Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Canada Periodical Fund abandons small literaries, cuts maximum funding for all but farm pubs

[This post has been updated]
[Update: Magazines Canada has issued a statement about the new Canada Periodical Fund. President and CEO Mark Jamison said:
Magazines Canada welcomes the new Canada Periodical Fund (CPF). The CPF is an important cultural program designed to help Canadian content reach Canadians. It replaces both the Publications Assistance Program (PAP) and the Canada Magazine Fund (CMF),both of which served cultural policy well over many years.

We are grateful for the support of Heritage Minister Moore in sustaining full program funding including the annual $15 million that was once the responsibility of Canada Post in PAP.This first year of the CPF is a transition year through which Magazines Canada will work with Canadian Heritage to address the specific needs of the industry.

We stress that the new “Aid to Publishers” component has a very tight February 19, 2010 deadline. To date, application information and materials are only available for the “Aid to Publishers” component of the program.The other components of the program are also important to segments of the Canadian industry and we look forward to more details on these in the very near future.[end update]
The rules for the new Canada Periodical Fund (CPF) -- promised since last February, but only released late Tuesday -- are what many magazines had feared. Essentially, the Department of Canadian Heritage has not budged from the draft positions it first revealed a year ago (with a couple of notable exceptions, see below).

Distribution of about $75.5 million in funding is to be based on the number of eligible copies distributed in a year, not mailing costs, as it was in the the former publications assistance program (PAP), and not editorial expenses, as it was in the Canada Magazine Fund (CMF), both of which are subsumed into the new CPF. About 95% of funding will be in the "Aid to Publishers" category. Despite the very late publication of the rules and release of the application, the deadline is  one month from today, Monday, February 19, 2010. 

English application information     
French application information
  • Small magazines with fewer than 5,000 paid copies circulated annually will receive no funding at all. This includes many of the country's literary and cultural magazines ;
  • All magazines must have sold at least 50% of their copies in the year previous to their application; 
  • All paid circulation magazines must have a minimum subscription or single copy price of at least $1 a copy or a minimum average subscription price of $12 a year;
  • Aboriginal, official language minority, ethnocultural and gay/lesbian/bisexual/transsexual publications (GLBT) are exempted from the requirement that they must sell at least 50% of copies;
  • Aboriginal, official language minority and ethnocultural publications have to sell only 2,500 paid copies a year to be eligible;
  • All magazines have a funding cap of $1.5 million, which is half of what some magazines received under the editorial content provisions of the CMF plus PAP, both of which are now ending;
  • Extraordinarily, farm publications -- among the most profitable magazines in the country -- are exempted from the funding cap in the new regulations. Other business-to-business publications, with which the farm press is usually included, are not;
  •  Professional association publications like CA magazine and CMA Management are ineligible;
  •  Other association magazines may be eligible, but may not include subscriptions with their membership fees and must allow members to opt out and the public to buy the publication at the same price as members; 
  • ‘sponsored circulation’ counts toward determining eligibility but not counted in the formula that determines the support each individual magazine receives;
  • Only paid circulation, request circulation and paid circulation non-daily newspapers are eligible to apply;
  • Payments under the program will be made direct to publishers, rather than through a Canada Post account and publishers are free to use alternative distribution.
The rules are undoubtedly going to be a major disappointment to the many groups who lobbied hard to have the draft changed, including Magazines Canada and the Canadian Business Press and the ad hoc group of small literary and cultural magazines that mounted a concerted Facebook campaign to get the floor on funding lowered or eliminated.

Applications under the new rules for current recipients of CMF and/or PAP funding will be subject to a streamlined "one-time-only" process (involving a simple, two-page application using data already filed with Heritage). They will receive an amount between 90% and 150% of their total funding from the SEC in 2008‑2009, the SALM in 2008‑2009, and the PAP in 2008‑2009, up to a maximum of $1.5 million (unless you are a farm publication).

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent reporting and analysis in your item. One clarification: I think in the following you mean almost half of what they received from CMF + PAP. This applies to 3 of the 5 that have been capped.

All magazines have a funding cap of $1.5 million, which is half of what some magazines received under the editorial content provisions of the CMF, which is now ending;

9:42 am  
Blogger D. B. Scott said...

Thanks for the clarification and you're quite right. I have amended the post to reflect this.

10:30 am  
Blogger Paul Wells said...

Do I read correctly that Magazines Canada is welcoming a move to eliminate support for all magazines with less than 5,000 circulation? That's asinine.

For the record, I have nothing to say for or against the $1.5 million cap, which would affect the magazine that employs me. But I would have hoped Magazines Canada would want there to be a lot of Canadian magazines. Good to see it's just a protection racket for medium-circulation mags.

11:33 am  

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