The rules and focus of the magazine fund of the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) have been changed and will be in effect come the fund's September 12 deadline. The tweaks to the fund, which provides funding of up to $75,000 to Canadian-owned and controlled, Ontario-based magazines, were announced last week during MagNet and will be further explained at the information sessions scheduled for July 11.
Digital magazines will now be eligible for their share of fund; a limited number of digital magazines will be supported in what the OMDC refers to as a "pilot". And "innovation" will receive greater emphasis and will have greater weight in assessing applications*. The agency is also paying much closer attention to specific, measurable results. So it is better to deliver concrete data about return on investment and jobs created and retained in the province.*This fascination for the shiny, the new and departures from the norm is not surprising, but tends to cause a certain amount of "mission creep" for publishers. It could also be seen as penalizing publishers who want to consolidate and improve traditional audience-building methods, for instance. This is curious, since the philosophy underpinning the fund is to increase the financial viability of Canadian magazines from Ontario-based publishers and having clear, objective and measurable results.Viability don't necessarily come from doing something out of the ordinary, but doing ordinary things superlatively well.