Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Time spent" with magazine ads now more favoured metric

Magazines have more than twice the impact of TV, online or radio and considerably more than printed newspapers in terms of time spent engaged with advertising, according to report done for the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA). The results were reported by MediaDaily News.

The article noted that magazines have been reluctant in the past to use "time spent" as a measure in relation to other media, but are now warming to the idea, probably because it reflects so well on the medium, and is useful in difficult economic times. The metric is based on readers' perception, mind you, rather than their actual behaviour.

The MPA's new "Ad Value Per Minute" analysis reports the relative value of time spent with advertising in the major media. To obtain it, the MPA factored ad impact scores created by consulting firm Deloitte ("State of the Media Democracy" Study, 2008), and incorporated it into a new "Time/Ad Impact Ratio" for the major consumer media.

Time spent with media* (minutes) % Share of total time spent Media influence** (%) Time-ad impact ratio

Magazines 70 8.9 49 5.51
Newspaper 68 8.6 42 4.88
Internet 154 19.5 48 2.46
Television 302 38.2 88 2.3
Radio 196 24.8 27 1.09


* Time Spent with Media on Average Day by User of that Medium, MRI MediaDay, 2008
** % of U.S. Consumers Who Said Advertising in this Medium Has the Most
Influence on Their Buying Decisions,
Deloitte "State of the Media Democracy" Study, 2008

Time-Ad Impact Index = Media Influence / Share of Total Time Spent


Monday, March 30, 2009

South African ad wins best of show at Magazine Canada Best on Page event

Late reporting that a DDB entry from South Africa won best of show in the reader's choice picks at Magazines Canada's Best on Page event last week. The ad, for Energizer batteries was picked by attendees at the fourth annual event, an exhibition of award-winning magazine creative from around the world. It featured 150 international award winners from the Cannes Lions Festival, the Epica Awards, Canada’s own Marketing Awards and the Créa Awards.

Here's a slideshow of all the entries.

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Atlantic Magazines Association lays down a good foundation

The Atlantic Magazines Association (AMA) is off to a good start after its first annual conference in Halifax. [Disclosure: I was a paid speaker and have done some consulting work with them.] The fledgling association has its work cut out for it in part because of a surfeit of geography; most other regional associations (BC, Alberta, Manitoba) don't encompass four provinces and two time zones (well, one-and-a-half). Like other regional associations, they have to cast their net fairly wide and try to serve, and please, large and very small magazines, b2b and consumer titles, association and custom. But also like other regional associations, the AMA can surf along for a time on a wave of goodwill.

The buzz surrounding the conference was very positive and the potential for collaboration is big. Atlantic magazines share some issues with all other magazines; and they have conditions that are particular to their market. One of the ways of dealing with those issues is to work together and learn from each other, from the regional associations and from the national associations (Magazines Canada and Canadian Business Press). This conference was a good start.


Outgoing Canadian Geographic editor on fun with freelancers

Outgoing Canadian Geographic editor Rick Boychuk makes a graceful exit with his final column in which he says what many other good editors feel about freelancers:
The best of their pitches to us often result in more work than we can pay them to undertake. And yet, with assignments in hand, off they go by plane (Lisa Gregoire from Edmonton to Grise Fiord), canoe (Karsten Heuer from Calgary to Hudson Bay), rusted-out beater (David Trattles from Ottawa to Dawson) or foot (J. Kevin Dunn along the rail lines of Saskatchewan). Their reward? A modest fee from us, a bit of glory now and then in the form of a National Magazine Award (worth $1,000 and a certificate) and, occasionally, a book contract. Mostly, though, they do it because they are driven by an overwhelming need to tell our readers a story. My job has been to usher that urgent desire to communicate onto the pages of this magazine. It’s been more fun than a Prairie wedding.

Magazine world view

Friday, March 27, 2009

ESPN magazine takes "flapvertising" another step

The erosion of editorial cover integrity proceeds apace: this time, perhaps emboldened by the Esquire venture into cover "flapvertising" that, at least, had to be opened, ESPN magazine has gone a step forward with an advertising flap that virtually obscures the cover, according to a story in Portfolio.com. Once again, it seems an offence to the spirit and letter of the American Society of Magazine Editors guidelines.

Related posts:

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Harmonized Ontario tax confirmed; magazines to take the hit

Magazines publishing in Ontario will, as expected, have to charge a 13% harmonized tax on top of subscriptions starting in just over a year. It was confirmed in yesterday's Ontario budget that the 8% provincial sales tax will be merged with the 5% GST starting July 1, 2010.

It is, in effect, an 8% increase in taxation, since the 50% of magazines in Ontario have not charged provincial sales tax on subscriptions (although it has been charged on single copies sold at retail). It is a tax that magazines are expected to ultimately pass along to their subscribers (though that will be difficult to do quickly). It is not possible to predict at the moment what the impact will be on subscription sales when subscribers see their out-of-pocket cost.

The harmonized sales tax will also have to be applied, tracked and input tax credits applied for on a host of other magazine input costs, such as printing and postage, which had previously been PST-exempt.

There are some bland assurances that the greater efficiency of the HST and publishers' ability to claim back input credits even on things where they previously couldn't, will neutralize the impact. But the one area where this won't have any effect is on subscriptions.

There is also the suggestion that this levels the playing field with magazines published elsewhere in the country which have paid HST for some time. But it can't be forgotten that half of all Canadian magazines circulate in and are published in Ontario.

Some goods are exempt, including books. But magazines and newspapers are taking the hit.

It will be interesting to hear from individual publishers as they do their back of the envelope calculations. What will be the likely effect this new tax measure will have on their businesses and their readership base which is, after all, the foundation of those businesses?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Magazine readership shows slight decline in 2009 spring PMB study

The just-released 2009 Print Measurement Bureau results, the first to be issued on a biannual (spring/fall) schedule, show a slight decline in readership of about 4%, based on data gathered in 2007 and 2008. English Canadian magazines were down an average of 3.2% in readership; French titles 6.2%.

Average magazine readership is 1.3 million (English) and 522,000 French and a steady average readers-per-copy figure of 7.1 (English) and 6.7 (French). Total magazine circulation tracked in the study* is 21.6 million (16.6 million English, 5 million French).

Among the largest in readership were, once again, Reader's Digest with 6.6 million, followed by Canadian Living with 3.95 million, though both magazines lost more than 300,000 readers from the comparable report in 2008. Tied for third spot are Canadian Geographic and Chatelaine at 3.8 million. Canadian Geographic actually grew by 299,000 readers year over year.

Among largest French titles were qu'est-ce qui mijote (1.4 million), coup de pouce (1.3 million), Sélection du Reader's Digest (1.06 million) and 7 jours (984,000).

Two of Canada's largest English shelter magazines lost readership ground: Canadian House & Home (down 162,000 readers) and Style at Home (down 114,000). Two of the larger French shelter magazines also lost readership: Les Idées de ma Maison (down 106,000) and Décoration Chez-Soi (down 76,000).

Several new magazines joined the study this year, including Canadian Health Magazine, LouLou, Our Canada, Parents Canada and the Health Journal in English and LouLou in French.

Among the English-language magazines that enjoyed significant year-over-year increases in overall 12+ readership were (all figures in '000s):
2009 2008 Increase
Canadian Geographic 3,768 3,469 299
Movie Entertainment 1,888 1,643 245
what's cooking 3,705 3,558 147
Tribute 1,539 1,399 140
FASHION Magazine 2,028 1,891 137
EnRoute 1,078 963 115
Elle Canada 1,699 1,595 104
Today's Parent 1,866 1,802 64
Canadian Business 1,031 985 46
NOW 321 298 23
Vancouver Magazine 313 291 22

Among those English-language titles that saw a significant decrease in readership were:
2009 2008 Decrease
Style at Home 1,602 1,716 (114)
Starweek 992 1,114 (122)
Harrowsmith Country Life 772 932 (160)
Canadian House & Home 2,361 2,523 (162)
Homemakers 1,608 1,820 (212)
Canadian Gardening 1,980 2,195 (215)
Reader's Digest 6,564 6,882 (318)
Canadian Living 3,959 4,308 (349)

Among French-language titles that had significant increases in readership:
2009 2008 Increase
Touring (Fre & Eng) 1,171 1,078 93
qu'est-ce qui mijote 1,392 1,317 75
Madame 293 262 31
Star Système 343 312 31
Dernière Heure 297 279 18
Décormag 677 660 17
Summum 247 232 15

Among French magazines with significant decreases in readership:
2009 2008
Les Affaires 271 345 (74)
Québec Science 262 338 (76)
Décoration Chez-Soi 744 822 (78)
Le Magazine Enfants Québec 223 304 (81)
La Semaine 559 643 (84)
Châtelaine (Fr) 895 985 (90)
Les Idées de ma Maison 746 852 (106)
TV 7 Jours/TV Hebdo 719 837 (118)
7 Jours 984 1,121 (137)
Primeurs 380 526 (146)

*PMB also includes major daily newspapers; for this post, only magazines were tabulated.


Does the government want to treat small mags and readers like cockroaches?

Jon Barton, the editor of The Malahat Review and one of the people spearheading a protest group on Facebook about a funding floor in the Canada Periodical Fund (CPF) has written a strongly worded opinion piece for the Globe and Mail. The new measure, to come into effect April 2010 would restrict support to magazines with more than 5,000 annual paid circulation; this would effectively shut out many of Canada's small literary and arts publications. (Magazines Canada is in talks with the the Department of Canadian Heritage, asking that there be a targetted support program for small arts & literary magazines.)

Barton said, in part:
The value of cultural magazines shouldn't be calculated solely on the basis of circulation, nor should their funding ...Mixing metaphors slightly, small cultural magazines in Canada have had to emulate that amazing insect with the indestructible chassis, the cockroach; certainly, they've survived many changes of government and always will, though they'd prefer to be birds of paradise (my metaphor's really mixed now!).

But the question is: Does the Minister of Canadian Heritage and his cabinet colleagues – all well-intentioned, committed Canadians who want the best for us – wish to be perceived as treating the writers and readers of this country like cockroaches?

"Harmonization" of Ontario sales tax will wallop magazines

[This post has been updated]Today's likely announcement in the Ontario budget of "harmonization" of its provincial sales tax (8%) with the federal goods and services tax (5%), will have a major impact on magazines sold in the province. It means that the provincial sales tax portion, never before paid on magazinesmagazine subscriptions, will now apply.

In effect, the decision will automatically add 8% to the out-of-pocket costs of magazine buyerssubscribers in a province where more than half of Canadian magazines are sold.

Though the Ontario government has tried to mitigate public anger by exempting a number of basic goods, including children's clothing, diapers and new homes costing less than $400,000, it is likely that the implementation of a provincial tax never before paid on magazine purchasessubscriptions (PST is already applied to single copy sales at the checkout) will result in an unknown loss of sales subscription income. (The government is also trying to soften the blow by giving families $1,000 over the first year to adjust to the new regime.)

Still, there is no way of getting around the fact that, for the average magazine buyer or subscriber, their costs are going up 8% and some of them will buy fewer magazines. Common wisdom in the industry is that for every percentage point increase in price, there is a 1% decrease in sales.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Magazines Canada joins American Business Media as international member

Here's a curiosity: American Business Media has welcomed Magazines Canada as an international member, one of nine new members announced in a posting on its website. The curious part is that ABM -- the major U.S. association for b2b print and online publications -- sought out MagsCan. This is despite the alliance between ABM and Canadian Business Press (CBP) which has made little secret of its rivalry with Magazines Canada for the affections of Canadian business-to-business publishers.

ABM is also playing a large part in CBP's Magazines University conference, which goes head-to-head with MagNet, the annual conference of which Magazines Canada is a principal.


Related posts:


Quote, unquote: on letting U.S. papers go non-profit

"We are losing our newspaper industry. The economy has caused an immediate problem, but the business model for newspapers, based on circulation and advertising revenue, is broken, and that is a real tragedy for communities across the nation and for our democracy."
-- Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, D.-Md., speaking to his proposal to allow beleagured U.S. newspapers to operate as not-for-profits.


Suits enwrap short-lived U.S. newspaper magazine supplement RiseUp

About a year ago we wrote about the forthcoming June launch of a "curious new magazine" called RiseUp that intended to distribute 4 million copies through insertion in various newspapers across the U.S. and address relations between races.
And, if the publisher's ambitions are to be believed, by the first quarter of 2009, circulation will be 8 million this fall and could be as high as 12 million in the top 15-25 cities in the country by the first quarter of 2009.
The whole thing seemed unlikely but, keyed as it was to the possibility of Barack Obama becoming president, there was a certain giddy charm to the idea, even if the economics didn't make much sense.

Well, it turned out that scepticism was warranted as it was reported by Folio: that the Kansas City Star newspaper company that printed the magazine is suing for $2.2 million and that the magazine had quietly suspended operations last August.
The Star filed a counterclaim in Ray County, Missouri Circuit Court Tuesday in response to a petition filed in February by RiseUp parent company Ellis Management Marketing Group. The petition claimed that EMMG, as well as its president and CEO Janice Ellis and her husband E. Frank Ellis, should not be held accountable under the printing and distribution agreements it signed last summer with the Star.

In its countersuit, the Star said it began attempting to collect payments for its services on July 14 last year. On September 3, the paper said it delivered a “demand” letter to EMMG but no payments were received.

Founding editor of Style at Home retiring

The founding editor of Style at Home magazine, Gail Johnston Habs, is retiring at the end of May after 12 years with the magazine and 23 with Transcontinental Media.

After founding and editing artviews, a magazine for Canadian contemporary artists, for nine years, and active participation on the boards of several cultural organizations (including the Ontario Association of Art Galleries and the Oakville Arts Council) Gail left the visual arts to join Telemedia Publishing in 1986.

She worked in senior editorial positions on Canadian Living, FOOD, Select Homes & Food, and Canadian Select Homes magazines. Formerly a member of the executive of the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors, Gail was a member of CSME's task force that forged the first set of advertising guidelines for Canadian magazines.

A memo to staff from Transcontinental Media group publisher Deborah Trepanier said:
I know that Gail is proud to have worked not only with the idea generators, as she calls her team of editors, art directors and design editors, but with all the departments that have contributed to Style at Home's growth.

Total newspaper readership held steady in 2008: NADbank study

Those of us in publishing, print and online, should feel quite relieved with what passes for good news these days: Total newspaper readership for all of 2008 was essentially steady. The NADbank study shows that more than three-quarters of Canadians, 77%, read a printed or online version of a daily newspaper in a typical week, according to a report in Marketing magazine.
The 2008 readership study found that 13.7 million Canadians 18+ read
a print edition of a daily paper each week, although online readership
is gaining momentum.

Internet readership has grown 13% since 2007, with 19% of Canadians now reading a daily paper online in a typical week.

The Internet is not supplanting print editions however, with only 4% of Canadians reading newspapers exclusively online.

“We’re seeing changes in readership behaviour because the way news is available to consumers has changed,” said NADbank president Anne Crassweller.

We’re engulfed in media, so people are starting to access different news options at different times throughout the day. We are seeing a move online... but most of those people are also reading the printed product. It’s totally natural that we’re seeing people moving back and forth between the different platforms.”


Keeping the good thought; interns talk about the future

Stacey May Fowles, the circ and marketing director at The Walrus and publisher of Shameless magazine, was wondering how Walrus interns thought about the scary, pessimistic and generally uncertain tone these days; so she asked them and posted their comments on her blog on Masthead. For instance when they were asked if they were optimistic about the future:
Ashton Osmak: Oddly, yes. There was a poster in a gallery on West Queen West about a month ago that effectively articulated my new mantra: "Good things happen to those who hustle". Amen.

Alina Seagal: Yes, very much so. But maybe I am just a young, naive intern, full of romantic misconceptions about the nature of journalism.

Katie Addleman: Hell yes! Obama is president, I have somewhere to live and it's almost spring. Everything's gonna be fiiiiine.

Kasey Coholan: Obviously. The challenge is getting everyone else to be optimistic.

Cannabis Culture couple run for different parties in B.C. provincial election

The publisher and editor of Vancouver-based Cannabis Culture magazine are both running in the 2009 British Columbia provincial general election, but for different parties. Jody Emery, the editor is running as a Green Party candidate for the riding of Vancouver Fraserview. She's married to high-profile marijuana activist Marc Emery, leader of the Marijuana Party, who is running in Vancouver Burrard.

Both ran, unsuccessfully, as Marijuana Party candidates in last October's by-elections in the same ridings.

Last week the Green party published its platform for the 2009 campaign, which includes (among 500 other measures) legalizing pot and banning the use of Tasers. The Marijuana Party's central plank is legalization.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

From the genteel world of magazines...

A concert sponsored by Abort magazine in Vancouver had to be broken up by the Vancouver police when controversial New York rapper Necro (he's the one in the middle) failed to show up and fans, um, demonstrated their displeasure.

According to a report on the Abort magazine website, fans had been waiting for hours at the Richards on Richards nightclub on Saturday, only to be told that Necro's appearance would be postponed until Sunday.
Initially the announcement was met with a moderate response but moments later patrons began to throw glasses, bottles, tables and chairs at the stage where the DJ still stood. Richards on Richards staff were among the injured: one of the security staff received a deep gash on his head when hit with a glass bottle.

Roundup of Alberta Magazines Conference awards

Here's a roundup of the awards given out at last weekend's Alberta Magazine Conference. Dan Rubinstein was named editor of the year as the founding editor of Unlimited magazine.


Quote, unquote: Thinking about the consumer

“I want to see some innovation. I want to know that when we stop the mental fisticuffs we can go back to thinking about the consumer. We’ve spent the last two months thinking about every other stakeholder. Let’s get together and think how we can get closer to the consumer.”

-- Dwell publisher Michela O’Connor Abrams speaking at the 2009 MPA Retail Conference.

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Magazine world view

Soft landing for Canadian Home & Country staffers

The closure of Canadian Home & Country magazine was a great loss, but the good news out of it is that all of the editorial staff have found work with other Transcontinental Media publications, according to a post by Erin McLaughlin, the editor of CH&C's online version and also editor of Canadian Gardening.
  • Executive editor Suzanne Moutis, art director Jose Woertman, assistant editor Karina Leimanis and assistant art director Florence Kwok have all moved to Canadian Gardening magazine.
  • Design Editor Ann Marie Favot has moved over to sister publication Style at Home

Canadian Business suspends paid
internships, for now

Sorry to see that Canadian Business, which has for some time offered much-sought-after six month paid internships, has suspended its program, at least for now, according to a story in Masthead. It usually hires two paid interns for four- and six-month terms in the summer and fall and has paid them $2,000 a month out of the editorial budget to do fact-checking, writing and research; much better than most magazines.

Deborah Rosser, the publisher of CB, said:
“We pay interns. We don’t hire them for free. And in the current economic climate, unfortunately, we just can’t do it this year.”
CB will not be offering unpaid internships this summer, Rosser added, but should market conditions improve, the paid internship program could be revived in the fall.

Barely paid, but roundly educated: Taddle Creek offers unusual internship

One of Canada's smaller magazines, the twice-a-year literary Taddle Creek in Toronto, is offering a well-rounded magazine education to one lucky intern.Herewith, how it is described, in part:
More than just a literary magazine internship, Taddle Creek’s program offers a well-rounded education in every area of the magazine industry—from writing, editing, and fact-checking, to design, circulation, and publishing, and more. The successful protégé applicant will be given the opportunity to speak to approximately two dozen industry professionals, representing more than twenty magazines (large, medium, and small), publishing houses, educational institutions, and other organizations. There will be talk of literature, but Taddle Creek stresses: this is not a literary magazine internship. (It is also a more instructional learning experience than a hands-on one, though the magazine will do its best to offer whatever trench experience it can.) And just to prove that any magazine can afford to pay an intern something, there will be a small (i.e., token) honorarium and some lovely gifts.
Its message is that dilettantes need not apply:
If you are dabbling in journalism or the magazine world and trying to figure out if it’s the life for you, do not apply. Taddle Creek is only able to take on one intern at a time and would prefer to see the spot given to someone planning a future in the industry.
The internship's "faculty" includes many names known and well-known in magazines large and small; freelancers, journalism instructors, editors, publishers, circulation experts, book publishers, who have all apparently loaned their names and their expertise to the project.

Glacier advances, with healthy 2008 profit

Vancouver-based Glacier Media Inc., a magazine and newspaper publishing company posted a healthy profit in 2008, according to a report in the Georgia Straight.

In an environment when many media companies are chalking up big losses, Glacier (which owns daily and weekly newspapers, the Vancouver Media Group, Business Information Group, Glacier Newspaper Group, Western Producer Publications, Farm Business Communications and Specialty Technical Publishers) reported $28.3 million in net income, compared with $30.6 million in net income in 2007.

The company's revenues increased from $216.4 million to $249.1 million.

"Despite the overall growth achieved in 2008, Glacier experienced softening of revenues in some of our businesses in November and December as a result of the weakening economy," the company reported.

Glacier is best known for buying some of the assets of Hollinger International, including the clutch of b2b titles under the Business Information Group.

Glacier's largest shareholder, Madison Venture Corporation, held 33 percent of the shares as of the company's last information circular, which was distributed in May, 2008. Madison's principals are Sam Grippo, Glacier president and CEO John Kennedy, and Glacier secretary and director Bruce Aunger. Last December, Glacier reported that Montreal-based Montrusco Bolton Investments owned 10.2 pecent of Glacier's shares.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Shameless magazine anthology to be published in June

Shameless magazine is to publish its first book in June, an anthology drawn from the pages of the magazine. Edited by publisher Stacey May Fowles and editor Megan Griffith-Green and designed by magazine art director Sheila Sampath, it's called She's Shameless and is described as
"fearless and funny non-fiction about strong, smart and shameless young women. With wit and honesty, the writers share stories of their teen experiences (both positive and negative) on everything from body image to best friends, from pop culture to first times.

"The book is founded on Shameless magazine's tradition of smart, sassy, honest and inclusive writing, and reaches out to young female readers who are often ignored by mainstream: freethinkers, queer youth, young women of colour, punk rockers, feminists, intellectuals, artists, and activists."
The anthology features writing by Catherine Graham, Zoe Whittall, Shannon Gerrard, Julia Serano, Dianah Smith, and Emily Pohl-Weary. The book will be launched June 23 and will be for sale in bookstores across Canada but can be pre-ordered online.

The Beaver takes the plunge into the U.S. newsstand market

Beginning with its April/May issue, The Beaver will be plunging into the roiling waters of U.S newsstand distribution. An initial test of 700 copies per issue for the first year will be distributed through MSolutions (serving the Southeastern states, including Florida) and Source Agencies (servicing Barnes and Noble and Borders stores nation-wide.)
“We’re very excited by this project and the opportunity to share the Canadian story with American magazine readers," said Deborah Morrison, the publisher, in a release. "With such a renewed interest in the Canadian –American relationship on both sides of the border we think the timing couldn’t be better.”

“But this wasn’t serendipity.” she added, “We’ve been working hard with Scott Bullock of Circ3 Solutions and Disticor distributors to build The Beaver’s newsstand presence for the past three and a half years."
From an initial draw of roughly 1000 copies in 2004, the magazine now has a Canadian draw of almost 8,000.

The upcoming issue that will be debuting on US newsstands features “Canada’s Rosa Parks” as the cover story. “That was serendipity,” Editor Mark Reid explains. “We start work on our features six months ahead of publication date so it was in the line-up long before we received confirmation of the expanded distribution, and Viola Desmond, the woman featured in the story has been tagged “Canada’s Rosa Parks” for decades.”

“We’re a Canadian magazine designed and written primarily for a Canadian reader,” Morrison added. “That’s not going to change with expanded newsstand distribution. But, there’s no denying this is a great story in which to debut the magazine to the US market and hopefully entice readers to pick up a copy.”


Canadian Health & Lifestyle launches new look

Canadian Health & Lifestyle Magazine, is launching a redesign. “While some publications are slowing down, we’re gearing up for the future. The new design reflects that," said Joe Viecili, publisher of the magazine.

The 5-year-old quarterly magazine is now ranked 7th in readership in Canada, according to PMB 2008. It has a total controlled distribution of 1,600,000 nationally including through Rexall pharmacies, waiting rooms and hospitals/clinics as well as an average of 115,000 copies mailed free to readers’ homes.
“What we wanted to do was present a new look," said Viecili in a release. "A clearer, more concise publication. One that reflected the clean life choices Canadian Health & Lifestyle offers.”


Friendly fare: LRC uses referrals to build circ

The LRC (Literary Review of Canada)is using an intriguing audience-building device; it's sending gift subscriptions to a list of 55 people across Canada with the obvious hope that they'll influence others and spread the word about the magazine. (I'm one of those who is receiving an unbidden sub.)

The people receiving the gift subs are nominated by existing subscribers; and the customized letter telling them about their good fortune identifies who nominated them. These new subs count as paid circulation because contributor, supporter (and, not insignificantly) Torstar chair John Honderich is paying for them.

Co-publisher Helen Walsh says:
[John Honderich] believes, like we do, that fostering an informed, national debate is a good thing for Canada and that an expanded readership is a good thing for the LRC. And he's willing to support that belief in very concrete terms.


Elle Canada redesigns website to give ads greater prominence

The trend to giving advertisers greater prominence on magazine websites is exemplified by the relaunch of Elle Canada. According to a story in Media in Canada, the redesign went live last month and will be promoted in the May issue.

Advertisers can buy larger "overlay" ads, which are images or text links that are click-able within the prominent video or on their own brand's own tab in the beauty section of the site.
"We redesigned the site to make it less cluttered, so that the ads would be more prominent," says Catherine Gray, product director, English consumer websites at Transcontinental. She explains that the number of unique hits has already increased by 47% in February/March over the previous months, and page views have also jumped by 57% prior to planned promotions.


Magazine world view

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Manitoba publishers launch first magazine awards

The Manitoba Magazine Publishers Association (MMPA) is holding its first awards program May 8. Winners in eight categories in what has been dubbed the "Maggies" will be given out at a gala dinner at the Fairmont Hotel in Winnipeg. Nominations for the awards will be accepted from April 1-20.

The Friday evening gala will be bracketed Friday and Saturday by a series of daytime seminars.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

AMPA sets example for Mag Awards

The awards presentation at the Alberta Magazines Conference Friday afternoon went off smoothly at 3:30 p.m. in a reception room at the Carriage House Inn in a distant section of Calgary known (rather dauntingly to outsiders) as “the South East.” Colleen Seto, executive director of AMPA (known to AMPA members as Little Blessing), climbed onto a chair in the middle of the room and called for attention; Gary Davies of Avenue Magazine, president of AMPA, presented the awards in rapid order, applause erupted at intervals, and a tall photographer in gleaming white running shoes that resembled life rafts floated over the carpet to capture the smiles and handshakes for future historians. The raffles for the IPOD and the GPS device went off without a hitch and to more well-earned applause. No more than half an hour was required; the wine drinkers returned to their chat and the mood remained celebratory, friendly, even hectic. It was all over in another forty-five minutes and it was still daylight. Among the assembled celebrants there was no sign of peevishness or the exhaustion that one associates with Other Magazine Awards; nor was anyone heard swearing off ever attending one of these things again.

At lunch that day, Al Zikovitz gave voice in his keynote speech to the question on everyone’s mind. “Where do we go, what do we do?” he cried, and, by way of reply, proposed that it’s time “to stop running after circ, and start running after readers,” a sentiment endorsed by many in the room who nodded their heads vigorously. “I may be sleeping better than many of you,” he went on to say, “because ad revenue at Cottage Life is only 39% of total revenue.”

Speakers at the convention were treated to dinner in a posh restaurant offering a ten-ounce steak special that “starts at forty dollars,” as the server expressed it, “and goes up in $2 steps for each two-ounce increment.”

Friday, March 20, 2009

Canada Council names new
writing and publishing head

The Canada Council for the Arts has named a new head of its writing and publishing section, which provides support for literary and cultural magazines, according to a post in Quill & Quire. Three months after the departure of Melanie Rutledge, Arash Mohtashami-Maali will take the new position on April 20. He is currently director of the French language, Ottawa-based, magazine Liaison and associated publisher Éditions L’Interligne.

Mohtashami-Maali is a published poet and president of Regroupement des éditeurs canadiens-français. He was born in Iran and completed part of his studies in Tehran, lived in France for 10 years and emigrated to Toronto in 1994. His first book of poetry was La Tour du silence.


Eric Harris named EIC of Canadian Geographic

Canadian Geographic has promoted executive editor Eric Harris to be its new editor-in-chief, replacing Rick Boychuk, who resigned in January after 14 years in the post. Harris said in a release:
“My goal is to build on Rick’s legacy,” Harris stated. “By channelling the voices of a generation of writers, photographers, editors, artists, scientists and everyday people with extraordinary stories to tell, he made an enormous contribution to the national dialogue. I hope to help stimulate that lively conversation.”

U.S. stimulus money should go to advertising tax credit, columnist says

Everybody has ideas about how the U.S. stimulus money should be spent. Now it is being suggested that a tax credit be included for spending money on advertising.

Bob Pittman, former CEO of MTV Networks, Time Warner Enterprises and Century 21 Real Estate, has written an opinion piece in Fortune magazine saying that advertising is an investment in stimulating consumer demand.

Acknowledging that he has a deep self interest as an investor in advertising-supported businesses, Pittman says:
We can debate exactly how much consumer spending is healthy -- and the pros and cons of a consuming society. However, I think we can all agree that a meaningful resurgence in consumer spending is necessary right now to get us out of this economic hole -- and advertising would certainly have a stimulating effect.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Net gain of 42 titles in 2008, Masthead reports

There was a net gain of 42 magazine titles in 2008, with 71 total launches and 29 closures, according to Masthead's annual tally.
  • 90% of the net growth in titles were consumer magazines
  • Trade and farm magazines saw 11 launches and 9 closures
  • 10% of launches were French language
  • Half of launches were quarterlies
  • 18% of launches were primarily paid circulation

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Quote, unquote: on re-scaling and charging more

The simple answer is the worldwide web has become the biggest challenge for the printed page. Content is virtually free for the taking on millions of Web sites. And with the web you get instant information whether it is the weather, recipes, scores, or stock quotes. It is an amazing time in the history of media. Magazines have to re-scale their circulation but charge more for those who want it. Magazines have to find ways to become portable in allowing their content to be available with numerous delivery systems. ESPN is a great example of branching out their edit content to meet the user/viewer/reader needs.
-- William Kupper, Jr., former president and CEO of the BusinessWeek group, quoted in an interview on the Brown & White blog.


Media world view

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The New Yorker, natch, leads U.S. magazine awards nominee list

The New Yorker once again leads the pack with a total of 10 nominations, including for general excellence, reporting and feature writing in the American Society of Magazine Editors' (ASME)awards, announced on Wednesday. Close behind was GQ, with 8 nominations, the most that magazine has ever received in a single year.

For general excellence online:
The winners in the various categories will be announced at a gala on April 30 at Frederick P.Rose Hall in Jazz at Lincoln Center.

In the general excellence category for print, the nominees are:
  • Circulation under 100,000: The American Scholar; Aperture; Bidoun; Print; The Virginia Quarterly Review
  • Circulation 100,000 - 250,000: Foreign Policy; Los Angeles Magazine; Mother Jones; Paste; Time Out New York
  • Circulation 250,000 - 500,000: The Atlantic; Backpacker; New York; Texas Monthly; W
  • Circulation 500,000 1,000,000: The Economist; Fast Company; GQ; Runner’s World; Wired
  • Circulation 1,000,000 2,000,000:Bon Appétit; Field & Stream; The New Yorker; Popular Science; Vogue
  • Circulation over 2,000,000: Martha Stewart Living; National Geographic; Reader’s Digest; Real Simple; Time
Read the full nominees' list.

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French law would require disclosure of degree of magazine airbrushing

French public health officials are considering new laws that would require magazines to reveal the extent to which they airbrush cover subjects, according to a blog post by David Byrne.
It’s viewed as a public health issue because girls and boys (and men and women) are feeling increasingly ashamed of their bodies as they compare themselves to what they see all around them — images of bodies that are not real, that have been photoshopped, digitally airbrushed and heavily modified.
[[Thanks to Lisa Mansfield for the tip.]

Quote, unquote: Why the magazine isn't dying

Magazines still offer an unsurpassed ability to marry literary ambitions with deep reporting, photography, and visual design. In this new media age, people talk about the importance of transforming readers into "communities." Magazines have never had a community problem. Great magazines have built enduring relationships with their readers that Facebook and Tumblr still aspire to. But in a race to grow their businesses, publishers put advertising first and editorial excellence second.
-- Gabriel Sherman, a contributing editor to New York and a special correspondent of the New Republic, writing in The Big Money blog for Slate magazine.


Transcon plan for non-union staffing of California plant sparks controversy

Transcontinental Printing, which is one of Canada's largest printers and which prints its own and many other people's magazines, is caught up in a controversy in California over plans to staff a brand-new newspaper printing plant with non-union pressmen. According to an article in the Columbia Journalism Review, it is related to Hearst Corporation's attempt to break San Francisco's Pressman's and Teamsters' unions or force them to accept onerous work rules and a nearly 50% pay cut.
At issue is a $200 million printing plant nearing completion in Fremont, fifty miles from San Francisco. It reportedly could print all of the newspapers in the Bay Area, and perhaps some from nearby Central Valley cities like Fresno and Stockton. In January the Chronicle ran a series of pieces, including a front section wraparound, on the new printing plant, even though it is not in operation yet. So it seems intent on continuing the printed version. The Canadian firm that is building the plant, TransContintental Printing, plans to use non-union pressmen.

Do J-schools teach what was, rather than what is and will be?

A recent to-and-fro on the Toronto Freelance Editors and Writers list (sub req'd) was about whether traditional skills and concepts taught in journalism schools are ill-equipping graduates for the real world.

Naturally, some people (including current teachers) felt that basic research, interviewing and writing skills are eminently transferrable, even if grads don't wind up in a traditional newsroom (assuming such things continue to exist).

Others contended, essentially, that journalism teachers aren't up to date with the skills to teach about applications and software and functions that their students will be expected to know.

The latter view was represented by Canice Leung, a recent graduate from Ryerson's magazine stream and I quote (with her permission):
No disrespect to any of my professors at Ryerson, who are talented and enthusiastic journalists, but I don't think it's enough for teachers, editors, publishers to say 'This is how it is, now prepare for it' in some lecture hall or in the newsroom. They can get away with not knowing how to shoot and edit photos/video, web languages such as Flash, CSS, HTML or PHP, lay out pages in Quark and InDesign or navigate the world of social media/web 2.0. We won't. Many entry-level positions now require proficiency in Photoshop, the web, video, photo, etc. to even be considered, and that's only going to become a mandatory requirement when print finally croaks in five or ten years.

I don't know all these skills, but the ones I do know were self-taught, which seems kind of ludicrous considering that — with the exception of social media — it was plain to see years ago that these areas would converge. I feel very bad for classmates who are beingpassed over for jobs despite their competent magazine skills, because they weren't prepared for the rest of it in school. (Side note: I'm glad Ryerson's j-school is changing its structure so students can dabble in multiple fields.)
I don't agree with Ms Leung about print croaking, but that's a post for another day. Her point is an important one, though one wonders how any journalism school can ever hope to get ahead of this curve or respond adequately to this perception.


Looming deadline for CSME awards

The deadline for the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors' awards is 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 25. There are awards for best front of book, best display writing, editor of the year and, new this year, best website; any one entry makes a title eligible for Magazine of the Year in one of three consumer circulation categories (small (0 to 49,000), medium (50,000 to 149,000) and large (150,000+) as well as trade.

CSME has waived the entry fees this year; a magazine simply needs to have a CSME member on staff. Award winners will be announced at MagNet on June 3.

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Time Inc. experiments with customized magazine drawn from 8 titles

Time Inc., in partnership with one sponsor, Toyota Motor Corporation, is offering interested readers a personalized magazine called mine. Its content is drawn from eight different titles -- Time, Sports Illustrated, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Money, In Style, Golf, and Travel + Leisure. Readers get to select 5 titles from which content for their customized issue will be drawn. The first issue, which will have 36 pages (of which 4 will be Toyota ads), will be mailed early in April.

According to an Associate Press story carried by the Globe and Mail, the biweekly magazine is a five-issue, 10-week experiment to see how readers react. The publication is being used by Toyota to promote its new Lexus 2010 RX sport utility vehicle.
The magazine is free but the print edition is limited to the first 31,000 respondents, while an online version is available for another 200,000. It's only available to U.S. residents.

Sign-ups are available immediately at http://www.timeinc.com/mine, with the first issue to be shipped in the mail in early April, and then once every two weeks. Online subscribers will get digital editions that look just like the printed version in a special format that allows virtual page turns with clicks. A promotional push for the magazine kicks off Friday.