Monday, June 30, 2008

Toronto Life blogs shut down, without explanation

[This post has been updated]Well, we'd like to know why. Toronto Life has snuffed out Philip Preville's City State blog less than a month after launching it with some fanfare. They have also discontinued James Chatto's foodie blog, Chatto's Digest. No word yet on Douglas Bell's Spectator blog. Preville went out with a column merely saying it was the last posting. Chatto went out with a headline that said it was the last posting (but nothing in the body of the post by way of explanation). Bell, whom you might think would comment on such shenanigans, has said nada. So we have to ask: is there anyone out there who knows why these apparently leading edgy initiatives have been deep-sixed. If so, post a comment or let us know by sending an e-mail (see address in the sidebar). [Thanks to Torontoist for alerting us to this.]

[Update: There have been some suggestions that the magazine was trying to maintain the same standards of editing and fact-checking on the blog items as in the print magazine itself and found it impossible to maintain.This wouldn't explain why City State was launched and then killed; surely they could have predicted the editing burden before launching it.]

[Update: It's usually useful to follow the money; in this case, apparently, the web division of St. Joseph Media has been ordered to slash budgets in the face of declining ad revenues -- think GM and Ford, for instance. So even the small amount paid to freelancers Chatto, Preville and Bell has been red-pencilled, as has most budget for original online content. The implications for St. Joe's online strategy is anyone's guess, but will they be considered players if they are not playing?]

[Update: Another shoe dropped. According to an interview published by mastheadonline, Doug Bell's Spectator blog ends tomorrow.
Tomorrow will see the last posting at Douglas Bell’s blog, which launched four months ago as a thorny chronicle of “media, money, egos.” Spectator was a broad-based reincarnation of Bell’s former blog, The Trial of Conrad Black, which inevitably ended last February. “Obviously, I wish it had gone on longer,” Bell says. “Four months wasn’t even enough time to clear my throat.”
]

Avoiding New Yorker fatigue

Glad to hear that other people sometimes suffer from "New Yorker Fatigue" and give up their subscriptions because of guilt at not getting through the issues. Blogger Chloe Veltman from Arts Journal has recently re-subscribed, but with a new strategy to avoid NYF: she reads it from back to front.

News flash: Major fashion mag bows to the muscle of major fragrance advertiser

If ever there was an example of the pressure under which consumer magazines feel from key advertisers, the current issue of Hearst's Harper's Bazaar is it.

The issue devoted 40 editorial pages to four celebrities and models who are also the face of a new line of fragrance from heavyweight advertiser Estée Lauder. The pages -- The package includes the magazine’s cover of Gwyneth Paltrow, 38 pages in the consecutive advertising-free section,” plus 2 pages in the beauty section.

Also featured are Elizabeth Hurley, Carolyn Murphy and Hilary Rhoda — who also star in the advertising campaign for Sensuous, a new fragrance from Estée Lauder. According to a story in the New York Times, the issue didn't contain ads from the company (but, then, why would they?) although ads are scheduled to run in the fall. John Demsey, a group president of the Estée Lauder Companies, said there was no quid pro quo for the expansive feature.
“Boy, they really sold out — Hearst — didn’t they?” said Allan Mottus, a beauty industry analyst who publishes the Informationist, a trade publication. Mr. Mottus added: “You have to take your hat off to Lauder. It is an enormous coup.”

“There is nothing either kosher or unkosher about what is going on,” Mr. Mottus said. “These are hard times in the prestige fragrance industry. It is advantageous for people to partner and make a larger statement than they could otherwise.”
Hearst issued a statement that said:
“Like many magazines, we often feature celebrities to coincide with their beauty and fashion launches.”
Kim-Van Dang, a former beauty director at In Style and Good Housekeeping magazines, predicted that other companies will brandish Bazaar, demanding similar editorial attention.
“Advertisers have something to show now and say, ‘Why am I not getting this treatment?’ ” Ms. Dang said. She recently started a marketing firm, KVD NYC, and has consulted for Lauder. “In the current economy, I think advertisers have more muscle.”

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Cartoonist ends alternative weeklies'
Weltschmerz strip

Horst Weltschmerz has been silenced. Cartoonist Gareth Lind, whose strip has appeared for 15 years in publications across Canada, particularly Eye Weekly (for 11 of those 15 years), View, Pulse Niagara, Echo Weekly and Metropolis, has discontinued Weltschmerz (German for "world pain"). As the result, he is giving up a soapbox for ranting about, amusing and perhaps educating his readers about technology and the environment (and sexual politics). But he felt it was time.
In drawing the farewell ice-floe image above (which appears this week's View and Echo, along with an interview and a few vintage strips), it was hard for me to imagine the characters not living on [Lind said, in a post on his own blog]. They may well, somehow, in some incarnation. But right now it feels like they've lived long enough with me. It's time for Horst -- and me -- to move on. And in the final frames above, he is in fact moving. Somewhere.
It's easy to admire the self-awareness of cartoonists who simply turn off the tap; they decide they've said all they can say, at least in that particular format or storyline, announce it's over and move on. As much as the regular readers lament it, they probably also recognize what a challenge it must be to make a living churning out amusing, insightful storylines week after week (or, horrors, day after day).
"My life has really been sort of tied to cartooning right now and I'll probably fall flat and get depressed for a bit after the initial 'Wee! I have all this time.'," Lind told columinist Emma Renda in Echo Weekly.
On his own blog, Lind explained he was going to take the summer off and then see where sitting at his drafting table leads, post-Horst and Celia. He says that the web is not a panacea and he's not sure he has a graphic novel in him. Earning a living is a major concern, particularly as the market for strips in newspapers has been shrinking.
I want to continue to explore environmental and technological themes -- more pertinent today than ever. To be able to do so in a way that both makes people laugh and makes me more than small change is the challenge.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Time Inc. unveils Maghound, a mix-and-match "consumer-centric" subscription service

At the 2008 Circulation Management Conference in Chicago this week, Time Inc. unveiled the demo of its Maghound service which allows people to buy magazine "subscriptions" in mix-and-match fashion, switching titles whenever they wish. According to a story in Folio:, the service is set to launch this September and 280 titles (many of them owned by Time Inc.) are already aboard.

The service is similar to Netflix, only for magazines and Dave Ventresca, president of Maghound Entrprises, Inc. said that, unlike traditional subscriptions, members aren't locked in and may cancel whenever they wish. He said beta testing had shown that the service attracted a younger, highly educated, affluent demographic. There was also apparently little cannibalization from traditional subscribers.Essentially, a subscriber to the service gets all their magazines for one price from one source and can customize the mix of titles at any time.
“There has been this major paradigm shift in the way consumers shop, pay for and manage the services they choose [Ventresca said]. And this shift has occurred everywhere except for magazines. We still sell on a fixed-term subscription or by single copy with no innovation. And [Maghound] is hoping to change that....Circulation has always been publisher-centric. With Maghound, it becomes consumer-centric.”
The pricing is three titles for $3.95 per month, five titles for $7.95, seven titles for $9.95, and $1 per title for eight titles or more.
Titles that have a non-discounted traditional sub rate of around $19 or more per year are considered “premium” titles and will have an extra $2 fee per month (10-15 percent of titles fall in this category). First-time users will also be eligible for a free one month trial.
Titles bought through Maghound would be classified as single copies for circulation auditing purposes.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Maclean's claims vindication in hate speech case at Canadian Human Rights Commission

Maclean's magazine has prevailed in one part of its its defence against charges that it published hate speech. The complaint, brought in November 2007 before the Canadian Human Rights Commission by the Canadian Islamic Congress, concerned an excerpt from columnist Mark Steyn's book America Alone.The complainants also filed charges with the British Columbia Human Right Commission (where a hearing was recently completed and a decision is still pending); the Ontario Human Rights Commission declined the case, saying it didn't have jurisdiction.

Maclean's said in a statement that it interprets the commission decision as being vindication of the article as commentary on an important geopolitical issue and entirely within the bounds of normal journalistic practice.
Though gratified by the decision, Maclean's continues to assert that no human rights commission, whether at the federal or provincial level, has themandate or the expertise to monitor, inquire into, or assess the editorial decisions of the nation's media. And we continue to have grave concerns about a system of complaint and adjudication that allows a media outlet to be pursued in multiple jurisdictions on the same complaint, brought by the same complainants, subjecting it to costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars, to say nothing of the inconvenience. We enthusiastically support those parliamentarians who are calling for legislative review of the commissions with regard to speech issues.

Secret postal code for Gateway is L4W 1S2

Today's announcement by Canada Post of its proposed rate increases for 2009 -- released, naturally, just before a long summer weekend -- says that for Publications Mail, local mailed copies will see no increase in 2009; for regional, rates go up 1 cent; for national, rates go up 3 cents. The problem is knowing what proportion of your mailed copies are in each category. As a friend writes:
In Canada Post's pursuit of more creative ways to raise rates, in 2007 it first proposed implementing distance-based pricing for magazines that use LCP sortation. After it was pointed out that publishers had no way of knowing how many copies are local, regional and national, CPC said that it would implement the new system in January 2008 but keep the rates the same for local, regional and national. Well, it's now half way through 2008, and some of the biggest publishers are still not sure how many copies are local, regional or national.

It turns out that there's a problem with the postal codes of the CPC facilities. If you use the published postal codes for the CPC facilities, then all copies are reported as national -- even the ones that should be local or regional. To fix this software bug, you need to use a different postal code, except that CPC hasn't finalized the list yet.

For Gateway in Mississauga, Ont., where many Ontario-based magazines mail, the secret is to use L4W 1S2. That's the postal code that needs to be plugged into both the LCP software for the reports, and the Statement of Mailing. From that, you get your quantities. CPC claims the overall weighted average increase of the Publications Mail hikes will be 3.1%, but then who really knows? CPC itself hasn't figured out yet how to make this work.

The import of the rate hikes may be lost in a flurry of media comment about costs for regular stamps going up from 52 to 54 cents, starting in January. (The spin being applied by the post office is that Canada will continue to enjoy the 3rd lowest rate of postage in the developed world. What it doesn't say is that, compared with those who are lower (Australia and the United States), the cost to mail a letter in Canada is already 15% higher.)

"We have done our best to shield our customers as much as possible from the full impact of rising fuel, energy and labour costs." said Canada Post president Moya Greene. "The overall pricing strategy has been designed to ensure no one segment of our customer base carries an unfair share of burden of these rising costs."
Magazines Canada president Mark Jamison issued a statement soon after the Canada Post announcement saying:

Distance-related pricing could be a potential disaster for the industry. Many titles, not based in large urban centres but who have mostly national reach could be at serious risk whether they have PAP (Publications Assistance Program) eligibility or not.

Make no mistake, large or small , many titles could be badly hurt or worse. On top of this impact, we are looking at a total rejection of the Government of Canada's own cultural policy concerning access to content. Does the Government of Canada have any say in the behaviours of its agencies in the context of the delivery of its own policies ?

MC and its members will continue press MPs across Canada to take action
[More detailed analysis of the postal increases to follow as it becomes available.]

Related posts:

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Competition panel silent on publishing
company takeovers

Taking the narrow view, the report of the government-appointed panel of experts has delivered a report on competition policy appears to satisfy the Canadian magazine industry.

In February, Magazines Canada told the panel that, while there are a number of nagging trade and competition issues within Canada and between provinces, when it comes to the current foreign investment regime, they don't want to see it change much. At least for media, the panel seems to agree; or, at least, it doesn't say it doesn't agree.

The panel's just-released report, as reported by Canadian Press and published on cbc.ca, calls for it to be made easier for foreign firms to buy Canadian companies. It recommends that the ban on bank mergers be lifted and that restrictions on other industries, particularly air transport, telecommunications, uranium mining and broadcasting. But it apparently does not include Canadian publishers and media companies.
"The panel believes that Canada needs to be more open to competition, as competition spurs the productivity enhancements that underpin our economic performance and ultimately our quality of life," said chair Lynton (Red) Wilson in a release issued alongside the report titled Compete to Win.
However there may be a sting in the report as one of the bullet points in the release about the competition panel's report says that the Investment Canada Act should be more open and reduce barriers and, to that end should initiate "a comprehensive review of Canada’s cultural policies." What does that mean? and what will it mean?
The 134-page report does not directly tackle the hottest topic facing the government on competition policy [says the CBC] — national security involving investments by state-owned enterprises — but does assume such a test will be enacted by government.
The panel wants to see the threshold under which foreign takeovers would be reviewed under the Investment Canada Act to $1 billion from the current $295 million. And it recommends that the government, rather than the applicant, bear the onus for demonstrating that a foreign acquisition is to the net benefit of Canada.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Citizen Blogger (workshop plug)

On the March 15 cover of the New Scientist, at least seven men and two women in a crowd of onlookers aim their cellphones toward the scene of an event off-camera, a tragedy, accident or disaster, and by so doing they become news themselves, in “How 'citizen journalists' are transforming the news,” a useful introduction to blogs, podcasts mashing (up) and other mysteries by Dan Gillmor.

On July 12, 2008, the Geist Foundation and the SFU Writing and Publishing Program will host Taking It To the Net, a day of workshops for bloggers, YouTubers, podcasters and would-be pundits in the electronic world. This should be a great help to me, a print person who has failed so far to grasp the genre, to wield it for useful ends, even to provide the weekly, daily, hourly postings promised by the existence of a blog such as this one, an apparently benign repository of observation and comment passively waiting for the blogger to post and then post again, at any time of the day or night, and then again, etc. The most daunting aspect of blogging, for print people who are still trying to make the transition, is the disappearance of the fearless, graceful, intervening, life-saving editors who in the non-virtual world stand ready to throw themselves between the writer and the dreadful turnings in the underbrush, where dense thickets lie. Bloggers, then, have no one to blame but themselves: they go naked and alone into the dim flickering light.

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Canadian Architecture and Design to be launched by North of 89 publisher

The experience of publishing the regional architectural magazine North of 89 (launched last spring) was so good, the publisher is about to launch a second architecture and design title, this time national. Canadian Architecture and Design will publish its first issue on July 11, with a $5.95 cover price and a combined bimonthly newsstand and controlled distribution of 75,000 copies.

Publisher Mike Dunphy says in a release:
North of 89 was received so enthusiastically by readers and advertisers, that we felt the time was right to go national. When you consider the home-related television shows, newspaper sections and magazines that are so popular today, it’s obvious the demand is there. We’re excited about profiling exceptional residences and other buildings from across Canada that are created by top architects, designers and builders.”
Architecture will be the primary focus, although the magazine will also include information on innovative products and trends in antiques, art, furnishings, home technology, kitchen and bath, lighting and landscaping, as well as lifestyle topics such as automotive and travel. Each issue will include a minimum of six home features, one in an international locale. The first issue includes profiles of private residences from PEI to British Columbia. The international content includes a feature about the South of Spain.

Dunphy, who is based in Creemore, Ontario, is a former construction management professional who is also a professional photographer.

This is the second launch of its type in as many weeks. Recently, International Architecture and Design was announced -- a 50,000 circulation controlled quarterly.

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ARC Poetry marks 30th anniversary

Congratulations are due to ARC Poetry, a magazine that has earned high respect as one of the principal publishers of poetry in Canada. The Ottawa-based title is turning 30 this year, a major milestone, made more remarkable because of its highly specialized niche. (The magazine was widely admired for its 2005 visual redesign.) The anniversary issue (shown) is available on June 30 and features work by 30 Canadian poets.

ARC began life at Carleton University, but early on and since has been run independently by a not-for-profit organization. It comes out twice a year, published by the ARC Poetry Society, run by a part-time staff of two and an activist volunteer operating board.

Like many such literary journals, the magazine is dependent for much of its success on its Poem of the Year contest, which annually attracts as many as 900 entries.

(You may want to mark in your daybook that the official launch of the 30th anniversary issue will be at the Ottawa International Writers Festival on Thursday, October 23, 2008 at 7:30 pm (Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa. Canada’s top poets will commemorate three decades of Arc’s existence at a celebration that will include readings by some of Arc’s most notable contributors over the past thirty years.)

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Mags R Us; HP Labs' MagCloud pitching outsourced printing and distribution

We're not sure about the idea of outsourcing the printing and distribution of single copies of magazines. But consider for yourself MagCloud, an experimental system now in beta by which Hewlett Packard Labs allows publishers to print individual copies on demand.

It is only available right now to U.S. publishers (and, while it is in its shakedown cruise, then only by invitation). But a quick perusal of the website suggests that this might appear at least superficially attractive to some. Here's how it works:
  • A publisher signs up
  • The publisher creates a hi-res pdf file in Adobe InDesign (or similar)
  • The file is uploaded to MagCloud
  • A proof is ordered to make sure all is well
  • The magazine is printed, saddle-stitched, on 80-lb paper using HP's Indigo system
  • The "cost of production" is $0.20 a page ($10.40 for a 52-page magazine)
  • The publisher sets a markup on that cost
  • The buyer of the magazine is charged the cost, the markup and a flat rate $1.40 a copy for shipping and handling (at least during the beta stage) using PayPal
  • The finished magazine is mailed to the end user (for now, only in the U.S.)
This might work for printing and distributing on-request brochures, but it seem highly unlikely that most consumer or trade magazines would find this an attractive financial proposition. How many readers would find it alluring to pay $15 for a 52-page magazine?

Given current technology, once a publisher has sunk the costs of creating the content* and the pdf, why wouldn't she simply distribute that pdf file on a web site or attached to an e-mail?
*We laughed out loud at this statement on the MagCloud site: It costs you nothing to create a magazine, and you set a markup to earn a profit above production cost. A buyer will pay an additional modest shipping charge (USPS first class mail).
[Thanks to Joyce for tipping me to this.]

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Investment advisors take stakes in online-only Western Standard

The Western Standard, once a print magazine, since December 2007 an online site only, has a couple of new owners. According to a message to subscribers from publisher Matthew Johnston (who apparently keeps a stake in the magazine) Stephen Johnston, investment director with Agcapita Partners and Thomas Beyer, president of Prestigious Properties, "have recently decided to bring their business expertise to the Western Standard as new major shareholders and advisors."

Related posts:

More Tackiness at the WMA

At least one tacky joke delivered by a major recipient at the 25th Western Magazine Awards last Friday resulted in boos and catcalls rarely heard at these sedate events, where bad and even tacky jokes are heard every year, and even welcomed, given the legendary tedium of these celebrations.

The tackiness may have been enhanced by the setting of this year’s Gala, which convened outside Vancouver in a so-called Casino Resort on the fringe of the suburban desert. The event was boycotted by several editors, sales people and at least one publisher, none of whom possessed the visas necessary for crossing the Oak Street Bridge. (Hence the lateness of this report.)

For those desperate for recreation after the strain of the ceremony, gambling vouchers (50% off, according to a reliable informant) distributed with dinner enticed the gullible into the casino, where the proprietors were able to recover the rental of the banquet hall that had been waived in order to entice the hapless magazineers into their clutches in the first place.

Those who chose not to gamble were free to plunge into the existential void just outside the front door.

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Quote, unquote: meow

"I assume it's 400 pages of the word me in different fonts."
-- anonymous source talking about a book expected to come out of the New York Times Magazine's article by former Gawkerblogger, Emily Gould.Working title: And The Heart Says... Whatever.

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Gas, hotel and airfare costs expected to whack trade show attendance

Hikes in gas prices, airfares and costs of hotels are having an impact on magazine events, particularly trade shows, according to a story carried by Folio: While trade and consumer shows are the major growth area for U.S. magazine publishers' revenues, a recent survey of the Society of Independent Show Organizers found 41% of respondents expected to see a 10% reduction in expo attendance over the next 12 months.
  • 50 percent of respondents says they are moderately concerned about increased travel costs on their event business;
  • 39 percent are greatly concerned; and
  • 11 percent are modestly concerned.
And it's not just expositions and conferences. Buyer-seller events-in which the publisher recruits a select audience for a sponsor (and covers much of the attendees' cost)-have gained in popularity in recent years but may no longer be as economically viable. "We pay our attendees way so it's hurting our budgets dramatically," said one respondent.

And with most event venues booked at least a year (and often several years) in advance, re-evaluating attendee revenue can be especially painful. "Mostly I am downgrading my attendee revenue estimates and managing expectations related to attendance," says Scott Wolters, director of tradeshows and conferences at BNP Media.

Publishers are not only cutting costs by sticking to regional and one-day events, but doing less outsourcing and offering bigger discounts for early registration, allowing them to secure cheaper block hotel prices, the story said.

Still, the reality is attendees are limiting their travel. "People are not going as deep into their organizations as they used to as far as bringing a number of attendees," says Galen Poss, president of Hanley Wood's Exhibitions Division. "They used to bring seven or eight people. Now they bring four or five. Instead of staying three or four days, they stay two days."

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Men's Health hires new Canadian rep house

Toronto-based Boxer Media and B-Scene Media have become the Canadian representatives for Rodale's Men's Health - as well as its web version, MensHealth.com, according to a story in Media in Canada. Men's Health has a circulation of about 126,000 in Canada.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

British blogger so successful he launches print magazine about politics

An influential British political blogger who started because he couldn't get a job is now so popular he is using it as a springboard for producing a print magazine called Total Politics, according to a story in the UK Press Gazette.

While his blog,Iain Dale's Diary, launched in earnest in 2006, and has been enormously successful at raising his profile, nearly all the money he has made off the back of it has been in the mainstream media – through broadcasting and writing.

And now he is looking to take his media career to the next level, what is he planning to do? He’s launching an ink-on-paper printed monthly magazine called Total Politics. Dale admits: “People think it’s a bit strange.” But when it comes to his blog, he says ad agencies “just don’t get it”.

Total Politics will be available free online, at least initially, as a virtual e-magazine and will be for sale on newsstands at £3.99 as well as via subscriptions. However the bulk of the circulation will be free to 22,000 elected politicians.

Explaining his decision to launch a magazine Dale says: “We looked at doing this as an internet magazine but thought we would never be able to get the revenue to make it work.

“You can promise advertisers that every elected politician from the Prime Minister down to locally elected councillors will receive a copy of this magazine at home or their desk. But you can’t do that with a website.”

Dale took six months off after his personal failure to get elected as a Tory MP, followed by a stint as chief of staff for David Davis when he fought David Cameron for the Tory leadership.
“I found it very difficult to get back into the media, all the producers I used to work with had moved on to other things – so the blog became my USP (unique selling proposition).“I only ever used it as a platform to air my views – but I started to break stories....”

Dale says most of the media work he does now – which includes a column in The Daily Telegraph and regular punditry on TV and radio – has come about as a result of the blog; its value in promoting his "brand" has been huge (he claims in May that he had 72,000 unique visitors, which he says is more than the combined traffic of the official websites of the Conservative and Labour parties.

Still, direct income amounts to no more than £7,000 a year: “I don’t think anyone in this country has been able to earn a living from what they make on a blog.”

Issue one of Total Politics includes an interview with Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The editorial mission statement is, says Dale, to be “unremittingly positive about politics”.

He says: “The thing that unites all politicians is the desire to get re-elected, so we’ve got a lot on that. We also want to make this a fun experience.

“With a lot of political publications, people seem to buy them because they feel they ought to read them, not because they want to.”

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Google to launch new ad-planning tool for agencies and media planners

Google is launching an ad-planning tool -- probably free, at least for now -- that will help agencies and media planners better determine where their most desired audiences are, according to a story in the New York Times. The official launch is expected tomorrow (Tuesday). News leaked out when the Advertising Research Foundation's website publicized the media conference for Googles's initiative in "internet audience measurement" for 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Of course this largely applies to online advertising rather than print, but could affect magazine sites.

While Google declined to comment there was some information available:

A person familiar with Google’s plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the product before Google makes it public, said that the new tool, called AdPlanner, was designed to help agencies identify sites where their target audience might be active. While it uses audience measurement data, AdPlanner also combines it with search engine data and information from third parties, to determine with more precision what sites attract a certain demographic audience. It then uses that data to help agencies determine where to place ads.

If a media buyer has been successful with ads that ran on WebMD, for example, AdPlanner might be able to easily identify other sites where that media buyer will find similar success because they attract a similar audience, the person said. AdPlanner is expected to be offered for free, at least initially.

This is the latest audience-measurement tool from Google. Recently, we posted an item on Google Trends for Web sites, which allows anyone to measure a Web site’s audience. Google said that the service calculates a site’s audience by using a combination of source “such as aggregated Google search data, aggregated opt-in anonymous Google Analytics data, opt-in consumer panel data, and other third-party market research.”*

The person familiar with AdPlanner said there would be “overlap in what it accomplishes,” but added that AdPlanner would be tailored specifically to help media buyers.

[*Hilariously, the NYT reports, Google Trends for Web sites doesn't measure any Google properties; they decline to provide interim financial guidance and therefore don't release Google numbers.]

Twice-yearly Inroads magazine becomes quarterly by publishing two issues online

Inroads magazine, the Canadian journal of opinion, a twice-a year publication, has become a quarterly by publishing two issues online and via e-mail only. In March, the magazine published a 34-page pdf issue between its winter (November) and summer (May) print issues (current issue out now). The next "virtual" issue will be out in September.
Last year, as part of market research carried out with a grant from the Canada Magazine Fund, Inroads conducted a focus group. The focus group participants were all gratifyingly enthusiastic about Inroads -- so much so, in fact, that they felt it should be a quarterly. This electronic newsletter implements the focus group’s recommendation –- in a manner in keeping with our modest means.
This is an interesting model for niche magazines that have limited funding and we may see more and more of this in the near future, particularly as postal costs are expected to go up substantially to the detriment of small magazines with widely scattered subscribers across Canada.

The magazine, run by an editorial board, and helmed by managing editor Robert Chodos, was launched in 1992 to be a voice for opinion on economic, political and social issues. In its inaugural issue it said:
Too much writing in Canada is not genuinely interested in pursuing opposing ideas. Academic journals restrict themselves to their respective disciplines and impose their own set of intellectual blinders. Too many political and social journals limit their pages to writers who share a narrow ideological line.
It's $14.95 a single copy or $48 for four issues (two years). Plus the "virtual issues". (And, this past weekend, you may have noticed that the magazine column in the Globe and Mail took note of it.)

Newspaper ad freefall depicted in
graphic simplicity

Sometimes a graphic cuts through the crap with such clarity that it's a work of art. Gawker, the Manhattan gossip site and celebrity-thrasher, has published a simple chart illustrating the freefall of the newspaper industry in the U.S. -- using industry supplied figures. The table shows the ebb and flow of advertising sales since 2000; but the second, darker, bars show the results adjusted to show constant 2000 dollars. It demonstrates that ad sales are down an astounding, terrifying almost 40% from where they were 8 years ago.

Also interesting was some analysis published by AdAge magazine and reproduced by the blog TechCrunch: it shows that the top 100 advertisers in the United States shifted about $1 billion in advertising from TV and newspapers to the web. Interestingly, consumer magazines seem to be doing better than holding their own in this environment.



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Canadian Poker Player magazine to be revived, relaunched

Canadian Poker Player magazine is apparently going to be revived. The magazine, which stopped publishing in February, has been purchased byCalgary-based HeadsUp Entertainment . The company also bought the companion Canadian Poker Tour from Langley, BC-based Fifth Street Publishers, according to a story published in Media in Canada.

HeadsUp reports the relaunch of the magazine is "a key element to the unfolding business model, which is designed to provide players with a comprehensive overview of what is happening in poker in Canada."Heads Up owns Canadian Championship Poker and has announced a strategic marketing alliance with the World Poker Showdown, a leader in vacation destination poker getaways, the story said. HeadsUp has also signed a deal with Calgary's www.mobovivo.com iPhone allows full online streaming or mobile downloads on iPhones, soon to be available in Canada.

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Vancouver wins big at Western
Magazine Awards

Vancouver magazine won big at the 26th annual Western Magazine Awards, taking Magazine of the Year for western Canada as well as the regional BC/Yukon MoY prize and picking up the gold award for best article BC/Yukon with "Bench Strength" by Sean Rossiter as well as winning gold in four other categories. (Current issue of Vanmag shown.)

Other regional MoY winners were:
Best new magazine was unlimited of Edmonton (Venture Publications) and trade magazine of the year was Enterprise.

The gala awards event, presented by the Western Magazines Awards Foundation, was held on Friday night in Vancouver.

A complete list of the winners.

A selection of photos from the event is available on Masthead.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Feathertale Review adds monthly
electronic newsletter

The Feathertale Review, which started out as a website and then published a paper annual, has further extended its reach with the creation of an electronic newsletter called Egregious. Its style reflects that of the parent magazine and each monthly issue includes work by a featured artist, as well as poetry, prose, banters and interviews with interesting people.

The magazine, its website and Egregious are all edited by Brett Popplewell in Toronto and art-directed by Lee Wilson, who also works as a designer at Institutional Investor magazine in New York.

Feathertale Review recently joined Magazines Canada and, through its distribution system, will likely become more widely available on newsstands across the country. Free subscriptions to Egregious (and opportunities to advertise) are available by e-mailing to egregious@feathertale.com

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Transcon Media digital group to launch More site and relaunch four others

Transcontinental Media and its digital media group will be launching a website for the very successful More magazine this fall. At the same time it has announced it will be relaunching four of its most popular women's service magazine sites --- ElleCanada.com, ElleQuebec.com, StyleatHome.com and CanadianGardening.com. The announcement was short on specifics, other than to promise new features and an enriched experience; and, of course, larger audience and more advertising opportunities.

The digital media group now operates some 200 websites with a claimed combined audience of 4.3 million.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

New and lucrative prize for history book that makes a difference

A new non-fiction prize for a book of history has been established that may well be of interest to magazine writers who turn their articles into books. It is believed to be one of the largest non-fiction literary prizes in the world, ranking ahead of the Samuel Johnson Prize (£30,000), the Kiryama Prize (US$30,000) and the Charles Taylor Prize ($25,000).

The Cundill International Prize has been created at and is administered by McGill University. The entry deadline for the first of what will be annual awards is June 30 (if you haven't started the book, perhaps next year). The individual who wins will receive $75,000 and there will be two second-place prizes of $10,000 each.

The award (which is funded by the Cundill Foundation in the name of mutual fund mogul F. Peter Cundill) is for a book that has had, or is likely to have, a "profound literary, social or academic impact in the area of history".

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Quebecor World merges magazine, book and directory divisions

Quebecor World Inc. has merged its magazine, book and directory divisions into a single operating structure called the publishing services group. It's another step in QW's attempt to right itself after plunging to near bankruptcy. The company now has three divisions instead of six, following the earlier integration of retail insert, catalog, Sunday Magazine and direct divisions into the marketing solutions group and of the logistics and premedia divisions

Kevin J. Clarke will lead the new publishing services group. He was president of Quebecor World's book and directory publishing services group for the last 5 years.

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Ads in digital media have to work harder than in traditional media, study finds

Consumers using traditional media, including magazines, have been found to be in a more positive mood and more likely to be interested in entertainment and relaxation than people using digital media, who were more likely to be in busy moods, seeking control or solving a problem and more likely to be by themselves. This, according to a study reported in the the New York Times.

The research has major implications for the way marketers regard various media and how they align them to the products that they are trying to sell. It is based on 4,000 ad impressions and respondents reaction to each.
The study, called “When Advertising Works,” was conducted by Yankelovich in association with Sequent Partners. The Center for Media Design at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., provided assistance.

The study covered 16 types of media. Besides TV, the traditional kinds included billboards, magazines, newspapers, radio and movie theater commercials. The digital kinds included e-mail messages, Internet banner ads, social networking Web sites, video games and video-sharing Web sites like YouTube.

When asked what kind of an impression the ad made, 56 percent of survey respondents said traditional media ads made a positive impression, in contrast to 31 percent who said that about digital media ads. Thirteen percent reported a negative impression of traditional media ads versus 21 percent for digital media ads. Thirty-two percent said they had neither a positive nor a negative impression of traditional media ads, in contrast to 48 percent who said they had neither a good or bad impression of digital media ads.
J. Walker Smith, president at the Yankelovich Monitor division of Yankelovich in Atlanta, said that, although new media may be better at helping people solve problems, "when I’m tracking down information or looking for an answer or trying to compare things or searching for a link, ads are irritating to a degree not true when I’m relaxed and unwinding with TV or a magazine and thus more open to diversion."

That may mean that "advertising will always have to work harder to make a positive impression in digital media," he added.

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Most Canadian mag ad growth will be digital; 10% of print by 2012, predicts PwC

The consumer magazine publishing industry's overall advertising share in Canada will grow at an annual compounded rate of 4.9% through 2012, according to a forecast published by the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. A good deal of that will come from magazine-related digital advertising.

The annual Global Entertainment and Media Outlook says that Canadian magazine market share, including advertising and circulation, will grow by about 2.7% annually overall, from $1.2 billion in 2007 to $1.4 billion. Print advertising will expand by 3.3% to $782 million from $665 million in 2007. Digital advertising on magazine websites and mobile sites will increase to $78 million in 2012. (The percentages above show the annual compound rate of growth.)

U.S., total consumer magazine revenues--including advertising and circulation--will grow at an annual compounded rate of 3.8% from 2007-2012, increasing from $24.1 billion to $29 billion.
That's good news for a traditional medium negotiating a sometimes rocky transition to Internet publishing, said a story in MediaDaily News.

No surprise--a key part of the growth for consumer mags will come from digital ad revenues, including magazine Web sites, projected to grow from $342 million in 2007 to $2.4 billion in 2012--a roughly 600% increase. Print advertising is also expected to grow, increasing 16% from $13.7 billion in 2007 to about $16 billion in 2012.
Tracey Jennings, leader of the PwC Canada entertainment and media practice, told Media in Canada that the biggest movements and highest growth in ad spends in all media for both newspapers and magazines will come from digital advertising, with limited growth in traditional media.
"[Growth] will come from those who leverage their existing consumers and advertisers and take them into the world of new media, enabling consumers to access content on any platform.

"Yet we cannot lose sight of the growing 50-plus demographic, who will continue to consume the media in the format they have become accustomed to," says Jennings. "This older generation will balance out the new Net generation - meaning traditional media will continue to be significant. The question now is how advertisers are going to leverage all these different media, combined or stand-alone, to engage the individual customers and their unique media consumption styles."

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

MagsCan urges members to blitz MPs and Canada Post about distance-based pricing

In a bulletin to its members, Magazines Canada is urging publishers to blitz their MPs and Canada Post, objecting to expected proposals to implement "distance related pricing" and increase rates by as much a 8% in 2009. The actual rate increases won't be known until released by Canada Post in July, but MagsCan is not waiting.

Its position is that this is a revenue grab, that far from being revenue neutral, rates for "local" delivery won't go down while rates for "regional" and "national" will go up significantly. Also, that distance-related pricing runs counter to Canada's cultural policy and denies many Canadians equal access to Canadian publications.
In recent weeks, our public affairs team, composed of industry leaders and senior staff, has met with many officials: MPs from many regions; Canadian Heritage officials; senior policy advisors to a number of key Cabinet Ministers and senior executives at Canada Post. In addition, Magazines Canada is working with our regional association partners to ensure that the message goes to Ottawa from sea to sea to sea. The association is preparing a submission to the Canada Post review panel.
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

James Reaney's little magazine

The death last week of poet and playwright James Reaney resulted in passing references to his periodical publishing output. From 1960 to 1972, Reaney published 19 issues of the twice-annual magazine Alphabet, which he often typset and printed himself. The magazine was dedicated to exploring the "iconography of the imagination". He also issued his early books under the Alphabet Press imprint. [At right is No. 2, July 1961.]

Alberta Venture sponsors briefing on provincial emissions regulations

Magazines find that aligning themselves with, or co-sponsoring, special events and seminars is a way of building business.

A good example is the "power breakfast" model, being followed by Alberta Venture magazine of Edmonton in partnership with the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

It's called the Canadian Energy Update breakfast and it positions the controlled circulation business magazine as providing a key source of information about the government of Alberta's forthcoming emissions legislation.

About 100 people from the oil patch are expected to attend the event on Thursday 19th at the Royal Glenora Club in Edmonton on Thursday, June 19th at 7:30 a.m.

The panelists explaining how industry can get ready for the new emissions limits will be Alberta's deputy minister of energy, Peter Watson, Dr. Joseph Doucet,Enbridge Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Alberta School of Business and Chuck Szmurlo, Vice-president of Alternative and Emerging Technology at Enbridge Inc.

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Texterity says paid digital editions never caught on; now they'll be given away

If the future for magazines is paid digital editions, tell that to Texterity. The e-publishing company says digital editions of consumer magazines never caught on and, according to a story in Mediaweek, it is scrapping its model in acknowledgment of that reality.
It had been selling digital subscriptions separate from print subs. But with only 1 percent of subscribers opting to pay extra for the digital version, Texterity has decided to offer the digital edition free to print subscribers.

“We’ve been trying for years to sell digital subscriptions instead of print,” said Martin Hensel, president of Texterity. “That really hasn’t worked.”
Essentially, digital editions will now act as a bonus for print subscribers and as a way for publishers to do low-cost sampling. Even at that, Texterity expects that by year-end, only 15 per cent of print subscribers will have opted for the free digital add-ons.
Texterity also launched a new site, Coverleaf.com, where readers can browse through and buy its clients’ digital editions. Texterity’s roughly 70 consumer magazine clients include Meredith Corp.’s Better Homes and Gardens; and Condé Nast’s Bon Appétit.
Rival e-publishing company Zinio continues to charge separately for digital editions; it claims its consumer magazines’ digital editions amount to 1 percent to 12 percent of subs, depending on how aggressively individual publishers promote them.

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Canada Wide buys student-written
magazine Youthink

Youthink magazine has been purchased by Canada Wide Media of Vancouver for an undisclosed amount. This, according to a story published by Masthead magazine

The 90,000 circulation monthly is written by high school students and distributed through about 400 secondary schools in British Columbia and Alberta as well as through community centres, libraries, retail outlets, coffee shops and convenience stores.

The magazine was founded in 1999 by the former teachers, the husband and wife team of Andrew Sloan and Lotte Ewald. Last year, they expanded into Alberta, but in the process, they found that, while their business expanded, the publication needed the leverage of a large company like Canada Wide. “There were certain economies of scale we weren’t able to take advantage of as a small company,” said Sloan, who is staying as publisher. Ewald is stepping back from day-to-day duties, being replaced as editor by managing editor Janine Verreault.

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News you could have used

Columnist Paul Wells went on a teeny rant today in his Inkless Wells blog for Maclean's about late distribution of magazines on newsstands. (We seem to be on a circulation jag this morning.)
Let’s see, what’s in the magazines that went on newsstands yesterday across the United States — but won’t appear on Canadian newsstands until a week Thursday, because The News Group, the monopolistic Canadian magazine distributor whose websites seem to be down this morning, can’t be bothered to deliver a product anywhere close to on-time?
Reader comments, however, soon turned to the slow distribution of Maclean's.

When it comes to magazine subscriptions,
Christmas comes but once a year

We always knew that magazine subscriptions had a distinct seasonality, but according to Peter Lebensold, the direct marketer and copywriter, we've now got at least one more way to pin that trend down.
Google offers a wacky little (free) service called Google Trends (http://www.google.com/trends). It lets you enter a topic (Madonna, US Open Sudden Death, Maple Leafs, naked Paris Hilton, etc.) and see how often it's been searched on Google over time, and in various countries (and even cities).

In an attempt to further delay doing any productive work, I recently searched for "magazine subscriptions" and generated the attached graph (1 representing the average number of searches during this time frame, number for "All Regions"). A more detailed look at - for example - the 2007 numbers, shows the beginning of a steady climb in interest about 20 October, and then (surprise) a precipitous drop in interest from 24 December.
The data above is worldwide. Below, we've done the same search, but for Canada only with roughly the same result:

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Vélo Québec launches new nature magazine

A new nature magazine, Nature Sauvage (Wild Nature), has been launched by Vélo Québec Éditions. This, according to a story in Infopresse.

The French language quarterly will cover wildlife, the natural world and astronomy in Quebec and across North America and will sell for $5.95 on newsstands.

The new magazine is being launched at the same time as the 20th anniversary of another Vélo Québec publication Géo Plein air, of which it is effectively a line extension. The first edition carries articles on eastern Québec's Moisie River, the beaver and on Québec's oldest national park.

Gino Lepore, directeur général de Vélo Québec Éditions credited his predecessor, Pierre Hamel with the idea for the magazine.

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U.S. News weekly to become biweekly

The traditional newsweeklies have had to adapt or die and have adapted. Maclean's, Time and Newsweek have changed their emphasis to current affairs and analysis and more feature treatments while retaining their weekly frequency.

But according to a story in Media Life, U.S. News and World Report, traditionally the distant no. 3 U.S. newsweekly, is addressing declining revenue and sales by cutting its frequency.

Starting sometime next year, USN&WR will go to a biweekly schedule and leaning more heavily on its college and other kinds of rankings to keep market share.
Over recent years, the magazine has suffered through a series of budget cuts on the print side, but owner Mortimer Zuckerman has been far less willing to invest in the online side than either Time or Newsweek. And as a result the site's growth has not kept up with that of either Time or Newsweek.

In terms of ad pages, the print edition of U.S. News saw a decline of 37.5 percent over the first three months of 2008, according to Publishers Information Bureau.
The move to biweekly had been expected for some time; the magazine had moved in that direction by publishing a number of "double" issues.
Just a few years back, it published just two double issues per year, for a total of 50. That figure crept up to a half-dozen during the last ad recession earlier in the decade. This year the magazine is set to run 16 double issues, for a total of just 36 issues for the year.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Former magazine editor and freelancer writes filmable novels

Rob Hough, who got his start at an associate editor and fact-checker at the long-gone Quest magazine and later was quite successful as a freelance writer for such titles a Saturday Night and Toronto Life, then turned to books. His first novel was The Final Confession of Mabel Stark (2002), based loosely on the life of a lion tamer in th 1920s for Ringling Brothers Circus. Now, according to a posting on Bookcatcher.com, Hough's second novel,The Stowaway, a modern day tale of mutiny on the high seas, has been optioned for film by First Generation Films.

The Stowaway, published in 2004, tells the true-life story of the Maersk Dubai, a container ship in which three Romanian stowaways are found, and then put overboard by the ship's officers and how the crew find a fourth stowaway, and try to keep him alive until they can somehow get help.
The book was Boston Globe Top Ten Book of 2004 and a 2006 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Finalist, is published in Canada by Random House Canada and in the US by Arcade. The Culprits, his latest book, also published by Random House Canada, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book and nominated for The Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.

[Photo by Colin Faulkner]

St. Joe's Tony Gagliano:
"He's shot up like a rocket"

In less than a decade, Tony Gagliano has risen to importance in the world of culture, publishing and philanthropy in Toronto. The Toronto Star on Sunday -- keying it to the Luminato festival in which he has played such a large part -- provided a portrait by Leslie Scrivener of the head of St. Joseph Communications, Canada's largest privately owned printing company and publisher of such well-known magazines as Toronto Life, Fashion, Wedding Bells, Canadian Family and Quill & Quire. Printing is about 60 per cent of the company's business, but Gagliano is becoming almost more important for the impact he has on the city that's always been his home.

The Gagliano name is not widely known in Toronto, though in recent years Tony has become one of the city's most effective, heart-on-his-sleeve boosters. It was Gagliano who came up with the idea of a summer festival, an Olympics of the arts that would be the Canadian equivalent of the Edinburgh International Festival, to lift Toronto out of its post-SARS torpor.

When he teamed up with like-minded David Pecaut, founder of the Toronto City Summit Alliance (which seeks to improve life in the city), the idea became Luminato, the exuberant, 10-day celebration of dance, photography, art, drama and music, which drew one million in its first year. They co-chair the festival, Ontario's largest, which ends this evening.

"He's among the people who make things happen, who run Toronto," says John Macfarlane, the recently retired editor of Toronto Life magazine, which Gagliano acquired when St. Joseph Communications bought Key Media Ltd. in 2002. "It's happened in about five years. I'd say he's shot up like a rocket."

St. Joseph has about 2,000 employees, $306 million in annual sales and four divisions: media, content (for branding and graphic design), documents and printing. It started with a printing press in the basement of the family's house at Dufferin and St. Clair that father Gaetano bought for $500 in 1956

An interesting sidelight to Tony Gagliano's rise was the way he became CEO of his company.
When he turned 70 in 1987, patriarch Gaetano was ready to pass the leadership of St. Joseph, named after the patron saint of Canada and of labourers, to the younger generation. He asked who in the family wanted to prepare a "vision of the business" for the rest of the family and be prepared to defend his or her views. The new president would be chosen by secret ballot.
Three came forward: Gagliano, then 29, his brother Frank and his brother-in-law, Rudy DeSiato. Gagliano won the vote unanimously; even his competitors had voted for him. "They said, `You've earned the first shot at it. But if you don't do a good job of it, we're behind you, but we're also watching you.' It was kind of poetic the way it ended up ... We've never looked back."

Gaetano, now 91 and honorary chairman of the company, still comes into the offices every morning for a half day while his children work in various jobs: Frank is the company's vice-chairman while John is president of the print and documents division. Joseph is a supervisor in printing and binding, Giacinto is an estimator, and Maria is in customer service. Three in-laws and several nieces and nephews also work for St. Joseph.

[Photo: Michael Stuparyk; Toronto Star]

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Quote, unquote: cutting back to essentials

Newspapers still do some things that can't be replaced. Unfortunately, we're about to find out exactly what those things are.
-- Business Week's Jon Fine in a column called "The Daily Shrinking Planet". It's about the increasingly gloomy atmosphere in newspaper executive suites and the prospects for smaller print editions.

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Almost half of Canadians will continue to have low literacy skills, says report

One thing all magazines have in common is the need for a steady supply of people with decent reading skills. But according to the Canadian Council on Learning in a comprehensive study called Reading the Future, more than 15 million people aged 16 and over -- representing about 46 per cent of the population -- will have skills below the internationally accepted standard of literacy by 2031. This according to a story carried by The Vancouver Sun.

Essentially, the report attacks the complacent view of Canadians that adult literacy is getting steadily better; in fact, the proportion of low literacy will remain virtually unchanged projected through 2031.
  • Senior citizens with low literacy skills will double to more than 6.2 million
  • Immigrants with substandard skills will soar by more than 61 per cent
  • The proportion of young adults who have difficulty in reading and comprehension will remain virtually the same.
  • The number of Canadian adults with high literacy skills will increase but won't offset the growing populations of groups with low literacy skills.

"It isn't a good picture and it's contrary to what people had assumed. People had assumed because education is better than it's been in previous generations, and because young people are more literate than older people, that the problem would take care of itself over time, but what this shows is it definitely will not," said Dr. Paul Cappon, president and CEO of the council...."What I'm hoping is that the current conditions that we are describing that give rise to these projections, won't be the case if we do something about it," he said.

The study determined that most adults with low literacy skills feel those abilities are "adequate" for their work, that many have not finished high school, that a large proportion have jobs and that many have negative attitudes toward computers.

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Executive editor becomes EIC for LouLou magazines, French and English

Claude Laframboise has been promoted from executive editor to editor-in-chief of both the English- and French-language editions of LouLou, the shopping title published out of Toronto and Montreal by Rogers Publishing Inc., according to a story in Masthead.

He succeeds Marie-José Desmarais, who remains publisher. Lamframboise began his career in fashion as a runway stylist before joining the team at Clin d'oeil, first as a stylist and later as the beauty editor and later became editorial director of Mariage Québec and Montreal editor of Fashion Magazine.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Where does your favourite U.S. blog fit?

A side trip, today, into the blogosphere. A couple of Vanity Fair staffers have come up with a "blogopticon", a quad-map of the most popular blogs in the U.S., located by whether they're newsy or opinionated, scurrilous or earnest. The thing is actually an advertisement for why the web is so wonderful.

Every icon has a pop-up window that describes the site when you roll over it. Every icon has a direct link to that particular site. While some sites might argue about where they are placed, it's fun to see. And I wonder where we would put -- say -- the various Canadian sites available. (Dibs on the lower right quadrant.) Note that, with the possible exception of Salon and the National Review's The Corner, none of the sites cited are run by magazines.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Quote, unquote: Searching for Alexander's replacement

New magazines are launched weekly it seems, all chasing the lifestyle market, hoping to cash in. A book editor once told me that the critical test for any book was: Is it alive? Under Ken, The Walrus is alive—as a voice in public affairs, as a nurturing ground for dozens of interns, as a standard for editorial excellence, as a haven for writers. Finding someone else who’ll donate $3 million and eighty hours a week to those causes will take a house to house search.
-- -- Writer Don Gillmor, commenting on the Walrus website, about the resignation of editor Ken Alexander

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June launch for swank new international architecture and design magazine

We asked Eithne McCredie of Abacus Circulation about her interesting new gig as Publisher of a new magazine International Design and Architecture (see somewhat related story below) and this is what she told us (adding that she's "very excited" and has been working on this idea for a couple of years):
  • The company that owns International Architecture & Design is called GLP Group which is owned by McCredie, Geoffrey Dawe of the Kontent Group and a 3rd silent partner.
  • The premiere issue (shown) will be off press on June 20th; 116 pages, perfect bound, printed by Transcon in Owen Sound.
  • Distribution will be 50,000 copies to a select list of a strategic partner's client base and the magazine will be available on newsstands.
  • The team that's producing the magazine is Kelvin Browne (editor at large), Carolyn Kennedy (editor), Alix Johnston (associate publisher, advertising sales) and Maria Musikka (production director). Art director is Benjamin MacDonald.
  • Future issues will be theme-based. The Fall issue will focus on "Cities", Winter will be "Resorts" and Spring will be "Country".
  • They're planning a launch party in September, after they've recovered from...er...the launch.
  • Eithne, who is widely known as a circulation consultant, for instance through the Magazines Canada travelling consultants' program, and she will continue to be one.

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Video is hot, but magazines making money from it? That's something else

The magazine industry, according to Time Inc. Studios president Paul Speaker, has the "most underleveraged storytellers on the planet".

“There is no other platform, no other train coming,” Speaker told the Magazine Publishers of America digital video conference (reported by Folio:). He said “brand permission,” a term publishers wary of putting resources into video sometimes employ, is “a rearview mirror term—your audience is consuming more and more video every day.”

While Speaker said magazines were relatively slow off the mark, other panellists said monetization of web video is elusive. David Hallerman, a senior analyst at eMarketer, said spending on online video advertising in 2007 was $925 million, a tiny percentage of the $25.9 billion spent on all online advertising. However, he said it is the biggest growth area and could reach $5.5 billion by 2012.
“For a lot of marketers, video is seen as experimental,” Hallerman said, noting that the top 100 advertisers spent just 3.1 percent of their total advertising budgets online. “Video may not always something you’ll directly make money from, but will help increase traffic and brand awareness.”
One problem, Hallerman said, was that one in three people say online video ads are annoying, and there is a steep drop-0ff in viewing of longer forms.

Even big, well-financed companies are finding online video and online video ads a challenge. An executive with CondéNet, Richard Glosser, said that video initiatives were harder to implement than they at first seemed. Last year, he said, the company concentrated on "putting in the plumbing" necessary to produce high-quality video. “This year, it’s about how to scale the business.”

Victoria Wisdom to head sales for new Zoomer

Victoria Wisdom, a former associate publisher and director of advertising for the late Saturday Night, has been named vice-president sales and marketing for MZ Media and will oversee the launch of the new over-50 magazine Zoomer, which is to debut in October. (While Moses Znaimer took over and is nominally revamping CARP magazine, the change is so dramatic it is actually a launch.) This, according to a story carried in Media in Canada.

In addition to selling the magazine, Wisdom and Al Kingdon, vice-president of retail sales, will also handle advertising for Znaimer's two radio stations, the New Classical 96.3 FM (in the GTA) and 103.1 FM (Eastern Ontario), and AM 740 Zoomer Radio. (Kingdon was previously program director for Hamilton, Ont.'s 820 CHAM, "morning man" at Toronto's Country 59 and newscaster for another Toronto station, 640/The Hog. With 96.3 FM for over a decade, he was appointed sales manager in 2000 and XD retail sales in 2006.)

Related stories:

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Dawe buys out partner in Kontent Group

Geoffrey Dawe has bought out his partner in the Toronto-based Kontent Group ahead of the company's planned launch of a new magazine called International Architecture and Design, according to a story in Masthead. Michael King says simply that the time was right for him to sell his 50% stake and move on. “It all kind of seemed to make sense,” he says.
"Geoff and I are good friends. We’ll remain good friends. And like all businesses it had its up and downs. But at the end of the day—and I think I can speak for Geoff—we’re very proud of what we’ve done.”
Kontent was founded in 2002 and publishes Inside Entertainment FQ and Sir ( the latter two in partnership with Canadian fashion guru Jeanne Beker). Other changes at Kontent, the story said:
  • Shelagh Tarlton, publisher of Inside Entertainment, has been promoted to senior VP and publisher of Kontent Group.
  • Bob Makinson, formerly the art director for FQ and Sir, has returned to the company as creative director for all titles.
  • Alix Johnston, who was most recently at Where Magazine in London, England, is now the assoiciate publisher for International Architecture and Design.
  • Heidi Ferris has been promoted internally from sales promotion director to vice president of marketing for the company.

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Venture Publishing purchases Alberta Oil

Venture Publishing of Edmonton has purchased a quarterly Calgary-based oil and gas publication Alberta Oil. The magazine was launched by Skinnyfish Media in December 2004 and covers the issues of the energy industry for an international audience. The magazine has a circulation of 20,000 and claims a readership of 60,000.

Venture publishes consumer business magazines Alberta Venture and unlimited as well as doing contract publishing.

"Alberta Oil is a great fit for Venture," says Venture president and publisher Ruth Kelly. "It complements our existing roster of business publications and will allow us to drill deeper on this vital sector of Alberta's economy. We look forward to bringing our expertise to this already strong magazine and to increasing its value to its 60,000 influential business readers."

Energy writer and editor Gordon Jaremko, formerly editor of Oilweek magazine, has been appointed editor.The purchase means the magazine will increase in frequency to six issues per year and it will be redesigned by Venture's creative director, Malcolm Brown. The redesigned first issue of Alberta Oil will be released at the 2008 Oil Sands Conference in Edmonton in late September.

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