and its group includes Impulse Media (40 screens in Rexall Pharama Plus stores) and Concourse Media (51 screens in the Toronto financial district). According to The Canadian Press, the company is headed by Matthew Bassett, a son of the late Baton Broadcasting media magnate John Bassett and former TV personality and Ontario cabinet minister Isabel Bassett. In a release, Basset Media Group said it also intends to move into the wireless market next year with a bid on available spectrum in the auction to be held by the federal government.

Lush magazine is a glossy, controlled circ fashion and beauty book that distributes about 130,000 copies now, mostly through selective inclusion in the Globe and Mail (60,000 in Toronto, 40,000 in Montreal, 20,000 in Vancouver) and the National Post (10,000 in Calgary). Bassett Publishing says it plans to increase the number of distributed copies to 150,000 with its spring issue, and will apply for a circulation audit with the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC). The magazine's winter issue is due to be included in the Globe and Mail next week. A full page in the magazine costs $17,000. A subscription for those outside its distribution net is $22.

Launched originally by Mahfud Ibrahim and Mark Keast of the Pennant Media Group (who retain an equity stake and remain with the company), Lush has been remarked upon for its lavish presentation, particularly the hand-drawn typography of well-known art director and typographer Paul Sych during its first issues.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

CBP prez says trade publishing association should stay independent

[This post has been updated.]

Canadian Business Press president Phil Boyd has told Masthead magazine (sub req'd) that he is firmly in favour of maintaining an independent trade publishing organization. This comes on the heels of Rogers Media Publishing withdrawing its membership in CBP and announcing that it was in talks with Magazines Canada about a possible alliance.

Boyd said that the two associations' members had editorial and circulation models that are "fundamentally different".

(Interestingly, while John Milne, the senior vice-president of the Rogers business and professional group had spoken about the need for a unified voice, Magazines Canada has made no comment or any suggestion about a possible merger of the two associations.)

Boyd's remarks were somewhat less conciliatory than the tone immediately after (CBP's website said last week that it was interested in talks about working more closely together with Magazines Canada on merging two, annual competing conferences. That may still be true.)
“Most Western countries have two associations,” Boyd said. “One representing the interests of consumer magazine publishers and one representing the interests of business and professional publishers.”
As one example of the differences, Boyd said:
“[The CBP] believes controlled circulation magazines, which account for the bulk of business and professional titles, should receive PAP assistance,” Boyd said. “For obvious reasons, Magazines Canada would prefer that PAP was only available to paid circulation magazines."
[Phil Boyd points out that he actually said "members of Magazines Canada".]

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Best of B.C. newsstand promotion
increased sales seven times

Single copy sales of participating British Columbia magazines increased by 13.9% during a special 6-month promotion organized by the Periodical Marketers of Canada in cooperation with the British Association of Magazine Publishers (BCAMP). (During the same period, magazine newsstand sales in BC generally went up 2.1%). About 30 magazines and 2,600 retailers participated.

The pilot project was assisted financially by the Department of Canadian Heritage and was believed to be the first time that public money had gone towards assisting magazines to promote themselves through the mass market retail channel.

The campaign involved special BC-only pockets with backing cards designed for the program and carrying the slogan Best of B.C.

Among the titles participating were B. C. Homes, B.C. Business, B.C. Outdoor Fishing Adventures, Modern Dog, Cottage Magazine, Gardens West, Geist, Jenish Home Plans, Vancouver, Western Living magazine and YES magazine.

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Quebecor's TVA joins Magazines Canada

By signing up to membership 21 of the 45 French and English language titles from Quebecor Inc.'s consumer magazine division, TVA Publications Inc., Magazines Canada has consolidated its position as the dominant voice of the Canadian magazine industry.

For too long, Quebecor's magazine division, the largest in Quebec, has not been at the table with the other players, big and small. And now, after being approved for membership by the board of Magazines Canada, they are. It can only make the association stronger, particularly in the French language. The challenge will be for the organization to provide services beyond lobbying (such things as professional development) in both languages.

It cannot hurt to have had Robert Goyette from Selection du Reader's Digest as chair of MC. He is well respected and has been a leading player in the Quebec magazine association AQEM.

West coast magazine and TV cook
James Barber dies

James Barber, 84, died at his home on Vancouver Island. His wife says he was preparing a pot of soup.
James Barber, the cook and raconteur who was a regular contributor to Western Living magazine and Vancouver magazine in the '80s and '90s, has died of natural causes at his home on Vancouver Island at the age of 84, according to CBC.ca.

Although he was a magazine writer and author of a dozen cookbooks, he was perhaps best known as a chef on television and his program The Urban Peasant appeared on CBC-TV for 10 years. It was syndicated to 120 countries around the world.

His wife Christina Burridge said her husband died as he would have wanted, seated at his own kitchen table with a pot of soup simmering on the stove.

The 84-year-old food enthusiast lived his final years on a four-hectare farm in Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, where he bred miniature donkeys and tended to his fruits and vegetables.

Barber's last book, One Pot Wonders, was released in July.

In fact, one of his bestselling cookbooks, 1971's Ginger Tea Makes Friends, is credited with helping establish publishing house Douglas & McIntyre.

Barber was an effusive cook who eschewed the snobbery and gourmet trappings of the world of food. Friend and food journalist Don Genova says Barber helped make cooking accessible."Through his TV shows, especially The Urban Peasant, he showed that you didn't need fancy ingredients, you didn't need fancy knife skills. You could just do it," notes Genova."His cookbooks were exactly the same. They were meant to get people back into the kitchen."

Upon the republication earlier this year of his cookbook for couples, Cooking For Two, Barber told the Georgia Straight , "This is not a book for Barbara Amiel," he surmised in reference to the well-known luxury tastes of the writer and wife of former newspaper baron Conrad Black.

"I teach people that in the winter you eat a lot of cabbage because it's cheap."

Barber had also served as president of a Vancouver immigrant society, MOSAIC, a non-profit organization that addresses issues affecting immigrants and refugees, and the Vancouver Folk Music Festival Society.