Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Torstar's Eye Weekly to be given a whole new look (and a whole new name?)

Big changes are afoot at Toronto's Eye Weekly (published by Torstar), including a complete redesign of the print magazine and the website, perhaps topped by a new name. 
According to a story in Marketing magazine [no longer available online], the dramatic overhaul will be trumpeted by a multi-media advertising campaign devised by the hip agency Rethink Toronto.
The publisher and editor-in-chief of Eye, Laas Turnbull, who has already put 10,000 volts through the newsprint weekly and given it a real citymag vibe, with hard-hitting journalism and bracing cover treatments, says the paper is going to shift away from the heavy emphasis on arts and entertainment. (This would provide a differentiation for Eye from its older, heftier rival NOW magazine.)
"We want to be a city magazine for 20- and 30-somethings in Toronto," [says Turnbull]. "Everything is kind of up for review right now. We’re looking at every part of the business and every part of the brand–what needs to go, what needs to stay and what needs to change....”
Rethink Toronto's Pema Hagen says that the print, television and online creative will draw people to a new Eye experience:
“The changes are going to be drastic and I think the paper that is going to be launched at the end of the day is going to be something that Torontonians are going to love, and something that’s going to be very different from what’s currently out there."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Toronto Life must be watching very closely. It's about time eye aspired to something more than a NOW wannabe. On another note, how NOW (and eye) morally justify their slutty adult classifieds remains white elephant. (Such ads are easy to commercially justify). The hypocrisy at NOW (and eye/TorStar) is that as muscular left-leaners, profiting indirectly from prostitution is most...un-Left. But hey, whoever said the Left had a monopoly on virtue?

5:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see what they cook up... it's already really good. This town desperately needs a kickass city magazine for us poor slobs who live south of Bloor

7:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These classified sections are getting smaller every year. But they fought to keep them in NOW and so they'll be around until the last hooker gets an iPhone.

But it's probably a good time for Torstar to get out of them in print as they pursue a young female consumer market for the weekly.

(However, you will still currently find an "adult" section at Toronto.com)

10:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon #1 here: yeah, they're shrinking all right. Online's killing them. Gotta just scratch my head at the very IDEA of them them in such pubs, though. You got a righteous prig like Hollett calling the shots at NOW (and more than a few hardcore executive feminists propping him up there on the masthead) and still these grotesque and vulgar come-get-me's get published in these "serious" publications. The Almighty Buck's driving it, for sure, loathe as they're to admit it. I just don't get how he or TorStar derive the gall to claim an inch of moral high ground when they're pimping out lusty midgets to the furtive Bay Street crowd. And no one even calls them on it, not even stolid old D.B. here at CDN Mags. I mean, silence is consent. D.B., ya gotta weigh in here, dude.

3:16 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon #1: While I don't know how much of a real threat Eye is ever going to be to Toronto Life, it's pretty evident that Toronto Life has lost their focus (Why they've decided to shift their demographic target to the Forest Hill crowd, I'll never understand...). If there was ever a time for another pub to step in and be the 'new old Toronto Life', it's now.

That said, if this week's Loner's Guide cover story is any indication, Eye has a long way to go if meaty journalism is their end goal.

4:56 pm  
Blogger marc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon #1 here to ma brotha Anon: yep, tough to say how much of a threat Laas' new eye is gonna be to the big-ass and oh-so-sophisticated TL. Different target audience, for sure. Eye is gonna try to hit up the hip and too-cool-for-school- teeth-whitening poseurs with a bit of spare change in their pockets and purses. TL will continue to hold sway amongst the wine-drinking urban dinner-party-throwers who are researching private schools for their mini-me's; this mature crowd tends to be a little older, a lot more stuck up and verifiably better educated (I hung the degree on the wall -- see?) than your average midget-loving eye reader. Perforce.

For example, Ken Alexander, late intellectual godfather and wayward urinator at The Walrus might pick up TL to see how bad it's gotten since Lynn Cunningham left (in the 1980s), but would never pick up eye unless he recently purchased a caged bird, which just isn't his style. So...

But Laas...now there's an interesting man. Half Globe and Mail, half Mad Magazine, and half Howard Hughes. The man abhors the spotlight, and seeks it out wherever he goes.

I'm waiting with baited breath and a hair brain for Hollett to send a 10-pounder over the bow of his historic rival in the form of a snide, "Oh, we take notice that our old friend eye is repositioning. Adios amigos!"

Really, Now MUST cover the death of the old eye and the rebirth of the new one. How will it do that? Will it be a bylined piece? We must wait to see, dear friends. Everyone wants to see what *that* article will look like. It may never be published.

Too bad Greg Boyd-Bell has gone grey and quietist at the Globe. He used to write some classic media criticism for eye. Now? A voiceless titmouse in the machine...as are we all but for this splendid forum.

3:07 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we should file this under "the more things change the more they stay the same".

In almost every large urban market there is are two leading alt-weeklies. One with the lead market position and one with about half of that (so if NOW does 8 million in yearly revenue, eye does 4 million). Just enough to keep it viable but never a threat to the paper in the Number One spot.

They both occupy the same editorial space. Food, shopping, arts and entertainment with a slant towards the offbeat and direct editorial pitch to the rebellious youth or savvy newcomer that wants a shortcut to the heart of the downtown happening scene.

They both attract the same advertisers. Clubs and large scale restaurants, cinema, theatre, festival venues - anything that refreshes its bill of fare within the shelf life of the paper.

Nothing Laas does will change that.

eye will still get the same clients in the same amount which mean it will stay the same size page wise (relative to NOW). His biggest problem is writing a cheque that his ass can't cash. If he has convinced his Torstar superiors that all his spending - and there have been a lot of new hires - will provide quick ROI to justify it (cause eye has never had a lot of cash in the bank at year-end) then I predict that we will see the pendulum swing back in 3 years and if they don't shutter it they will slash it and run it on a shoestring (like it has been for the last 3 years).

In any event Laas will be okay. There will always be a desk a One Yonge with his name on it.

2:09 pm  
Anonymous Mr. Alan said...

Eye Weekly has improved so much in the last recent while, while Toronto Life continues its tailspin into mediocrity. Gawd knows why anyone would drop coin on the tragically art-directed and scene-sucking editorial of T.L. when Eye is now so much more relevant and with the bonus zero cost.

4:15 pm  
Anonymous Gregory Boyd said...

Pretty big talk coming from "Anonymous". No matter what they do, it's nice at last to see someone spending to build something.

4:33 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon #1 here: Yes, titmouse. Dude, you were great. For a time. And then you, like, split. But not really. Management now...It was like Gretzky hanging up his skates in his prime and doing something, well, less important. Knocking me for my entitled (for now) anonymity is just ad hominem and way beside the point.

2:50 am  

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