Friday, June 30, 2006
It is part of a larger series of song, dance and the spoken word throughout the summer in support of THE QUILT: A Breast Cancer Support Project.)
Forbidden Fruit & Forbidding Mushrooms - a pair of rollicking tales on the theme of food performed by Festival story-teller Mary-Eileen McClear. Saturday, July 8 & Saturday, August 12, 11:30 a.m.
Childbirth & Other Complications - stories by writers Carrie Snyder and Marian Engel Award winner Terry Griggs about characters whose experience of giving birth goes comically awry. Saturday, July 29, 11:30 p.m.
Both performances at 55 Downie Street, Stratford (Back of THE QUILT)
Fees and a portion of all proceeds go to THE QUILT: A Breast Cancer Support Project, the only national organization dedicated to raising money for breast cancer support programs. For more information and exact times and locations of all events, go here.
Cost is $18 for Adults , $15 for Seniors & Students (both plus GST and a $5 handling fee). To reserve tickets and for more information call (519) 272-2588
"While Education Minister Sandra Pupatello pledged $7.5 million in new funding for each of the next two years for digital equipment and an additional $10.4 million in "transition" funds, the head of TVO pointedly did not rule out advertising down the road. 'Over the next two years, we'll be placing a great deal of emphasis on building a sustainable business model for TVO, and key to that is building new revenue streams," said TVO CEO Lisa de Wilde.' We have the benefit, the good fortune, of receiving an operating grant (of $45 million) from the government of Ontario every year. But I, like Jeff Skoll who invented eBay, believe you can serve the public interest and you can balance your books.' "Antonia Zerbisias's media column in the Star confirms that de Wilde did not talk about investment in content at all, but didn't rule out ads as a stream of revenue, quoting her as saying:
"This strategy is not ratings based," she said. "This strategy is about educational content aligned with the minister's priorities, where we will be doing something that is unique in the market place."
"The truth is that the Canadian magazine industry can't pay anyone enough money to dress in designer duds twenty-four/seven, so we scrounge for second best," says Kate MacLennan, an assistant editor at Fashion magazine, in an article she wrote for the Vancouver Sun.
"In the film, naive, frumpy and earnest wannabe-journalist Andrea takes a trip down the proverbial rabbit hole and goes from poly-blend peon to couture co-worker with a quick visit to magazine's legendary merch room," says MacLennan. "The merch room, allegedly a fashion columbarium at the offices of Vogue, is where the world's most revered designers dump last season's samples for even the most lowly fashion magazine employees to gorge upon. This is exactly the kind of thing happens at Canada's fashion magazines. Uh, no, trust me, it doesn't."
Canadian fashion magazines have merch rooms, alright, but they're temporary storage locations for clothing borrowed for fashion editorial shoots.
"Once in a while we'll be flowed a cute top (never couture) or pair of jeans from a compassionate clothing rep, and one lucky Christmas Louis Vuitton took pity and sent the country's fashion editorial top dogs (certainly not the interns) cute little handbags, but for the most part we are on our own," she says.
"Otherwise, most Canadian fashion magazine folk squeeze their size 0 through 14 bodies into well-styled vintage, almost-designer pieces (think stores like Zara, H&M and the ilk), locally designed gems, or any designer clothing they are fortunate enough to score at places like Winners."
"I've discovered, as Andrea did, that life in this industry is much easier if you dress well. That much is true. People treat you better when you have on a respectable (and that's respectable on a fashion industry scale) ensemble, but you also feel more appropriate and therefore more confident. That said, I left the movie deeply considering what I felt was its most important message: that clothes can make the woman, but ultimately it's the woman who must make the clothes."
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Third time lucky?
Members submit information through the ABC web site about subs (paid and verified); single-copy sales; rate base; and analyzed non-paid circulation. Publishers can make changes to their figures as they receive updated sales and return figures, but not after the Publisher's Statement covering those months is released.
"The data entered into the Rapid Report system is obviously not audited initially," says the Folio: but reports are available for dowloading directly into Microsoft Excel.
"With ABC serving as an independent third-party administrator of the program, advertisers and advertising agencies know that the data will be credible," says Mark A. Wachowicz, ABC's senior vice president of marketing and sales. "Increasing their reporting frequency will also allow publishers to be more competitive with other media platforms."
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
"Fifty-seven percent [of respondents] said it had caused them to make a purchase or recommend a purchase" for their company, recalled Regina Corso, research director for Harris Interactive. "When someone sees an advertisement in a B2B magazine, it really does spur them to do something."
According to an article in Media Daily News, Harris surveyed 588 execs from 21 different industries. "They all said they go to B2B magazines," Corso said. In fact, of 12 different sources of information, B2B publications were second only to live salespeople in their ability to engage executives.
The Harris study also showed:
- trade shows and expos were very effective, with 70 percent of respondents saying interactions with company reps at industry functions caused them to make or recommend a purchase to their company.
- B2B Web sites in influencing buying decisions. Here, 49 percent of respondents said a web site caused them to make or recommend a purchase for their companies, and 88 percent urged an "integrated" B2B initiative involving print, online, and trade shows.
"Advertisers shouldn't just be focusing on just one B2B platform," Corso said. "They specifically said when they saw an ad in multiple media, it really did make that product top of mind."
According to a story in the Guardian, The PPA has written to Members of Parliament to argue against proposed new legislation. Claire Curtis-Thomas, the Labour MP for Crosby, Merseyside, has called for new laws to govern the display of lads' mags (such as Zoo and Loaded), men's lifestyle magazines and newspapers such as the Daily Sport and Daily Star. She wants magazines and papers containing sexually explicit material to be kept out of sight of children.
But the PPA (an industry trade group that is Britain's equivalent of Magazines Canada) believes existing voluntary Home Office guidelines are stringent enough (e.g. don't put lad mags like Zoo near comics such as the Beano, for instance).
"Magazine publishers and retailers believe the resultant code is strengthened, and its voluntary nature is far more effective and flexible than any statutory regulation, given that standards of taste and decency are constantly changing," the PPA said in its letter to MPs.
"Ultimately it is the retailers' responsibility to sell products, and to use their discretion and judgment as they see fit to display and sell those products, including magazines."
The letter added: "It has been acknowledged that 'lads' mags' do not contain pornographic material, and are not adult materials in the sense that they do not contain such material."
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
The old newsmagazine model was to close the issue as late in the week as possible. For years, Maclean's closed its last edit page sometimes as late as 5 p.m. on Saturday and would often tear apart and remake whole forms late in the week. Once the magazine was printed, this necessitated airfreighting copies to the west coast so it would be on Vancouver newsstands first thing Monday morning. A few years ago, it was decided that this punishing schedule was unnecessary, and that the late nights and weekend work wasn't resulting in a magazine that was any newsier, or beloved, than one that closed routinely at 5 p.m. Friday. And so, it was.
"After nearly 30 years of putting out a magazine every Monday, Maclean's has decided to stop. From now on, we'll be putting out a magazine every Thursday," said the upfront note from the editors.
"Weekly current affairs magazines in North America have been published primarily on Mondays for as long as they've existed. There may have been a rationale for this long ago, but we don't believe the schedule suits the lives and habits of our readers today. The simple fact is that people have more time to read at the end of the week and on the weekend. And since we've increased the amount of content offered in each issue of Maclean's by 50 per cent over the last year, it makes sense to deliver it when readers have more time to enjoy it."
Now, apparently, the idea is to get the jump on the fat weekend papers and the paper will go on sale on Thursdays. Which will mean the magazine will have to close editorial pages on Tuesdays.
Home delivery of Maclean's (and it must be remembered that 97% of the copies go to subscribers) will still depend on the vagaries of the post office, which often doesn't deliver a Monday issue until Thursday. Now, coming out on a Thursday, it is quite possible that some home delivery won't happen til the following Monday. (And gawd help them if Canada Post ever makes good on its threat to cut home delivery back to every other day.)
For now, one has to wonder whether this will make the magazine more attractive to advertisers. It's hard to see why that would be. The nature of the audience is not changing, only the day of the week that the magazine arrives in their mailbox.
[UPDATE] From Maclean's press release on the change:
"We took a look at our audience and our advertisers and we believe that increasing our speed to market will benefit both," says Deborah Trepanier,associate publisher, general manager and vice-president, Maclean's.
The magazine will now arrive fresh on newsstands when buyers are out shopping. Retail traffic is highest at the end of the week. Maclean's newsstand sales were up 36 per cent in the first quarter of 2006 compared to the same period last year, and the magazine expects a further advance as a result of the move.
The results of the admitedly self-serving study were recently reported to the 88-member City and Regional Magazine Association in the U.S and were published in an article in MediaDaily News. It says that consumer who receive unpaid subscriptions to upscale magazines are far less inclined to read them and -- when they do -- they value them less than magazines they pay for.
This has been an argument made for years by paid circ publishers, but there's never been much definitive to go by, except for the fact that controlled books tend to have lower readership in independent research like the Print Measurement Bureau.
The "affluent study" was carried out by Monroe Mendelsohn Research (MMR) and involved 2,250 randomly selected consumers in key markets. (We're not aware of -- but would be glad to hear about -- any similar study having been done in Canada, where controlled circulation is widely used and where newspaper-delivered magazines have proliferated.)
In Dallas, they found that only 4.5% of respondents had "never heard of" paid-circ Texas Monthly, while 80% were "unfamililar" with rival title Brilliant. Similar results were found in Atlanta and Los Angeles. (This, of course, may be yet another proof that branding helps people identify with a magazine, which is why eponymous city magazines or magazines with "Canadian" or "Toronto" in their name generally do better than those that do not).
Susie Love, executive vice president-director of sales and marketing at Emmis, says the company simply wanted to know what impact the incursion of free urban magazines were having on their market, and whether Emmis should also explore that approach. The answer, she says, was a definite "no."
"The reason we did it this was that we kept hearing from agencies and people from the [Magazine Publishers of America] making statements like, 'Does paid really matter?' We're built on paid circulation. And we felt if people are asking that question, we should find the answer."
Love says that following her presentation to the association, "eight or nine" other paid magazines are planning to conduct similar research in their markets.
"Under her old contract, she earned an average bonus of $275,000 a year, based on the performance of Star, the tabloid turned glossy magazine that she oversees, bringing her average annual pay to $1.775 million, " said the Times. "This time, she is guaranteed an annual bonus of at least $500,000, based on the performance of Star, for a guaranteed minimum of $2 million."So speculation (see earlier item here) was just that. Apparently the wunderkind has been able to increase her package even as circulation falls.
Taking the long view
Year over year, these numbers don’t tell us much except who’s up and who’s down in the rankings. But if you keep the long view, there are some revealing trends. So, here are a few selected observations, based on the data from 2001 and 2005.
• Chatelaine magazine has claimed and retained its number 1 position by steady, impressive growth. While there has been a lot of criticism in the industry about things like taking 9 months to replace the editor, it is hard to argue with this kind of performance. In five years, it increased its total revenue 25% to more than $50 million.
• Canadian House & Home ranked 15th in revenue in 2000 and today ranks 6th, having increased its revenue from $12 million to $16 million in the past 5 years (33%).
• Maclean’s was Canada’s 1st magazine in 2000; in 2005 it was 4th. Its revenue went from $40 million to $36 million. But it has to be pointed out that, in 2005 it increased its revenue for the first time after four years of decline. Whether this is the talked-about turnaround? We shall see.
• Reader’s Digest retained its number 3 position, but for the first year in five saw a 5.4% decline in revenue. In 2001, the magazine made $38 million. In 2005, $37 million. In dollar terms, taking inflation into account, it is actually losing ground.
• Flare and Fashion and have traditionally jousted for pre-eminence in the fashion category. Over the past five years, Fashion has been closing the gap steadily. Flare retained its ranking lead (number 9 in 2005, up from 10 in 2001). Fashion moved to 14, from 20 in 2001. In dollars, Flare has increased revenue $3.5 million (25%) from $13.9 million to $17.4 million in total revenue; Fashion has increased revenue by $4.4 million (50%) from $8.7 million to $13.1 million.
• TV Guide has declined 39% in revenue from $28.9 million to $17.7 million in the past five years. Starweek declined by 38% ($13.6 to $8.5 million) and tv hebdo by 26% ($10.5 to $8 million)
• Canadian Living and its French language counterpart, Coup de Pouce together increased revenue 20% over five years ($46.2 million to $55.5 million). Compare this with Chatelaine and its French language counterpart Châtelaine which together increased revenue 31% over the same five years ($50.7 million to $66.3 million).
Monday, June 26, 2006
High stakes advertising; what's the deal?
There are those who would find gambling advertising as distasteful as gambling itself, but you still have to wonder why, if the target audience of Maxim is attractive to promote this business, in Canada, shouldn't such lucrative advertising be running in Canadian magazines too? Yet you don't see it much. One immediately thinks of Toro. The core demographic of gambling is also the core demographic of magazines; in fact, research is showing that the most avid online gamblers are women over 40. Chatelaine, anyone?
Friday, June 23, 2006
*(I was a judge in this category).
UPDATE: Not quite so welcome: the number of misspellings, garblings and misattributions in the captions in the photo gallery that accompanies the site. I'm sure Ernest Hillen wonders who that guy is over his name. Jossage for Gossage? And since he went to the stage so many times, Antonio De Luca of The Walrus was surely known to them.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Two smallish Canadian horse magazines -- HorseLife Magazine, the official publication of Equine Canada and The Racing Journal, a print and online publication which covers thoroughbred and quarter horse racing in Western Canada and the United States -- have signed on with Racing Unified Network (R.U.N.), a wholly owned subsidiary of Toronto-based Sungold International Holdings. R.U.N. will sell advertising to national advertisers on behalf of these publications and their web sites.
It's not just commission that R.U.N. is after. "Most importantly," he added, "as we introduce new advertisers to these publications, we will be establishing the contacts needed for marketing our own between-race video ads that will cycle between our Horsepower® World Pool races. We can offer a unique service by 'bundling' print advertising, flash ads for web sites and eventually video stream ads for our own Horsepower® World Pool product. Horseracing and other equine disciplines is a very affluent and attractive market for advertisers."
He said that this type of sales concept they are not restricted to just horse and horseracing publications. "Eventually we intend to 'bundle' some other sports and leisure publications into the mix as well."(Sungold has two other 100% wholly owned subsidiaries: Horsepower Broadcasting Network (HBN) International Ltd., which sells a pari-mutuel, virtual horse-racing system delivered on video and SafeSpending Inc., an anonymous Internet payment system which allows consumers to pre-purchase spending vouchers for purchases online without divulging any confidential information as would be necessary if one used a credit card or any other traceable transaction service.)
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Canada Post rate increase likely to be 3%
Magazines Canada is not so happy about Greene's comparison of publications mail with the Canada Post business of delivering small packages.
"While we were hopeful that CPC would not increase Publications Mail rates again in 2007,we recognize that a 3% increase as you announced is less dramatic than the increases the sector sustained from 2002 – 2005," said Jamison. "We encourage Canada Post to continue to moderate rate increases in order to maintain and build Publications Mail volume.Meanwhile, the industry is keeping its powder dry. A select group of consumer industry heavyweights have been working on a feasibility study about creating an alternative delivery system. It is highly likely that Canada Post has heard about it.
"We do wish to take issue with the comparison made between postal rates for individual magazines and those available to small business parcels. There are significant differences between these products and the relationship of these business sectors with Canada Post. Magazines are shipped in great volume and provide volume commitments to Canada Post.As part of this relationship, the vast majority of magazines are pre-sorted, saving Canada Post considerable cost. Additionally, magazine delivery standards allow for slower deliverythan business parcels.
"In addition to the Publications Mail category, Canadian magazines contribute millions more in business to Canada Post through first class lettermail, parcel delivery, business reply cards and admail."
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Companies are measured against 13 different indicators including tax generation, pension fund coverage, toxic releases, transparency around political lobbying, ratio of CEO compensation to company's relative earnings, and board diversity. All indicators came from publicly available sources.
Shoppers Drug Mart placed at the top because it paid 100 per cent of its statutory tax obligation, scored 100 per cent in CEO pay relative to company earnings, fully funded its pension plan, had board membership that included three female directors out of 11, and also had a high relative number of female key executives (39 per cent), while showing no subsidiaries in tax haven countries or shareholder conflicts.
The survey found two key areas where corporate Canada is lacking: pension fund coverage and diversity. The survey found that among 145 defined benefit pension plans, unfunded liabilities spiked by 34 per cent last year, growing to 25.6 billion dollars.
The survey also found that only 13 per cent of TSX composite company key executives are female and less than 10 per cent sit on boards. "At the board level, for a society as diverse as ours, Canadian companies have a stunningly low number of visible minorities," Corporate Knights editor Toby Heaps commented. Almost 90 per cent of TSX Composite boards have not a single visible minority among their ranks.
The Hon. David Peterson and the Hon. Jim Bradley were also presented with the Corporate Knights Award of Distinction for introducing the Countdown Acid Rain program in 1985 that initiated a series of actions across North American jurisdictions that culminated in significant reductions of acid rain.
The daily Sun papers seem to be bearing the brunt and, if recent embarrassing hijinks at Sun TV are any indication, there is to be a further merging of news and information resources. (If you're wondering why this is posted on this site, it's because anything that affects the Sun's owners, Quebecor, affects everyone in the Canadian magazine industry.)
Down a ways in the release is the following statement:
The company also plans to expand Sun Media's network of free circulation newspapers, which currently includes 24 hours in Toronto and Vancouver and 24 heures in Montreal.Could it be that the Toronto Sun (and perhaps the other Sun papers) will sooner or later be converted into freebies? Maybe even folding 24 hours and the Sun together?
June Callwood wins intellectual freedom award from Canadian Library Association
“Long before they were safe or fashionable, June Callwood was a courageous and principled pioneer in many social justice causes, especially those involving children and women,” says CLA President Barbara Clubb. “Her efforts have paved the way for others to follow.”
Callwood made her name originally as a feature writer for Maclean's magazine and has written for many Canadian publications as well as being a frequent interviewee on radio and television. But her journalism career has in recent years been somewhat overshadowed by her passionate advocacy work. She is a founding member of many social justice organizations and associations such as the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC), the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, PEN Canada, Feminists Against Censorship and the Writers' Union of Canada.
She has helped found Digger House, a safe haven for homeless youngsters; Nellie's Hostel for Women, a nonprofit organization for women and children in crisis; Jessie’s Centre for Teenagers, a drop- in centre for teenage mothers; and Casey House, the first hospice in Canada to provide support and palliative care for people with HIV/AIDS.
[Thanks to the PWAC blog for reminding us of this honour.]
Monday, June 19, 2006
Desmond, meanwhile, blames anemic ad sales and swirling rumours on jealous backbiting from his rivals, referring to American Media CEO David Pecker as "shifty".
"In an interview with Advertising Age, his more specific accusations included a statement that Time Warner was trying to protect People magazine by "putting out a lot of shit" about OK. And, surprisingly, he claimed that OK will report average paid circulation of 534,000 for the first half of 2006 in its inaugural publisher's statement to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. That would be an astounding success for a new title moving into a crowded market.One of the speculations about Weekly Scoop's closure was that Torstar was frightened off by the whole celebrity area going soft, with a lot of price-cutting. OK was one of those that cut its price recently from US$3.29 a copy to US$1.99.
"What about reports on both sides of the Atlantic that OK sales were soft and uneven? 'You can tell all those wankers to f--k off,' he said cheerily, 'because these are the figures.' "
Meanwhile, over at Media Life, another view of the story. "The copyright fiasco surrounding the launch of new Hachette Filipacchi magazine Shock has descended into a campaign of dueling smears. And it's getting personal."
She met the editor-in-chief Mireille Silcoff (now based in Montreal) while working on Saturday Night. "The quarterly is great fun; it's a literary magazine of ideas, with lots of historical and archival stuff on Jewish traditions of the past," says Brouse, "but the tone is often edgy, comical, and hip/serious, never politically correct, much like Mireille herself. She's the epitome of cool while being painfully bright, and what I thought was simply cleverness has turned out, as seen in this magazine, to be a keen intelligence and concern about community."
Friday, June 16, 2006
Media columnist Michael Wolff wrote about getting a preview from the Guardian's editor Alan Rusbridger. "It struck me first that—even given the Guardian’s campus chic-ness—the U.S. has never been less receptive to the European point of view than it is now. By any measure, to be successful in the U.S. news business is to be staunch, patriotic, defensive. It’s Fox or bust. And it struck me even more forcefully that beyond the difficulties of liberalness, the prospects for literate media—the Guardian being a writer’s paper—were, as everybody knew, nil....
"Not only is it about politics (Rusbridger is looking to launch in the winter to cover the presidential-primary season), but the magazine—meant to be 60 percent derived from the Guardian itself, with the rest to come from American contributors—has a great deal of text unbroken by design elements. This is almost an extreme notion. Quite the antithesis of what virtually every publishing professional would tell you is the key to popular and profitable publishing—having less to read, not more. Even with the Guardian’s signature sans-serif face, it looks like an old-fashioned magazine. Polemical. Written. Excessive. Contentious. Even long-winded.
"This was either radically wrongheaded, or so forcefully and stylishly counterintuitive—and unexpected—that I found myself thinking, light-headedly, that it might define a turnaround in American publishing."
Wolff defined Rusbridger as a "packaging genius". "Unlike American packaging genius, which is about packaging down (resulting in the deterioration of taste as well as attention spans), Rusbridger packages up."
Wolff goes on: "Rather than a lot of readers at a small price, the idea is fewer readers at a greater price (whereas most U.S. magazines discount their subscription price as much as 80 percent). Rusbridger figures that the American Guardian, charging a hefty subscription price, will be in safe financial territory at a 100,000-level circulation. (Advertising, in this approach, is welcome but not the main driver.) In other words, against the trend of all other commercial media (wherein the price the consumer needs to pay or is willing to pay gets progressively lower), the job here is to make the magazine—the writing, the attitudes, the opinions, the content—worth more by being better, smarter, more exclusive.
"Being foreign helps. It’s not a mass-produced American product. It’s imported. Authentic. Hand-tooled. Tasteful. Indeed, in some fine irony in this jingoistic age, its non-American-ness (and, hence, its ability to be anti-American) makes it worth more."
Hey, I can live with the feeling of being an unworthy, obsequious reptile but please don't lie to me. I'm not a baby. I won't come crying because my magazine is not on the plan.So says Reptile, in Rep Life. And who are we to gainsay it? An interesting post about lies, damned lies and media buyers.
How The Walrus works
The contract varies in several ways from standard magazine practice and from the standard contract that, for many years, the Professional Writers Association of Canada has been trying to get the industry to accept.
If a manuscript is accepted, but the magazine decides not to use it, the writer will be paid a kill fee of 50%, the contract says. This is unprecedented. Once the writer has done his or her job and delivered a satisfactory article, most editors agree that payment should be in full.
The Walrus contract also says the magazine will pay a 20% kill fee for articles "where the editor considers a manuscript cannot be made acceptable through rewriting" or if "the Publisher concludes that the information available will not result in a satisfactory story". This, too, is a variant on the standard practice of paying a 50% kill fee. Even at this, most writers will do everything in their power not to receive a kill fee because they assume it means that they are less likely to get more work from the publication.
Payment is another area of possible contention, stating that an invoice is due upon completion of a final draft, with payment to follow "from 30 to 90 days of receiving the invoice". This could mean that three or four months of research, writing and revision would be followed by three months of waiting for payment. A freelancer would be dependent upon a final acceptance by the editor, a matter which is entirely within the editor's discretion, even if the work agreed had been completed.
The contract contains an appendix, headed: "Educational Content in The Walrus", which has clearly been written by or substantially vetted by, a lawyer. This is the part that gives some insight into The Walrus's receipt of charitable status, after a long struggle with the federal tax department to convince it that it was an "educational" enterprise.
"The Walrus magazine is owned and published by The Walrus Foundation, a registered charity, and as such, the magazine must reflect the educational objectives of the Foundation. The magazine must achieve an average of a 70:30 ratio of educational to non-educational content (including advertising) over the year," says a preamble. "The Walrus Foundation has appointed an Educational Review Committee (ERC) comprised of independent academics who report to the Foundation's board of directors on the educational content of the magazine."
The guidelines that follow for the educational reviewers say "Research, facts and arguments can be presented formally, but can also be embedded in narratives. Characters can be explored, but not as ends in themselves; rather, characters are entry points into larger issues and ideas. The content of each article, essay, review, etc. must be meaningful, relevant, and useful from a social, political, cultural and/or scientific perspective. All articles must also strive for excellence in terms of their writing."
For "non-artistic" pieces, for instance, "articles on "stuff" or straightforward profiles... do not qualify". Neither do...
- "Generally 'light-hearted' or humour pieces".
- "Articles that present only an author's opinion."
- "Articles that present information and facts without additional argument."
- "Articles that 'tell a story' -- e.g. an author recounting a personal experience or life event."
- "Articles that are topical or entertaining."
- "The content must either deal with a recognized form of high-end art...or present or exemplify a recognize form of art."
- "Reviews of general arts and entertainment trends are not acceptable."
- "The art presented must be of such a significantly high calibre as to be considered educational."
44% of respondents said that a free vote on the definition of marriage should not be a priority of the federal government. Three in ten say it should be a "minor priority".
Among the 40% of Ontarians who are opposed to same-sex marriage, six-in-ten (60%) say that their religious beliefs are the primary reason for their opposition.
Among all Ontarians, 51% are proud of Canada for making it legal for same-sex couples to get married.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
According to a story in Women's Wear Daily, CEO David Pecker is balking at the terms, particularly in light of the flagging newsstand sales of Star, the publication which Fuller was brought aboard to revitalize. The story says, in part:
"Fuller's contract provides her with $1.5 million per year in base salary, plus bonuses tied to the newsstand performance of Star magazine and other titles. Fuller was guaranteed a bonus of $500,000 in 2004 as an incentive for leaving her job at Us Weekly, but in 2005, she earned only $74,851 in bonus pay, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The trend in Star's single-copy sales suggests she won't be earning much in incentives for 2006, either. Almost all of Star's May and June issues have sold fewer than 700,000 copies on the newsstand, according to competitors' projections, compared with 863,508 in the second half of 2005."[UPDATE] A story in Folio: says that American Media Inc. is considering selling five of its special interest properties, although keeping Star, National Enquirer, Shape and Men's Fitness.
The titles being put on the block together generate about $30 million in operating income: Muscle and Fitness, Flex, Muscle and Fitness Hers (combined U.S. readership of 8 million.), Country Weekly, a 10-year-old weekly with a total readership of 3.3 million) and Mira, the largest Hispanic magazine in the U.S., with a readership of more than 850,000.
[Further UPDATE] In MediaDaily News, the following: "The move comes on the heels of AMI's earlier closing of three titles, Celebrity Weekly, MPH, a car mag, and Shape en Espanol, in an attempt to straighten out AMI's finances. According to Deborah Solomon, senior partner and group research director for MindShare, the closing of some of these magazines spelled hard times ahead for other niche magazines, including men's titles: "What men are reading is car books and computer books, but we've just seen that AMI's car magazine, MPH, which generally targeted young men, is closing. That's not good." Pecker also moved AMI tabloid giant National Enquirer back from New York to Boca Raton, Florida."
Strong dollar chips away at Transcon revenue
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
The Guide is a newsprint magazine; its website states it has a print-run of 30,000. It's distributed in the U.S. and Canada, and also has a presence in Europe and Australia.According to an article in Press Pass Q, an online newsletter for the gay and lesbian press professional, an advertisement has already appeared in The Guide advising readers of the imminent sale. "To The Guide's readers," noted the house ad, Pink Triangle Press is "probably best known as Squirt (www.squirt.org), a worldwide - and news-making - online cruising community that boasts more than 250,000 active members in the U.S., and another 200,000 in Canada, Great Britain, and Australia."
Pink Triangle Press president Ken Popert told Press Pass Q that The Guide initiated discussions last fall.
Conde Nast executive Sarah Chubb, president of CondeNet, was emphatic about defending the "editorial authority" developed over many years by the company: "In a relationship like that with the reader, the divide between church and state has got to be sacrosanct, I think--because they're coming to an authority. There can never be a question what your motives are when you're suggesting something--whether it's clothing or a hotel or a trip or whatever."
Later in the panel, referring to online, she had a different view: ""Things are different on the Internet... when you're not in a top-down relationship with the consumer, we think there are some opportunities for advertising involvement that are actually quite interesting. As long as you're clear about what's going on... you're probably okay." Here Chubb cited social networks like Facebook with heavy user participation as suitable arenas for "advertorial" content."
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
TNS estimates the following results for 2006:
- Internet -- 13%
- Spot TV -- 8.9%
- Outdoor -- 7.7%
- Network television -- 6%
- Cable network television -- 6%
- Consumer magazines -- 3.6%
- Newspapers -- 0.2%
- Business-to-business magazines -- (0.3%)
Monday, June 12, 2006
Ken Thomson dies
The Thomson family wealth was estimated by Forbes magazine to have been just shy of $20 billion. David Thomson, who took over running Thomson Corporation in 2002, will now assume the mantle of Lord Thomson of Fleet (one of the last British hereditary peerages created).
Read more at cbc.ca. Also coverage from the New York Times.
Canadian Heritage will be ending Support for Arts & Literary Magazines (SALM) and making major changes to the Support for Editorial Content (SEC).
A review of the Canada Magazine Fund has been underway since last summer. The report has just been released and can be read here. The report includes recommendations from the consultants, management discussion of the recommendations and deadlines for implementation.
The CMF was created in 1999. The review covers the years 2000 to 2005 and was mandated by the Treasury Board to ensure that the funding (now about $16 million annually) is spent in an efficient and accountable way.
- The support for Canadian editorial content, originally intended to offset the impact of foreign split runs coming into Canada, has been ineffective and should be replaced by an incentive-based system. This may include "the use of a reward of PAP funding or a tax credit for the production of editorial content. Alternate forms of support should be explored, although attention should be paid to ensure that the types of support do not disadvantage smaller and/or less profitable publishers." A study is to be completed by December 2006. This may have a significant impact on large circulation magazines such as Maclean's and Chatelaine which now get a major injection of cash from the CMF.
- If support for arts and literary magazines is to be continued (and that is a big if) then it should be done through the Canada Council, says the report. " The Department believes that funding for arts and literary magazines should be the sole responsibility of the Canada Council, and that the $1M for SALM should be redirected to other components of the CMF. The Department will have one final SALM funding run in 2006-2007 to ensure that there is sufficient time for client groups to be properly notified about the change." (In other words, CMF is putting the $1 million elsewhere in CMF, not giving it to the Canada Council.)
- Mid-range and special interest publications seem to benefit more than other magazines from support for editorial content. A review will be made to rebalance this and direct the money to where it will do the most good.
- An efficiency review will be held on CMF. Administrative spending, which at present runs at 11 cents for every contribution dollar is higher than other areas within Canadian Heritage.
- It is recommended that better data be gathered and published about the industry, but it's not clear by whom. Some suggestion is made that a special run may be asked for from Statistics Canada, although Statscan has already said it will no longer gather raw material from the industry in a "census", but merely ask a limited number of questions from a representative sample of magazines.
Weekly Scoop closed
"This was a difficult decision to make and it is in no way a reflection on the strength of the Weekly Scoop team or the quality of their work," Greg Loewen, vice-president for marketing and new ventures at the Toronto Star, Canada's largest-circulation newspaper, said Monday in a release.
"Our team produced a first-class publication and feedback from our readers has been very positive. However, the ramp-up in newsstand sales has been slower than we had projected."
To read earlier stories on the Scoop, click here and here.
[UPDATE: it was surprising, and a little sad, to hear from a posting in mastheadonline (sub req'd) that the average sell-through of Weekly Scoop was actually something like 35,000 a week, or about 30% of its draw. That's a long way from the target 60,000 Torstar was expecting when it launched.]
Mags Canada announces 2007 date for new conference in cooperation with CMC
As a post last week noted, Magazines Canada and CMC are leaving the partnership that until this year presented Magazines University at the Old Mill in Toronto. This leaves Masthead magazine (North Island Publishing), the Canadian Business Press and the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME) to decide whether Mags U will carry on in a much amended format. It's not altogether clear what will happen to Magazines Week as presently constituted. It took many years to get all organizations coordinating their events into one week, concluding with the National Magazine Awards.
The announcement promises over 50 sessions for magazine professionals in circulation, editorial, advertising, technology, manufacturing and production. It also promises:
* The Magazines Canada International Speaker
* The Small Magazines Spotlight
* The CMC Newsstand NOW! Event
The location will be 89 Chestnut Street in Toronto. More details are promised in the months to come at Magazines Canada and CMC websites.
"There are so many reasons to visit Canada. All travellers are welcome and any traveller can tailor a travel experience that is just right for them," said Susan Iris, vice president, US for the Canadian Tourism Commission. "We have great cities that offer everything from European charm to a modern fusion of culture, and all that is reflected in our food, shopping and atmosphere. We believe that is why so many people are choosing to come see Canada."
The ads consist entirely of black and white portraits of the program's stars shot by famed photographer Albert Watson. The exclusive nature of the buy, are an effort to break through ad clutter and get noticed, Carolyn Kremins, publisher of The Week, told MediaDailyNews. "Every advertiser is trying to be heard, and there's so much clutter that it's so difficult to break through. So it's a great opportunity for an advertiser to own the audience for a week."
There is little pretense now of being a Canadian magazine, except for this occasional kind of somewhat cynical flag-waving. Apparently, Time believes we are suckers for such gestures.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
- There was some truly excellent work shown this year and some laudable wins, such as the gold to Spacing magazine for Best Editorial Package*. This is one night when you realise the breadth and depth of this industry, when you see work you haven't had an opportunity to see. There was a good mix of perennial talent and new, young and exciting writers, illustrators and photographers.
- It was a pleasure to see the late Bill Cameron's article for The Walrus ("Chasing the Crab") on his journey into "Cancerland" win two gold prizes. If there was a dry eye in the house, they are made of sterner stuff than me. Cheryl Hawkes, his wife, made two brief, poised acceptance speeches that did her and Bill credit.
- As usual, the audio-visual presentation of the year's best work was the show's highlight (kudos to Wolfson Bell) and it is something that, at the very least, should be made available on DVD for neophytes and students (and some experienced people) to learn what sort of cream rises to the top.
- John Macfarlane made a gracious and impassioned acceptance of the Outstanding Achievement Award, counselling courage and faith in the power of this creative industry. Even he said his "highlight reel" of tributes from various (unidentified) people went on too long ( note to organizers: not everybody works in Toronto and not everybody knows Wendy Dennis or James Chatto on sight.)
- The program this year was the best we've seen in many outings, clear, readable, funny, elegant. High praise to the editors, Cynthia Brouse and Hélène Valois and the writers and designers, Smith, Roberts & Co.
- The attendees from Maclean's were nonplussed, and not to say a little cynical (bitter?), about receiving the President's Medal (what is usually thought of as Magazine of the Year). Perhaps this was so because the presentation seemed so diffident and offhanded. Unlike previous year, there was no buildup and no explanation of why the panel of judges decided that Maclean's deserved the honour. Perhaps this was a glitch in the script. Whatever, for the Maclonians the prize felt like being named "Miss Congeniality" after being shut out of any gold medals in the event.
- There have been good and not so good celebrity hosts over the years; Scott Feschuk is certainly going to go high on the good side of the ledger -- edgy, funny and entertaining and not taking himself very seriously at all.
- The jokes about silver winners being losers are getting very, very tired. And being nominated at all out of such a huge field really is an honour.
- Some 15 of the 33 awards were without sponsorship, meaning the Foundation had to find the money from entries and tickets.
- As usual, Antonio De Luca, the Art Director of The Walrus, surprised, including making a quixotic plea for magazines to spend money on illustration in order to keep good people from emigrating to New York.
- Once again, the finalists for magazine cover were mostly titles that are either controlled or so obscure that they are rarely seen. None of them looked like they even paid lip service to selling at retail, with such fripperies as coverlines. Of course this is why the Newstand Awards sprang up, to take account of such things.
- The food was generally good and plentiful.
- There was much talk about the fact that The Walrus, which spent a fortune on entries and got 49 nominations and 14 awards (11 gold and 3 silver), bought four (4) tickets to the event and didn't pay for its nominees' tickets.
- It was nice to see Saturday Night receive several awards, as a sort of swan song. Frequent gold medallist Sylvia Fraser spoke for many in the crowd when she said (paraphrasing): "Isn't it nice to hear Saturday Night mentioned so much tonight?"
- And, finally, what's with this trend for a quarter of the audience to drift away to the bar and stiff the last half of the awards? Unless it is for a bathroom break, it should be a rule of good conduct that if you had your bum in the chair at the beginning, the least you can do is have it there when the finale is reached. There is lots of time to drink; they won't run out. And the event was run briskly and efficiently, just over two hours. So, don't be so rude, next time.
A Canadian food mag? Fat chance
Gina Mallet, however, makes again a point that Magazines Canada has made about Food and Drink, the LCBO controlled title that hoovers up a good deal of the marketing budget of beverage alcohol companies in this country (not to mention going after lifestyle advertising in other sectors). She also highlights the knock-down drag-em-out fight between the Nova Scotia commission and Saltscapes magazine, which accuses the government body of theft of an idea and virtually all its alcohol advertising.
She makes the point that tiny New Zealand has become a foodie paradise, exporting all sorts of products and celebrating its excellence, and publishes excellent food and wine magazines (such as Cuisine) that circulate worldwide. Ontarions can barely find their own wines in stores, let alone those from British Columbia. And there is still no national, consumer food magazine of any stature. (Australia's excellent Delicious is coming into North America in a digest format, as a partnership with Reader's Digest.)
Three out of four items of beverage alcohol sold in Ontario is an import and the LCBO seems to like it that way. And it scoops up so much revenue for its own magazine there is little left to support a private sector competitor.
Paul Jones, the former publisher of Maclean's, and now a magazine consultant, is quoted as saying: "If you look at the volume of beverage/alcohol advertising in Canadian magazines 20 years ago versus today, the decline is shocking.
"One of the biggest considerations is that the LCBO, the monopoly vendor in Ontario of most wine and spirits, has made a decision to chase the marketing budgets of the products it sells.
"If you were a distributor of alcoholic beverages in Ontario, would you allocate your marketing budgets anywhere else, knowing as you do the power that the LCBO has to make or break your business?"(Mallet, by the way, says that Magazines Canada submitted a protest to the Ontario government, but hasn't heard back. That's not quite true. The sad story is that it has heard back and the answer is that the government intends to do nothing about the situation.)
Friday, June 09, 2006
Dean Carol Herbert says: "The stories in this magazine represent a small sample of the work done at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, but we feel it's time we started sharing more of our stories with you."
In the inaugural edition, feature stories include Margaret Chan talking about the onerous task of establishing vital connections across the globe to tackle the worldwide risk of a flu pandemic; dentistry students learning to improve communication skills with patients; role models in research and teaching; students making an impact in Africa; and an outreach program inspiring rural youth to pursue careers in health.
Rapport has been sent to over 7,000 medicine and dentistry alumni, partners and friends and the "magazine" can be read online here. You be the judge. Magazine? Brochure? Annual report? Or does it matter?
In this particular column he explains why he's not particularly enamoured of the "beautiful game" (soccer) but is more peeved by people who belittle sports they don't understand.
(By the way, for those who don't know it, cbc.ca is also where Heather Mallick landed after being turfed by the Globe and Mail last year. Wonder why people of this calibre are not finding a platform in Canadian magazines?)
Of course, such an effort was ripe for satire*, and using its own methods against it (see left or, for a more-easily-viewed version, click here).
*We were alerted to this particular send-up by a posting on the This Magazine blog by John Degen, a writer, poet and executive director of the Professional Writers of Canada (PWAC).
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Toro stands firm on Haiti shooting story
Bourque, 57, and a colleague were driving through the gang-controlled district called Cite Soleil in the Haitian capital when they came under fire from gunmen Dec. 20. Their vehicle came to a stop and a Jordanian armoured vehicle drove up in an apparent attempt to block the gunfire.
Bourque was shot in the leg and bleeding profusely. He died later from massive loss of blood, the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti - known by its French acronym MINUSTAH - said Wednesday in a news release.
MINUSTAH also said the Jordanian peacekeepers provided first aid to Bourque at the scene and later used an armoured vehicle to move him to a hospital, adding the entire episode occurred within 40 minutes.The Toro article "questions why the Jordanian soldiers at the scene when the kidnapping attempt occurred didn't do more to get Bourque to a hospital sooner," the magazine said in a statement. The medical help that the UN said was provided at the scene was "of secondary consequence, " Toro said.
Cottage Life magazine won Best Magazine in the medium-circulation category and the Editor of the Year Award for its editor Penny Caldwell. Judges feel Cottage Life has a strong visual package and that
Today’s Parent won Best Magazine in the large-circulation category and Best Display Writing.
Other winners are: Best Front of Book: Toro magazine
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
The following were first place (gold) winners:
- Best editorial -- HazMat Management, Fuel for the Fire. Connie Vitello, Editor
- Best industrial/manufacturing article -- Machinery & Equipment MRO, Curbing the Bad Actors. Carroll McCormick, Contributing Editor; Bill Roebuck, Editor.
- Best professional article -- CAmagazine, Transfert d’appels. Yan Barcelo, Author; Christian Bellavance, Editor-in-Chief.
- Best retail article -- Marketing, The Grown-Up Woman. Rebecca Harris, Staff Writer.
- Best resource/infrastructure article -- Transport Routier, Simple évolution. Steve Bouchard, Rédacteur en Chef; Marco Beghetto, Rédacteur Principal.
- Best agricultural article -- Le Coopérateur agricole, Producteurs de molécules: un métier d'avenir? Nicolas Mesly, Journaliste.
- Best merchandising/marketing article -- Marketing, A Vote for Bleue. Danny Kucharsky, Montreal Correspondent.
- Best profile of a person -- Canadian Lawyer, Redefining the Family. Patricia Chisholm, Editor; Ellen Vanstone, Freelance Writer.
- Best profile of a company -- Far North Oil & Gas, A Nose for Trouble. Jake Kennedy, Author
- Best regularly featured department or column -- Forum Magazine, Vox Clamans. Andrew Rickard, Writer; Kristin Doucet, Editor; Denyse Vezina, Associate Editor.
- Best feature article -- Registered Nurse Journal, Ready or Not. Sine MacKinnon, Publisher; Lesley Frey, Managing Editor; Kimberley Kearsey, Writer.
- Best news coverage -- Canadian Medical Association Journal, Privacy Issues Raised over Plan B: Women Asked for Names, Addresses, Sexual History. Laura Eggertson, Associate Editor, News; Barbara Sibbald, Associate Editor, News.
- Best How-to or series of how-to articles -- Today’s Trucking, Spec by Numbers. Jim Park, Contributor.
- Best art direction of an opening spread or a complete feature -- CAmagazine, Loath to Loan. Bernadette Gillen, Art Director; Jean- François Martin, Illustrator.
- Best photograph -- Canadian Lawyer, Not for Lack of Trying. Einar Rice, Creative Director; Jim Stubbington, Art Director; Liam Sharp, Photographer.
- Best illustration -- CAmagazine, Offshore Havens. Bernadette Gillen, Art Director; Gérard Dubois, Illustrator.
- Best art direction of a complete issue -- Canadian Architect, September 2005. Ian Chodikoff, Editor; Leslie Jen, Assistant Editor; Sue Williamson, Graphic Designer.
- Best website -- Today’s Trucking, TodaysTrucking.com. Marco Beghetto, Editor; Rolf Lockwood, Editorial Director; Martin J. Smith, Webmaster.
- Best cover -- Meetings & Incentive Travel Magazine, Open Concept. Dave Curcio, Creative & Design Director.
- Best issue -- Profit, December 2005. Ian Portsmouth, Editor/Associate Publisher; Kim Shiffman, Senior Editor; Jim McElgunn, Senior Editor; Jennifer Myers, Senior Editor; Marcello Biagioni, Art Director; Sasa Stajic, Associate Art Director.