Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Quote, unquote: Playing ball with consumers

“This industry suffers from giving its content away—why did we ever give subscription circulation away for a buck a month? We created a habit that has almost been impossible to break. Now with bundling we can [provide] digital content, archival content, e-books, e-access to events, mobile content and print—now we have a chance to play ball with consumers on the basis that most every other segment of the entertainment industry has figured out how to do.”
-- Condé Nast CEO Charles Townsend speaking Friday at the Paley Center for Media in New York City.


Short time to register for blue box plans for BC-published and/or -circulated magazines

Magazines published in or selling into British Columbia have only a short time to register a for a recycling stewardship plan with Multi Material BC (MMBC). A bulletin to its members from Magazines Canada says magazines have two options:
  1. to appoint MMBC as agent, following their draft plan; deadline is November 5 or
  2. to file its own plan by November 19
It is important to register intentions by the deadlines, the bulletin notes. More information on the BC regulations may be found here. 
The BC government is implementing a recycling regime for magazines that is to begin May 2014.

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Monocle shop opens in Toronto

It's been more than two years since the idea was floated but Toronto now has a branded Monocle magazine fashion and design shop. According to an article in blogTO, the new shop shares space on College Street with its sister ad agency Winkreative. The shop, like its fellows in London, New York, Zurich, Tokyo and Hong Kong sells Monocle magazine and Monocle-branded products as well as other luxury brands. The shop is a spinoff, conceived by Canadian-born Tyler Brûlé, who launched the international magazine back in 2007.

Publishers, truck organizations partner on new human resources initiative

Glacier Business Information Group (publishers of  Truck News, Truck West, Motortruck Fleet Executive, and Canadian Transportation & Logistics) and Newcom Business Media (publishers of Today's Trucking, Transport Routier, and Truck and Trailer) have signed an agreement with the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), a federation of provincial trucking associations and the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) (representing private fleet operators) to create a new organization serving the industry's human resources needs. 
According to a story in Today's Trucking, the new organization Trucking Human Resources Canada, will supercede Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council (CTHRC).
"By including the most prominent membership-based fleet organizations in Canada, and publishers of the largest trade magazines in the trucking and logistics industry, our new organization is immediately positioned to support the broadest range of businesses and ensure HR needs, resources and strategies are effectively communicated to the industry at large," says Angela Splinter, the execcutive director of the new organization.
A blue ribbon task force earlier this year decided a new approach was required to deal with a chronic driver shortage.
"We are very hopeful that a new national organization which focuses on working with industry partners can help us as we work to address what most carriers believe is the industry's toughest challenge - making sure we have top-quality people who are recognized as skilled labour and treated as such, to pilot our vehicles in the future," says David Bradley, president and chief executive officer of the CTA.

Friday, October 26, 2012

John Degen leaving Ontario Arts Council to become E.D. of The Writers Union of Canada

John Degen, a novelist and poet who has also worked in the magazine industry is moving from being the literature officer of the Ontario Arts Council to become the executive director of The Writers Union of Canada (TWUC). According to a story in Quill & Quire, he is to assume the position November 26.
He will be  bringing to the job his reputation as a fierce advocate on behalf of writers' rights. He replaces Kelly Duffin who is leaving to become executive director of the Ontario Institute of the Purchasing Management Association of Canada.

Degen was formerly the executive director of the Professional Writers Association of Canada and the communications manager of  Magazines Canada. He is the author of The Uninvited Guest (Nightwood) and founding editor of Ink magazine. He also hosts a website and a literary podcast called The Book Room
In a press release from TWUC,Degen said though he would have been very happy to stay at the OAC until retirement, he is energized by the new opportunity.
"While I'm fully aware of the challenge and work ahead, I want to stress my overwhelming confidence in the continuation of Canadian writing as a profession. There are far too many gloomy predictions out there. I believe there has simply never been a better time to be writing in Canada. As a great Canadian publisher, Matt Williams at House of Anansi Press, wrote just this week, "We don’t come to work to survive. We come to work to publish books for readers today and into the future." "

Magazine world view: Meredith up; Technology Review relaunch; Windows 8 apps

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jamie mag for North America partnering with Ottawa company

A North American edition of Jamie magazine, named after the famous TV chef Jamie Oliver, will be launched on newsstands in Canada and the U.S. November 14. According to a release, the first issue will be a special holiday issue. The magazine launched in the UK in 2008 and already has local editions in Russia, Germany and Holland.
It seems the first issue is a "taster" or preview that will include North American-themed stories: a travel story on Nova Scotia, the favorite autumn recipes of American winemaker Maria Helm Sinskey, “A Better Burger” feature on burgers, as well as a sample of “The Guide,” a monthly back-of-the-book section that features “Recipe, Ideas & Techniques to Make You a Better Cook.”
The 8-times-a-year North American version is being published and distributed by idoodlemedia, which has offices in Ottawa and London. Robert Sowah is publisher and CEO of idoodlemedia.
Subscribers who pay $32.95 for the first 8 issues also get access to extra digital content with each issue. It will be $40.95 after the first year.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Readers have distinct preferences when it comes to reading news on a tablet

A study of how people read news and information on their iPads suggests that they "shop around" considerably before settling on something to read, that they spend 98 seconds on the first story they choose and, if they don't stick with a story, they usually "bail" about 78 seconds in.
 The eye-tracking study was conducted by the Poynter institute and reported on its website. (The results may prove instructive to magazine publishers, editors and web designers as they design and develop tablet editions.)
The same 20 stories were presented to the participants in three prototypes -- a "traditional newspaper" with a dominant photograph and headline; a "carousel" design, with images and headline for each of the 20 stories; a flipboard design with four images that highlighted one story from each category.
Among the things the study revealed -- based on the activity of 36 people in two segments (18-28; 45-55)-- were:
  • An average of 18 items were viewed before making a first reading selection
  • Readers expressed a strong preference for holding their tablets horizontally
  • 50% preferred the carousel design, 35% the traditional prototype, 15% the flipboard
  • The over all average time spent on a story was 98.3 seconds; the "bailer's point" was 78.3 seconds, suggesting, said the study, that at that point a "gold coin" might have held them -- a pull quote or other visual element. Readers have an overwhelming instinct to swipe horizontally through all the pictures in a gallery, regardless of whether in portrait or landscape orientation
  • People will default to what they know are are familiar with -- for instance, using the browser back button rather than the home button or various navigation design elements
  • Faces in photography and videos attract a lot of attention
  • Readers were either "intimate" (61%) with their iPads, keeping nearly constant contact while touching, tapping, pinching and swiping or they were detached, carefully arranging a full screen before sitting back and reading
[Thanks to 10,000 Words from mediabistro.com for making us aware of this story]

Mag shorts: Fashion mobile; Asian art; forest-friendliness; mag futures

Canadian Art Foundation is presenting a talk on Asian art in a global context, on November 14, 7 p.m. at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Speaker is Dr. Visakha Desai, a senior advisor for Global Policy programs at the Guggenheim Foundation. More information and to order tickets.
* * *
Fashion magazine has unveiled a new mobile site, with improved functionality and new advertiser formats. It contains a full archive of Fashion covers, concurrent with the magazines's 35th anniversary.
* * *
Canopy, the not-for-profit conservation organization, has announced that the 2012 Ancient Forest Friendly awards are now open for entries. They are a chance for companies, including publishers, to show customers and competitors their commitment to sustainability when it comes to paper purchasing and supporting forest conservation. Further information on deadlines and application.
* * *
Magazines Canada is to present one of its State of the Magazine Nation events in Toronto on November 28 to discuss "The Future of Magazines". The two guest speakers are Steve Maich, publisher and editor-in-chief of Sportsnet magazine and Michael Hughes, national marketing manager of Fresh Juice at TC Media. Their focus will be the extension of their brands through multimedia. The event is in the Arcadian Court, 401 Bay Street (Simpson Tower), 8th floor; registration (free) at 8:30 with continental breakfast and presentation at 9. To register.[disclosure: Magazines Canada and this event are advertisers on this blog]


Magazines do well at Canadian Online
Publishing Awards

Magazines did very well in the Canadian Online Publishing Awards (COPA) in companion websites, digital editions an other online initiatives. The COPAs are produced by Masthead and were presented at an event Monday night in Toronto.

Nominations and awards are made in three divisions: red (consumer, custom, religious, public association); blue (business-to-business, professional association, farm, scholarly); and green (daily and weekly newspapers and broadcasters).

Best overall online-only publication in the Red division went to RedNation Online: Your Canadian Soccer Magazine. Maclean's won three golds (including best news coverage and best use of social media) and Canadian Art took home two golds (including best online-only article or series and best e-newsletter) followed by Walrusmagazine.com with a gold (for best companion website) and a silver. Sharpformen.com won gold for website design, and Canadian Living for best data visualization. United Church Observer won gold for best video or multimedia feature.

Sparksheet (Spafax) won best in the online-only website and website design categories among four golds and three silvers in the blue division. University Affairs got two golds and two silvers, IT World Canada took two golds (including best digital replica). Best overall companion website went to SalonMagazine.ca. Alberta Venture won gold for cross-platform initiative.

Toronto Standard won a gold in the green division (in website design).

Complete list of finalists and winners

Monday, October 22, 2012

Quote, unquote: Death by "just-good-enough"

"Newsweek and The Daily Beast are meant to be compatible, but one could argue The Daily Beast is the very thing killing Newsweek. It's the kind of site that will make it impossible to charge $24.99 a year for a digital subscription. What TDB and its ilk offer -- original writing from a few big names mixed with aggregation-with-attitude -- turns out for many readers to be a just-good-enough substitute to a newsweekly."
-- Michael Learmonth from an Ad Age article "Did the Daily Beast eat Newsweek?"


Magazines Canada and CMC will run Canadian Newsstand Awards

For 10 years, the company that publishes Masthead magazine produced the Canadian Newsstand Awards,  honouring performance on the rack in both eye appeal and sales. Then, this summer, it was announced that they were no longer taking the lead in the event.

Today, it was announced that the franchise is being picked up by a partnership between the Circulation Management Association of Canada (CMC) and Magazines Canada. They intend to carry on and hold the next awards program early in 2013. A joint task force is being created to manage the transition.

"Thanks to Masthead's effort, CMC and Magazines Canada have inherited a great opportunity to build even greater recognition of excellence in our industry," said Mark Jamison, CEO of Magazines Canada.

At the time it made its announcement, Masthead said it hoped to work with partners CMC and LS Travel Retail to ensure the awards continued. “The Newsstand Awards are near and dear to us, but like any business we occasionally need to re-calibrate,” says Masthead publisher Doug Bennet.

CMC is a volunteer organization that provides professional development, promotes fellowship within the circulation profession and strives to raise the profile of circulation professionals by rewarding outstanding achievement. Memberships are offered to individuals rather than magazines. Magazines Canada is the national trade association for consumer, cultural, specialty, professional and business media magazines in both French and English

Friday, October 19, 2012

The interns strike back -- British magazine settles for minimum wage

The British magazine NOW, published by IPC has paid out a settlement to one of its interns after she petitioned to be paid minimum wage for her work. The company disputed the term "internship" but essentially acknowledged that the young woman who was supposed to be getting a month's work experience had instead been stuck doing work that should have been paid. According to a story in the Guardian,
A 27-year-old graduate of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design who wanted to be known by her middle name, Anita, said she had been paid around £750 for a one-month internship last year at NOW.
Anita said that although she attended a few fashion shoots, she spent most of her time working in a stockroom "packing and unpacking" clothes with another intern.
"It wasn't what I signed up to do … Generally you weren't treated very well."
She added that she was shown the ropes by one intern and didn't meet management staff until a week into the placement. She then went on to train her intern replacement.
The case was one of several that resulted in settlements -- including one from a major U.S. media conglomerate -- brought after Justice for Interns, run by jobs website Graduate Fog and Intern Aware, took up their cause. (The settlements weren't restricted to magazines. Last year, government lawyers warned the British government that minimum wage rules were being flouted in so-called "work experience" at many companies.)

Read more »

Peer-to-peer; editors will share with each other at CSME luncheon

Editors can learn from each other, whether in business-to-business or consumer; that's the focus of the next Canadian Society of Magazine Editors' (CSME) luncheon in Toronto as panelist share the tricks of their trade: 
  •  William Morassutti: Creative director of Star Content Studios, Torstar's new custom content arm; former editor-in-chief and founding member of Toromagazine. 
  • Peter Carter: Editor of Today's Trucking and winner of the 2011 CSME Editor's Choice Award for best trade magazine editor. 
  • Douglas Thomson: President, National Magazine Awards Board of Directors; Editor of Canadian Home Workshop, a consumer title currently celebrating its 35th anniversary.
It's on Wednesday, October 24, noon, Peridot Restaurant, 81 Bloor St. east (south side, just east of Yonge. In advance, $22 for members, $37 for non-members (register online); at the door, $25 for members, $40 for non-members.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Newsweek sails into an all-digital future;
ends print edition

[This post has been updated] The announcement today of the ending of the print edition of Newsweek magazine comes with a crashing sense of inevitability. But longtime readers and magazine people can be forgiven for feeling glum. The message from Tina Brown, editor in chief and founder of The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, strove for a positive note, saying the launching of a single, worldwide edition of the magazine was aimed at highly mobile, opinion-leading readers. Tablet use among Newsweek readers has grown along with tablet use generally and editorial excellence would be sustained through swift, easy, digital distribution, she said.
"Exiting print is an extremely difficult moment for all of us who love the romance of print and the unique weekly camaraderie of those hectic hours before the close on Friday night. But as we head for the 80th anniversary of Newsweek next year we must sustain the journalism that gives the magazine its purpose—and embrace the all-digital future."
She said a tipping point had been reached.
"Four years ago we launched The Daily Beast. Two years later, we merged our business with the iconic Newsweek magazine—which The Washington Post Company had sold to Dr. Sidney Harman. Since the merger, both The Daily Beast and Newsweek have continued to post and publish distinctive journalism and have demonstrated explosive online growth in the process. The Daily Beast now attracts more than 15 million unique visitors a month, a 70 percent increase in the past year alone—a healthy portion of this traffic generated each week by Newsweek’s strong original journalism."
Richard Adams, a Guardian reporter, commented acidly on Twitter: " And in other news, the Titanic is transitioning to an all-underwater format."

Read more »

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Traditional sources still continue to be Canadians' favoured way to get news

Canadians continue to turn to traditional platforms for their daily news, despite the impact of online and social media, according to a poll commissioned by The Canadian Journalism Foundation and conducted by Ipsos Reid. The results were reported by J-Source.ca. The poll found that 40% of Canadians consider themselves highly-engaged news consumers ("hyper newsies") who check frequently and use a number of different sources to keep up with the news.

Not surprisingly, national magazines don't figure very prominently as news sources, as the traditional newsmagazines have been eclipsed (some readers continue to refer to Maclean's as a newsmagazine, but it is more of a public affairs publication, providing context rather than a weekly summary of the news). As will be seen from the graphic below of news sources Canadians consult regularly, television plays a big part, as do community newspapers and magazines.
There is a sharp generational divide, though television newscast is the most popular platform across all age groups. The younger you are, the more likely you are to get news via online sources such as social media (53% Facebook, 20% Twitter.
The poll was conducted October 15 and 16 among 1,006 Canadians and is considered accurate within +/- 3.5 per cent)
The full tabular results can be obtained at www.ipsos.ca

The Hockey News publishes first-ever
women's issue

The Hockey News has published its first-ever women's issue. The editor of the magazine, Jason Kay, says in a release
“We have wanted to produce an issue about women in hockey for some time. Women’s participation in the sport has increased exponentially and stars like Meghan Agosta and Tessa Bonhomme are only a couple examples of women who are trailblazing their way into power positions within women’s hockey -- both on and off the ice.”
Among the women-focussed features in the issue are
  • How the game is growing, particularly outside North America
  • Challenges to Canadian Women's League faces
  • Hayley Wickenheiser's 20-year domination
  • Julie Chu's continued success in the U.S.
The magazine is on newsstands now, selling for $3.99. 


Online learning about online editorial; also how to sell those all-important magazine ads

The growing trend at universities towards online learning is catching on at the Magazine and Web Publishing program of the Chang School for Continuing Education at Ryerson University where the classroom course Creating Website Editorial has been especially adapted for web delivery. Students all across Canada (or those even in Toronto who prefer self-paced learning online) can now access the excellent seven-week course (CDJN206) via the web, interacting with the instructor and with each other. The instructor, Kat Tancock, is a writer, editor, and digital consultant who has worked on the websites of major brands including Reader’s Digest, Best Health, Canadian Living, Homemakers, Style at Home, and Elle Canada. The course begins Saturday, October 27.
* * *
Getting those magazine advertising contracts signed is more challenging than ever. The Magazine Advertising Sales and Marketing course (CDJN201), taught by Gwen Dunant (well-known as the coordinator of MagNet, the annual industry conference and the Magazines Canada Schools for Advertising Sales and Circulation)is focussed on the fundamentals: using standard research tools to develop sales presentations, sales call preparation, working with advertising agencies and closing sales. Guest speakers from the advertising field add to the learning experience. The 7-week course begins Monday, November 5.
* * *
  For further information on both evening courses, go to ryerson.ca/ce/magazine and follow the links.The fee for each is $343 and registration closes soon.
[disclosure: I coordinate the program and teach in it]

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

So far, so good for digital magazine marketing launch Next Issue Media

A lot of publishers and magazine industry-watchers have been keen to know how Next Issue Media would work. It is a consortium of the bigger magazine publishing conglomerates (Hearst, Conde Nast, Meredith, News Corp., Time Inc.) created to market digital editions of magazines for tablets and mobile devices. (NIM's business model is often called "all-you-can-eat", though it would more properly be called "all-you-can-read".)

On Monday, the CEO of NIM revealed to the American Magazine Conference the results of the startup's sales in the first three months. The story was  reported by MediaDailyNews. Morgan Guenther cautioned that it was early days, but said
  • the number of titles has doubled to 72 
  • the first wave brought in 45,000 subscribers plus 25,000 who converted from free trials, for a total of 70,000
  • 60% chose the "unlimited premium model" -- all 72 titles, including weeklies, for $14.99 a month. The remainder chose the monthly/biweekly option for $9.99
  • the premium plan skews 60% male
  • in a sample of 5,600 new subscribers,only 3% were already active print subscribers; 13% expired; 84% new to the titles
  • among those new to titles, 58% had never had a relationship with a magazine
  • 93% pronounced themselves satisfied with NIM and said they were likely to continue subscribing
Guenther said all of this had been accomplished almost entirely without the benefit of marketing or advertising, though that is being launched; in particular a friends and family program whereby people would gift access to 72 magazines a month. 
So far, all of the magazines in the NIM storefront are American. 

Magazines to play smaller part in profit of UK's largest newsstand distributor

The largest distributor of magazines in the UK, Smith News Plc (better known popularly as W H Smith, a high street mainstay) reports that is intends to reduce its dependence on newspaper and magazine distribution, though it accounted for three-quarters of its operating profit in fiscal 2012. 
According to a story from Reuters, Smiths said it expected that half of its profit by 2016 will come from books and educational supplies. The news sent its share price up as much as 8 per cent.
The company's diversification strategy is similar to that of rival John Menzies Plc (MNZS.L), which receives most of its profit from aviation support services, said the story. Smiths' newspaper and magazine business slipped 4.3 per cent last year, mainly because of poor magazine sales.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Quote, unquote: So they were right; does Maclean's get an apology?

"With all the revelations and goings on at the Charbonneau Commission regarding corruption in Quebec, I am wondering whether the National Assembly will now rescind its condemnation of the Maclean’s magazine cover showing the Bonhomme Carnaval carrying a suitcase of cash — since the article and cover are being discovered to be essentially true.

I also cannot forget that the Parti Québécois and Amir Khadir of Québec solidaire also voted to censure Maclean’s. Does this mean then that these two parties will repudiate the Charbonneau findings, since they have already repudiated that which was uncovered by Maclean’s?"
-- a letter to the Montreal Gazette by Andrew Chodos. The reference is to a widely criticized cover showing the iconic fat snowman to illustrate a story about Quebec as the "most corrupt" province.


The Alpine Review aims for high standards
...and a high price

Attention is being paid to a new biannual Canadian magazine called The Alpine Review and it's partly because it costs $35 a copy. The magazine is published out of Montreal. The managing director and editor is Louis-Jacques Darveau and the editor is Patrick Tanguay, co-founder of Station C, the oldest co-working space in Canada, and a founding trustee of The Awesome Foundation.Their self-description for the first issue is
The Alpine Review is a bi-annual, comprehensive magazine that tracks changes in thought, systems and creations around the world.
We assemble emerging signals, connections and patterns and tie them together with the people, places and things that draw the attention of our team.
Magazines carry culture, concepts and inspiration in a pleasant and flexible format. Pass it from hand to hand to a friend, a coworker, a family member, lend it out, re-gift it, get it back and retire it to the bookshelf that your children will one day inherit. Print is not dead, it’s immortal.
Read more »


Sunday, October 14, 2012

First Charles Oberdorf award made to Ryerson magazine student Jill Goodwin

Anya Oberdorf, Jill Goodwin and Mechtild Hoppenrath

The first annual award in the name of the late Charles Oberdorf was made Thursday at the Leaders in Learning event at the Chang School for Continuing Education at Ryerson University in Toronto. The $1,000 award is funded by donations from Oberdorf's friends, family and colleagues and the first recipient is Jill Goodwin, a part-time student in the Magazine and Web Publishing certificate program for which Oberdorf was the longtime and devoted coordinator. The award was presented by Oberdorf's wife Mechtild Hoppenrath and his daughter, Anya Oberdorf. 

Charles Oberdorf
The Charles Oberdorf Memorial Award was created to honour a student who is nominated by faculty and who is close to completing the 7-credit certificate program. The winner each year is to be chosen based on over all excellence and deemed potential for making the same kind of difference in the magazine and web publishing world in future as Charles made during his long career.

Charles was a highly respected, indeed loved, colleague and friend as a writer, editor and teacher who passed away September 2011. To know more about him, here is the obituary written at the time by Michael Posner that was published in the Globe and Mail
Contributions continue to be welcomed to raise the more than $25,000 necessary so that the annual award may be ensured, essentially forever. If more is raised, more awards will be given. Contributions to the fund are charitable and donors will receive a tax receipt issued by Ryerson University.
Contributions may be made online at
* *Charles Oberdorf Memorial Award
For those who wish to contribute by cheque it may be mailed to:
Charles Oberdorf Memorial Award

c/o Maureen Sheridan, Associate Director of Development
The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education
Ryerson University
350 Victoria Street, CED 613
Toronto, Ontario M5B 2K3
416 979-5184

[If you have difficulty with the online link* above, the following can be typed into your browser:  https://ruonline.ryerson.ca/ccon/new_gift.do?action=newGift&giving_page_id=23

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Counting the customers: CMC offers
circ audit seminar

The Circulation Management Association of Canada (CMC) is to hold a seminar on circulation audits and auditing that will be of particular interest to people on the circulation side of magazines and whose success depends on having reliable audience data (which means all of us). The panel will include 
  • Marian Robertson, manager marketing & sales, Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC);
  • Jenn Lingle, manager, publisher relations, Audit Bureau of Circulations; and 
  • Tim Peel, vice-president CCAB, a division of BPA Worldwide
The seminar is on Wednesday, October 25 at the Academy of Spherical Arts, La Belle Epoch room, 38 Hanna Ave. Toronto,  starting a 1:30 p.m. CMC members pay $59; non-members $89. The seminar is followed by one of the CMC's well-known "socials" starting at 5 p.m.

Freelancer Andrew J. Borkowski wins Toronto Book Award

Andrew J. Borkowski, a freelance journalist and frequent contributor to Canadian magazines, has won the 2012 Toronto Book Award. It was presented at a ceremony on Thursday night. The award was for his first collection of short stories called Copernicus Avenue.
Borkowski's short fiction has appeared in Grain, The New Quarterly and Storyteller magazines and he has freelanced for Quill & Quire , enRoute, Fashion, Flare and Chatelaine and the Globe and Mail. His journalistic specialty has been arts and media reporting and for nine years he was the editor of SCAN, the bimonthly publication of the CBC Producer's Associations and the Canadian Media Guild. 
The Toronto Book Award comes with an $11,000 prize (each of the finalists receives $1,000 and the winner wins an additional $10,000.)

Winnipeg's Uptown magazine being absorbed by Winnipeg Free Press

Uptown, the Winnipeg alternative magazine, is being transformed into a weekly supplement to the Winnipeg Free Press, starting Thursday, November 1. A story in the Free Press says that, while Uptown will continue to be distributed in its usual outlets and racks, it will be relaunched and delivered as an insert to the daily's subscribers and be available for sale on newsstands (it's not explained how this is squared with remaining free in its boxes and racks). 
"Uptown has long been seen as the go-to guide for what’s going on in arts and entertainment in our city,’’ Free Press editor Paul Samyn said.
"We want to build on that reputation with a bold new look for Uptown that will not only help readers plan their nights out but also give them lots to think about when it comes to culture and our city."
Average Monday through Saturday circulation of the Free Press is about 123,300 copies.Uptown now publishes 20,000 copies every Thursday and is distributed in 200 rack locations and 40 newspaper boxes throughout Winnipeg, as well as at all Manitoba Liquor Marts, according to the magazine's media kit. It says that at least 188,700 adults read at least one issue each month. A full page, 1x ad in the magazine sells for $1,555.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Digital action codes in magazines draw better than direct mail, study says

According to a recent study by the mobile marketing and technology firm Nellymoser, reported by Audience Development, scannable digital action codes (QR codes, Microsoft tags, digital watermarks) gain a much better response than traditional direct mail. Now this should be taken with a grain of salt, coming as it does from a firm with a direct interest in promoting mobile interraction and given that the research was based on analysis of response to seven magazines over a 12-month period. Still, a median response rate of 4.5 to 5.9 per cent, going as high as 26.8% is very, very good.
"Mobile becomes an extension of the magazine," says Roger Matus, executive vice president of Nellymoser. "I think of it as a virtual magazine insert, so instead of putting in extra pages, you're putting in virtual pages the reader can go to for extra content. 
"The response rate is growing as people become more familiar with [mobile action codes]," says. "It also grows as people become more familiar with them within the magazine itself. So as a particular magazine runs their first campaign, they've trained some of their readers. Then when it's in the next issue, there are new groups of readers that they train. Usually by the fourth or fifth issue, all the readers know about them and know what to do. We're seeing increased awareness both in the general marketplace and in the individual magazines."
The more codes there are in magazines, the better, apparently. Twenty or more  per issue get up to 50 per cent more scans per code than magazines with fewer than 20. Not surprisingly, response to contents or sweepstakes are stronger than codes leading to shopping or e-commerce. 

U.S. lobbyists pushing hard against Canadian cultural trade barriers

Some assumed, naively, that Canadian culture was permanently removed from the table in the North American Free Trade (NAFTA) agreement many years ago, and that how we managed Canadian content regulations was our own business. Also that we'd finally sorted out copyright to our satisfaction or were at least resigned to the outcome. 
However it may come as a nasty surprise that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which the Harper government campaigned so hard to join (successfully, this past summer) has put Canadian content regulations and copyright firmly back in play.
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) is being lobbied hard by the International Property Alliance (IIPA), a group of U.S. software, film, TV and and music companies to negotiate removal of what the alliance considers to be "trade barriers" . 

Read more »

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Magazine world view: Digital bellyband; Variety goes cheap; kiddie bomb; digital imperative

Toronto Women's Bookstore closing

The Toronto Women's Bookstore is closing, effective November 30. It is yet another in a long and lamentable line of independent book and magazine outlets closing, but in some ways its demise has more impact just because of the specialized nature of its stock -- including magazines -- and its community importance. A story by Susan G. Cole in NOW magazine quotes Victoria Moreno, who's been operating the store for the past two and a half years:
"You can't ignore the numbers. I have to get out before I get any further into debt." Bookstores are an endangered species, she says. "From the author to the retail scene, everything is changing. Now that you can download e-books or get books direct from the publishers' sites, the role of the bookstore is diminishing."
Anjula Gogia, co-manager from 1996 to 2006 says that for left-leaning readers, queers, anti-violence feminists and feminists of colour, it's a major loss. From their peak in the early '80s when there were more than 130 women's bookstores in North America; there are fewer than 10 now. The story noted that Ottawa's Mother Tongue also recently closed.
"It's especially hard for independent bookstores," Gogia says. "Chapters and Indigo came on like a bulldozer, and once e-books come into the picture, an indie store can't last without a bread-and-butter base."

The Nation and National Review meet in the middle to sell ads

Though they're at opposite poles politically, The Nation magazine and National Review (left and right, respectively) have collaborated on creating the "Purple Network" to jointly sell the two magazines as a deep-discounted ad buy. The two magazines both pursue "opinion leaders" and, according to a story in Folio:, by joining forces they hope to allay nervousness among national advertisers and corporate marketers about aligning with only one side of the political spectrum, even though both magazines offer attractive, engaged audiences. 
"When we sell this audience to people separately, we run into the same hurdle," says Scott Budd, executive publisher of National Review. "They love who these people are, but they can't put a publicly traded company into such partisan magazines."
By joining forces, the thinking goes, marketers can buy both magazines, reach the desired demographics and sufficiently neutralize any political backlash. 
"Political magazines are always up against this with advertisers. This goes back a hundred years," adds Teresa Stack, president of The Nation. "They're skittish about advertising on one side or the other, and this mitigates it because they're talking to both sides."
Combined, the two magazines offer a rate base of 300,000 and a 50 percent discount off the standard 4-color page rate.

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Magazines Canada accepts nine new
member magazines

Magazines Canada has accepted nine new titles into membership:
  • Alphabet City explores the creative relationship between sister cities—where they part and where they collide.
  • Canadian Wildlife and Biosphère: celebrates the country’s outdoors, its unique wildlife and habitats, and explores the conservation issues affecting nature in Canada. Published six times per year.
  • Millions is an artist-run Canadian arts and culture magazine dedicated to celebrating and connecting likeminded contemporary art communities in Canada and abroad. 
  • Modern Cat and Modern Dog: Features breed profiles, budget buys, activities for you and your pet, health & wellness, pet-friendly travel destinations, rescue stories, product reviews, photo contests and giveaways . 
  • Momentum Magazine is an independent media company that promotes, encourages and inspires cycling and the cycling lifestyle. Published five times a year, with coverage including arts & culture, city and people profiles, style, advocacy, current events and gear.
  • the {warehouse}: Dubbed a lifestyles magazine with a conscience, the {warehouse} is about street culture.
  • WILD magazine is for youngsters ages 5 to 13,  engaging them with nature and a passion for the outdoors. Published eight times per year.

Coup de Pouce unveils redesign --
"la vie, en plus facile"

Coup de Pouce, the French-language equivalent of Canadian Living magazine has undergone a front-to-back redesign, as has its website and mobile presence. 
TC Media,the publisher, says that the Coup de Pouce readership has not only grown in the past several years, but research done by CROP and Ad hoc recherche has shown that reader behaviour has changed, as has what resonates with Quebec women who form the vast majority of the magazine's audience.
Coup de Pouce, has more than 1.1 million readers and 317,000 unique visitors to its site each month. The November issue unveils the redesign and is being sold at a discounted price of $1.99.
Lise Paul-Hus, Publisher and Vice President, Consumer Solutions, Montreal said in a release:
"The steady growth in the Coup de pouce readership over the past several years testifies to the brand's ability to reflect readers' interests and stay in tune with their fast-changing world. To keep this forward momentum, the brand has been completely revamped and we are proud to unveil the results of our work today."
The magazine has a new tag line "la vie, en plus facile", improved fashion and beauty sections, a kitchen section, a more design-oriented home decor section and new columnists, including actor Catherine Trudeau (Besoin d'air) and journalist Diane Bérard (Besoin d'aide).
"Excited and nervous both, that's how I feel after months of working on revamping a magazine that already has a dedicated readership," said Sylvie Poirier, Interim Chief Editor and Director of Multi-Brand Content.


Making a magazine cover: video shows how Sportsnet does it

Interesting video showing how one issue of Sportsnet magazine comes together. [Thanks to J-source.]

ELLE Canada mans up with 32-page bonus issue

ELLE Canada has launched a men's fashion extension called ELLE Canada Man, which is on the newsstands today. Though there is some paradox in having the words "elle" and "man" in the same logo, one can see why TC Media wants to get on this trend, as other Canadian fashion titles have done male-oriented spinoffs and many of the other worldwide Elle editions already have one. 
The 32-page magazine, which is being characterized as a "bonus issue", is poly-bagged with newsstand copies of the November issue of ELLE Canada  and features Canadian actor Scott Speedman on the cover. The parent magazine has PINK on the cover.  
 “Men are increasingly savvy about fashion, and focused on grooming," says  ELLE Canada editor-in-chief, Noreen Flanagan, "so it was high time ELLE Canada spoke to them directly.”

Friday, October 05, 2012

Those affluents are still into print in a big way

The smart strategy for publishers is to serve affluent people with both print and digital platforms at once. According to the Ipsos MediaCT Mendelsohn Affluent Survey the well-heeled have showed only a tiny decline in print use, even though they are relatively heavy smartphone and tablet users.
A story on Audience Development says the study shows that 82% of "affluents" (households over $100,000 a year) read at least one of the 150 print titles included (142 magazines and 7 national newspapers) -- 18.7 issues of 8.2 titles. So-called "ultra affluents" (over $250,000 HHI) read national newspapers in hard copy and this has actually gone up 3.9% to 11.3 million.
"The adoption of digital does not suggest a rejection of print in these demos, and the persistence of their taste for print is not at all indicative of reticence about digital or devices."

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Open File online web-based news site suspended for renovation

Open File, the web-based online news site with six city editions, has been suspended temporarily by founder and CEO Wilf Dinnick in order to make changes to the startup, which is now two years old. According to a story on J-Source, while the "pause" surprised readers, regular contributors had apparently seen trouble coming. Dinnick would not comment on the suspension or on the likely fate of staff and contributors but maintains the reason he's suspending publication is because “we have to make that shift to where we want to have more participation with the public. And a slow transition probably isn't the smartest way to do it.”
There are currently six city editions for OpenFile: Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Halifax. Each city has two people working full-time on contract – a city editor and a news curator. The organization also has two reporters on contract in Saira Peesker and Jane Armstrong who focus on suggested stories with a national focus, as well as an unspecified number of freelancers who work in the individual city editions.
Apparently the changes being contemplated include more partnerships with other news organizations and more user engagement. 
Dinnick said he has not run out of money, and he’s working on a new business deal “We're always looking at new ways and new partners to grow,” he said. “A small start-up, a CEO's job is always to be thinking six months ahead.”

When announcing him as the winner of the J-Source Newsperson of the Year Award in January, judges had praised Dinnick and OpenFile for its “innovative approaches to engaging citizens with local, public-service journalism in an independent environment.”

Magazines Canada Buy 2 Get 1 Free promotion offers 190 titles in 2012

Some 190 titles are being offered in the 2012 Buy 2, Get 1 Free subscription promotion from Magazines Canada, which has now opened its website. 
Over 100 of the titles are available in both print and digital editions, most of which are PDF replicas through Magazine Canada's Zinio partnership.
The campaign, which is valid until February 28, 2013 and is available in both English and French, will be promoted through the distribution of half a million printed brochures via mail and alongside magazine distribution (arriving in homes late October) as well as by print ads, search engine marketing, email promotions, social networking sites and online promotions. The campaign is reachable on Facebook: facebook.com/Buy2Get1Free and on Twitter: twitter.com/CdnMagsB2G1FREE
The idea was first launched in 2003 and in 2007 sold about 10,000 subs. In 2009 it sold 14,600 and in 2011, even in the teeth of the recession, sold more than 13,000.

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Optimism evident in net number of magazine starts

There seem to be a fairly high degree of optimism when it comes to the launches of new magazines in North America. According to data from MediaFinder.com (based on its online database of U.S. and Canadian publications), 181 new magazines were launched  in the first 9 months of 2012 while just 61 closed (several of which were digital-only publications. Twice as many B2B titles launched as closed (25 versus 12). 
A story from Media Post says that the number of launches was slightly down from the same period in 2011, but closures fell even farther.
"As in previous reports from MediaFinder.com, the new launches were dominated by categories such as regional interest, food, and luxury lifestyle titles, including Mud and MagnoliasPrevention Guide Top Chef Family CookbookDu Jour and M."

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Founder of Swim Canada magazine,
Nick Thierry, dies

The founder of Swimnews, originally called Swim Canada magazine,Nick Thierry, has died at the age of 73. He started the publication in 1974 and it became a leading international swimming publication. 
According to a posting on SwimSwam site Thierry was never much of a swimmer himself, but his dryland contributions were such that in 2000 he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He coached swimmers on three Olympic teams (1964-1972) and was a member of the 1970 Commonwealth Games staff.
"And still, with those successes in coaching it is as a statistical mastermind where he will leave a lasting impact on the sport. History will remember Thierry, because he has been the developer of much of the kind of history swimmers and swim fans adore: statistics. Thierry over the last 40 years has become recognized as the world’s foremost swimming statistician, doing work both for his own SwimNews publication and for governing bodies like Swimming Canada and FINA. Even before the internet, he brought swimming from the dark ages of statistics into a new, global recording that allowed swimmers from around the globe to easily find their standing in the world of swimming."
Swimnews story about Thierry's passing. 

Cottage Life and other Canadian titles clean up at IRMA Awards

For the second year in a row, Cottage Life magazine won Magazine of the Year in the Over 40,000 Circulation category in the 2012 International Regional Magazine Awards (IRMA) as well as 8 golds in nature feature, environment feature, reader service article, overall art direction (over 40,000), department, special focus, food feature and companion website. It also won 2 silvers, for columns and art direction of a single story and 2 bronze, in general features and single photo. 

Saltscapes magazine of Halifax won a silver award in the public issues category, 2 bronze in profiles and photographic series and two awards of merit, for general features and single photo. 

British Columbia magazine won two silvers, for travel feature and reader service article, 3 bronze for overall art direction (over 40,000), special focus and cover as well as 3 awards of merit, for general feature, photographic series and department. 

Yukon, North of Ordinary, won an award of merit for profiles.

The awards were presented Sunday night at the organization's annual conference, held this year in Scottsdale, Arizona. IRMA is largely made up of U.S. titles such as Texas Highways, Adirondack Life, Arizona Highways and New Mexico magazine, titles which provide a focus on a particular region on which they are focussed. Four out of the five attending Canadian members took prizes, a quarter of those awarded. 
Complete list of winners in 2012 awards