Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The year in Canadian magazines 2012

Our highly arbitrary selection of stories of the year just past, as published on the Canadian Magazines blog, about Canadian magazines and the people who make them. Look back with us month by month through 2012 at what has been an amazing, and occasionally bumpy, ride. (Click on the headings to be taken to the original story.)
We're waiting for Acquisition TV 
Torstar announces it is buying 25% of Blue Ant Media Inc., which in 2011 bought a stake in Quarto Communications, the publishers of Cottage Life, explore, Canadian Home Workshop and Outdoor Canada. Blue Ant is controlled by Michael MacMillan, former head of Alliance Atlantis Communications and buying 15% of Cottage Life et al is part of his strategy to build a whole new media company.
This magazine thing is all very well...
The Walrus Foundation launches a TV spinoff, with documentaries based on its stories. The plan was for eqhd (a specialty channel owned by Blue Ant Media Inc. (see above)) to create one doc for each of The Walrus's 10 issues.
Code gets with the program
Magazines Canada renames and "repositions" its longstanding ad-edit guidelines, substituting a new preamble and renaming them The Canadian Magazine Industry Code of Reader and Advertiser Engagement
Who will explain Canada Post to us?
Michael Fox, the senior vice-president, circulation, of Rogers Publishing and the go-to guy when it came to explaining the minutiae of postal rate increases and economics to publishers and publishers' needs to the post office, retires. His retirement project? Publishing a magazine (Garden Making).
Resistance is futile
The Jimmy Pattison Group scoops up the Comag Marketing Group, adding its singularity to his own (as the third largest privately held company in Canada) and giving him control of the magazine distribution businesses of two of the largest U.S. publishers, Hearst and Condé Nast, who had owned Comag. 

This dog won't hunt
Maghound, the Time Inc. venture to sell mix 'n match magazine subscriptions, announces it is closing.
Will they have to pass the hat?
MagsBC finds itself in a financial pickle when Canadian Heritage refuses two of their funding applications, totalling more than $150,000. (see *below)
Family business
Rémi Marcoux steps down as chair of TC Transcontinental, succeeded by his daughter Isabelle.
Phew, that was close...
*Mags BC gets a "stay of execution" when Canadian Heritage relents and gives it $125,020 for one of the two projects it had been turned down for. Close. Today.
The kids' science magazines YES and KNOW were suddenly closed, the staff let go and (ultimately) many subscribers stiffed.
Uplifting upturn 
The periodic tally of magazine launches and closures by Masthead shows that 2011 launches were up 58% from 2010, though it was only a net of 10 starts compared with a decade ago when net launches totalled 159. Still, heading back in the right direction.
Going down the road
Saltscapes magazine of Halifax announces it will host East Coast consumer expo in...Toronto.
Membership has its benefits
ON Nature magazine announces it will no longer be sold by single copy on newsstands. You have to be a member of the parent organization.
Digital counts
The Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) approves reporting on digital circulation of its measured magazines. The new publishers' statement will include a count of reader interaction with digital issues on browsers, smartphones and tablets. 
Another step towards a smaller footprint
A guide to how magazine publishers can reduce their carbon footprint is published by Magazines Canada and the various regional magazine associations, in collaboration with Canopy, the not-for-profit organization working to protect forest, species and climate. Making it wrong
Dauphin Media decamped from Canada, leaving subscribers to Holmes magazine (which was suspended in November) stiffed. Apparently the greener pastures in New York included publishing a magazine on behalf of the National Football League. (see below **)
Erasing an embarrassment
The Hockey News strips a 1989 "man of the year" award from disgraced junior hockey coach and twice-convicted pedophile Graham James.
This magazine thing is all very well II
The Walrus launches a book imprint with a limited edition short story by Margaret Atwood. Readers can get the book, published by Coach House Press linked to a 10-issue annual subscription to the magazine for the low, low price of $35. (The first 100 copies are signed and numbered by the author.) 
Short and sour
**The National Football League ends its short-lived contract publishing arrangement with the Dauphin Media Group after four issues of NFL magazine. Dauphin CEO Mike Dunphy closed the New York office and no longer returned phone calls.
Squeezing out some revenue
TC Media launches Fresh Juice magazine in collaboration with Loblaw Companies Limited. The six-issue print magazine is mostly to be mailed to "frequent fliers" of the food stores. While it is not positioned as a replacement, Fresh Juice emerged soon after TC Media closed Homemakers magazine. 
Bodybuilder buried
Robert Kennedy, a bodybuilder who built up a multi-title publishing company that included Oxygen and American Curves, dies of complications from skin cancer. 
Paying the creators
The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), after years of contention and long negotiations, came to an agreement with Access Copyright on a model license that would fairly compensate publishers and creators for works photocopied and -- perhaps more importantly -- in digital form. 
Cosy, isn't it?
It's announced that the National Magazine Awards for consumer magazines and the Kenneth R. Wilson Awards, presented by the Canadian Business Press for business-to-business magazines were to be back-to-back on the same night in June.
Western Canada's oldest independent newsstand, Hub Cigar of Old Strathcona, to reopen.
Digital, but still dead
Rogers Media eliminates eight standalone websites, including acquisitions and, as the company announces a "change of direction", mostly to concentrate on growth of sites associated with magazine brands.
Pick-and-pack and get outta here
Magazines Canada outsources the warehousing and pick-and-pack part of its distribution for member magazines to Tilwood Inc. of Brampton. 
Scratchy tune on a 2nd fiddle
The president of Newcom Business Media, Jim Glionna, broadcasts an e-mail saying that the decision to run the KRW awards on the same night as the National Magazine Awards, with a shared reception, is making B2B journalism play 2nd fiddle. 
It's the money
Jim Hall, a Canadian Business Press board member, lets everybody know that the reason the NMAs and the KRWs are being co-staged is basically a financial one. 
There's a right way to do everything
A draft Best Practices guide for the Canadian magazine industry is published for discussion and comment. 
Blue in the face
Quebec publishers vow to fight curbside recycling bill that will cost them $5 million. 
So far, not so good
Adbusters magazine, which rightly took credit for launching the Occupy movement, editorializes that the movement is "stalled" and needs to be replaced. 
Ah, but how innovative?
The Ontario Media Development Corporation ties its funding rules more to innovation and "measurable results". 
Changing room
Lisa Tant, the editor in chief of Flare is suddenly out and shifted to be publisher of Hello! Canada. (After only four months, she left to work for upscale retailer Holt Renfrew.)
The bigger they come...
It was rumoured that The World's Biggest Bookstore, which is also one of Canada's largest magazine newsstands, may close. 
Remembering Charles
Family, friends and colleagues of Charles Oberdorf, writer, editor and teacher, establish a student award in his name at Ryerson University's Chang School. 
Who's a good doggie?
Dogs in Canada magazine, closed at the end of 2011, might bound back if a publishing partner can be found. The Canadian Kennel Club was circulating a request for proposal to produce the magazine and its popular Annual
Here comes the (redesigned) bride
Weddingbells magazine does a front-to-back, lighter, airier redesign with its Fall and Winter 2012 issue. 
Chopping Onion
The Toronto Star, which handled sales, production and distribution of a print version of the popular satirical paper the Onion, announced that the franchise was being discontinued. 
After a long struggle for circulation and revenue, the Manitoba magazine Hearts of the Country, announced it was closing. Editor Cindy McKay said the readers were loyal and supportive (mostly rural women) but advertiser support just wasn't there. 
Shifting owners
Cycle Canada magazine changes hands, again. 
Westward, ho (I)
Explore magazine is sold to OP Publishing of Vancouver in a swap for OP's Cottage magazine, which moves to Cottage Life Media. 
Edging out the competition
Sharp magazine names men's fashion blogger Jonathan Cavaliere of Toronto as "Canada's Sharpest Man".
Vote pour moi
Jean-François Lisée, a longtime contributor to the Quebec newsmagazine l'Actualité and an advisor to the Parti Québécois, announces he is running for office in the Sept. 4 provincial election. 
Westward, ho (II)
Tom Gierasimczuk leaves Marketing magazine to join Canada Wide Media as editor in chief and director of audience development for BCBusiness
Free legal advice?
Alberta's Law Now magazine opts to go controlled after 37 years of being a paid subscription magazine. 
Random harvest
A new online magazine called Hazlitt is launched by Random House Canada. 
Score tied up
Rogers Communications scoops up Score Media Inc., the specialty television network. 
Serving hopeful lawyers
Precedent magazine, the Ontario quarterly principally for young lawyers, spins off its annual student supplement as a separate publication. 
Stuff at home
Style at Home magazine launches a branded line of kitchen, bath, bedroom and home decor items in conjunction with its celebration of the magazine's 15th anniversary. 
Going up the road
The weekly online magazine Yonge Street, previously only in the City of Toronto, announces it is casting its net wider with coverage (and presumably sales) in York Region (Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Markham, Stouffville, Aurora, and Georgina.)
Don't be a jerk
Marketing magazine tightens up its commenting policy and says that, henceforth, all comments will be moderated. 
Well, it looks a little like a magazine
Rogers Publishing collaborates with an ad agency and helps launch an interactive digital catalogue for Sears Canada on the iPad. 
A healthy arrangement
Glacier Media and the Vancouver Island Health Authority collaborate on a quarterly magazine called A Healthier You
Douglas Thomson of Canadian Home Workshop is elected president of the National Magazine Awards.
 We love you, now change
Rogers Publishing bought Canadian Health & Lifestyle magazine in April, gaining access to its lucrative distribution arrangement in Rexall and associated pharmacies; now it was announcing a complete relaunch effective with its Winter 2012 issue, including an increase to six times a year. 
They walk among us
Cottage Life and other Canadian titles clean up at the International Regional Magazines Association (IRMA). The few Canadian members in the overwhelmingly American association year in, year out, take home many of the prizes, including Magazine of the Year.
Not so open
Open File, the web-based online news site with six city editions, is suspended (it says) temporarily. Founder Wilf Dinnick says OF had not run out of money. 
Life, made easier
That's the new slogan for the redesigned Coup de Pouce, the French-language equivalent of Canadian Living. TC Media says it is responding to the changing needs of its largely Quebec women reader base in both print and online. 
Giving up the struggle
The Toronto Women's Bookstore, an outlet for specialized magazines, is the latest in a long line of independent bookstores which have closed. The latest owner struggled for two and a half years but in the end said: "You can't ignore the numbers."
But the shipping is free
The launch of the biannual The Alpine Review out of Montreal causes talk as it charges $35 a copy.
She shoots! she scores!
The Hockey News publishes its first-ever women's issue. 
They've got it covered
An alliance between the Circulation Marketing Association of Canada (CMC) and Magazines Canada takes over running the Canadian Newsstand Awards which Masthead had announced it was discontinuing.
Did it forecast its own revival?
The Truly Canadian Almanac is being published after all. Led by former Harrowsmith Country Living staffers who helped launch it originally, it is figuratively  built on the ashes of the magazine which was abruptly closed in 2011 by Malcolm Publishing. 
Watch your step, we're watching you
The Canada Revenue Agency issues a warning letter to Canadian Mennonite for publishing what it considers "partisan political" articles and editorials. 
MORE magazine is closed by TC Media. 
"What were you thinking?"
Toronto Life gets an earful from readers when it headlines its annual gift guide with a $1,200 puppy. They weren't upset by the price  but about the very unsuitability of a puppy as a Christmas gift. 
Dig out great grandpa's letters
Canada's History magazine strikes a deal with Harper Collins Canada to mark the 2014 centennial of the start of the First World War to create a commemorative album; reader contributions were welcomed. 
Attention, shoppers
Rogers Media announces that it will custom-publish a magazine for Wal-Mart Canada called
Walmart Live Better. Distribution will be 1 million copies, 6 times a year.
Headquarters will now be called the ant hill
Blue Ant Media purchases the shares of Cottage Life Media that it did not already own. 
Does this bikini make me look fat?
The graphic presentation of corpulent stars in skimpy swimwear leads to a customer complaint and Loblaws removing all issues of the National Enquirer from its stores in Newfoundland. 
You wrangle the magazines, I'll do the custom publishing
 TC Media puts Caroline Andrews in charge of its leading consumer magazines and Lynn Chambers in charge of its custom content division.



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