Friday, April 30, 2010

From magCulture, word of a new, biannual fashion magazine:
Industrie, which launches late May, promises to be a magazine about the fashion industry and fashion publishing. Hence cover star Anna Wintour, above, and ‘conversations about the future of publishing’ with Tom Florio, Publishing Director of Vogue, Net-A-Porter founder Natalie Massenet, and Luis Venegas rom Fanzine137. It’s published by Saturday


They may still be a winner: whatever happened to Publishers Clearing House?

Ever wonder what happened to Publishers Clearing House (You may already be a winner!)? Well, according to a post on Adotas the company, which was once an important source of agency sales of magazine subscriptions, is still sending out those sweepstakes envelopes, they just aren't the cash cow they once were. However, the company has involved itself in a profitable niche: online social gaming through such products as PCHGames, PCHLotto and PCHCoupons. A few days ago (in time for Mother's Day) they launched a "Mom-Jongg" tournament in collaboration with the online florists 1-800 Flowers, in which the top 10 finishers receive a bouquet worth $40 and a chance to win a cash prize.

Border Crossings named Manitoba's
magazine of the year

Art magazine Border Crossings was named magazine of the year at the second annual Maggie Awards, presented by the Manitoba Magazine Publishers Association (MMPA). The awards dinner was held on Thursday night in Winnipeg and honours were given in 15 categories. 
The People's Choice Award went to Hearts of the Country, a rural women's bimonthly published in Fisher Branch, Manitoba. 

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Ad model turns on its head as consumers decide what they want from advertisers

This month's issue of the Globe and Mail's  Report on Business magazine, out today, has a worthwhile story about advertising, called How Google Will Ruin Everything By Omar El Akkad. It explores what we can learn about the future of traditional advertising (basically, it has no future) in a world of search.
Advertising is one of the few industries where it’s virtually impossible to know if money spent is money well-spent. Is a Super Bowl commercial really worth $3 million? Is Tiffany & Co. a more alluring brand if its ad appears in The New York Times instead of USA Today? And what makes a good ad, anyway? These and other questions have plagued marketers for decades as they seek to refine the murky art of persuasion. Now, platoons of Google engineers are threatening to make such questions irrelevant by reframing the entire scenario: Let the consumers tell advertisers what they want.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Somebody paid $42,500 for a week
as a gopher at Vogue

The winning charity auction bid is in and $42,500 was paid for a one-week "internship" at Vogue magazine. The proceeds go to the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights. The package includes
One week at the Vogue office in New York City, plus an opportunity to meet [editor] Anna Wintour. The experience would be tailored to the interests and skills of the auction winner. Also includes 2 tickets to New York’s Fashion Week, The September Issue DVD, and books In Vogue; Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People; The World in Vogue: People, Parties, Places and The Teen Vogue Handbook.
As the media website Gawker said:  
As in a real internship, you will only meet Anna for the most fleeting moment, and your nonexistent skills will entitle you to work as a gopher. But in this case you help the RFK center, so, what the hell.

Is Flash technology a relic? Apple's Steve Jobs thinks -- and says -- so

All of those magazine publishers, web editors and editors generally who have been wondering about Adobe Flash (to Flash or not when it comes to video and web development), will want to carefully parse the just-released, blunt dismissal of the technology by Steve Jobs, the boss of Apple. Essentially, he declares it an unnecessary relic.


Taking the gloves off in the outdoor magazine publishing sector

Circulators generally take the high road in their  promotion and emphasize their magazine's strengths and reader benefits rather than knocking the competition. 
But apparently, the gloves are off in the "hook & bullet" sector, judging by a recent subscription pitch from Ontario Out of Doors magazine (published by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters). 
Clearly referring to the recent decision by competitor Outdoor Canada (published by Quarto Communications) to publish six times a year instead of 8, the OOD insert, signed by publisher Mike Reader, makes much of the fact that OOD publishes 10 issues a year. But -- without specifically naming its competitor -- it goes further.
"How does a national magazine expect to cover a year of fishing and hunting with 40% less of the issues delivered by your Ontario Out of Doors?
Ontario Out of Doors magazine has always taken pride in being the only outdoors magazine in Canada to offer 10 issues a year, including the Fishing and Hunting Annuals."
 And it goes further still:
Ontario Out of Doors magazine promises that:
  • we will never get soft on fishing and hunting content;
  • we will never deliver a skimpy-thin issue;
  • we will continue to deliver 10 issues as part of your hard-earned subscriptions dollars
Is this fair game and good business? Or an unsubtle departure from custom?
(By the way, Outdoor Canada sells 6 issues for $23.70; Ontario Out of Doors sells 10 issues for $24.50.)


Two very different views of the "new old"

Moses Znaimer, the founder of Zoomer Media and Zoomer Magazine, has responded to a recent web column by Mireille Silcoff in the National Post. Silcoff was critical of the "Zoomer" mentality.In part...
Silcoff (April 24): I am all for people living the fullest, richest lives possible for as long as possible, great sex included. But I cannot abide by Mr. Znaimer when he claims that his magazine's raison d'etre is in raising the self esteem of the new old. I can think of nothing that could more effectively deliver a collective crisis of confidence than this perfectly bound specimen.
Znaimer (April 29):Mireille Silcoff's piece is really more an expression of her own fear of, and discomfort with, aging (and her mother's aging) than it is a balanced critique of our magazine. Her comments and struggle with how to age are a perfect illustration of Zoomer's mandate and the debate we hope to inspire.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Magazine world view: Luxe on the block; social media releasing; photojournalists

Magazines Canada launches professional development webinar series

Magazines Canada has launched a series of webinars, an initiative to bring professional development to more of its Canada-wide members and non-members alike. The program kicks off May 19 with a seminar by Wayne MacPhail, exploring the potential for magazines of the new iPad. This is followed by a seminar on June 17 with Amber Mac, talking about using social media to grow a magazine brand and on June 29 with a session on copyright with lawyer Warren Sheffer.
The webinars are $25 for members and $35 for non-members of Magazines Canada. A bundle of all three is $60 for members and $80 for non-members. Registration for the sessions closes at noon on the day of the session and the first three webinars all start at 2:00 p.m.
Magazines Canada has been pondering for some time the challenge of delivering professional development to far-flung people, particularly as recent research showed that work demands and travel costs have been making traditional seminars a harder sell, even when done periodically in various cities across the country. A recent study by Kim Pittaway found that there was an appetite for such distance education.

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New women's ethnic magazine Souche aimed at recognizing "the reality of Quebec"

A new French magazine for ethnic women 25 to 40 in Quebec is being launched today. Souche features the Algerian singer Thalie on its cover. 
The magazine will be published six times a year and distributed in major French speaking cities such as Ottawa, Gatineau and greater Montreal.

The editor, Carla Beauvais, says there has to date not been an equivalent in Quebec to titles like Essence (aimed at black women) in the U.S. 
And, while she says she is regular reader of Elle Quebec and Chatelaine and Vita, few of them use models of colour or talk about the particular challenges of skin and hair.The magazine will feature serious articles on such things as the cultural scene in Haiti as well as more traditional health, fitness and lifestyle content found in established titles. 
"I think Souche is an incredible opportunity to offer more women the opportunity to [engage with] the pages of a magazine, without having to obtain U.S. or European magazines. Although these magazines are very interesting, they do not represent and does not cover the reality of Quebec. We are fortunate to live in a society where diversity is a rich and our mandate is to develop, "Beauvais says in a release
The launch party for the magazine is on April 28 at 6 p.m. at the Jello Bar in Montreal. 


Experimental magazine to be created in 48 hours, start to finish

A group of wacky magazine mavens are about to launch 48 Hour magazine, described as "a raucous    experiment in using new tools to erase media's old limits". The goal is to produce a finished website and a glossy paper version of the magazine in two days. The originators say:
We'll unveil a theme and you'll have 24 hours to produce and submit your work. We'll take the next 24 to snip, mash and gild it. The end results will be a shiny website and a beautiful glossy paper magazine, delivered right to your old-fashioned mailbox. We promise it will be insane. Better yet, it might even work.
The idea is being guided and promoted by six individuals, including Derek Powazek, a San Francisco author, designer and editor of He is the co-founder of the photography magazine JPG and "chief of awesome" for MagCloud.Others in the guiding collective are Heather Powazek Champ, Dylan Fareed, a designer and printmaker, Wired magazine contributing editor Mathew Honan, Alexis Madrigal, a science and energy staff writer,  and writer and editor Sarah Rich, who is co-founder of Foodprint and a former senior editor of Dwell magazine.
Interested participants can be anywhere (and we've seen lots of tweets about people in Canada who want to be part of this idea). The theme for "Issue Zero" will be announced May 7, submissions close May 8 and May 9 the magazine wraps up and is shipped to the printer.

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Canadian Business Press moves annual general meeting back a month

The Canadian Business Press (CBP) has rescheduled its annual general meeting, moving it from before the MagNet conference marquee event on June 1 at the Windsor Arms Hotel to the end of June.  Karen Dalton, the CBP executive director, says the organization needed more time and moved to June 29th: 
We have undertaken a strategic planning exercise and wanted to give ourselves a few more weeks to prepare to present the plan to our membership at the AGM.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vancouver loses another indy magazine outlet -- Sophia Books to close end of May

Sophia Books, an outstanding, multilingual magazine and bookstore on West Hastings Street in Vancouver, is closing at the end of May, according to a story posted on the site Books on the Radio. 
It is yet another example of the endangered species that are independent stores which have cared about and nurtured hard-to-find and indy magazines. (The loss will be particularly felt by the students at the nearby downtown campus of Simon Fraser University, home of the Magazine Publishing program.) 
The store carried books and magazines in Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian and German with a staff that could serve customers in English, Japanese, French and Spanish. The store had been importing books from Japan since 1975 and specialized in the ultra-specialized niche of tattoo publishing from Japan and elsewhere.
"It's another heartbreaker for book lovers in Vancouver, " said Sean Cranbury in the post, "as Sophia represented the best and most unique selection of international art, graphic design, comix, fiction, non-fiction, manga and magazines not only in the city, the province - pretty much anywhere."

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House & Home TV show now to be self-produced online rather than on TV

House and Home Media, the publishers of Canadian House & Home magazine, is switching its House & Home Television programming online, leaving a 12-year relationship with conventional television. It has aired on CTV, Global and HGTV, dating back to 1998, when CTV first launched a new daily show hosted by publisher Lynda Reeves. It was said to be the first of its kind in Canada.
"Much has changed since then," said the company in a release. "The conventional and cable networks are, today, overcrowded with decorating and lifestyle programming, largely reality-based.The decision to move H&H TV online was, in part, a reaction to viewers' appreciation for the high-quality, magazine format of the show. This, plus a determination to keep the program on brand with Canada's premier home design magazine, made the decision to self-produce a natural one."
Shows are filmed both inside the House & Home Media offices in Toronto and on location. Original content is updated weekly, and viewers can subscribe to a custom e-newsletter to receive show updates.The tenth season of H&H Online TV is currently in production, with 50 new shows hosted by Lynda Reeves and H&H Editor Suzanne Dimma. 
Lynda Reeves admits her initial reluctance to switch to an online format. "I was concerned about production values and our ability to make a show as good or better than anything on TV in our category. Now, I'm so proud of our online show that I'm guilty of showing it to anyone who will let me. The production value is fabulous," she says.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Magazine world view:WSJ bucks a trend; two-tier price for USPS; battling bloat with blogs

On the virtues of being reader-centric

Mr. Magazine, Samir Husni, has started an occasional feature called The One Minute Advisor on his website and one of his first offerings is a short interview with marketer James Elliott, talking about the major mistake magazine publishers make today -- being magazine-centric rather than reader-centric.
As the saying goes, "it's not about your grass seed, it's about their lawn."

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There's not a lot of consistency yet in digital sub and single pricing

The pricing of digital magazines is somewhat helter-skelter compared with the pricing of the traditional print magazines from which they spring. Readers tend to assume that they'll benefit from digital delivery, but that's not always the case.
A post on the blog Canadian Opera asks why the price of a digital edition of Opera Canada magazine (no relation) is virtually the same as the print sub and gives no discount to existing print subscribers. And the price of a digital single copy is $5.95, which -- given that the magazine is a quarterly -- means you could buy the magazines one at a time cheaper than you could by taking a year-long sub.
Here are the relative costs of digital subs and digital singles from a variety of different magazines (data taken from the Digital Newsstand, a joint venture of Magazines Canada and Zinio). Regardless of the frequency, the average cost of a digital single copy seems to be about 26% of the cost of a digital subscription:
Magazine Freq. Digital
% single
Maclean’s 56 51.88 5.03 9.7
Canadian Living 12 23.98 3.99 16.6
Good Times 11 23.00 3.83 16.7
Sky News 6 26.00 4.95 19.1
Cottage Life 6 29.95 5.95 19.9
Opera Canada 4 29.95 5.95 19.9
Vancouver 10 23.95 4.95 20.7
Saltscapes 7 28.19 5.95 21.1
Canadian Gardening 7 22.95 4.95 21.6
MORE 8 20.00 4.5 22.5
Azure 8 25.95 5.95 22.9
Western Horse Review 12 12.99 2.99 23.0
Alberta Venture 12 19.95 4.95 24.8
Outdoor Canada 8 19.97 4.95 24.8
Motorcycle Mojo 8 20.00 4.95 24.8
Wine Access 6 14.99 3.99 26.6
Broken Pencil 4 18.00 4.95 27.5
Queen’s Quarterly 4 20.00 6.50 32.5
Elle Canada 12 12.00 3.99 33.3
Homemaker’s 9 9.95 3.50 35.2
Prairies North 4 15.07 7.00 46.4
Malahat Review 4 20.00 11.95 59.8

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Making Media Public conference to be held May 6 to 8 at Ryerson and York

Nicole Cohen, a former co-founder and co-editor of Shameless magazine, tells us that she is helping to organize Making Media Public, a three-day conference at Ryerson University and York University. The kickoff will be a roundtable discussion (free admission) called "The Trouble With Media" on Thursday, May 6 at Ryerson. The roundtable is at 245 Church Street, Room LG-11 (George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre). A reception at the Churchmouse and Firkin pub, 475 Church St. (upstairs) will follow.
Panellists include John McGrath (former CBC public affairs reporter), Lise Lareau (Canadian Media Guild), Sharmini Pereis (The Real News Network), Robert Hackett (Simon Fraser University) and Leslie Regan Shade (Concordia University). The conference follows on May 7 and 8 at York. For further information, go to


Nominate your favourite circulator between now and May 7

The May 7 deadline looms for entries in the 2010 CMC Ace Awards, honouring the best in magazine circulation. The awards themselves will be presented in June during MagNet at the annual Circulation Management Association of Canada (CMC) luncheon. For further information.

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Glamour named magazine of the year in U.S. national magazine awards

Condé Nast’s Glamour magazine won Magazine of the Year at the annual American Society of Magazine Editors National Magazine Awards, presented last week. Other multiple award winners at the event were:
  • New York, which won four "Ellies" including general excellence (250,000 to 500,000 circ)
  • The New Yorker, which won three awards
  • National Geographic, which also took home three, including general excellence over 2 million circ
  • Wired won two Ellies, including best design for the second year in a row
  • San Francisco, which won general excellence less than 100,000 circ
  • Mother Jones, general excellence 100,000 to 250,000
  • GQ, general excellence 500,000 to 1 million circ
  • Men's Health, general excellence 1 million to 2 million
Vogue editor Anna Wintour was inducted into the Editors' Hall of Fame by The New Yorker editor-in-chief, David Remnick. 
Complete list of winners
By the way, the nominees for Canada's National Magazine Awards will be announced on May 4.

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Rogers's Canadian Investment Review goes entirely online

Canadian Investment Review, a quarterly publication from Rogers Publishing Ltd., has discontinued its print publication and moved entirely online.
"Our new forum will make us more nimble, and reactive to issues old and new," says editor Caroline Cakebread in an editorial. "The new site will take advantage of our online options, allowing for more commentary, discussion and opportunity to debate the issues—in short, more of the great research and ideas you’ve come to expect here."


Pink Triangle Press discontinues gay travel print publication, relaunches it online

Pink Triangle Press, which publishes Xtra and fab magazines, has announced that it is discontinuing the print publication of its gay travel publication Guide magazine, but continuing it online. The redesigned will launch at the end of May. The magazine has been around for more than three decades and the companion website already attracts 60,000 visitors each month.
“It’s a strategic change in direction,” says Brandon Matheson, publisher and editor-in-chief. “Increasingly, gay men look to the web as their prime source of travel information. As travel information providers, we need to ensure that we remain relevant and that we stay connected to the dedicated readership that Guide magazine has built over the past 30 years. Moving beyond the barriers of a monthly print cycle, the new will ensure that we’re connected with more readers, more often, with more frequent content updates.”


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

HST is not a new tax? Ask your subscribers

It's curious, that Tony Wanless, a blogger for BC Business magazine's website, takes a poke at opponents of the HST and suggests that they're too thick to understand that it's not a new tax, but rather a simple blending of the old provincial retail tax and the goods and services tax that most people pay anyway. The reason it's curious is that, in BC (and Ontario) it IS a new tax on some goods -- 7% more in BC and 8% more in Ontario -- such as magazine subscriptions. No one knows what the eventual impact will be, but one rule of thumb is that an increase in out-of-pocket costs will inevitably result in an decrease in sales. We imagine the magazine that hosts him can ill afford such a revenue hit. (He seems to be fairly sanguine about the 7% tax increase on his consulting fees as CEO of Knowpreneur Consultants.)

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New European magazine kiosks will feature preview touch screens

Pushing back against the erosion of single copy magazine sales and the closing of many newsstands in Europe, a leading shopping mall owner will be launching a new kind of  sales outlet, according to a story from Unibail-Rodamco, which owns a hundred shopping malls in Europe and 35 in France, is partnering wtih Mediakiosq, a company which controls some 800 newsstands in France. The new kiosks are created by leading designers, including Ora Ito of France.
The new newsstands remind visitors of  sleek iPad or iPhone technology and the analogy is not just in appearance. The space traditionally used for promotion (posters, pockets etc)  is largely foregone in favour of touchscreens that allow prospective buyers to preview various publications before they buy. The first kiosks will be installed in the next few months.
[thanks Michel]

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What HST means to your magazine in ON and BC

Masthead magazine has published a succinct and useful Q & A summary of the looming impact, come July 1, of the imposition of the harmonized sales tax (HST)on magazines in B.C. and Ontario (where 2/3 of Canada's titles are published.)

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U.S. news executives worry about the future state of journalism and its fundamental values

A study of the attitudes of newspaper and broadcast executives about the future of journalism in their media found them concerned about the state of journalism.

The study was conducted with 208 executives by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. And while they see some positives in the changes they are witnessing, they are worried about the future. 

For instance, they were asked how the internet is changing the fundamental values of journalism and 65% said it was loosening standards, 30% said it was putting an emphasis on speed (good and bad), 16% said there was more opinion and bias and 13% said the coverage was more superficial and with less analysis.

The survey found some significant differences in the attitudes between leaders of newspaper-based newsrooms and those of broadcast. Among them was their view of journalism’s future. Broadcast news executives were strikingly more pessimistic, with those who see journalism headed in the wrong direction outnumbering those who think it is headed in the right direction by almost two-to-one. Leaders of newspaper newsrooms, by contrast, are split, with a slight tilt toward optimism.

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Magazine world view: ChopChop; journos in limbo; ash splash; RD ad; list prices

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Canadian Living to host cooking stage at Green Living magazine's consumer show

In something of a crossover from one publisher to another, Transcontinental Media's Canadian Living magazine has announced that it will be hosting the cooking stage at the 2010 Toronto Green Living show in Toronto, April 23 to 25. Canadian Living editors and cooks will demonstrate in what is the first time the magazine has participated in the show, an extension of Green Living magazine, published by Green Living Enterprises, a division of Key Publishers Company Ltd.


Rita Silvan out as editor-in-chief of Elle Canada

Rita Silvan, the editor-in-chief of Elle Canada, has left the magazine and is being replaced by her executive editor, Noreen Flanagan. An internal memo, published on today gives no indication if her leaving was of her own volition. The e-mail memorandum from senior VP Francine Tremblay said in part:
I regret to inform you of the departure of Rita Silvan, Editor in Chief, Elle Canada. I wish to thank Rita for her contributions to the Elle brand over the past years and wish her luck in her future endeavors.

In light of this, the economy and the maturity of the product, I have taken this opportunity to rethink our structure. As part of this, it is with pleasure that I announce that Noreen Flanagan will be promoted to Editor in Chief, Elle Canada. Noreen has been part of the Elle Canada group since 2001, acting most recently as executive editor. In her capacity of executive editor, Noreen has been involved in all aspects of the magazine, including beauty, fashion, arts and entertainment.
Silvan was on the founding team of Elle Canada in 2001 and has been a judge on Project Runway Canada. The Canadian edition of Elle was the first of Transcontinental's joint ventures or licensing arrangements of an international brand.


Mags and websites collaborate on climate change clearinghouse

Hoping to corral a combined online audience of more than 25 million unique monthly visitors, 1.5 million print readers and a TV audience of 1.5 million, The Atlantic, Mother Jones and Wired magazines are partnering with Slate, Grist and the Centre for Investigative Reporting and PBS to create a go-to site called Climate Desk. It will explore the impact of climate change. 
According to a story from Folio:, the group will begin by publishing a series of articles exploring how American businesses are adapting to the liabilities, risks and opportunities surrounding climate change and during the final two weeks of April, two dozen stories on the topic will be posted to partner web sites as well as to
“Pooling resources, whether it’s money or reporters or technology, can make good sense for outfits that want to remain ambitious in lean times,” said The Atlantic's editorial director, Bob Cohn. “We all still want to beat the other guy, but sometimes the best way to unpack a complex and multi-dimensional story may be to forge ties with like-minded colleagues.”


PMB and comScore partner in new comprehensive reader database

In what could be a major and ground-breaking initiative, the Print Measurement Bureau (PMB) and comScore Canada have announced a partnership to allow greater insight into the reading habits and purchasing preferences of both print and online readers.The new data service -- available only to companies that are clients of both PMB and comScore -- will mean that online media habits, print readership and other media consumption, demographics and product and brand usage information will be available to publishers and advertisers in a single database. 
The new service will offer critical audience insights, giving publishers the ability to demonstrate greatly enhanced audience value [said a press release]. Agencies and advertisers will gain deeper insights into consumer behaviour, helping them optimize media plans and efficiently deliver campaigns against their most valuable target segments.

“This collaboration offers a true win-win for the Canadian digital media community,” said Brent Lowe-Bernie, President of comScore Media Metrix Canada. “By bringing these important media planning variables together in a powerful combined database, we are equipping publishers with information about their audiences that will enable them demonstrate the value of their inventory while providing advertisers the additional insights needed to optimize their media plans. comScore is pleased to partner with PMB on this endeavor and we look forward to providing continued insight and innovation for the digital industry in Canada....
Steve Ferley, President of PMB, added, “The PMB Board has clearly stated the need to broaden our data offering. This project together with comScore dovetails perfectly with that strategy, and we look forward to working with them for many years to come.”
 PMB provides  twice-yearly data on reading and media habits and purchasing behaviour to some 500 corporate clients, including magazines, other media companies, ad agencies, advertisers and educational establishments. comScore Canada is a wholly-owned subsidiary of comScore Inc.,  


Encouraging concise reviews and building Geist's circulation at the same time

Geist magazine, based in Vancouver, continues its ongoing annual series of workshops on how to write a succinct book review (and, not coincidentally something that works for snappy blog posts); the $50 fee includes a one-year subscription to the magazine. The seminar in Toronto on June 2 at 7 done in collaboration with Tightrope Books and it is offered by Patty Osborne a regular contributor to Geist's Endnotes book review section. Not only does the magazine build a cadre of potential contributors with a well-honed style, but also subscribers. You can see the results of past workshops with some of the four-sentence micro-reviews posted on the website.


Monday, April 19, 2010

See tomorrow's illustrators, today, as Sheridan grad show opens Thursday

Each year about this time, the public gets to see the best work of tomorrow's illustrators with the Sheridan Illustration 2010 grad show. (the example above is by Heather Brindely).
Regular readers of this blog know that I am a great fan of illustration and lament that it is not used as often as might be in Canadian magazines. If, nevertheless, illustration is thriving, it is largely because of this important program,offering a four-year degree from Canada's largest art school.
The talent is on display at the opening on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Burroughes Building, 639 Queen Street West, Toronto.
The title of the show is "Illustrators are multidimensional", and to demonstrate this, each of the 76 graduates created 1-foot-square cubes with images, colours, self-portraits and type, demonstrating the dynamic power of illustration. They transported them around Toronto to show how illustration can cut through clutter. They made a video of what transpired:
Individual grads' work.


An excellent China adventure, illustrated

[This post has been updated] Louis Fishauf is a well-known and respected Toronto art director (who lives and works part-time in Kettleby, Ontario). Tomio Nitto is a Toronto illustrator. Bill Grigsby is a longtime artists' representative at Reactor Art Design Limited (which he and Fishauf founded 28 years ago) . 
The trio last month visited illustrator/artists Henrick Drescher and Wu Wing Yee in Dali, Yunnan, China. And, being visual types, they took a lot of pictures and whipped up a Flash-based slide show of their trip. (They must have been hungry, because there are lots of shots of food and markets.)

[Update: Louis Fishauf writes about how the "online-magazine" format is a viable way for print magazines to extend their editorial content.
There's no magazine that could devote 94 pages to a photo-essay on China for example, but online, the space available is unlimited. The double-page spread and the flip-page format mimic the magazine-reading experience, so it seems like a more natural extension of the print product. It's great for content that is primarily visual -- extended photo essays, artist profiles, home decor, architecture, travel, fashion spreads, etc. And of course, these online mag extensions could be advertiser-supported.]

Friday, April 16, 2010

Reed Business Information shuts down 23
b2b titles in U.S.

After nine months of trying to sell them, Reed Business Information's U.S. division has closed down 23 business-to-business titles, according to a story in Folio:. While it was able to sell Publishers Weekly and to hold on to such titles as Variety, the publisher has shut down 26 titles since January.

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Amy Rosen named food editor of Canadian House & Home magazine

Starting with the September issue (available on newsstands August 3), Amy Rosen will be the food editor of Canadian House & Home (H&H) and Maison & Demeure (M&D) magazines. Rosen has been a frequent contributor to publications such as Maclean's and Chatelaine in Canada, and to Food & Wine in the U.S., as well as The Globe and Mail and the National Post. She has her own blog and will also be blogging on the website and contribute to House & Home Television, now available online.
"H&H food is a growing section in our magazine, and always a favourite segment on H&H TV," says Lynda Reeves, House & Home Media President. "Amy's energy and love of food will be a great plus for our brand."


Alberta publisher sees province becoming the magazine hub of western Canada

Times are good in Alberta publishing, according to Gary Davies, the publisher of Avenue magazine, a member of the board of directors of the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association (AMPA). He reports in his blog that the association board met recently in Canmore, Alberta to look ahead from the association, which is in the enviable position of being debt free, with a healthy reserve fund and with a recent injection of some provincial funding.
The good news is we came up with a number of fabulous ideas; the bad news is until some of these come to fruition, I can't really tell you much about them. But suffice to say, we on the AMPA board want to take the opportunity that has been presented to us and take full advantage of it. We want to make Alberta the magazine and digital publishing hub of Western Canada. And we have the ability and resources to do so...if even half of our initiatives become reality, the magazine industry in this province will look and feel a whole lot differently than it does today.

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Christian Science Monitor's conversion to a magazine turning out well

A while back the story was that the venerable Christian Science Monitor was converting from being a daily newspaper to a weekly print magazine supported by a daily-updated website. At the time, there were hopes, but not much evidence, that the plan would work and stanch the losses that the highly respected publication was experiencing. Well, the results are in and, far from being yet another casualty of changing times, the CSM may be turning out to be a beacon for other publications about adaptation.
According to a report on MediaDaily News, the publication not only converted 90% of its subscribers to the new weekly/online experience, but gained a large number of new subscribers; it grew from about 40,000 when the weekly was launched to about 77,000 now. The website attracted 5 million unique visitors in March, with 14 million page views. And all without giving up any of the publication's traditional strengths of insightful reporting on social and foreign policy issues. The editor in chief, John Yemma, speculates that the publication may grow to more than 100,000 readers in a "steady, organic growth".

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Best Health magazine demonstrates how to feel good naked

Best Health magazine, the Reader's Digest spinoff, is unveiling a whole new attitude, literally and figuratively, with its forthcoming "love your body" issue in May. It features a tasteful, friendly cover model in the altogether, plus coverlines like "Feel good naked", something you'd rarely, if ever, have seen in an RD product in years past.

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"Magazines Connect" video from Magazines Canada accentuates the positives

Magazines Canada unveiled a video at its Best on Page event last week, a promotion of the highlights and strengths of the magazine form and the way that it interacts with readers. It's also notable that the format of the video presents its information in the way that someone would read them on an iPhone or iPad.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

BC mags promote reading and buying local
on Earth Day

Three BC not for profit organizations representing magazines, book publishing and the Sierra Club have partnered with Chapters Indigo Books & Music for a “Read Local, Buy Local,” series of events on Earth Day, April 22, and April 24 and 25 in Vancouver and Victoria.
“Earth Day is a fantastic opportunity for us to raise awareness of homegrown publications and the contributors whose talent they cultivate,” says Heidi Waechtler, project coordinator for the BC Association of Magazine Publishers (
The are to be 28 free sessions open to the public, including family activities, readings, talks and demonstrations. Events will be held concurrently at Chapters Robson (788 Robson St., Vancouver), Chapters Granville (2505 Granville St., Vancouver) and Chapters Victoria (1212 Douglas St., Victoria) . For the full event schedule, see

Coastlands moves to a print and web model

Coastlands: The Maritimes Policy Review is relaunching in July as a beefed-up twice-yearly publication, augmented by a frequently updated website. Editor Rachel Brighton, who launched the Nova Scotia Policy Review in 2007 (later expanding its reach to all three Maritime provinces, with the new name) says that frequency change reflects changes in her life. Notably, she now writes a weekly column for the business pages of the Chronicle-Herald newspaper and is working on her Masters degree in theology at Acadia University in Wolfville.
Brighton said the print publication may have more pages and be more focussed on longer articles about public policy, social, cultural and economic issues, while the new website -- being launched at the same time in July -- will have more timely, shorter content. She also said she hopes to keep each issue of the magazine on newsstands for longer periods and expand distribution to make it available in other, less traditional outlets. 
The magazine's two-year sub price will be reduced to $40 ($46 with the impact of the 15% HST that is coming in at the end of June) and single copies will be $10 each.

Will cheaper paper mean that National Geographic magazines will crumble?

A relatively recent switch by National Geographic magazine to print its inside pages on much less costly coated groundwood paper may mean that, in future, copies will not stand up so well to the test of time. According to a story in the blog Dead Tree Edition, the magazine was previously printed on coated freesheet paper which doesn't contain lignin, a natural ingredient that causes the yellowing and degradation of the paper.

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Bad news for U.S. periodicals: USPS business model said to be "not viable"

Periodicals in the U.S. account for more than a third of the enormous loss that the United States Postal Service (USPS) has suffered; delivering magazines and newspapers has steadily been losing money for the past 13 fiscal years and reached $642 million in 2009, according to a story in Audience Development. It reports that  a General Accounting Office  (GAO) report says the post office's business model is "not viable".

Like Canada Post, the USPS is attempting to get its rates up and its costs down and to move away from favourable rates for periodicals, which do not cover costs (one calculation sets the necessary increase to reach breakeven on handling costs at about 31%). The scale of the problem in the U.S.may necessitate annual rate increases well above the rate of inflation which would have the effect of driving publishers to seek more digital alternatives or alternative delivery systems.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thinking and rethinking about anonymous comments

“Anonymity is just the way things are done. It’s an accepted part of the Internet, but there’s no question that people hide behind anonymity to make vile or controversial comments. I feel that this is almost like an education process. As the rules of the road are changing and the Internet is growing up, the trend is away from anonymity.”
-- Arianna Huffington, a founder of The Huffington Post.
For those (like this blog) who continue to wonder about the trade-offs and benefits of allowing anonymous posting, there is a very good discussion of current thinking in this recent article from the New York Times.[Thanks, Allan, for bringing this article to my attention.] 

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Zinio, the digital magazine service, comes out on top among free iPhone apps

Zinio, the company that provides digital versions of magazines, has turned out to be the number one free news application on the new Apple iPad, according to a story on MediaDailyNews. It had fifth place overall among iPad apps, behind Netflix.
Like other digital publishers, Zinio has rushed to capitalize on the wave of interest in Apple's new tablet-style computer, touted by the manufacturer as a superior device for media consumption, thanks to its large color display and easy interface.

Magazine publishers have been especially keen to distribute digital editions via the iPad. Conde Nast, Hearst, Time Inc. and Meredith Corp. have teamed up to create a common digital storefront for magazines in anticipation of more reading over digital devices like the iPad.
Zinio is now partnering with Magazines Canada on its Digital Newsstand, which has more than 100 Canadian magazine titles on board.

According to the story, about 500,000 to 600,000 iPads had been sold in the U.S. by the end of last week. Canadian sales are expected to begin soon.


Briarpatch fundraising campaign looks to Cuban agriculture for inspiration

Briarpatch magazine is taking a leaf from the home-grown development of Cuban agriculture following the collapse of its patron, the Soviet Union, and developing a "deeper roots" campaign to build sustainable funding. 
In an open letter to readers, editor Dave Oswald Mitchell says the relatively small circulation leftish magazine is looking at a funding shortfall of $30,000 in 2010/11, the result, in part, of being denied Canada Magazine Fund funding for two years and with uncertainty about future funding under the Canada Periodical Fund. 
Oswald's letter asks for supporters to take part in a "media funding revolution" that depends more on reader rather than government support. 
Like Cuba before the Special Period, Briarpatch has become overly reliant on unsustainable infusions of imported energy (not Soviet oil in our case, but, rather, government grants). Cuba addressed its crisis by embracing grassroots, organic, urban agriculture. (Visit to learn more.)...
Our plan is ambitious but achievable. And we want it to serve as a model of the grassroots media of the future: organically funded, intellectually nutritious, aesthetically delicious and all-’round good for a growing body politic.
Mitchell says that the magazine now has more than 150 readers who make modest monthly donations  (averaging $20 a month) and Briarpatch intends to double this with the sustaining subscription campaign. 
Of course Briarpatch is not alone in increasingly turning to readers for support in addition to buying single copies and subscriptions. Many smaller, specialized arts, literary and cultural titles rely on that extra stream of revenue, particularly since they have not been able to make up the difference with advertising. Their diffuse and particular audiences  don't tend to be very alluring for national advertisers. And it's exacerbated by the recent decision to restrict government funding to magazines with less than 5,000 per year paid circulation.  

What's unusual in this Briarpatch campaign is the analogy to the "food security movement" and community-supported agriculture.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

BBC may sell off some of its magazines,
partner on others

BBC Worldwide is undertaking a shakeup of its multi-title magazine division and is considering selling Radio Times magazine. According to a story in the Times newspaper, BBC Worldwide is considering entering into a licensing arrangement or partnership with a rival publisher for many or all of its 50 titles, maintaining editorial control and the vaunted BBC standards while enabling the organization's portfolio to be more profitable. 
Worldwide’s magazines division made a profit of £11.5 million last year on sales of £182 million. Sources close to the company, whose titles include Top Gear, Doctor Who and Gardeners’ World, said that the tie-up would create a “mixed portfolio” in which the some magazines would be sold while others would be licensed to the new partner to publish.
The source said: “It can’t just be about flogging off the company because a lot of the magazines are BBC-branded and programme-branded and a huge part of their value is their relationship with the BBC. It’s not straightforward and it’s not going to be the same structure for all of them. There are some titles that could be sold, some parts need to remain close to the BBC.”
BBC is Britain's fourth biggest consumer magazine publisher, selling 85 million copies a year. According to a separate Times story, Sir Michael Lyons, the chairman of the BBC Trust, last November ordered the magazine division to halt acquisitions. Cash raised from any sale or licensing of magazines could be used to help buy out Virgin Media from the joint venture UKTV, the story said.

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Magazine world view: CurtCo sells; Autos advertise; Poll finds pessimism; Hearst shuffle

Resisting the corporate model and preserving a place for writers to start

Some comments from literary magazine editors, quoted in an article in the McGill Daily entitled We're losing our literary mags. The article keys off the new Canada Periodical Fund, which limits funding to magazines with less than 5,000 paid circulation per year, something that is the case for many of Canada's best-known literary and cultural titles:
“In every way that I can think of, the government has tried to graft the corporate model on to the literary magazine. [The circulation floor is] an attainable number for many magazines but it changes the way these magazines operate, in terms of turning more into businesses and less into artist-driven projects.” -- Jean Paul Fiorentino, editor-in-chief of Matrix magazine, Montreal.
“Where else are writers supposed to start? Writers need opportunities, they need somebody at some point to give them a paycheque, and [literary magazines] offer that. We give them chances to work with editors before they launch into larger projects, and it builds up a [writer’s] fan base as well.” -- Mike Thompson, business administrator at Grain magazine, Saskatoon.
[The government] is really treating literary journals as commercial enterprises. They’re not. They’re not that at all. None of us are in it for profit; we don’t make any money; we never will make any. The government should not be applying profit-oriented metrics to this kind of journal. It just doesn’t fit.” -- Gerald Trites, co-editor of The Antigonish Review.
“If you look at the guidelines for the periodical fund, there’s absolutely no mention of qualitative criteria. The only criteria there besides circulation is Canadian ownership and Canadian content. And both are quantifiable. You can count the number of pages of Canadian content. There’s no recognition of contribution [to culture]. There’s no recognition that literary magazines, all arts magazines, are incubators for the culture of tomorrow.” -- John Barton, editor of Malahat Review.

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