Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Toronto Star to publish Toronto edition of U.S. satirical pub The Onion

The Toronto Star has cut a deal to publish a Toronto edition of The Onion, the U.S. satirical weekly, starting this fall. The deal includes a non-satirical entertainment section offshoot the A.V. Club. It does not involve The Onion's online business in Canada.
The Onion has been shopping around the franchises of its paper for some time, looking for partners who wanted to take on responsibility for ad sales, distribution and administration of the free, city-specific street papers while leaving creation of editorial strictly in hands of Onion's management. This apparently suits the Toronto Star fine and it is therefore the first time that a print edition of The Onion has been distributed outside of the U.S. 
The Toronto edition would include some local content, though it does not typically accept freelance contributions.
The Onion now had 14 print editions, including New York, Washington, Chicago, Denver/Boulder, Philadelphia and Madison, Wisconsin (where it was launched in 1988). The paper has been launched and folded for lack of advertising support in at least two other markets, including  Los Angeles and San Francisco. In the past couple of years it has struck very similar partnerships with mainstream papers: The Denver Post, Austin American-Statesman, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Wisconsin State Journal and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
"The Toronto Star is pleased to enter into this agreement with The Onion," said John Cruickshank, publisher of the Star and president of Star Media Group, in a release. "It is an agreement that benefits both companies and provides the Star's business-related teams with another publication to offer to audiences in the Greater Toronto Area."
"Toronto has long been one of the Top-10 cities for The Onion's online audience," said Steve Hannah, president and CEO of Onion, Inc. "I think it's the perfect place for The Onion and A.V. Club to make their first foray outside the United States. Toronto has a tradition of great comedy as well as being a really smart, cosmopolitan city that has a natural audience for our pop culture coverage as well."
Recently The Star bought the startup digital beauty and wellness magazine The Kit, relaunched its street paper Eye Weekly as The Grid  and redesigned and relaunched Toronto.com.

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Anonymous Douglas said...

Cant wait! Congrats for taking the leap Toronto Star.

1:48 pm  
Anonymous Douglas#2 (i.e., anonymous) said...

Something deeply wrong about this. Why is it that some (hello, Douglas) take a c'est la vie -- or even pants-wetting -- approach to the Star's new arrangement and yet if it were The Globe and Mail announcing it we'd have some serious grumbling (not least by Phillip Crawley, who'd be gagged and bound in the corner before ever letting this happen.) Why? Because this arrangement would be "beneath" the Globe. Not the Star, though. The Onion is brilliant, I agree, but this does not enhance the Star brand. It underscores its moral nihilism (or hypocrisy, take your pick).

But, I could be wrong.

11:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Douglas#2 - It's not really a Toronto Star brand question, but a Star Media Group brand question. (I'm not sure why Cruickshank linked it to the newspaper - bad press release writing?)

In the other markets where I have seen it, The Onion is a standalone weekly that is not linked to the local newspaper. It will not affect The Star unless they do something odd like slap their logo on it somewhere.

11:49 am  

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