Thursday, July 31, 2008

Manitoba launches magazine support program

The government of Manitoba has launched a magazine support program for the first time, one which may give qualifying titles up to $15,000 in project support. The program, from the ministry of culture, heritage, tourism and sport,is to assist Manitoba magazine publishers in the areas such as efficiency, productivity, sales and/or over all financial viability, with priority given to projects that are part of a company business plan.

Among the types of projects that could qualify:
  • marketing initiatives;
  • new technological equipment purchase or upgrades;
  • magazine redesign or upgrades;
  • professional skills upgrading;
  • feasibility studies or research; and
  • wages for special temporary staff related to special projects or systems upgrading.
Applications will be assessed by a panel of magazine industry peers.

The program will provide up to 50% of eligible costs to a maximum of $15,000, subject to available funds. Application for the first round is August 15, with projects to be completed by March 31, 2009. Successful applicants will be selected on advice from a panel of magazine industry peers. Funding will be provided in two instalments: 75 per cent of total support upon approval of a project; and the balance upon receipt and review of a final report .

Spacing exec ed to work for Toronto councillor

After five years helping to pilot Spacing magazine in Toronto and being named 2008 editor of the year by the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME), executive editor Dale Duncan is metaphorically crossing the street to work for City Hall, as constituency assistant to Councillor Adam Vaughan. While she is sorting out the issues and challenges in ward 20, she will be replaced at Spacing by Todd Harrison, who is moving up from copy editor to managing editor.

Since Spacing is very much a labour of love, Duncan built a series of freelance gigs, including being a city hall columnist for Eye Weekly and a freelance writer for several other magazines and newspapers.

Spacing is very excited for Dale and the new opportunities that working at City Hall will provide her [said a posting on the Spacing blog]. While the editorial staff is very sad to see her go, we take solace in knowing that City Hall is better off today with such a dynamic public space advocate working from the inside.
[Photo by Rannie Turingan]

U.S. media metric research giants merge; Forrester buys Jupiter

Forrester Research has purchased rival tech and media analysis firm Jupiter Research and its parent company JUPR Holdings fr0m MCG Capital Corporation for $23 million; JupiterResearch has 83 employees and 2007 revenues of approximately $14 million. Forrester says it had $212 million in revenue last year, and has more than 1,000 employees. JupiterResearch will be folded into Forrester’s Marketing & Strategy Client Group, which contributed $46.4 million to Forrester’s revenue in 2007. Release.


Magawards posts photos, winners list and puts out a call for judges

The National Magazine Awards Foundation has published on its website a slew of pictures from the June event (that's Outstanding Achievement Award winner Charles Oberdorf and his lead nominator, Jess Ross, the managing editor of Homemaker's magazine). It has also published a complete list of winners and put out a call for people who would like to be judges and pick next year's winners. And there's the annual survey, in which participants can complaincomment about the number of awards, the catering and the cost of the show.


Magazine pirating site in crosshairs of British and U.S. publishers

Magazine organizations on both sides of the Atlantic are intent on shutting down the cheeky website, reported last week here to have posted full, current issues of many of Canada's largest and most prominent magazines, including Maclean's, Canadian House & Home, Cottage Life and Canadian Living.

According to a story in the U.K. Press Gazette, some of Britain’s biggest magazine publishers are considering suing the website that threatens to be a magazine version of illegal online music sharing sites. displays entire, current and recent, scanned issues of magazines from around the world are available to view in a digital format with page flipping and zoom technology. So far, the Periodical Publishers Association has failed to track down the owner of the site:

James Evans, senior legal executive at PPA, explained: “They’ve made themselves as difficult as possible to get hold of. It’s a case of smoke and mirrors – the website operator is registered in Anguilla in the Caribbean but the ISP, which we think may be hosting it, is based in the US. The main priority is to get the offending content off the website.”

FHM publisher Bauer Consumer Media has said its lawyers are looking into the issue, as have Hachette Fili­pacchi, IPC Media and Condé Nast.

Meanwhile, the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) is also threatening legal action on behalf of its members.

It's a tangled tale; the site is registered to Salveo Limited—a U.K.-based company that sells health and beauty products—and lists its address as a post office box on the Caribbean island of Anguilla—a British territory.

New EIC named to Driven magazine

The new editor-in-chief of Driven magazine, Gary Butler, comes most recently from the promotional publishing side of one of Canada's leading automakers. He was editor-in-chief of Honda: The Magazine and Expressions -- Inspired by Acura. Before that he worked for Multi-Vision Publishing's contract publishing arm on Rev, a men's lifestyle publication produced for Imperial Tobacco, and the on the ill-starred Leafs Nation magazine project. One of Butler's other claims to fame was that he won the Toronto Media Idol singing competition and was a finalist in the national competition.

Butler takes over from interim editor Johnny Lucas who has helmed the magazine since January when several partners in Driven, including the previous editor,Michael La Fave, decamped to launch competitor magazine Sharp. Lucas returns to his previous position as travel editor.

Driven has a circulation of 150,000 controlled copies six times a year (delivered in selected copies of the Globe and Mail); its key page rate is $14,620.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh, and would you wash the manager's
car, too?

[This post has been updated] Wow, you thought things were tough on newsstands on this side of the pond! In Britain, one of the largest supermarket chains is demanding two pages a month of advertising or editorial space in any magazine they carry!

The Guardian has published the text of an e-mail that the Asda chain (which was taken over by Wal-Mart in 1999 and is now the second-largest grocery chain in Britain) sent to all its magazine suppliers. An accompanying story said the grabby retailer has made publishers furious:

Publishers supplying magazines to Asda branded the supermarket's demands "outrageous" and not "economically viable".

However, an Asda spokesman said the email sent to magazine publishers was a starting point for discussion and that the company expected to reach an agreement that suits both sides.

In addition to the free advertising/editorial space, Asda is asking for:
  • a "space contribution" of £10,000 paid to the supermarket chain;
  • a space contribution for each new Asda store opened of £2,500 per magazine title;
  • any new title to pay an "item set up" charge of £2,464;
  • a turnover bonus to the value of 2% of its magazine suppliers' total business to be paid quarterly and backdated to January 1 2008;
  • a "hurdle rate" for new titles carried in stores, so if sales of the magazines are 20% less than forecast the supermarket will be compensated with the difference.
"This comes from an agenda where the supermarket feels magazine publishers are awash with money," said one source. "They [Asda] want to charge sums of money that are totally disproportionate to the number [of magazines] supplied through them."

A spokesman for Asda told "The email sets out a number of proposals aimed as a starting point to begin discussions.

"As with any negotiation, both parties have a wish list which will quickly change as middle ground is sought and an agreement that suits both parties is found."

[UPDATE]Asda has said the demand for editorial space in the magazines it carries was a mistake. According to a report in Campaign magazine:
"Representatives of Asda, magazine distributors and publishers met on Tuesday to discuss the proposals. In the meeting, Asda is understood to have blamed the e-mail on a junior buyer who was naïve and new to the category. Publishers are awaiting new proposals from the supermarket. A spokesman for Asda declined to comment on the seniority of the person who sent the e-mail.

Imitation or inspiration?

On the left, the January 2007 of the cover for the British magazine Wire; on the right, the July 2008 cover of Wallpaper* magazine (whose gimmick is that the logo and coverlines show up only when exposed to sunlight).

The Wire’s editor-in-chief and publisher, Tony Herrington, is not happy, according to CR Blog.
“We know that imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery, but this is daylight robbery,” he alleges. “Someone call the style police.”
Wallpaper* art director Meirion Pritchard says Wire doesn't own shredding.
It happens a lot, people come to similar conclusions from different routes.”
Interestingly, comment on the comparison leaned heavily to praise for Wallpaper*'s better execution and observations that everybody borrows ideas and influences from everywhere.

Evolving audience measurement is too slow for the industry's good, says research chief

Magazine measurement is evolving, acknowledges Betsy Frank, the chief research and insights officer at Time Inc., but in a fragmented and dynamic media landscape, incremental change simply isn't enough:
Our future is dependent on our shifting the conversation from "circulation" to "audience."
In a column for Adweek, Ms Frank says that while the value proposition between consumers and magazine brands has never been stronger, magazines are simply not moving fast enough in finding ways to communicate value to advertisers with a timely, accountable and comparable measurement of audience.
Moving magazine measurement to the next level, then, is imperative for our survival and success.
Magazines have to focus on three, key, audience-based measurements, she says: exposure to the magazine, engagement with the ads and consumer action taken.
Let me be clear: I know that there is value to circulation as a measure of quality, and until we have an audience-based system that we have confidence in, that value must stay top of mind. But "audience" will be the first step toward comparability with other media, and toward our ability to combine them.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ontario Arts Council unveils new
strategic plan

The Ontario Arts Council has unveiled its new strategic plan. Although there are few specifics yet, the plan says that budget increases to most arts sectors will grow by 30% over the years 2007 - 2010. The government of Ontario this spring announced a $15 million increase to base funding over three years. The government's funidng to the OAC will be almost $60 million by 2009/10. There is a dowloadable copy of the whole plan available.

ABC announces price freeze for
magazine audits

The Audit Bureau of Circulations, one of Canada's two leading circulation audit firms (the other being CCAB), announced a price freeze for many of its customers and several revisions to existing rules. It cut in half the costs for many larger Canadian magazines and newspapers and introduced a flat-rate billing model for field audits, effectively freezing rates for the rest, saying it was "responding to current market conditions", according to a story in Media in Canada.

In addition, ABC will unveil several new online filing tools in September that allow publishers to further lower their costs by digitally submitting advance audit documentation and worksheets.

"ABC has typically billed publishers based on an hourly rate," said Michael J. Lavery, ABC's president/MD. "Our new structure uses a flat rate based on the most recent ABC audit. By streamlining some aspects of the audit and automating more processes, most publications will be able to accurately forecast and control their costs."

Lavery added that large metropolitan newspapers would continue to be billed on the hourly model due to the complexity of their audits. Those rates, however, will remain frozen at their 2007 level.

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Rogers offers points deal if people buy Hello! Canada at Shoppers Drug Marts

Canny Hello! Canada buyers can get 10x their loyalty card points between now and December 31 when they buy the magazine at Shopper's Drug Marts. It's yet another demonstration of the marketing clout of Rogers Publishing, which has a separate deal for its health and beauty title Glow with Shoppers, which is also an important newsstand operator.


Top U.S. monthly titles slump
in first half newsstand sales

Newsstand sales of some of the top monthly U.S. titles are down significantly for the first six months of 2008, according to anAudit Bureau of Circulations report, reported by Portfolio media columnist Jeff Berkovici.
Hearst took some big hits, with newsstand sales of Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire and O, The Oprah Magazine all tumbling by double-digit percentages...Meanwhile, Hearst's most profitable title, Cosmopolitan, was "only" down 6.7 percent; I use scare quotes around "only" because that represents a disappearance of around 124,000 copies per issue.
At Condé Nast, Vogue was down 15.1 percent to 383,833 and Glamour dropped 10.4 percent to 676,466. Vanity Fair, which was up 5.8 percent for the half, averaging 375,666.

Ladies' Home Journal posted a gain of 24.5 percent, but that appears to be due to a program of selling discounted copies at Dollar Tree discount stores -- a program that was discontinued when Wal-Mart threatened this spring to throw Meredith Corporation titles off its racks for devaluing their products.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Suzanne Dimma named editor
at Canadian House & Home

Suzanne Dimma, the home design director for St. Joseph Media's Wish, Gardening Life and Canadian Family is leaving to take up the position of editor at Canadian House & Home, according to a story in mastheadonline. She is replacing outgoing editor Cobi Ladner.

Dimma began her career in magazines with H&H in 1995 and was a regular on its TV show; she created her own series for HGTV called Style Department. She also was creative director responsible for the launch of H&H branded products at Eaton’s.
“Suzanne’s strong understanding of our brand, coupled with her passion for design and her experience as a journalist, interior designer and television host, are a great combination,” H&H Media president Lynda Reeves said in a release. “She will bring much to our team and we look forward to seeing the evolution of H&H magazine under her direction. I’m really looking forward to working with Suzanne again.”

Keep up the good work, auditor general tells the Canada Council

The federal auditor-general says the Canada Council for the Arts should keep up the good work. The Council, which is a significant funder of literary and cultural magazines, got a gold star in the review, which is done every 5 years.

The report stated that “the Council has implemented a series of policies and procedures that as a whole ensure that grant applications are processed in a fair, consistent, and objective manner” and that “the Council has an established policy framework and practices to ensure its own independence, as well as to manage conflicts of interest.”

There was also a recommendation, which the Council accepted, that it review the over 140 grants programs it offers in order to make sure they align with its strategic vision. The Council says it will put into place a regular formal process of review.

A full version of the auditor general's report is available.


Graham Scott appointed editor of
This Magazine

A new editor has been appointed at This Magazine, the hardy independent with the left inclination. Graham F. Scott, who has been the magazine's columns editor, assumes the chair being vacated after a little more than two years by Jessica Johnston. She is leaving in mid August to work as a freelance writer and editor while pursuing a master's degree at Ryerson University.

Scott has been a busy freelance writer and editor for the past three years including a year as This Magazine’s columns editor. During this time Graham has also worked as an associate editor with Canadian Business, and as assistant editor of Precedent magazine. Prior to that he was news editor, and then editor in chief, of The Varsity, the University of Toronto’s student newspaper. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and American studies from University of Toronto.

“I am delighted that we have been able to recruit someone of Graham’s ability to the magazine,” says publisher Lisa Whittington-Hill in a release.

[Fair disclosure: Graham Scott is my son.]


Toronto chapter of young editors' network Ed2010 is expanding

Corinna vanGerwen, a senior editor at Style at Home, has been the host for the Toronto chapter of Ed2010, a New York-based networking group for young editors looking to build a career in the magazine business. The organization will now be able to expand its offerings beyond an occasional mixer to have workshops and seminars.

VanGerwen is now named Canadian Director and is being joined by two volunteer staffers: Briony Smith is a staff writer at ComputerWorld Canada who will be Assistant Toronto Host; and Ann Brown who is the editor of Design Edge Canada and becomes Special Events Manager. Further information on the organization can be had by e-mailing to

(VanGerwen's blog of advice about working in magazines, DreamJobTK, is cross-posted with mastheadonline.)


BC anniversary marked by cross-promotion between two BC magazines

Next week, British Columbia celebrates its 150th anniversary and two publications, The Tyee independent online magazine and British Columbia magazine are marking the event with a symbiotic promotion. The first 200 new people who sign up for a free subscription to The Tyee's daily or weekly e-newsletter gets a free copy of British Columbia magazine's special collector's 150th anniversary commemorative issue. Plus a bear poster and a magnet.


Magazines Canada recommends a new deal with Canada Post

A federal panel reviewing the operations of Canada Post has met with a Magazines Canada delegation and the message the panel heard was that Canadian magazines want to be delivered by the post office, if they get a fair shake. Delivering magazines by mail is not an accident, the panel was told, but the result of 150 years of federal government policy.

According to a release from the magazine association, a series of key submissions were made at the meeting last Thursday:
  • There should be a “postal contract” between Canada Post and the Federal Government which clarifies the crown corporation’s roles and responsibilities.
  • An independent regulator should be created to ensure compliance with the “postal contract” and provide for arbitration of disputes.
  • Lettermail Rates should rise with actual delivery costs.
  • Rate increases should be transparent, timely and predictable.
  • Competition should be introduced in magazine delivery.
  • Distance- Related Pricing should be put on hold pending the Panel’s report.

Canada is a huge land mass with a dispersed and relatively small population [the release said]. Few other jurisdictions in the world face the same challenges in moving mail and magazines.

From an industry point of view, our proximity to the US magazine and entertainment industry is a truly unique situation found no where else in the world. This has been a defining aspect of magazine policy for years and for good reason. The US is the world’s largest exporter of magazines and Canada is its largest export market.
The three-member independent advisory panel, headed by Dr. Robert Campbell, President of Mount Allison University,was set up in April. The other panelists are Mrs. Nicole Beaudoin and Daniel H. Bader. It is to complete its review by December 2008.

The Magazines Canada delegation that was invited to meet the panel were:
  • Terry Sellwood, General Manager, Quarto Communications, publishers of Cottage Life and explore magazines, and Vice Chair, Magazines Canada;
  • François Blondin, Business Manager, Production & Information Technology, Transcontinental Media and Chair, Magazines Canada Postal Committee;
  • Michael Fox, Senior Vice President, Rogers Media Publishing and member of the Magazines Canada Public Affairs Committee;
  • Mark Jamison, CEO, Magazines Canada; and
  • Jim Everson, Executive Director, Public Affairs, Magazines Canada.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Unlimited magazine online posts saga of Olympian's comeback

Unlimited magazine of Edmonton publishes an online exclusive concerning the amazing comeback of Canadian Olympic gold medal gymnast Kyle Shewfelt.

In Athens 2004, Shewfelt became the first Canadian to win Olympic gold in men's artistic gymnastics and was preparing for another Olympic run when, last August, he suffered a devastating injury in training. Both his legs were broken and held together with steel pins and plates. His struggle to triumph over the injury is documented in an exclusive behind-the-scenes account at

"Kyle Shewfelt's story will really resonate with our readers," says Dan Rubinstein, editor of Unlimited. "Fortunately, most of them will never suffer this kind of injury at work. But Kyle's passion and drive to beat incredible odds - that's a lesson we can all learn from. He could have quit after that injury. Instead, he began to work even harder."

Saturday, July 26, 2008

What's this? Give the ¿ a name. Win dinner.

What's that thing called? If anything, so far, it's an "upside down question mark", usually found at the beginning of questions in Spanish text. But Emdashes, the New Yorker-loving website, has launched a competition to give it an English name more apt and elegant. It would be nice if a Canadian magophile won the prize, which is dinner for two at the Spanish, Mexican, Ecuadorian, Dominican, &c., restaurant of your choice, or, if you prefer, a beautiful copy of Pablo Neruda's immortal The Book of Questions. The deadline is August 25 and you can enter by e-mail.

Regular readers of this blog will recall that two years ago there was some discussion about the interrobang, a combination of the question and exclamation mark and a close cousin of the thingummy above.

That's us, always on the leading edges of type and usage...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fun with type offered at Calgary evening; no computers allowed

Magazine professionals from in and around Calgary will probably look forward to the opportunity on Thursday, August 14 to talk typography with Janine Vangool, founder and proprietor of Art Central's Uppercase Gallery. The free event, open to the public, is co-sponsored by the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association and it's called Design Pairings.
The networking and learning opportunity -- which runs from 7 to 9 p.m. at #204, 100 - 7th Ave SW -- focuses on pairings: which typeface perfectly suits which image? Plus, Uppercase will have all its best toys on hand: letraset, woodtype, dimensional letters, rubber stamps, stickers, pegboard letters, typewriters, etc. so that people can play with type. No computers—this is all hands-on.
Vangool graduated from the Visual Communications program at the Alberta College of Art & Design in 1995. Her solo design studio, Vangool Design & Typography, was formed the following year. Her client focus remains in arts and culture, creative small business and publishing. Past and current clients include Calgary Opera, ACAD, Ottawa Art Gallery, TRUCK gallery, Art Central, Beyond Magazine and Whitecap Books.


Weekend Briefs: MPA reboots website; newspaper-carried mags prosper

According to items in MediaDaily News:
  • The Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) have relaunched their website with better search, some social networking bells and whistles and a souped-up membership directory
  • Newspaper-delivered magazines in the U.S. are prospering; titles such as the food title Relish and American Profile, both from the Publishing Group of America are doing well and even standbys Parade and USA Weekend are holding steady. PGA is launching a new health and fitness title called Spry this September.
    PGA president Dick Porter said that newspaper-distributed magazines benefit from the immediacy of newspaper content; they accumulate the vast majority of their audience within a very short period, typically less than a week. Porter contrasted that with other monthly consumer magazines, which can take up to three months to accumulate the bulk of their audience.

PWAC joins national conference
with MagNet

The Professional Writers of Canada (PWAC) is integrating its entire national conference into MagNet 2009. That will include its keynote luncheon speech and its awards program, annual general meeting and social events. The writers' organization had already been collaborating with the other partners -- Magazines Canada, Circulation Marketing Association of Canada (CMC) and the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors(CSME) -- on developing seminars and other curriculum for the annual 3-day June even, which anchors Magazines Week.

The PWAC decision has comes soon after it was decided to offer a full range of business-to-business media sessions at MagNet 09.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

The wayback machine

Veteran takes over national ad sales for Walrus and website

The pieces of the "new" Walrus are being put in place; today it was announced in a press release that Don Bradley, CEO of DPS Media Inc. will now handle all national media sales – both the print magazine and the website,

Bradley is a sales veteran with thirty years experience in media sales, including stints at NOW Magazine, CHCH TV, CFMX Classical Music Radio, and Seltech Satellite Sales. He was a partner in Grosvenor Communications, developing tourism-oriented television specials for syndication throughout North America. DPS Media currently handles national print sales for major market urban weeklies, including the Georgia Straight.

Quote, unquote: Building a media company

“We are not a magazine company—we are a media company. We service communities of interest and we surround those communities with magazine, with Web, with mobile, with distribution, with event.”

-- Transcontinental Media senior VP and general manager,consumer publications, John Clinton, quoted in an interview with Masthead.


Green issues a tough sell for U.S. magazines

It's not easy being green (sorry, Kermit), at least for magazines. Recent "green" themed issues of various major U.S. magazines have not fared particularly well, according to a column by Jeff Bercovici in Portfolio magazine. (And the New York Times reported that advertisers are pulling back from green-themed marketing because there is a growing public scepticism.) Bercovici rounded up the following data:
  • Time's green logo-ed Earth Day issue sold only 72,000 single copies; a typical issue sells 93,000.
  • Elle's May green issue sold 275,000 copies, versus year-to-date average of 328,500.
  • Discover sold 86,000 newsstand copies, compared to an average 117,000
The only magazine that didn't take a bath on its green issue was Vanity Fair, [said the column] which reported 370,000 single copy sales for May, only a little below its year-to-date average of 375,666.
Of course, given that producing and distributing print magazines is a fairly non-green endeavor to begin with, selling fewer copies than usual could actually be an environmentally-friendly practice -- provided publishers anticipated the tepid consumer demand and adjusted their print runs accordingly.

Quote, unquote: where is the outrage?

The wife of Conrad Black says that if ostensibly privileged defendants can be baselessly smeared, wrongfully deprived, falsely accused, shamelessly persecuted, innocently convicted and grotesquely punished, it doesn't take much to figure out what happens to the vulnerable, the powerless, the working-class people whose savings have been eaten up trying to defend themselves. Where, she asks,is the outrage and fury?
-- from a press release from Maclean's magazine,
promoting a column by Barbara Amiel


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Business reply fees hiked 9%

For those publishers who are reeling from the distance-related pricing coming in January from Canada Post, you may or may not have noticed that business reply mail rates are going up by 9% at the same time. If you rely on postage-paid reply envelopes to increase response in your direct mail, brace yourself to pay 72 cents for every one that is delivered to you starting January 12, 2009. This year it was 66 cents. Within quite recent memory it was 56 cents. More reasons, if you are doing direct mailings, to make it easy for subscribers to reply online.

We guess it's a good thing that they don't charge BRM fees based on how far away the responding customer mails from. [Don't give them any ideas -- ed.]


Hello! Canada ME Ciara Hunt promoted; Madrid lets her run own show now

The apron strings at Rogers's Hello! Canada magazine have been loosened, allowing Ciara Hunt, up to now managing editor, to run her own show with a promotion to editor-in-chief. This, according to an item in mastheadonline. All content, planning and layout was under control of the Hello! head office in Madrid. But clearly Hunt now knows what they want and how to deliver it.

Readers will recall that the entire editorial team of the franchise, launched in mid-2006, was fired in January 2007. Hunt, previously an editor-at-large, ran a sort of satellite operation, reporting directly to Countess Isabella de Courson, the Madrid-based editorial director of international publishing. (Hello! originated as Hola! in Spain and went on to spin off a very successful British version.)

For Zoomer mag editor, it's all relevance,
relevance, relevance

The term "lunchtime interventions" is new to me. (Apparently this is somewhere between a facelift and letting nature take its course.) I learned the term in a wee video on the new Zoomer magazine website. The site gives some clues to what's going to be in Moses Znaimer's magazine, due out this fall, and what editor Suzanne Boyd is going to deliver. Here's some of what she says:
"Zoomer magazine is differentiated in several different ways. The first would be our dual audience, which is very exciting for an editor. We have 60% women and 40% men and that makes for a better mix. A lot of magazines suffer from formula fatigue and that's because they're so directed to male or female and this way we get to expand our content and be a little more adventurous."
The magazine will have the "CARP section", which will continue to indulge in the form of advocacy on behalf of the elderly and Canadians over 50 that the organization did before Znaimer bought it and put 10,000 volts through it.
"That really differentiates us because people have issues, real life, relevant issues that affect our audience so you get the meat on the bones of the fashion and the glamour and everything that's fun, but you get the real stuff that makes for a more hefty, compelling read."
[At this point, Ms Boyd undergoes a costume change]
"While another magazine might do psychological help, we'll focus on memory, ways of keeping your mind alive and give you tools and things to use. I think other magazines can talk about cosmetics and beauty, but we'll talk about anti-aging, cutting edge things coming from the cosmetics companies, the pharmaceutical companies,"cosmeceuticals", pharamaceuticals and dermatological or surgical advances, whether they are new techiques in facelifts or whether they just happen to be lunchtime intervention techniques you can do quite easily. So it's really focussed on where people are in their lives now, so it's being relevant. Relevance is our key word: relevant, relevant,relevant."
Related Posts:


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

BCAMP seeks new executive director, new project coordinator

BCAMP, the B.C. Association of Magazine Publishers, is looking for a new Executive Director and a new Project Coordinator. Word on the sidewalk is that candidates with some experience of lobbying government and arts councils (eg. the B.C. Government and the B.C. Arts Council) will be looked on kindly.

For many years BCAMP has avoided paying the fare from Vancouver to Victoria where a strong Executive Director might press for tax credits, government advertising in B.C. magazines, proper cultural funding, and generally chat up government functionaries and politicos who know nearly nothing about the huge magazine industry in B.C. (as described by Rowly Lorimer in 2005 in a study available in a pdf).

Prospective candidates should send a note to forthwith.

[UPDATE: According to an item in mastheadonline, Anna Torres resigned from BCAMP as executive director to take a position with Vancouver private company that manages health and science associations.]

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What's yours is mine; digital sharing
site sweeps up titles

[This post has been updated] Maybe those publishers and freelance writers who are wary of the trend towards losing control of digital content online are onto something. Or at least they might be set to wondering if they happened across a site called Essentially, it seems to be an invitation to appropriate pdf versions of magazine pages -- and whole issues -- and make them available to anyone.
Your document will be converted by our system into an interactive publication allowing users from all over the world to read, comment, share and archive articles from your publication until the end of time!
The operative phrase here is "your document". It seems that mygazines's business model assumes that if you can read it on a screen, it belongs to you and you can do anything you want with it.

Users can extract individual articles or parts of articles or even whole issues (with some size restrictions), comment on them, e-mail them, share them on a social network and so on. Articles can be recombined into "mygazines" of their own, then share these with a list of friends, their entire address book or the entire "mygazines community". In other words, anybody, anywhere, anytime.

Although it was not an exhaustive search by any means, we were quickly able to find current or recent issues of Maclean's, Canadian House & Home, Cottage Life, Select Homes, Canadian Living and Canadian Business.

The terms of use make it clear that people who post take full responsibility for having the right to do so and that the people who run (who are not identified anywhere) who are located in the island of Anguilla in the Caribbean, apparently, will be quick to respond if a publisher complains. However, that's beside the point. Where other digital sites are negotiated arrangements with publishers, this site seems to cut out that step and accept uploads from anyone who may wish to make one. As a result, some of the quality is not so good, since uploaders may be using lower-res pdfs.

On the other hand, being a nosey-parker, I love the opportunity to troll through digital editions of magazines I haven't seen.

[UPDATE: The Federation of the International Periodical Press (FIPP) has issued a bulletin to its members around the world, recommending that they check the site and demand that their titles be removed.]

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Flashing cover to get Esquire some attention

“Magazines have basically looked the same for 150 years. I have been frustrated with the lack of forward movement in the magazine industry.”
-- David Granger, Esquire editor-in-chief
Yes, it will flash. And undoubtedly, as the first to do so, the September issue of Esquire with its electronic cover powered by a tiny flat battery, will wind up as a collector's item. And, just as the first holographic cover and the first 3-D cover and the first scratch-and-sniff, die-cut, pop-up cover, it will be a much talked-about gimmick. But one has to wonder whether all the effort and cost (components are manufactured in China and each cover is assembled by hand) might better have been directed into better, more engaging content, investigative reporting and design.

Now celebrating its 75th year, the magazine will produce 100,000 copies of the flashing cover (with the rather mundane message: The 21st Century Begins Now). This amounts to somewhat less than 1/7th of its circ (good luck on getting one on a Canadian newsstand) but in order to do so it has had to strike a special advertising deal. The backside of the cover will have a flashing ad for Ford Motor Company's new mini-van sport utility vehicle the Flex, powered by the same specially produced little battery.

The company that produced the cover is a private company based in Cambridge, Mass., partly owned by Hearst Inc., Esquire's parent. E Ink's technology is used in’s e-book device, the Kindle.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Gillers under fire at CNQ

The summer issue of CNQ (Canadian Notes and Queries) carries a withering attack on the Giller Prize by Alex Good, who may be the only person in Canada to have read (and to admit having read) or slogged his way through the entire Giller shortlist of 2007. In a thoughtful and amusing polemic, he concludes that the Gillers, as an institution administered by a “poisoned pool of peers,” have grown “sclerotic and incestuous.” The effects of the Giller process of culture-making-by-coterie, he suggests, are insidious and widespread, and tend to reinforce the making of a dull semi-official literature consisting of “historical” novels and soft romance stories set in exotic locales. After fourteen years, the Gillers, he writes, have “led to the creation of our own home and native genre: the ‘Giller bait’ novel”:
Giller bait novels are very serious books emphasizing history and geography, generally without any sense of humour, and written in a vague, pseudo-poetically lush and highbrow style. And it’s not only the authors who are being corrupted. Getting the Giller Prize winner has become a ritual for many occasional readers. Indeed the “bounce” in sales provided by being selected for the shortlist is often publicized. But what kind of introduction to the world of Canadian literature does the shortlist provide? How will books like Divisadero or The Assassin’s Song turn anyone on to Canadian writing? As Russell Smith put it in the Globe and Mail, the Giller Prize shortlist is typified by “ecstatically lauded, good-for-you Canadian books . . . that you can’t bear to even begin.”
Stephen Henighan is another critic who writes on the Giller Effect; his column in Geist two years ago provoked cries of foul-play from offended Giller supporters.

CNQ is the venerable literary review published three times a year by Biblioasis.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Explore magazine feature grew into book

What was originally to be a brief, 400-word item in Explore magazine grew into a 7,500-word investigative piece which now has morphed into an 85,000 word book. Fatal Tide: When the Race of a Lifetime Goes Wrong by David Leach, former managing editor at Explore and ex-arts editor at Monday magazine, is being launched on Monday in Toronto.

It tells the story of the controversial Fundy Multi-Sport Race -- a triathlon of trail running, mountain biking and sea kayaking around and across the Bay of Fundy -- which turned from competitive adventure into tragedy, with an ocean storm resulting in the first death of an adventure racer in North America. Not only does it tell what happened in June 2002, but uses it as a framework to explore the psychology of risk taking in the outdoors, the contemporary culture of reality TV and extreme sports and the science and treatment of hypothermia. Its publishers, Viking Press, compare it with bestsellers such as Into the Wild and The Perfect Storm.

The investigative feature “Death by Adventure” was published in Explore in 2003 after six months of research. The book is the result of another five years of research into the facts of the event and also its implications for adventure sport.

Leach, who is now an assistant professor of writing at the University of Victoria, will be at the Harbord House pub in Toronto for a reading, Q&A, sale of copies and launch party for the book starting at 7 p.m., Monday, July 21.

US News unveils major redesign in wake of going biweekly

Just a month after it announced it was going biweekly starting in 2009, U.S. News & World Report this week unveils an extensive redesign of its magazine, with a new logo, typeface, retooled front-of-book and feature well showcasing longer pieces. As the magazine effectively moves from being a traditional "newsweekly" it is also now emphasizing longer, public affairs pieces. The redesign was reported in a story in Folio:

“That new logo you see on the cover is not just a cosmetic makeover,” editor Brian Kelly wrote in a note to readers. “It signals a new era for U.S. News. We're changing the way we think of the magazine...We stopped chewing over last week's events years ago in order to give you more timely perspective and analysis. But the rapid rise of the Internet has caused us to rethink that model as well.”

As part of the new strategy, USN&WR will place even more emphasis on the web, where already generates 5 million unique visitors a month.

Prior to the announced frequency shift, the magazine had cut its rate base from 2 million to 1.5 million, while already having rolled back its frequency from 46 issues per year to 36.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Saves on modelling fees

The current issue of Jewish Living magazine has an image of a woman walking along the street. The blog MyHogtown points out that the woman is Carol Moskot, the creative director of Jewish Living and the former art director of Toronto Life. Moskot and her husband Dan Zimerman moved to New York last year to launch the magazine. The cover feature is about the top 10 Jewish neighbourhoods in North America, one of which is the McGill Ghetto in Montreal.

Canadian magazine ad pages down 3.7%
in 2nd quarter

Ad pages in Canadian magazines are down 3.7% in the second quarter of 2008, according to data compiled by Leading National Advertisers and published by Masthead. This is on top of a 2% drop in the first quarter. Only 31 of 81 magazines tracked showed gains in Q2.

Biggest gainers for the quarter (in terms of ROP pages, which LNA counts) included
  • More (205.7%)
  • Glow (+144.1%)
  • MoneySense (+54%)
  • Canadian Business (+40%)
  • Cottage Life (35.4%)
  • Outdoor Canada (+34.5%)
  • enRoute (+19.9%)
  • Elle Canada (+19.1%)
  • Canadian Geographic (+16.3%)
  • Toronto Life (+13.6%)
Biggest decliners included
  • Tribute (-81%)
  • Madame (-61.2%)
  • Homemakers (-52.8%)
  • Le lundi (-49.5%)
  • Enfants Québec (-49.1%)****
  • Cote Jardins (-46.7%)
  • Inside Entertainment (-26.6%)
  • Les idées de ma maison (-25%)
  • Teen Tribute (-25%)
  • Harrowsmith Country Life (-23.8%)***
  • Explore (-21.7%)
  • Decormag (-20.7%)
  • Canadian Gardening (-20.5%)
  • Fleures Plantes Jardins (-19.4%)
  • Gardening Life (-19%)
  • Châtelaine (-13.7%)
****Published a combined issue May/June 2008, issue published June 2007
***Published a combined issue May/June 2008

Publishers quake waiting for GM to
announce ad cuts

Publishers and agencies are on tenterhooks waiting to see how bad the news will be from General Motors Corp., one of North America's biggest ad spenders, which said Tueday it would be making unspecified cuts to its sales and marketing budget.

According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, General Motors was the fourth-largest advertiser in the U.S. in 2007, spending $2.1 billion, according to ad-tracking firm TNS Media Intelligence. That was 7.7% less than the $2.3 billion it spent in 2006, which was itself a 24% decrease from 2005.

In the first quarter of 2008, magazine ad spending represented about 15% ($78.5 millioin) of the $535 million GM spent. So far this year, GM sales are down more than 16%.

Michael Nathanson, an analyst with Bernstein Research said in the Journal story that GM's move could encourage other auto makers to cut back their advertising spending. "It is going to get really ugly."


Women's Post newspaper to become
weekly magazine

Women's Post, a twice-a-month tabloid newspaper launched six years ago, is transforming itself into a weekly newsmagazine. According to a story in Media in Canada, the relaunch will be August 1.

The weekly magazine will be slim (20 pages) and will have a circulation of 100,000 copies, most of it in Toronto (see below*).

"We will be one of the few magazines that educated women won't be ashamed to read in public, " said publisher Sarah Thomson.
As part of its campaign to reposition itself, the magazine will be distributed to cottages in Muskoka for three weeks during August. Major advertisers in the first issue include Harley Davidson, Acura, Mercedes-Benz and Restylane, a suite of products from Medicis Aesthetics Canada. Although the story wasn't specific, it is presumed distribution will continue to be controlled by the current combination of streetcorner boxes, selected household and retail distribution.

The proportion of the Toronto circulation as about 85,500 was revealed by Thomson (below, left) in her publisher's letter on the magazine's website. It was a public response to a complaint from Globe and Mail Vice President and General Counsel Sue Gaudi about Women's Post claims that it reached more mid- to high-income professional women than the Globe and Mail. In a remarkable display of chutzpah, Thomson claimed that published data shows the Globe's distribution to females in Toronto is 51,744, while Women's Post delivers 85,500.

"I am quite eager to grow our current distribution numbers in the rest of the country. It won’t be long before we will indeed be claiming to have more women readers in Canada than the Globe and Mail. Shall I look forward to another letter from you once we do?"


Rolling Stone testing "tighter, smaller, glossier" look and feel

Was a time a publisher could quietly do a few focus groups, discreetly send out a questionnaire and quietly contemplate possible changes, major or minor. Such was Rolling Stone's intention in polling selected readers about their reaction to the possibility of a major design. However the brown envelope of the proposed new look wound up in the hands of John Koblin, the Media Mob columnist at the New York Observer.

What Rolling Stone is considering is a "tighter, smaller, glossier" perfect bound version of the magazine. "We are considering a major change in the format of Rolling Stone from its current look to one more like the enclosed test issue," said the cover letter from publisher Jann Wenner. The dummy replicates the current issue of the magazine featuring Barack Obama, only with a smaller, redder logotype, says the story. The dummy is about the same size and feel as Vanity Fair.
Inside the magazine, it appears the content is all there, just jammed into tighter spaces with sleeker-looking photos. The paper seems a bit glossier. The binding makes the magazine feel more substantial; a heavier object at 146 pages rather than the broader 120-page classic look. That's one of the few positive things we can say about it. Otherwise, it just feels so ... generic. It doesn't retain any of the flavor of the old Rolling Stone, and the way that a magazine feels in your hands is half its game. Also, the scented ads for Diesel and Armani Acqua di Gio kinda smell more and an eight-page, heavy-stock ad for Chevy feels enormous in the new binding.
If the readers were to react favourably, the new look would be a long, long way from where RS started in the '60s as a mostly black and white tabloid newspaper. It would shed what little remains of its "counterculture" feel (though most of that has eroded over the years with glossy covers and a publication fat with mainstream ads).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

PMB to move to bi-annual release of data
starting in 2009

The Print Measurement Bureau, which provides readership and reader buying information to the publishing and advertising industry, has announced effective 2009 it will release its database twice a year -- in March and September.

The database, including attendant brand purchase information, will continue to be based on a two-year national random sample of approximately 25,000. PMB measures readership of 115 publications, both English and French and consumer usage of over 2,500 products and brands. It is a non-profit, tripartite organization funded by publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies.

In a release, PMB said "the above timing improvements will occur with absolutely no compromise on the traditionally high PMB data quality levels."
The enhancements are being made in response to member requests for more current, up-to-date information on magazine readership and on trends in product and brand usage. Those requests reflect the rapidly evolving media scene, both in Canada and internationally. We believe the improvements are continuing evidence of PMB’s excellent record of vitality and data service to the Canadian industry for over 35 years.


Toronto Life accused of misleading readers in cover story on gun violence

Toronto Life's current cover story comes in for some harsh criticism from a regular contributor for misleading its readers. In a posting on , the website of the Canadian Journalism Project, Douglas Bell, a regular contributor and, until recently, a daily blogger at the magazine, says TL neglected to publish readily available statistics that put the issue of guns and violence in context.
In the sort of “trend” piece so beloved of that publication the magazine suggests that Toronto’s recent, much publicized spate of gun violence indicates that somehow the denizens are growing insensate to guns and their attendant violence....Written by the reliable John Lorinc, the piece does a good job of reporting the facts on the ground but fails in even one instance to place this “trend” in any sort of context. The issue is violence, not guns. By conflating the two Toronto Life gets to leverage its readership by way of the oldest most reliable editorial draw there is: fear.

Hence it is both thoroughly understandable and thoroughly reprehensible that nowhere does Toronto Life report the following statistics:

Homicide rates per 100,000 according to Statistics Canada (as reported by CTV News):

* Regina, 4.5
* Saskatchewan, 4.1
* Edmonton, 3.7
* Saskatoon, 3.3
* Toronto, 2.6
* Ottawa, 2.1
He also provides statistics of homicide rates in comparable Canadian cities that are 3 to 8 times higher than Toronto.
In short, the entire premise of the Toronto Life piece is (as defined by professor Harry G. Frankfurt is his estimable book On Bullshit) bilge. And if I may borrow from the great man’s thesis: the piece is “grounded neither in belief that it is true nor, as a lie must be in a belief that it is not true. It is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth this indifference to how things really are-that I regard as the essence of bullshit.”

Credits and brand mentions cross the wiggly line between ad and editorial

Increasing aggressiveness among buyers and increasing nervousness about ad budgets among publishers is resulting in more examples of disguised advertising and questionable advertorial calls. An interesting story in MediaWeek says that the blurring of the traditional church-state lines is proceeding apace.

Growing use of editorial credits and brand mentions is one of the most obvious indicators of the growing closeness between edit and sales
The exchange of editorial credits and advertising is a long-standing—if unofficial—practice most established with fashion and beauty books. But publishers and buyers describe a new aggressiveness among buyers, with some threatening to withhold ad pages if a client doesn’t get enough edit credits.
Hall’s Reports measures 26 fashion/beauty books and found that the use of editorial credits increased 33% in 2007 and is on track to increase 36% in 2008.
“When times are tough, advertisers aren’t stupid,” said magazine consultant Mike LaFavore, until last month the editorial director at Meredith Corp. “They know who’s holding the power. Publishers, desperate for ad pages, are bringing them to the editors.” If an editor says no, he added, that person may wonder, “How long am I going to keep my job?”
Among recent examples were Hearst Magazines’ Harper’s Bazaar gave over 40 pages of edit in its July issue to the four stars of a new Estée Lauder perfume campaign and Bauer Publishing’s Life & Style giving featuring Steve Madden shoes exclusively in a back-of-book spread (though that was labelled as an advertisement. Meredith last year sold a false cover on its magazine Parents to promote the DVD release of Shrek the Third, retaining the magazine's logo. This is in direct contravention of American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) guidelines. (Find similar Canadian guidelines here.)
Jane Deery, president of PGR Media, said editorial credits have become more important to advertisers as they scrutinize their ad budgets. “The editorial is part of our RFP process, and it is as important as all the other pieces of information, such as rates and positioning,” she said. “We look hard at which magazines are supporting the client to determine whether they will get business or not.”
Some magazines have pushed back against growing advertiser encroachment, said the story.
After Bon Appétit turned its advertising masthead into a Starbucks ad in its May issue, parent Condé Nast put the kibosh on such treatments, declaring mastheads to be editorial content.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Naughty coverlines? Only in your mind

Writing intriguing coverlines is a highly developed skill at magazines. (Once we knew an editor who picked the cover shot and wrote the coverlines first then arranged for a paragraph item somewhere inside to justify running them.) No magazine is immune to indulging in a little hyperbole or misdirection in its cover lines. After all, we want people to pick up a newsstand copy and buy it and we want subscribers to be intrigued enough to pick up their copy and open it. It's called readership.

Well, The Field is one of Britain's most venerable magazines (founded in 1853) -- a heretofore somewhat stuffy title favoured by toffee-nosed gentry and hunting and hounding folk in the home counties -- and it has recently had a makeover. Nothing dramatic by most magazines' standards, but quite a departure for The Field.

Editor Jonathan Young said: “The design team’s brief was to create the effortless elegance you see in a thoroughbred horse and a Purdey gun, where less equals more."

The August issue not only unveiled the new look, but carried a cover line that said: Was Lady Chatterley's Lover Any Good at His Job? We know what you're thinking, and you'd be wrong. According to a story in the UK Press Gazette, the magazine has asked the experts to analyse D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, but to ignore the "rude bits" and instead give their verdict on gamekeeper Mellors’ skills with game birds, rather than his affair with Lady Chatterley.
“Personally, I’m not sure I’d give him a reference,” said Young.

Real costs of distance related pricing for postage may whack editorial

Good story today on Masthead's website about the real costs of Canada Post's distance-related pricing on one national magazine, The Beaver. It will increase its mailing costs 6.2% and, if those costs can't be mitigated, the difference will come out of the editorial budget. And it may cost a Manitoba printer a contract.
“The first thing that’s going to go is we’re not going to pay writers as much and maybe not hire as many people to write,” says publisher Deborah Morrison, “which is counterintuitive to what we’re trying to do with our magazine. Our editorial staff will probably not get that cost of living increase. What hurts is the editorial content first, because all these other costs—getting it out there, distribution—are beyond our control. We have to manage those and respond to those first. We’ve got to get the magazine out the door.”
The magazine's printing contract, now held by LGM Transcontinental in Winnipeg, expires at the end of the year.
“We’ve made it very clear to anyone bidding on the contract that Canada Post is a factor for us,” Morrison says.
Like many other national magazines with 50% of their circulation in Ontario, there may be irresistible pressure to get regional and local mailing rates by printing in Ontario.

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Satire watch: We guess it depends where you are

In light of the kerfuffle over Barry Blitt's cover about Obama, consider the Steve Bell cartoon The Guardian is publishing today as its lead editorial cartoon. Makes the New Yorker look pretty tame.

Brief: E & P launching digital edition

Editor and Publisher, the venerable U.S. trade magazine, is launching a same-as-print electronic edition, according to an item in MediaDaily News.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fleeting fame -- British media top 100 has 51 new names

If there is a better indicator of churn and turmoil in the media business, it might be found in a comparison between the Media 100 list of The Guardian in Britain from one year to the next. A panel of industry heavyweights sits down and compiles the list and this year's has 51 new faces out of the 100 on the list.

Sometimes its simply generational change -- James Murdoch supplanting his father Rupert. The co-founders of Google and two of the web giant's three key executives, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, take this year's No 1 spot.
"Everyone's dead except Google," said one of the panellists who drew up this year's list. Not everyone was so pessimistic, but who among this year's elite will live to fight another year in 2009's MediaGuardian 100?

Obama cover the work of expat illustrator
Barry Blitt

They walk among you...I mean those darned Canadian illustrators. The current New Yorker cover showing Barak Obama in Muslim garb, fist-bumping with his wife Michelle, dressed in fatigues, has raised a ruckus. Well blame Canada, which exported Barry Blitt to New York. The "Obama camp" (whatever that is) decried the cover art as "offensive and tasteless".

David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, explained his cover decision to the Huffington Post and said of the people who are cancelling their subscriptions over the cover treatment:
It's not the first time. I respect people's reactions — I'm just trying to as calmly and as clearly as possible talk about what this image means and what it was intended to mean and what I think most people will see — when they think it through — that it means. The fact is, it's not a satire about Obama - it's a satire about the distortions and misconceptions and prejudices about Obama.
Blitt himself told"I think the idea that the Obamas are branded as unpatriotic [let alone as terrorists] in certain sectors is preposterous," Blitt told the HuffingtonPost.
"It seemed to me that depicting the concept would show it as the fear-mongering ridiculousness that it is."

Webster relinquishes Maisonneuve publisher job to be a full-time editor

Maisonneuve founding editor and publisher Derek Webster seems relieved to be handing over the business affairs of the Montreal quarterly to Jennifer Varkonyi, who has been associate publisher for the past 6 months. In his latest editorial, according to an item in Masthead, Webster says:
“This change allows me to devote full attention to my ongoing role as editor—guilt-free—while knowing that the magazine’s fortunes are in very good hands.”
Varkonyi had previously managed operations for fashion agency Next Canada and was a risk analyst and researcher at insurance broker Aon.