Thursday, November 29, 2007

Governments shouldn't compete with magazines, says MagsCan

Magazines Canada says governments should not compete with the private sector in publishing magazines. This has always been Magazines Canada's position publicly, but now it is being released as a policy paper that the national association hopes will be adopted by various levels of government.

The policy document springs from various situations where government-funded or -supported magazines associated with government-controlled liquor marketing monopolies have hoovered up advertising that might otherwise have gone to established magazines. A few examples have been written about here previously, including Food & Drink (Ontario), Cellier (Quebec) and Occasions (Nova Scotia).

MagsCan says that governments support magazines culturally and financially, then turn around and compete with them.
When governments, concurrently, compete unfairly with private sector Canadian-content magazines, they undermine the value and effectiveness of these cultural programs.
To ensure ‘fair competition’ and the encouragement of a robust magazine sector across the country, the policy recommends that governments should adopt the following policies:

  1. Magazines published by governments should not sell advertising
  2. Where government agencies publish magazines, that government must ensure the magazine can and does not abuse a dominant position in the marketplace.
  3. Where governments publish magazines, they are encouraged to contract out the business. This business should be competitively tendered and be renewed on a regular basis to ensure continued value to the taxpayer.
  4. If a government agency publishes a magazine, its business affairs should be totally separated from that of the publishing agency and it should be an independent, self-supporting enterprise.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting. Should Industy Associations (which receive government support) compete with the Private Sector?

9:28 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


So it follows that Industry Associations, who receive government grants, should not compete with the private sector, right?

3:56 pm  
Blogger D. B. Scott said...

I will let Magazines Canada make its own response; however, it might be pointed out that there are, by definition, no private sector industry trade associations.

9:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think what the two anonymouses were getting at was the MagNet versus MagsU duel...

11:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clever. But Masthead Magazine is a magazine. It runs a trade show called Mags U.
Magazines Canada is now competing with the private sector and with a magazine with it's show. Do government funders approve of that?
What if the consequence is that Masthead Magazine is forced out of business as a result? Is Masthead a member of Magazines Canada?

10:12 am  
Blogger D. B. Scott said...

Mags U is and has been for some time a public-private partnership between Masthead and a number of industry associations, including Magazines Canada. Public money didn't seem to be a problem then. It must also be remembered that Mags U began as an initiative of the Canadian Magazine Publishers Association, the precursor to Magazines Canada.

3:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an American, I find this whole question bizarre. How many "private sector" magazines get government grants in Canada? I don't consider any government-subsidized publications to be "private sector."

10:33 am  

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