Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Making it easy for readers to feel smarter key to success of Mental Floss

The New York Observer has an interesting profile of the magazine Mental Floss that essentially says prosperity can come from telling readers interesting stories about interesting things they didn't realize they were interested in; off-beat rather than insidery; breaking all the rules. Co-founder Mangesh Hattikudur says "“Everything is still about trying to make you feel smarter, without feeling like it’s a chore.”
“This is going to sound kind of like Al Gore saying he invented the Internet, but I really think in some ways Mental Floss invented the culture of lists,” editor in chief Jessanne Collins crowed. 
The magazine, which tells stories that are easily converted to dinner party anecdotes, slowly developed a cult following, helped along by book deals with HarperCollins, board games and t-shirts.
Now publishing 10 times a year, the magazine started out in a dorm room conversation at Duke University in 2000, grew until today it has 160,000 circulation in print. It has a Youtube channel that recently hit a million subscribers. The publication was snapped up in 2011 by Felix Dennis, the (recently deceased) British magazine publisher.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mag world view: Author's Guild loses; NatGeo back to recycled paper; From "months to moments"; investigating Amazon

Quote, unquote: Yes, a million sounds like a lot, but...

“When tablets first came on the scene everyone was very excited about selling digital magazines to consumers. One million sounds like a lot, but you have to think we sell 27m/28m print magazines a month in the US.” 
-- Hearst CEO Duncan Edwards tells the Guardian why, despite selling a million a month in the U.S., he is not holding his breath about the potential of digital magazines aimed at users of tablets;no format has yet been a proven winner with consumers. 

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Rogers has quietly cut "several hundred" mid-management jobs and 15% in the executive suite

A spokesperson for Rogers Communications Inc. has acknowledged that the company has quietly cut "several hundred" middle management positions across Canada and 15% of its executives at the vice-president level and above. The confirmation came Monday in a story in the Toronto Star and aligns with recent announcements of the departure of several key senior editors at Rogers Publishing (although it's not known what proportion of the "several hundred" are editorial employees.)

The clearout is part of Rogers 3.0, a multi-year plan designed to streamline management, first heralded in May by Rogers recently arrived CEO Guy Laurence. 

Rogers spokesperson Patricia Trott told The Star's Dana Flavelle:
“As part of the restructuring we have reduced the number of vice president and above positions by 15 per cent and several hundred middle management positions have also been eliminated across the company. These decisions are never easy. The goal is to become a more nimble, agile organization with much clearer accountabilities. Savings will be reinvested in areas like training and systems to better serve our customers.”

Monday, July 21, 2014

PEN Canada now in the crosshairs of Canada Revenue charity audit team

If you wondered whether the flying squad set up at Canada Revenue Agency to target charities for overstepping the allowable amount of political activity is close to the magazine business and journalism, think no longer. The Canadian Press reports that CRA has in its sights PEN Canada, which champions freedom of expression at home and abroad. It is perhaps best known for highlighting imprisoned journalists and writers around the world, but in the course of its work it has been highly critical of the Harper government and its policies. 
Two tax auditors showed up Monday morning at the tiny Toronto offices of PEN Canada, asking to see a wide range of internal documents. 
PEN Canada's president, Philip Slayton, says the tax agency gave notice of the audit two or three months ago, and that the group is "fully co-operating."
The federal government built an item into its budget in 2012 to finance special teams targetting charities such as  Amnesty International Canada, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Environmental Defence, Canada Without Poverty, and the David Suzuki Foundation, although the CRA says it receives no direction from the government or the cabinet. 

A number of charities have said that they are feeling a distinct "audit chill", made worse by the fact that the possible loss of their charitable status hangs over them like a Damoclean sword, sometimes for years. The PEN Canada audit could take a year or more. 
Charities are permitted to spend up to 10 per cent of their resources on political activities, based on a 2003 government policy, though they cannot endorse any party or candidate.Slayton says PEN Canada has abided by the rules, but there are grey areas. 
Slayton said that the wave of audits raises the question of whether charitable status is worth having:
 "I refuse to let it have a chilling effect on us, We are not going to have some kind of fear — about having our charitable status questioned by authorities — stop us speaking out on issues ...If it means you have to live in fear of the revenue authorities, and if it means that there are things you want to say, you feel you should say, but you feel you cannot say because of the rules, well then, what price charitable registration?"

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To the bare walls! Everything at FUSE must go!

FUSE magazine,is being wound up this week and there are a lot of details to be covered off, apparently. It has published its last e-newsletter and is publishing its last print issue (a commemoration) in August. 

It is holding a "garage sale" on its last day in business, Friday July 25 at 454-401 Richmond Street West during which everything, including back issues, monographs, catalogues, office supplies and furniture, will be on the block.

The magazine is to be congratulated about being careful about copyrights. When the publisher -- Artons Cultural Affairs Society -- dissolves, all of the past materials will be deposited with e-artexte, carrying a Creative Commons license. Copyright is retained by the original contributors and they have the option until Friday of opting out of being part of the digital repository. Current subscribers whose subscriptions go past August are having them fulfilled by copies of Canadian Dimension and C magazine.

FUSE was launched in 1976 and announced in December it was ceasing publication after 37 years. The magazine started out as a newsprint magazine called Centrefold based in Calgary in 1976. Relocated to Toronto in 1978, it changed its name to FUSE, the founding editors of which were Clive Robertson, Lisa Steele and Tom Sherman.

Several key senior editors let go at Rogers Publishing

[This post has been updated] Several senior editors at Rogers Publishing have been laid off as part of what is dubbed Rogers 3.0, its plan to position the company for growth. In a brief internal note to staff about the departures headed "Thank you Dianne, Beth and Kristen", Steve Maich, the senior vice-president, publishing and Derek DeCloet, the vice-president of content announced that the departures are:
  • Dianne de Fenoyl, who has held various editorial management roles at Maclean's,
    Chatelaine and elsewhere within Rogers, has seen her role as editor-at-large eliminated. She was managing editor of Maclean's from 2005 until 2009 and then editorial director of Chatelaine. The note described her as "one of the country's most talented editors" who had "fine-tuned editorial instincts". de Fenoyl had earlier in her career held various lynchpin jobs at the Globe and Mail  (Review editor),executive editor at Saturday Night magazine and life editor of the National Post
  • Beth Thompson, is leaving the company and her job as editor-in-chief of Canadian Health and Lifestyle magazine, which now falls under the Chatelaine umbrella. She became editor last September after Rogers bought the magazine in April 2012. The magazine is a controlled vehicle distributed through the Rexall Group of pharmacies. Previous positions had been editor-in-chief of Glow magazine and beauty editor of More
  • Kristin Vinakmens is leaving as editor-in-chief of Cosmetics and Made for Men magazines, both now rolled under the Flare brand. Vinakmens had been beauty editor at Flare and Glow magazines and online editor of Totem's Rouge.  
[Update] Also laid off was Antonia Whyatt, the features director at Chatelaine since June 2010 and previously beauty director at Conde Nast's Tatler and at Jane magazine in New York. 

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Quote, unquote: On web enhancing print
(and vice-versa)

"We think that there is a future in print. Obviously the momentum is with the Web, but in the last four years working with the Web has enhanced the content of the magazine. The content there is stronger than ever before. Obviously print revenues are under pressure, but the desire for people to use print is still there. We don’t think of it as either/or. One enhances the other, and one gives credibility to the other."
-- Steve Forbes comment to Digiday about the future of the Forbes magazine and media empire in which the family agreed to sell majority control to a consortium of Hong Kong investors for about $475 million. 

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mag world view: USPS and 3-D; Creepy Tatler; The Atlantic comes calling; hardball at checkouts

Gold, two silvers for Professionally Speaking in Tabbie Awards

Oct 2013, silver winner,
feature design
Canadian magazines have done well at the annual Tabbie Awards, which honours business-to-business titles from around the world; this year nominations came from the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia, NewZealand, Singapore and South Africa. 

Professionally Speaking, the magazine for the Ontario College of Teachers, won a gold editorial award for department ("Exemplary OCT": Trish Snyder,  Leata Lekushoff)  as well as five other awards, including silvers for focus/profile article ("Exemplary OCT": Carmen Gassi ,Trish Snyder, Leata Lekushoff) and for feature design for "Fresh Start" (Luis Albuquerque, Charlene Watson, Jacqueline Kovacs, Leata Lekushoff, Studio 141 Inc.). Benefits Canada magazine won silver for best cover photograph ( "No Guts, No Glory": photographer Mike Ford, art director Scott Jordan.) 

In the feature article category, a silver winner was Atlantic Business magazine for "State of the Union", by Stephen Kimber; also among the top 25 in this category was Professionally Speaking

Among the top 25 for the best single issue category were honourable mentions for Canadian Nurse and Wood Design and Building. 

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Elle Québec cover shows a sense of perfect timing

Talk about perfect timing; days after she wowed Wimbledon. Eugenie Bouchard on the just-released August cover of Elle Québec.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Funding still available, says Canada Periodical Fund, but best get applications in by Sept. 15

The Canada Periodical Fund is reminding eligible publishers that funding is still available for the 2014-2015 year under the Collective Initiatives component and, although applications are accepted through the year, the Fund suggests that applications should be filed by September 15 to allow sufficient processing time. More information. 

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Renovation Contractor joins
Homes Publishing Group

Renovation Contractor magazine is joining the Homes Publishing Group. Founder and editor-in-chief  of RC, Jim Caruk, says in a posting "part of the agreement was that we would continue to do things the way we've been doing since day one."
Homes Publishing Group (Homes for Sale Magazine Ltd.) concentrates on the home market with Homes magazine, Reno & Decor and Condo Life, Moving To magazines plus Active Life and Ontario Design as well as associated websites and show guides for three leading consumer shows and two building industry membership directories. 
Renovation Contractor publishes six issues annually, with a distribution of 33,000 copies per issue mailed directly to professional contractors and small and medium-sized home renovators across Canada. The magazine was established in 2011 by Caruk Media Group Inc. and has been a finalist for trade magazine of the year in the Kenneth R. Wilson Awards in 2013 and 2014. Caruk has been in the renovation business for 40 years and is well known for his HGTV series Real Renos and Builder Boss.

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Melony Ward named interim president and CEO of Canada's National History Society

Melony Ward, the recently named publisher of Canada's History and Kayak magazines, has been named the interim president and CEO of Canada's National History Society. The appointment pends the extended search that the board of the society is making for someone to replace Deborah Morrison, who left the organization after 12 years.

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MagNet conference will not be held in 2015, instead integrated with FIPP World Congress

MagNet, the annual industry conference in June will not be held next year, according to Magazines Canada. Instead, some of the Canadian programming will be integrated with the FIPP World Congress that is to be held in Toronto October 13-15. (It's the first time that the international congress of magazine media has been held in Canada.) The association will be considering how to revitalize MagNet before June 2016. 

In a message to members, Mark Jamison, CEO of Magazines Canada said:
After broad consultation, Magazines Canada’s Board of Directors and the team behind the MagNet conference have decided to develop and integrate Canadian programming with international programming at FIPP 2015 instead of mounting the annual MagNet, normally held in June.  
Over the next few months, the Canadian and European management team will create a 2015 FIPP World Congress program that will shine a global spotlight on Canada’s magazine media within a diverse international perspective. The Congress Co-chairs are Fabrizio D’Angelo (Hubert Burda Media, Germany) and Douglas Knight (St. Joseph Media, Canada).  
And there is more good news. This change in scheduling will allow Canada’s magazine media to consider future-focused initiatives to serve the needs of our evolving industry, including a dynamic new MagNet conference in June 2016.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Chatelaine fashion shoots are part of northern Ireland tourism strategy

Fashion and beauty editor Catherine Franklin and photographer 
Alvaro Goveia  of Chatelaine flank Claire 
Keenan of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board

Wooing the media with air fares and accommodations is standard operating procedure for tourism marketing boards. A good example is the recent promotion by Tourism Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board that led the Canadian magazine to do two fashion shoots in northern Ireland. The result, according to a story in Ballymoney Times, will be two, 8-page fashion features shot at places such as the Causeway Coast, the Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge, Mussenden Temple and Dunluce Castle.and the gardens and grounds of Glenarm Castle, to run in issues later this year. Plus videos will be shared on Chatelaine's social media platforms. 

Jayne Schackleford, Tourism Ireland's manager for Canada, says

“Both articles will highlight our beautiful scenery and our wonderful castles and gardens – encouraging Canadian holidaymakers to come and experience the destination for themselves.”

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Magazine intensive pro dev sessions to be held in Calgary, Edmonton

Three magazine intensive professional development sessions are being offered in the next couple of months by the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association (AMPA). The sessions are full days, team taught.

In Calgary
Sales Intensive: Build and Market Your Integrated Sales Program, Monday, August 18 (10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.). 
Presenters: Melissa Ahlstrand and Michelle Kalman; includes an in-depth look at what to consider when creating and developing a highly valued integrated program that’s right for your magazine. (registration closes 4:00 p.m. on Friday, August 15)
Cultural/Small Mags Intensive: From Marketing and Promotions to Readership and Audience.  Saturday, September 13 (10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.). Presenters: Trevor Battye and Hal Niedzviecki; provides an opportunity for publishing professionals at small, cultural and literary magazines to explore new solutions for growth.(registration closes 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 10)
In Edmonton
Design Intensive: Revitalizing Your Magazine’s Design from Process to Cover, Tuesday, August 19 (10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) Presenters: Bob Hambly and John Montgomery; you'll also look at cover design, addressing what makes a good cover, the design process from idea to implementation and presentation, and ideas for working within a limited budget.(registration closes 4:00 p.m. on Friday, August 15)

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Beauty mag "rotation" being abandoned by Conde Nast in face of change

The so-called "beauty rotation" whereby major beauty advertisers such as Revlon, Estee Lauder, L'Oreal and Procter & Gamble took turns in the order in which they appeared before the masthead in the front of Conde Nast magazines such as Vogue, Glamour, Self and Allure, has ended. 

According to a story in Ad Age, the rotation was a longstanding policy that hearkened back to when ads were sold on relationships between buyers and sellers. But these have eroded because of digital competition and automated advertising auctions. Some advertisers have been diverting their multi-page print buys into other media.
One ad buyer said the hierarchy was a relic. "The marketplace has changed," said a media buyer who is not involved in the negotiations. "Archaic policies should be thrown out."
The rotation was a way of encouraging companies to spend money with Conde Nast pubs and removing it may be a recognition that Conde Nast books are no longer the only game in town. There is also a big shift in media buying  habits and ad sales budgeting. 
Today...magazines such as Allure and Glamour face an onslaught of competition from not only traditional competitors like Hearst Magazines and TV networks aimed at women, but also a host of digital upstarts, including Makeup.com, a content site run by L'Oreal. 
Meanwhile, increased competition and eroding single-copy sales have stung magazine companies, which have limped through the first half of 2014, with print ad sales -- where they make the bulk of their revenue -- proving anemic ahead of the critical September issues for women's fashion magazines.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The New Yorker to have 3-month "free for all" leading up to unveiling of new, metered paywall

While it spends three months working on a new, metered paywall, The New Yorker is making all of its articles and any it has published since 2007 free, beginning July 21. 

According to a story in the New York Times, the new site will be based on the WordPress publishing system and is expected to be particularly navigable by mobile users, the fastest-growing segment of the magazine's readership. The new venture is based on a firm belief that online readers will continue to pay for long, deeply reported articles in which the magazine specializes. 

The New Yorker has always limited availability of its magazine articles online, but has been somewhat capricious until now in what it makes available free and what it restricts to subscribers. Editor David Remnick  described the existing system as "awkward" and said  
“It is a challenge but I don’t mean the word ‘challenge’ in the way that it’s used in the business world as a cliché for disaster. I mean it in the original sense of the word.”

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Quote, unquote: Giving millennial women readers what they want

“Everything we've done was created with our reader in mind, The site gives millennial women exactly what they want—a simple feed that is easy to view on mobile, filled with content that is easy to share.”
-- Cosmopolitan.com editor Amy Odell, commenting on the rollout of a new digital publishing platform, first used for Cosmo, soon to be shared by some 18 Hearst Magazine titles. 

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This Magazine to launch first
summer reading issue

This Magazine, which has had a literary component for most of its 48 years, is for the first time publishing a summer reading issue. The special issue will be introduced at a special event on Wednesday, July 16 at the Supermarket in Toronto's Kensington Market (268 Augusta Ave.) Literary editor Dani Couture will host short readings by Aisha Sasha John (THOU, The Shining Material),David Seymour (For Display Purposes Only), and Tony Burgess (Pontypool Changes Everything, The n-Body Problem). The event starts at 7:30 and the $5 entry includes a copy of the special issue. 

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