Thursday, August 31, 2006

Time and Newsweek, old adversaries with a common challenge

The move upstairs for Mark Whitaker, editor of Newsweek magazine for nearly eight years and succession by his deputy and longtime presumptive heir, Jon Meacham, 37 are part of the adjustment that both Newsweek and its crosstown rival Time magazine are going through, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal. They are profitable, but they share a problem.

"Both magazines share a common challenge," says Walter Isaacson, former managing editor of Time magazine and now chief executive of the Aspen Institute think tank. "It's not a question of one beating the other but both being smart enough to reinvent themselves for the 21st century."

Time recently changed its publication day (as did Maclean's before it), but Newsweek has taken a wait-and-see attitude, with the possibility that the publishing date differentiation might be a good thing.

Salewicz is new ROB magazine editor

The Globe and Mail's Report on Business magazine has a new editor, promoted from within (replacing Laas Turnbull, who is now executive vice-president at Brunico): Gary Salewicz has been deputy editor since February 2005, having previously been senior editor at Toronto Life and working at Canadian Art and Canadian Geographic. He's a native of Montreal. Globe editor Edward Greenspon described Salewicz in a staff memo as "A natural leader with great magazine instincts."

Dose's second life online

Dose, the daily magazine that had a short life in print (just a year) at CanWest MediaWorks, but which promised to come back as an online publication, has kept its promise. Media in Canada reports:
"The marketing campaign for, launched this week, kicked off with a medical bracelet cover wrap on the September issue of Vice magazine and a reference to the slogan "What didn't kill us, made us stronger." Included are ads in movie theatres and bars across Canada as well as radio spots and full-colour print ads in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Montreal. Upcoming are more promotions and new features focused on celebrities, nightlife and a new roster of lifestyle brands."

Fun with headlines

We are partial to clever display writing (and suckers for puns and other plays on words), so this week's prize for most wordplay on a single story has to go to Saltscapes in its September-October issue.

The Halifax-based magazine has an eye-catching skybar "popcorn stuffed turkey" which is bound to make people turn inside. When they get there, the regular food column, Marie's Menu, has the following display:
A thanksgiving that pops
The kernel's secret recipe
The following article may not be suitable for all readers, as it contains fowl language. But for those who really love turkey, be "braisen" enough to read on...

But I thought YOU had the money!

"We've been much drunker than this, but the party was so nice that we were lulled into a false sense of security. Everybody was wearing jackets; there was classical music.We didn't think anyone was going to steal our money."
-- Editor Keith Gessen of the New York literary magazine n+1, explaining how, sometime during or after a successful fundraiser, somebody absconded with the $3,000 proceeds. (The fundraiser was being held, in part, to pay off the cost of tote bags (!), themselves a fundraising idea, but which cost more than the magazine expected.)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Verified? Will advertisers say "So what?"

For years, the almighty nature of "paid" circulation, particularly among major U.S. magazines was somewhat inflated by things that counted as paid, but weren't; things like "public place copies" which were neither sponsored nor paid, but found in doctor's offices and places like that. Well, last year, the Audit Bureau of Circulations decreed it would no longer allow such copies to be called "paid", but rather "verified". However, after so many years of hyping the importance of paid, and only paid, magazines (to the chagrin of controlled publishers), has the industry been hoist on its own petard?

Here's an audio conversation about the situation, between Ad Age's Hoag Levin and Nat Ives, the media reporter for Ad Age.

(It's important to note that the "total audience" approach now being touted by big U.S. publishers is one that Canadian consumer publishers have been much quicker to adopt. And it is important to realize, too, that this is something of a tempest in a teapot, since total "verified" circ for all ABC-audited magazines is less than 3%. Still, as Ives points out, advertisers may have their revenge for all those years of pricing based on the golden value of "paid".)

Toronto Star to launch free dowloadable mini-paper in September

The Toronto Star is going to produce a daily afternoon mini-paper available as a dowloadable pdf, following the lead of several European papers, including the Guardian's G24 and the Financial Times. This, according to a story in Media Post. The 8- to 12-page publication will be available at 3:30 every afternoon and can be printed, in colour if available, on standard 81/2 x 11 paper. The launch is scheduled for September 5.

It will contain what you might expect, including top stories, lifestyle material and diversions such as puzzles. Michael Babad, the Star's deputy managing editor, says the goal is "to feed various and sundry reader desires". The paper will also carry banner advertising from five major advertisers who have agreed to support it.

Whether the paper will prove popular among commuters and what impact that may have on casual purchases of magazine single copies remains to be seen. This may seem like one of those crashingly obvious, but ultimately wrong, answers to the question of what will reach readers. Since it doesn't require subscription to the daily (unlike, say, the Financial Times), it may not necessarily be of much help in stemming the erosion of traditional sales.

But, as Star spokesperson Heather Armstrong says, "breaking news is posted to the Internet, and the print newspaper is much more about explaining the context and background of events, answering the question of why things are happening." The newspaper hopes to reinvent itself as a "multi-product platform that services customers with news when they want it, in the ways they want it."

Already, The Star, and more than a dozen other Canadian titles, are available as digital pages suitable for
PCs and tablets from PressDisplay. This is a pay service (with a fee ranging from US$9.95 to US$29.95 a month) and gives access to more than 300 newspapers from around the world.

The proliferation of such services, free and paid, raises interesting competitive questions for magazines, for their websites and for their advertising strategy, regardless of whether they are retailing breaking news.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Quote, unquote (but seriously, folks)

mediabistro:What does an "editor-at-large" do?

Black: I'm a lot like the Queen of England. It's basically a figurehead position. I get to go to all the Cracked polo matches and balls, but I have no actual power. I'm also like the Queen of England insofar as I wear a tiara and carry a scepter.
-- From an interview by media bistro with Michael Ian Black, the new editor of the new Cracked.

More from the librarians

For those of you who liked the inaugural Ask the Librarians column in the blog EmDashes, there's another one (they come out about once a month). As we reported in a post in July, the librarians of the New Yorker answer burning questions of readers such as "Why is there now a Table of Contents?"

Transcon and SAQ start wine quarterly

French language magazines in Quebec that rely on beverage alcohol advertising may soon be suffering the same kind of drought that has been in evidence in Ontario and in Nova Scotia as the government goes into direct competition with them. The Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) and Transcontinental Media have announced the launch of CELLIER, a quarterly, bilingual, high-end publication aimed at consumers interested in learning more about wines and liqueurs. It will include a special section about new products.

Francine Tremblay, senior vice president of consumer publications at Transcontinental Media, said in a press release that the company is very pleased with the partnership with SAQ, in which Transcontinental Media's Magazine Group is the designated publisher of CELLIER and Transcontinental Boucherville is the printer:

"We are proud to be handling the publishing - from concept to completion for each edition, with the SAQ team's input and approval throughout the production process - as well as the printing of this magnificent magazine. The agreement between the government corporation and Transcontinental is highly promising for the future, and this first issue on France will definitely attract attention. Long live CELLIER!"

The editor is Marc Chapleau, a well-known figure in wine circles. The magazine is to present "portraits of the major wine regions around the world; fascinating stories about people inthe industry; articles on a range of topics; capsules on market trends, events and news; practical tips from experts; suggestions of interest to wine connoisseurs; information about wines and the foods that go with them; and trips to wine-growing areas."

About 85,000 French copies and 15,000 English copies will be made available in the 408 SAQ outlets in Quebec or mailed to Courrier vinicole subscribers and consumers transacting on portal.

Magazines Canada has made strong representations to the Ontario government about the impact that the LCBO's Food and Drink magazine has had on liquor, wine and beer advertisingin consumer magazines, criticizing it as unfair competition. Similarly, there is a dispute where Saltscapes in Halifax is suing the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission for not only publishing its own magazine, but stealing an idea that Saltscapes brought to them.

Do you bat left or right?

Maybe we don't get out much, but this is new to us. CLB Media of Aurora, a big trade publisher, posted an ad for an advertising sales person on August 24 on the Mastheadonline job board. Included in it (and posted on the CLB website) is a mandatory pre-screening questionnaire.

1. What interests you about the Account Representative position and why do you want to work for CLB Media?

2. Describe your education and employment experience. Do you believe it will adequately prepare you for this type of work? Please explain.

3. Describe your ideal working relationship with your co-workers. How would you best describe your relationship with others?

4. Please read the two statements below and pick one that best describes you.

a. I prefer taking on one major project at a time, giving time to detail and thus providing accuracy, before taking on another project.

b. I excel best when working under pressure and prefer to take on several jobs at one time.

5. Do you know anyone currently working at Canada Law Book and what is your relationship with them? (If internal applicant, please skip to next question)

6. Please read the two statements below. Pick one statement that best describes you and explain why.

People would describe me as:

a. An outgoing individual who is not afraid to talk to people and can easily spark conversation.

b. An individual who is very friendly and respectful and will talk with others when approached.

6. The salary range for this position is $31,815.00 to $42,420.00. Based on this range, what would be your appropriate compensation and why?

7. Have you ever been convicted of an offence, other than a provincial offence, for which a pardon was not granted or for which a pardon was granted but was revoked?

Hello! launch bash to be a celeb-heavy benefit for children's charity

Hello! (Canada) Publisher Shelley Middlebrook says that the magazine will officially introduce itself with a big splash Sept. 9 during the Toronto International Film Festival, according to an item in Media in Canada: "There will be a celebrity-heavy launch party at U. of T.'s classy Hart House," says the item, "and the mag is teaming with Alliance Atlantis, Air Canada, the Fairmont Royal York Hotel and Yves Rocher to present a prize package of a trip for two to attend the festival. Hello! is also contributing Jeanne Lottie purses to the fest's VIP loot bags, and joining with Rogers to promote events in support of One by One children's charities, with actor Matt Damon hosting the kickoff event during TIFF."

Warrior cover contest cast a wide net

We checked back in at Warrior magazine to see the result of its cover contest and the winner was from St. Petersburg in Russia. Michael Yarovikov is from Krasnoyarsk Siberia, but now lives in St. Petersburg. "My inspiration was: a little bit Russian poster 20th, a little bit surrealistic thinking, plus music from my player kind of (Animal Collective & Death From Above 1979). Now I work as a interface designer & concept artist for video games in Create studios.Beside, I work as a freelance llustrator."

Of course, Montreal-based Warrior is not your normal newsstand kind of magazine, and doesn't pay much attention to such banal distractions as coverlines. But if you want to see where the cutting edge of design and illustration is these days you may be interested in browsing the hugely colourful, winner, runners up and other entries.

Atlantic Magazine workshops announced

The recently formed Atlantic Magazines Association and the Atlantic Journalism awards will together be holding workshops for the magazine industry -- October 3 in St. John's (for Newfoundland and Labrador) and October 5 in Halifax (for Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI). Details of the workshop topics, cost and registration forms can be found at or by calling 902-425-4777. To read a pdf of the St. John's sessions, go here; for the Halifax sessions, go here.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Green, but not just any shade of green...

It gives a whole new meaning to greening. You may want to watch for a new magazine called Verdant, though it won't be available on newsstands until next year. The magazine's slogan is Smarter Choices for Better Living.

The closest that Canada has to such a thing is the excellent Green Living from Key Publishers, but it is mostly concentrated in the Toronto area (the City of Toronto is one of its major supporters). Verdant, on the other hand, has national ambitions, an upscale pedigree and Manhattan attitudes.

It is published by Cottages and Gardens Publishing. (They produce the tony titles Connecticut Cottages and Gardens, Hamptons Cottages and Gardens and Palm Beach Cottages and Gardens.)

"The need for reliable green information has now reached a tipping point as green becomes mainstream," says the magazine. "So-called green articles appear regularly in national magazines and newspapers. Greater public awareness has ignited a demand for a regular and qualified green information source—with no axe to grind and no political agenda (other than showing how to conserve valuable natural resources).

"Verdant will help contribute to the preservation and improvement of our planet's environment by bringing new ideas and information to a sophisticated, modern audience who lead by example in their purchases. Verdant is designed to appeal to readers who are comfortable in their lifestyles but more interested in learning about new ways to live better by making smarter choices that help—not hurt—the environment."

Dwayne Flinchum of the Iridium Group has come up with the handsome, square format design. The editor is Sharon King Hoge, a journalist and former TV broadcaster who has written for national publications such as Conde Nast Traveler, Global Traveler, Forbes FYI and Cottages and Gardens magazines.

Says Ms. Hoge, "Verdant is not a typical environmental magazine. Verdant will reach influential thought leaders and active consumers searching for authoritative answers about implementing greener strategies to improve their lives. We are reaching out to sophisticated readers comfortable in their way of living but anxious to learn how to live with new and better sustainable options."

No word about the subscription price, or frequency, except to say that there will be "limited newsstand distribution" and most circulation will be by subscription. The premier issue in September won't be on newsstands, but polybagged with sister publication Hamptons Cottages & Gardens (HC&G). HC&G is distributed free throughout the Hamptons (the East End of Long Island, NY) and at several locations in New York City. Verdant’s preview edition will be mailed to all HC&G subscribers.

Online? "Verdant is designed as a print publication," sniff the editors. "It is geared toward an audience that enjoys the tactile experience of reading a physical magazine and appreciates high-quality, beautifully produced publications. We are exploring ways to make Verdant’s content available online."

If you want to get on their list for further information, write to or Verdant Magazine, 535 Fifth Avenue, Suite 202, New York, NY 10017.

The short, unhappy life of a shopping mag

In the last 18 months, any magazine publishing company that didn't somehow get on the shopping magazine bandwagon was so yesterday. Not at easy as it looks, apparently, as Hearst announced on Friday that it was closing Shop Etc. The deed was done, according to website, because advertisers just weren't that impressed.

SHOP Etc.'s staffers learned of their demise in the most Hollywood of publishing industry ways: Hearst chief Cathie Black marched into the office on 1790 Broadway, unannounced, and flanked by Hearst exec John Hartig and publishing director Michael Clinton. She called for the staff to be rounded up and summarily delivered the news about the magazine's shuttering. Shortly after Black gave the noon-time news to SHOP Etc.'s 40-odd staffers and corporate cousin Weekend, we spoke with Shop's executive editor Charla Krupp, who was devasted over her magazine's closure.

"This magazine is really on a roll," she tells us. "People are gaga over this magazine. They love it. The women who read it are obssessed with it. ... We just came back from focus groups, who reported it was an A+." But don't confuse Krupp's cheerleading the editorial – staffers "really killed themselves to come up with something new" – as any sort of naivety about the numbers game: "It wasn't a hit with advertisers. ... If you're not a million circulation [magazine], a lot of big companies" don't have any interest. At "just" 675,000 readers, SHOP didn't hit that target."

Quote, unquote

"Yes, we’re both print magazines, but we feel like there’s enough of a distinction between the two.”
-- Stephen Perretta the vice president and general counsel at MagnaPublishing in Paramus, N.J., publishers of Portfolio , an adult magazine that exclusively features black women and was launched in 1991. He was explaining to Women's Wear Daily why Magna wasn't going to sue Condé Nast for its launch of a new business magazine of the same name. (Magna publishes such magazines as Swank, Busty Beauties and Porn's Top 100).

Teachers love their high stress jobs

According to a report in the September issue of Professionally Speaking, the magazine published by the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT), teachers (at least in Ontario) love their jobs, but suffer stress brought on by time constraints, parent complaints, performance reviews and school politics.

Eighty-one per cent of teachers polled in an annual survey carried out by Compas Inc. said they would recommend teaching as a career - a marked jump from the 67 per cent who said the same three years ago.

Twice as many teachers say they are stressed as the run of the population. "Teachers love their jobs and want to do all they can for their students, but they're experiencing enormous stress most of it beyond their control," says Doug Wilson, registrar of the teaching profession's licensing body.

Sixty-one per cent of those who responded cited time as their biggest stressor, followed by parents' blame for student underperformance (56 per cent), school politics (46 per cent) and teacher performance appraisals (45 per cent).

Professionally Speaking is published quarterly and distributed to 195,000 members of the OCT.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Economist tolls death knell for newspapers

The Economist is one of the most successful weekly magazines in the world, with a worldwide circulation of 1.1 million; it sells more than 55,000 copies every issue in Canada. It's popular and influential and when it talks about a trend, people listen. So it is (startling/depressing/nerve-wracking) to have this week's one-two punch (a leading article and the feature that backs it up) about the impending death of newspapers. This doesn't mean that magazine will or must go the same way; they have proved far more resilient and adapatable. But as newspapers go, so goes the attitudes towards print among the chattering classes.

As the leader, or editorial comment, says: "The business of selling words to readers and selling readers to advertisers, which has sustained [newspapers'] role in society, is falling apart."

The magazine ruminates on the loss of public accountability as papers, desperate to hold onto younger readers (and save money) shift away from covering international affairs and politics in favour of softer, lighter, less challenging entertainment, lifestyle and service. But in the end, the editorial says that internet commentary, particularly blogs and "citizen journalism" will take over the role of holding government accountable.

(Come to think of it, the shift about which The Economist is talking is one that magazines have made already; moving from mass vehicles to narrow, specific niches in consumer and b-to-b, providing "news you can use" for the everyday work and leisure lives of their readers.)

The main feature article says that part of the issue for newspapers was complacency:

"Even the most confident of newspaper bosses now agree that they will survive in the long term only if... they can reinvent themselves on the internet and on other new-media platforms such as mobile phones and portable electronic devices. Most have been slow to grasp the changes affecting their industry—“remarkably, unaccountably complacent,” as Rupert Murdoch put it in a speech last year—but now they are making a big push to catch up. Internet advertising is growing rapidly for many and is beginning to offset some of the decline in print.

"Newspapers' complacency is perhaps not as remarkable as Mr Murdoch suggested. In many developed countries their owners have for decades enjoyed near monopolies, fat profit margins, and returns on capital above those of other industries. In the past, newspaper companies saw little need to experiment or to change and spent little or nothing on research and development."

Of course, complacency is never an accusation that could be made about magazine publishers...

(One thing more that's funny is that The Economist, though in classic magazine form, has always called itself a newspaper.)

Is there a softening of support for protective media legislation?

Partway down in a story on the issue of foreign takeovers in Canada in today's Globe and Mail is a short reference to a working paper circulating in Ottawa about loosening up restrictions, even in sensitive areas such as media.
"...the government documents, obtained by Ottawa researcher Ken Rubin, also argue that Canada should consider further reducing foreign investment restrictions, even in sensitive sectors with special barriers: telecommunications, broadcasting, airlines, publishing and banking.

"One internal document, which was marked "secret" and written on Jan. 11, 2006, a couple of weeks before the Conservative election win, said Canada has "lagged behind" in reducing foreign investment restrictions.

"Some parts of the documents were blacked out by government officials before they were released, but the Jan. 11 document concludes that Canada needs more multinational corporations, whether they're foreign-owned or not.One document cites a recent OECD study that found that Canada has the second-highest level of foreign ownership restrictions among the group's countries, after Iceland."

Such trends in government thinking, or at least advice to government (particularly one so enamoured, as this one is, of all things Republican) have been highlighted by similar published morsels in the past. If this indicates backroom thinking on this issue, it will soon enough come out into the light and those who oppose foreign takeovers of Canadian magazine publishing companies should have their ammunition ready.

Of course there are some people in the executive suites of large publishing companies who would think this was a swell idea, particularly if a sellout leads to a big payout. I'm sure they're paying close attention to such documents, too.

American university issue on a roll

While Maclean's is struggling with some blowback from Canadian universities about its methodology for its universities issue, the progenitor of the issue -- produced by U.S. News and World Report -- has enjoyed its absolute best year ever. According to Media Post, it had 82 pages of ads -- a 30 percent jump over last year. The title's web site has racked up more online impressions than in any comparable period(it racked up 8.18 million page views in the three-day period from Friday to Monday, an 110 percent increase over the same period last year.)

Subscription offers we love

To celebrate This Magazine's 40th anniversary year, they're offering their subscribers a chance to renew.

For just $39 for a 2-year sub. [This's regular price is $24.99/year.]

The hook? "Wouldn't it be nice to stay 39 forever?" It's a clever pitch promoting auto-renewal, at a price guaranteed never to increase.

"And -- if you accept this offer now -- two years later, your renewal price will STILL be $39. And two years after that ... still just $39. [...] Say goodbye to inflation."

While this offer may not sound so enticing to some of This Magazine's twentysomething readers, it will probably intrigue many of those who have been renewing their This subscriptions for the past decade or longer.

Neat idea.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hello! debuts this week

Rogers's Hello! magazine should be appearing on newsstands over the next few days. A story about it appears in the National Post today. Curiously, neither the publisher nor the editor is quoted, although Rogers's vice-president of consumer marketing, Tracey McKinley, is. Most of the story pivots around comments from Bill Shields, the editor of Masthead. Rogers announced last December that it would be launching a Canadian edition of the popular U.K. magazine, which is itself an English version of the Spanish original.

[UPDATE: Apparently, the "official" launch of Hello! Canada will be on September 9, in the midst of the celebrity-enriched environment of the Toronto Film Festival.]

[Further update: Thanks to the CBC website, we in the boonies now have a pic of the first issue.]

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Time-ing is everything, or is it?

Michael Calderone in the New York Observer called up a bunch of the big shirts at Time Inc. to talk over the decision by Time magazine to move back its deadline, coming out on Fridays instead of Mondays—returning to the schedule established by Time-founder Henry Luce in 1923. It's of particular interest since Maclean's beat Time to the punch by saying that it was moving its deadline back to come out on Thursdays.

He quotes Richard Stengel, the managing editor of Time: "“All news breaks online anyway. So why are we hoarding things to release them on Sunday night? It just seems crazy.”

And Calderone reports that other Time Inc. titles are thinking along the same line:
Bill Shapiro, managing editor of Life magazine (which is now a weekend supplement in 90 U.S. newspapers) said: “I can’t speak for Time’s readers or what Time’s editors are trying to achieve with this, but we’ve both figured out that the best time to get readers’ attention is on the weekend...From an advertising perspective, Friday is a terrific day to get into someone’s hands.”
Stengel said advertising has nothing to do with Time's decision ("
Advertising has never come up as one of the deciders."): “You are getting information into people’s hands when they are most ready to have it. It is about leadership and steering the debate, and creating the agenda, rather than merely reflecting or mirroring it.”

U.S. TV Guide circ plummets 59%

TV Guide in the U.S. saw its circulation plummet by 59% in the latest six-month results from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), as reported in Media Life. This follows a radical makeover in which it moved from a digest-sized book with substantial cut-price "sponsored sales" to a full-size entertainment and celebrity magazine.

ABC reported a circulation for the magazine of 3,718,175, a decline of 59 percent for the six-month period ending June 30 versus the same six months the year earlier. That puts TV Guide just behind People at 3,823,604.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

New sector, or same old stuff, with a spin?

Is it hype, or has a British publisher identified a new or untapped sector? And will publishers on this side of the pond imitate it?

Magazine publishers are always saying that they are innovators, but somehow following a pack mentality. Hence, the imitative (and unsuccessful) launch of the Weekly Scoop, trying to out-celeb the American competitors. Or Rogers's intended launch of Hello!, producing a Canadianized version of a British (and ultimately Spanish) original. Or the launch of BOBBi, in Canada, claiming to be unique, but really one of a largish crowd of titles aimed at youngish women.

Even when publishers follow someone else's lead, they claim to be doing the same thing, only better. Rarely does a publisher actually do something brand new (Lucky was an example -- a shopping magazine that has been cloned time and again following its launch).

Bauer is a fairly staid player in Britain and the U.S., calling itself the #1 newsstand publisher in the U.S. where it ranges from serving tweens and teens (M, J-14, Twist, Quizfest, Astrogirl, Life Story) to young women (In Touch Weekly, Life & Style Weekly) to baby boomers and beyond (Woman's World, First For Women, Soaps In Depth). In Britain, it publishes weekly titles like Bella, Fate & Fortune, Spirit & Destiny, Total TV Guide, TV Choice, Take a Break.

It has unveiled its first launch in the women's weekly market in 11 years, and is crowing that it has opened up a whole new market sector. It's a newsy (but traditional looking) title called In The Know. It is a mix of hard and soft news aimed at 25 to 35-something Moms. Stories on gritty topics such as Lebanon and Hurricane Katrina vie with stories about finding the perfect pair of jeans, travel and entertainment wrapped up in the look of a classic weekly. With an initial print run of 900,000, it will be supported by a £10 million marketing investment and the magazine will cost £1, according to Bauer.

Bauer have insisted In The Know is not its version of First, Emap's similarly newsy title for women. In The Know, it insists, is "an attempt to develop the weekly market on beyond the staple of celebrity and real life".

"In the Know is an entirely new breed of magazine for today's modern woman," said David Goodchild, Managing Director of H. Bauer. "It creates its own market and is testament to H. Bauer's track record on editorial innovation, in evidence to UK women since the launch of Bella in 1987.

"The concept will be a breath of fresh air to readers, retailers and advertisers alike in a sector that has been cannibalised due to a lack of innovation from recent launches."

So, are women ready for a magazine that takes the news as seriously as its recipes? In Canada, we've already had feature magazines like Chatelaine and Homemaker's which mix serious issues and lifestyle. But news, particularly in a weekly, is something we don't see, particularly aimed at women. It will be interesting to see if this idea takes off over there.

Because, then, sure as shooting, we'll see something like it over here. Even if it's not a weekly,

U.S. single copy sales down 4%

"In a country where you have 22 magazines telling you about shoes, you know that all 22 magazines can't have a circulation of a million." -- Samir Husni (Mr. Magazine) commenting on the slump revealed by preliminary ABC results on U.S. magazine single copy sales.

According to Reuters: "Newsstands sold fewer magazines in the first half of 2006 compared with a year ago, as some markets were saturated with too many offerings while others had to compete with the Web."

Single-copy sales of magazines fell more than 4 percent to about 48.7 million copies in the first half of 2006, according to preliminary figures provided by U.S. magazine publishers to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Over all, circulation (including subscriptions) was up 2% for the same period.

Among news weeklies, Time magazine reported the biggest fall in newsstand sales of 24 percent. The magazine, owned by Time Warner Inc.'s Time Inc., plans to move its publication day to Friday from Monday to attract more readers on the weekend and boost sales.

"Magazine sales have fallen because many readers are spending more time on the Internet, and because of a thicket of similarly-themed titles, said Husni, chairman of the journalism department at the University of Mississippi.

John Harrington, a newsstand sales analyst and publisher of The New Single Copy newsletter, said a softer retail market contributed to the downturn. "There are fewer trips to the store, and magazines rely on impulse sales at retail," Harrington said.

Overall magazine circulation was 378.9 million copies for the six months ended June 30, 2006, up 2 percent from the year-earlier period, according to the audit bureau data.

So You Want to Start a Magazine?

Another in a series of very occasional plugs for the two-day weekend workshop at Ryerson University -- So You Want to Start a Magazine? I'm plugging it, because I teach it. Click on the heading above or on the link at the right to find out more. (Feel free to pass this message along to anyone you know who would be interested.) The next session is Friday/Saturday, September 22,23 and the deadline for registration is Friday, September 15. Cost is $495.

Reach still achieved by traditional means

The buzz and flurry surrounding digital media does not yet reflect the view of most American adults, according to a story in Ad Age. Most can't say what an RSS feed is; many own I-pods but have never dowloaded a podcast. Most reach is achieved through traditional means, for now.

"While marketing prognosticators and technophiles rush into the future, raving about the next big content delivery system or ad model, the fact is most Americans -- notably adults with steady incomes -- still get their content the old-fashioned way," it says. Here's some of the things that were reported by Ad Age:
  • According to Jupiter Research, 7% of American adults write blogs and 22% read them;
  • About 8% listen to podcasts and 5% use RSS feeds.
  • According to a separate study by WorkPlace Print Media, 88% of the at-work audience doesn't even know what RSS is.
  • And recent data from word-of-mouth research group Keller Fay indicate 92% of brand conversations were taking place offline -- far more than the commonly assumed rate of 80%.
  • Only 1% of the country's 210 million mobile-phone subscribers said they choose service providers based on entertainment options, according to Jupiter Research
  • Teens and young adults echoed those sentiments in a recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll. About half were uninterested in viewing TV or movies on their computers, cellphones or hand-held devices.
  • Pew Research Center for the People & the Press surveyed 3,204 adults and found that their online interactions were broad -- but not deep. Those who logged on for news spent an average of 32 minutes online daily, significantly less than the time the same group recorded for other media sources -- 53 minutes watching TV news, 43 minutes listening to news on the radio and 40 minutes with a newspaper.
  • And Universal McCann recently polled what it considers "heavy internet users." More often than not, they said they'd miss TV more than the internet in the case of media withdrawal.
The article points out, however, that we are relatively low on the growth curve and the ways that people get information is more and more complex. So using any of the above as ammunition for denial of the importance or impact of the internet is not wise. Things are changing, just not as much, as fast, or in the way that the leading edge prognosticators are saying.

Watch for BOBBi at an intersection near you

The publishers of UMM (Urban Male Magazine) have published a new magazine, this time aimed at women, according to a story in Media in Canada (published by Strategy magazine).

Publisher Abbis Mahmoud rather grandiloquently says Bobbi, his new publication is "the first complete lifestyle and fashion magazine" for Canadian women 17-34 - one whose differences from other such publications begins with the fact that its covers will always feature men. The first cover subject is actor Matthew McConaughey.

Cover price is $4.95. The press run is 76,000, with 3,750 paid subs apparently pre-sold. One of Mahmoud's intended promotional stunts in cities across Canada is to have the magazine handed out at busy intersections by "BOBBi boys".

Right now, the magazine is served by a microsite of UMM, but will later have its own site:

Canadian Family editor in chief Lisa Murphy resigns

Word is that Lisa Murphy, who joined as editor-in-chief to lead the editorial team at St. Joseph's Canadian Family not quite a year ago, has resigned.

The mission of the repositioned, revitalized Canadian Family was to take a bite out of Rogers's Today's Parent franchise.

[Apparently, we should have noticed this sooner, since the job was posted August 2 on the mastheadonline job board. Missed that.]

Chapters is tops, say shoppers

If you're a trade magazine dealing in retail outlets, or a consumer magazine that's concerned with shopping and retail advertising, the annual Major Market Retail Report (MMRR) study for 2006, carried out by Kubas Consultants is worth paying attention to. It measures the relative performance of over 130 retailers as well as the competitive action in 32 specific product categories by interviewing 1,235 consumers over 18. The report also covers shopper attitudes, store ratings, loyalty programs, e-commerce, advertising, and is used by both retailers and industry suppliers.

The study is based on a major consumer survey of shopping habits and store preferences in Canada's six largest markets - Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa-Gatineau and Montreal CMAs (the VECTOM markets) - which account for nearly half of all retail sales in Canada. The study's results are reported in Centre Magazine, the trade publication for hardware and home retailers. It's published by the Business Information Group.

Consumers told Kubas, among other things that their favourite stores -- based on five performance factors -- were:

- Chapters for Layout & Decor;
- Michaels, The Arts & Crafts Store for Variety & Selection;
- Birks for Customer Service and Merchandise Quality; and,
- Costco for Value for Money.
When taking an average of all performance scores, Chapters comes out on top.

(I realize that, for those of you with a mixed relationship with Canada's largest magazine retailer, this is probably good news/bad news.)

According to MMRR 2006, Canadian Tire is still the most shopped retailer in Canada, attracting 88% of consumers to its stores in the past 12 months. Rounding out the top five most shopped stores are Shoppers Drug Mart, Wal-Mart, Zellers, and Sears.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Balancing act: web now, print later, which stories go where?

From the Wall Street Journal, a discussion of how various weekly magazines (principally news and business, but with some celeb titles) are balancing what they put up immediately on the web and what they hold for their print editions. Advertisers have apparently shown themselves willing to start spending money on the Web, says the story, and magazine companies are hoping to sell package deals to advertisers both online and in print, with the notion that editors are creating content that will drive readers back and forth between the two.

Prospering magazines run by not-for-profits laughing all the way to the bank

Interesting story in the New York Times about how, when some other categories are hurtin', a couple of unusual magazines are doing very nicely, thank you -- AARP and Consumer Reports. Media columnist Richard Siklos writes:

These are not, let it be said, the glitzy magazines that most people normally chat about at cocktail parties or dissect in blogs. Rather, these are solid but quaint titles that offer the inside scoop on why Sally Field is “tiny, talented and terrific at 60” (AARP), or take a white-knuckle road test of “cheaper brands” of breakfast cereals “that match the big names” (Consumer Reports).

Yet there is something to be gleaned from their stealthy success. I say stealthy, by the way, not because these companies are under the radar — they are actually aggressively competitive — but they exist under the aegis of not-for-profit organizations: respectively, AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) and Consumers Union. Both are powerful lobbying groups in Washington.

In the case of AARP, the people on the business side of the magazine are actually part of a for-profit unit within the organization, while the editors of the magazine work in the main no-profit zone. Go figure.

(You'll recall the item a while ago here about ShopSmart, a Consumer Reports spinoff and one a little longer ago about AARP).

UK lad books drooping in British ABC data

The six-monthly ABC circulation scores for British magazines are out, and a good summary is given in the UK Press Gazette.

It was noted that almost all the men's monthlies suffering year-on-year circulation declines, some catastrophic. Dennis-owned Maxim (down 35.8 per cent) suffered most while Emap rival FHM lost just under a quarter of its readers, down 24.9 per cent to 420,688. Stuff, however, gained 19.8 per cent to post average sales of 92,672 in the first half.

The law of unintended consequences at airport magazine stores

The decision to once again allow duty free sales in airports is good news not only for booze and perfume companies but magazine companies, too, according to an item in mastheadonline (reg req'd). HDS Retail, which operates most of the major airport bookshops and newsstands (Relay etc.) was having a heckuva time after last week's measures kicked in and the duty free shops closed for a time. They're not out of the woods yet, however since when people don't buy things like bottled water in the shops, they are also not exposed to the newsstands.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Love and rate cards?

A half-hour comedy, Rumours, about the careers, life and loves of a bunch of people putting out a women's gossip magazine in Toronto (!) debuts on CBC Oct. 9 at 9 p.m. According to Playback magazine, Mose Znaimer executive produces and says the show's universal appeal attracted him. The English version is a relatively straight translation of the hugely popular Quebec version, Rumeurs, uses the same sets and is shot at the same time. Script translation makes allowances for colloquial differences and allows for a few Toronto references. CBC has ordered 20 episodes of the new series.

In Quebec, Rumeurs regularly reaches more than one million viewers and has won multiple awards, including best comedy at last year's Prix Gemeaux. It is currently in production on its fifth season.

"It doesn't matter if it's Toronto, Vancouver or Sao Paulo - the show is about 'big city' themes," says Znaimer, who in another life cofounded Citytv. "Everyone is looking for love; everyone is sweating their careers... and whatever you're doing leads you into traffic and pollution.

It costs just over $300,000 per episode to shoot in Montreal and "benefits from the exceptional leverage you can get when the two productions are actually in process at the same time," according to Znaimer.

Time to come out on Fridays

Maclean's recent decision to change its publication date put it out in front of the wave for current affairs magazines. But not for long. Time has announced that it will be doing the same, according to a story in Folio:
As a first step toward its plan to reformulate its print and online products, TIME magazine has shifted its on-sale date from Monday to Friday, effective January 2007. The change, brings back the magazine's original Friday delivery date established by founding editor Henry Luce in 1923, will affect all editions of TIME and TIME International.

Research done by the magazine shows that pre-weekend delivery will allow readers to spend more time with the magazine. Copies will hit newsstands of Fridays and most subscribers will receive their magazines by Saturday.

The over 5 million circulation magazine recently launched a new intiative to "redefine the relationship between he reader, the magazine, and as a continuous 24/7 experience."

The pre-weekend delivery date gives advertisers a new opportunity to get to access consumers before they do a large majority of purchasing, Managing editor, Ed McCarrick says.

Waste treatment for advertising?

Apparently there is a book about to be published that explains that 37% of all advertising is wasted and that most people who place advertising or pay for it have no idea what they're doing. According to Ad Age, the book, What Sticks: Why Most Advertising Fails and How to Guarantee Yours Succeeds, was written by Rex Briggs, a veteran market researcher and founder of the firm Marketing Evolution, and Greg Stuart, CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

Of course others have been there beforehand:
Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half -- John Wannamaker (1838 - 1922)

Maclean's rankings kerfuffle...why now?

My favourite economist, Zza Zza Gabor is reported to have said: "Darling, when they say it's the principle, not the's the money."

Jim Meek has written an interesting column in the Halifax Chronicle Herald that suggests an underlying reason why a clutch of Canadian universities, led by its largest, has now chosen to contest Maclean's magazine's annual university rankings.

While the focus of the controversy is Maclean's methodology, Meeks says, the reason this issue has come to a head is marketing.

"So, why have 11 of the nation’s top universities decided to take on Maclean’s? And why might others – including the University of Saskatchewan and Western – join the march on the magazine?

"For one thing, everyone’s fed up with Maclean’s refusal to clean up its research act, despite advice from the academic pros. But the real concern is marketing.

"Ten years ago, Canada’s university classrooms were packed to the rafters. Now, we’re entering a world of declining enrolment, falling financial support from governments, and rising tuitions.

"And in this competitive crunch, the Maclean’s rankings are no longer merely amusing; they now have a serious impact on institutional reputation and success.

"Maclean’s shouldn’t abandon the war, mind you. An independent, public assessment of Canada’s universities is still in the nation’s interest – and all that other lofty stuff."

[UPDATE] For yet another perspective, read Charlie Smith's column from The Georgia Straight in Vancouver.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Cracked rises from the dead

Thank goodness for enthusiasts, particularly those with deep pockets. Like the New York lawyer Monty Sarhan who decided to leave the legal profession and acquire and relaunch Cracked magazine. Even he wasn’t convinced at first that it was a good idea, since the magazine had been off the market for two years.

"I said (at first) ‘Not interested. It’s comics. It’s for little kids,’ " Sarhan recalls. But then he saw some potential.

had always been the poor-man's Mad magazine, and Mad is still probably not much worried about it. One hundred thousand copies of the all, new Cracked (also contains dollops of extremely bad taste -- nice to see nothing changes) have hit the U.S. and Canadian newsstands. There, US$3.99. Here, C$4.99.

British Cosmo editor sees Red

Here's a concept, or a phrase describing a concept, that I'd not heard before: "middle youth". It's apparently less than middle age, but older than teen and twenties. That's the descriptor for the target audience of the British magazine Red, published by Hachette Filipacchi. The media conglomerate is crowing about its major coup in scooping the editor of Comsopolitan to come and take Red to greater heights. The story was reported in the Guardian.

Sam Baker, who has been British Cosmo's editor for two years was in on the development of Red but left before it launched almost 10 years ago. Before joining Cosmo in 2004, Baker spent five years heading up Company magazine and before that oversaw the relaunch of teenage title Just Seventeen as J-17. She recently wrote her first novel, Fashion Victim. She has apparently seen more personal potential in Red than Cosmo, which this year is celebrating its 35th anniversary.

"In fact, I remember sitting at my kitchen table working on ideas for the original dummy[of Red]. I'm incredibly pleased to be leading a magazine that has so clearly defined a new market, and am looking forward to building on its already-strong position in the run up to Red's 10th anniversary," she said.

Red recorded a circulation of 219,689 in the most recent ABC figures - its best ever sale and 10th consecutive year-on-year increase, the Guardian said.

Saskatchewan universities may pile on

You couldn't call it a frenzy, but other Canadian universities are now considering turning their backs on the Maclean's university rankings, according to a story on The latest include the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan. You can read the earlier blog item here.

[UPDATE] Three other important universities are standing by the ratings, at least in a qualified way -- University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Guelph.

Georgia, on our minds...and on our screens

For those of you out there interested in typography, here is an interesting article with which I just caught up (published last month) on the growing popularity of the Georgia face. You're reading it now, and it is the typeface that has been used in this blog from day one.

Alice Rawsthorn of the International Herald Tribune, relates how this very new font (as typefaces go) came to predominate in such places as Canadian Magazines and the New York Times.

"Whatever its age, Georgia is an elegant, quietly idiosyncratic typeface, which is a pleasure to read on screen," she says. "even though it is not designed in the minimalist style of lettering that we associate with the Internet. Instead it is one of the serif fonts with decorative squiggles at the ends of the characters that we are accustomed to seeing in print. Georgia's growing popularity is partly the product of typographic fashion, but also reflects deeper changes in our relationship with the screen as our primary source of information."

The font can be downloaded, free, here. And if you want to read a bit more about its origin, you can Wiki it here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Well, that should buy tomorrow's Grande double foam, non-fat latte

Zinio, purveyor of digital magazines, including two Canadian titles, Maclean's ($51.48) and Western Standard (64.84), is providing a fragrant incentive to subscribers: a $5 (presumably U.S.) Starbucks card. It doesn't say that this isn't available to Canadians, so enjoy.

Periodical is old hat: PPE become IPAO

The Periodical Publishers Exchange (PPE), a monthly dinner gathering of independent magazine publishers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), has decided that the word "periodical" is dated and has rebranded itself as the Independent Publishers Association of Ontario (IPAO). (Curiously, the rebranding doesn't include the word "magazine". Apparently this is because one of their members publishes a newspaper.)

The PPE was founded 28 years ago
as a way for independent publishers to network in a friendly and informal atmosphere and for many years the organization was run by the late Peter Perry . Perry, who died in October, also founded the Advertising Executive Redbook Magazine and Canadian Funeral Director magazine. Perry's death prompted a re-think by the organization, which resulted in the name change. [UPDATE: The rebranding was actually discussed at the last meeting that Perry attended, we are told, and he had no objection.]

From a release issued today:

Magazine publishing is not an easy feat and for nearly three decades,independent publishers in the GTA have met once a month to swap stories and share ideas in an informal setting as members of the Periodical Publishers Exchange. "It's incredibly beneficial to sit with fellow magazine publishers and learn from their experiences" said Phil Metford, publisher of CE-Biz and a board member of the newly named IPAO.

As board member Michael Brooke, publisher of Concrete Wave, states, "the name change came about due to a number of factors. We realized that the word "periodical" was a little out of date. Most people use the word magazine. We needed something more up to date." Brooke also cites the fact that the association is made of up of independent publishers and that the new name puts an emphasis on this fact.

IPAO members include both trade and consumer magazines. A yearly membership fee covers the cost of ten dinners. Noted Brooke, "the yearly fee of $600 to belong to the IPAO has paid for itself hundreds of times over. I estimate I saved in excess of $25,000 just by coming to the meetings and listening to the excellent advice from my fellow publishers."
For more information, email or call 905-738-0804

Ad agencies having to adjust, too

The changing media scene is affecting not just magazines but the role of the advertising agency, according to a study released last month by the Winterberry Group.

"Once considered core to the marketing effort (and a trusted counselor to executive decision makers)," said the item in the Centre for Media Reearch newsletter, "the agency has seen its portfolio of responsibilities fundamentally altered; first, by the advent of non-traditional channels, then by the emergence of nimble "specialty" players, including media-specific competitors, interactive shops, management consultants and media buying agencies."

The complete report --
The State of the Agency: Market Transformation & the New Client Dynamic is available by free registration here.

The Winterberry Group is the consulting arm of the Wall Street merchant banking firm Petsky Prunier LLC.

Public places are effective spaces

80 percent of waiting room readers act on ad or editorial content they see in magazines there, according to a new study released Monday by Time Inc. and Mediaedge:cia. It was reported in Media Post. This study meshes with a 2004 Time Inc. study focusing on doctors' waiting rooms.

"They're highly engaged, and they're in an environment where there's less multi-tasking going on and less distractions generally," explained Ian Lewis, Time Inc. vice president for research and consumer insights. "It's a captive audience, and people are picking up the titles that are appropriate in those situations."

Time's January Internet study tracked readership of six different magazines in a sample population of about 5,000 people. Focusing on Entertainment Weekly, In Style, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Parenting, and People, Lewis said "we asked them about a long list of different types of actions they had taken--including actions based on editorial content, actions based on ads, and some that weren't specific, like going to a Web site based on something in the magazine."

Not surprisingly, Lewis recounted, "Parenting is highly read in a doctor's office; InStyle shows up in a beauty parlor"--acknowledging, "of course, the companies seek to place the magazines in these environments. That's the whole point."

85 percent of the 5,000 respondents said they "didn't mind waiting if magazines were available" and 97 percent said "waiting rooms should provide things to read while you wait."

Monday, August 14, 2006

ABC stacks up the numbers

As a result of recent rules changes, business to business magazines can now offer a "Total Audience Reach" circulation report to clients, with the imprimatur of the Audit Bureau of Circulations. This is a cumulative number, stacking together requested, paid, passalong, newsletter and website traffic. Here's a sample report.

"A Consolidated Media Report is not an audit program; rather it is a report format that allows current business publication members, who also participate in ABC’s Pass-Along Receivership Study and ABC Interactive’s Web audit, to inform advertisers about their publication’s overall audience with a conveniently located, ABC-verified report," said the organization.
  • Circulation data is pulled from the business publication’s latest Publisher’s Statement and will be subject to audit during the publication’s annual audit.
  • The Consolidated Media Report has a shelf life of approximately six months. It is updated twice a year, after the release of the business publication’s latest Publisher’s Statement.
  • The approximate cost of the report is between US$250 and $500.
  • The released reports are available alongside ABC Audit Reports and Publisher’s Statements to subscribers of ABC’s e-Data online database.

Big schools bail out of Maclean's rankings

Eleven of Canada's top universities, including several of its largest and oldest, have told Maclean's to take a hike; they will not be participating in the annual university rankings, which they have long complained are arbitrary, unfair and unrepresentative. In the past, some other universities have demurred (and were simply left out of the rankings), but it will be a significant blow to the rankings to have large universities like the University of Toronto, University of Alberta, McMaster and Dalhousie refuse to cooperate.

The special issue of the magazine (and an expanded newsstand-only spinoff) has been a perennial money-spinner for Maclean's for more than a decade. It has been promoted as highly valued by parents and university-bound students for determining which school to go to. (Some universities have also been refusing to take part in a companion survey of graduate satisfaction, on the newsstands now.)

The universities said, in a letter to Maclean's, that they were pulling out because they question its methodology. “In short, the ranking methodology used by Maclean’s is oversimplified and arbitrary,” says the letter. “We find it ironic that universities are being asked to subsidize and legitimize this flawed methodology when many faculty, staff and students at our institutions are dedicated in their research to ensuring that data are collected rigorously and analyzed meticulously.”

The universities are apparently not bailing out because they didn't do well in the rankings: University of Toronto routinely comes out first in various specialty categories; U of A ranked sixth in 2005 in the medical doctoral category. The paradox is that the larger universities can afford to go their own way, relying on their own image and gravitas.

UPDATE: Tony Keller, the managing editor of Maclean's in charge of special projects, told "All of the information is available publicly. So the decision of some universities to say they are not going to fill out an information form that we sent them doesn't really change anything." However, instead of the university administrations crunching the numbers and filling out the questionnaires, now Maclean's will have to pay for research to be done into those publicly available sources. How much this will cramp the project's profitability, only Maclean's knows.

The numbers game

The New York Times's Julie Bosman ruminates today on the trend, in the list-mad magazine business (driven so by the revenues that typically accrue) to make lists bigger. Top 10 long ago became Top 50; Top 50 now routinely becoming Top 100.

Fat and happy for fall fashion

It's September, or at least it is on the newsstand, as the fat fashion books wheel out their blockbuster books. Canada's big two feature TV stars. Fashion magazine (St. Joseph) has Rachel Bilson as its cover girl. Flare from Rogers (sorry don't have an acceptable image) features Elysha Cuthbert from 24.

Rumours that the September Vogue comes with cab fare so you can get it home are probably just envy.

Would your readers rather save money than time?

Since many magazines rely on a) advertising and b) female readers, it is best to keep an eye on what they think.

Women shoppers in the U.S. rely mostly on friends and family (45 percent) as trusted sources to avoid buyer's remorse. The least trusted sources of shopping advice were sales people (39 percent) and advertising (31%). This, according to a national survey carried out by the Consumer Reports National Research Centre on behalf of ShopSmart magazine. (We ran an item last week about the inaugural issue of ShopSmart.)

  • Only one out of four said they would rather save time than save money; 87% said getting the best price was most important to them
  • The average woman spends 7.4 hours per week (385 hours annually) shopping
  • One-third said the most stressful part of shopping were a) waiting in checkout lines and b) interracting with sales people
  • Price was most important when purchasing clothing/groceries (72 per cent); travel (70%) and housewares or small appliances (69%)
  • Price was least important when purchasing lingerie (56%), sporting goods (55%), auto repair (53%), vitamins or supplements (53%) and cosmetics (51%)
While price is an important consideration with shopping, price is least important when purchasing lingerie (56 percent), sporting goods (55 percent), auto repair (53 percent), vitamins or supplements (53 percent), and cosmetics (51 percent).

The survey was carried out in May with 1,264 random women in the U.S. Among those women, the median age was 43 years old; 43 percent had at least a four-year college degree and earned a median income of $54,400. Overall 60 percent of the women were married. The proportion of married women scaled sharply with income. Women with income of $100,000 or more were 67 percent more likely to be married than those earning under $60,000. Slightly less than one-half of the women had a child under age 18 living at home.

Friday, August 11, 2006

From tee to green in a good cause

The New Quarterly,which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary, has always had a friend in centenarian Edna Staebler (left), one-time magazine journalist, author, famous as a cookbook writer (Food That Really Schmecks and More Food That Really Schmecks), well-known for her generosity to arts organizations. Now, Staebler is lending her name to the Edna Staebler Golf Classic, a fundraiser for TNQ, which will publish its 100th issue later this year.

"Grants and subscriptions cannot bear the entire cost of publishing this consistently high quality magazine," said the TNQ letter, announcing the tournament. "Fund-raising is a necessity and we need your help."

A single golfer pays $125, a foursome $500, which includes dinner. Part of that cost is tax receiptable. It's a very forgiving brand of "best ball" golf, so even rank duffers would have a good time. Non-golfers can pay $45 to have dinner at the Grey Silo Golf Course in Waterloo, Ontario and enjoy the fun and the silent auction.

To find out more, telephone 519-884-8111 ext. 8290.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Elle Girl dead, but fulfilled

Circulation bumps can be expected by Seventeen magazine and Cosmo Girl (both Hearst titles) as they pick up parts of the list from the late print edition of Hachette Filipacchi's Elle Girl, according to a story in Ad Age. Elle Girl subscribers are receiving chirpy notices saying: "We're writing to share some good news! Special arrangements have been made with Seventeen magazine to service your subscription for its full remaining term." Elle Girl had about 421,000 active subs when the plug was pulled.

UPDATE: Folio:has a Q & A with Anne Janas, senior vice president of corporate communications for Hachette Filipacchi, Elle Girl's parent company about plans to overhaul Elle Girl's Web site and increase its mobile offerings. The website relaunch is imminent (September), and may set the standard for Teen People, which also dumped its print product and plans to reach teenage girls exclusively online and by cellphone.

Fallouts in family and teen circles in Britain

I'm as fascinated as the next person by the cover line "Crazy lover tried to hack off my head" but it's not as comforting as a perfectly prepared pudding, is it?
Kira Cochrane of the Guardian thus bids goodbye to the British version of Family Circle magazine, aimed at that endangered species, the homemaker.
In recent years...Family Circle has been challenged by a huge group of low-priced women's weekly titles - Heat, Closer, Now, New etc, etc, on and on- all of which shriek their hunger for the biggest audience from their fluorescent covers. Family Circle has tried, valiantly, to keep up. There have been attempts to revamp the title, but the difficulty, it seems, is how to compete without losing the magazine's raison-d'être. Reading the latest issue, the answer seems to have been to try to promote their real-life stories, but with a much softer touch than their rivals.

For instance, this month's most startling "real-life reads!", as plugged on Family Circle's cover, are "Why my ex cooks dinner for me & my new man!" and "Holiday health horror!" All well and good, until you compare them with the other weeklies' cover lines. "Toby's wife BARBECUED him and fed him to the tigers," screams Reveal. Love It! tantalises with "My boob exploded [while] breastfeeding," and, by a pinch, Pick Me Up romps home with the cover line of the week. "A beast ate my baby," it screams, before adding darkly, "but I got the blame."

As for cover stars, while the weeklies offer the usual, phenomenally popular mix of Paris-Posh-Britney-Brangelina, Family Circle features ... a peach cheesecake. An "amazing peach cheesecake - perfect for the summer!", but a peach cheesecake none the less.

* * *

The teenage magazine market is in freefall everywhere, apparently. Emap has suspended Sneak magazine after four years because British teenagers are turning to the internet and mobile phones to get their fix of celebrity gossip."The closure comes just six months after Emap closed one of the UK's talismanic teenage titles, Smash Hits, after nearly 30 years, citing the same reason - the rise of digital media," said the Guardian.

Although Sneak's circulation peaked in the second half of 2003, at 104,174, sales have been in decline ever since, falling most recently to just 74,299.

Mark Frith, editor of Emap's Heat magazine and a former editor of Smash Hits, said the music mag had been caught out by the rise of digital media.

"Today's teens want faster, deeper information about music and can now satisfy their hunger by accessing information on a whole range of new platforms including TV, the internet and mobile," he said.

In 2004, Emap closed its teen stalwart J-17, formally Just Seventeen, after losing one-third of its readers, and in 2005, Hachette's Elle Girl, the spin-off from monthly glossy Elle, was suspended.

Win-win at US

It seems a classic win-win. Jann Wenner needed a partner a while back (February 2001) for his title US Weekly, and the Walt Disney Company bought 50 per cent for $40 million. Now, Wenner wanted to be sole owner again. He got control back and Disney got $300 million for the shares. US Weekly's newsstand sales hit 1 million for the first time this year; 61,000 of them in Canada.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Complicated bearers or cultural icons?

At the recent Canadian Library Association conference, a presentation was made Heather McKend a graduate student in the University of Western Ontario's Faculty of Information and Media Studies. It was called "Complicated Bearers of Cultural Difference": Canadian Magazines and Trade Policy. It is published in the proceedings of the 2006 conference and is illustrated here with a rather confusing PowerPoint slide, which seems to make the point that government cultural policy has moved from protectionism to a strategy of cultural diversity. It also points out that Canada was the first country to ratify the UNESCO convention protecting cultural diversity as a "sovereign responsibility". But I am no further ahead...

Sanati joins Chatelaine as Deputy Editor

Writer and editor Maryam Sanati has joined Chatelaine in a newly created post of Deputy Editor reporting to Editor-in-Chief Sara Angel. Sanati has been freelancing for Toronto Life, writing a fashion column for the past three years, and was deputy editor of the Globe and Mail's Report on Business magazine. She was deeply involved in turning the Friday Review section of the newspaper into 7, an entertainment weekly. Sanati was also managing editor of the late shift magazine. With Sanati's hiring, the senior editorial team is about up to complement, with Executive Editor Craig Offman and Managing Editor Margaret Nearing, formerly M.E. of Marketing

Betty's Cucina

The battle for the hearts and minds of Hispanics heats up in the U.S. with word that General Mills is launching a custom publication called Que Rica Vida (What a Beautiful Life). A story in Ad Age says that 2 million copies of the magazine will be distributed either by mail or through Hispanic retailers.

The new magazine will essentially be going up against another custom publication produced by Toronto-based Redwood Custom Communications, Comida y familia, published for Kraft Foods (the Hispanic version of What's Cooking in Canada and Food & Family in the U.S.)

"Que Rica Vida has content we know is important to Latinos, about education, meals, and health and wellness, with recipes by the Betty Crocker kitchen," said Rudy Rodriguez, General Mills' multicultural marketing director.

Que Rica Vida, created in partnership with Spanish-language contract publisher Editorial Televisa, will come out three times a year. The direct to home version is entirely in Spanish, while the 32-page retail version is bilingual. The first issue includes coupons and nine pages of ads for General Mills cereals and other products.

City and Regional elects new president

Barney Fonzi, group publisher of Diablo magazine, has been elected president of the City & Regional Magazine Association, an organization of 97 primarily paid circulation, general consumer magazines that has several Canadian members, including Vancouver magazine and Okanagan Life. Diablo is based in Walnut Creek, California and serves the affluent communities in San Francisco's East Bay. (CRMA is not to be confused with the International Regional Magazine Association (IRMA) which represents largely tourism- and destination-oriented publications.)

"It is an exciting time to be in a leadership role with the CRMA," says Fonzi. "We continue to see ad pages grow in double digits while other magazine categories are seeing declines due to so many ad dollars being shifted to non-traditional media."

CRMA member magazines have a combined circulation of 4.3 million readers who have over $115 billion in disposable income. CRMA magazines represent a powerful medium for advertisers seeking to reach an affluent, upscale consumer audience.