Thursday, July 31, 2014

British newspapers to split away from shared research with magazines

The decision by British newspapers to split away from a combined research measurement system they have shared for 60 years with the magazine industry is apparently driven by a hunger for better information about digital audiences. Guy Consterdine, research consultant for the international magazine association FIPP says the National Readership Service (NRS) has worked well, but magazines and newspapers are diverging:
To some extent one could see a split coming. As in so many other countries, for most national newspapers their total audiences have become weighted towards websites and other digital sources, as the latter grow rapidly while their print circulations continue to fall. For example, The Guardian has 10.4 million visitors to its website but only 3.9 million adult readers of the daily printed newspaper. Consumer magazines, by contrast, have audiences heavily weighted towards print. The newspapers’ core product – the fast-moving news, continuously updated – is so much more suited to digital media than once-a-day print that newspapers (or newsbrands as they are increasingly calling themselves) must focus more on their digital audiences in future, especially if as some commentators predict most newsbrands will eventually become digital-only.
In Canada, magazines are served by the PMB, the Print Measurement Bureau and newspapers are served by NADBank. PMB has been developing a combined print and online audience measurement mechanism in collaboration with comScore.  

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Clearing out some back issues, Brick magazine holds a "buck a copy" online garage sale

Anyone who admires Brick magazine knows that being able to buy an issue for a buck is a heckuva deal. But that's what you can do during the online "garage sale" of the magazine's more plentiful back issues. For the month of August, Brick 71, 75, 76, 78, 79 and 81 can be bought for $1 plus another dollar in shipping. (If you're in Toronto, you can pick them up and save the mailing costs.) 
Every one of these issues is a knockout, timeless Brick. You’ll find writing by Dionne Brand, Geoff Dyer, Sheila Heti, W. S. Merwin, Robert Hass, John Berger, Lisa Moore, A. L. Kennedy, and many more, as well as conversations with the likes of Charles Bukowski, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Toni Morrison, and Marilynne Robinson. So snap up your copies while the sale lasts—and spread the word to fellow Brick-lovers.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fitter after 50; writer Margaret Webb pursues a stronger "second act"

Freelance writer, author and teacher Margaret Webb has written Older, Faster, Stronger: What Women Runners Can Teach Us All About Living Younger, Longer (Rodale Books, 2014), which is to be launched in Toronto in October. 

To whet readers' appetites Webb, who teaches Writing for Magazines and the Web at Ryerson's Chang School, has just released a 5-minute trailer featuring some of the extraordinary women she's met in the course of writing about setting out to get fitter after 50 than she was at university: the world's fastest 75+ sprinter, two 80+ marathoners and a 94 year old sprinter

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFOMLtUuIt8&feature=em-upload_owner

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Mixing a bit more fun with authority, Ski Canada's new look unveiled

Ski Canada magazine is unveiling a whole new look starting with its 2015 Buyer's Guide. The redesign, including a new swooping serif logo, is done by the magazine's designers for the past 8 years, K9 Strategy and Design. 

Partner Jennifer Lourenco says the goal is to strengthen the 42-year-old brand as a current, authoritative voice on all things ski.
"Every redesign is a balancing act between yet-to-be-realised new readers and current loyal readers – you’re constantly asking have we gone too far, or not far enough," she said. "For Ski Canada, we’ve introduced elements that will bring a bit more fun to the reading experience, while still maintaining their role as the leading publication that is synonymous with skiing.”

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Quote, unquote: Employment measures


"If I were limited to a single metric to use for the health of the labour market, I would use this one. But limiting ourselves to one measure is ill-advised. There are a number of factors we could still control for, such as the ratio of new Canadians to those born here. We have said nothing about wages and the labour market struggles of new graduates and women are important and not captured here. But to properly analyze the health of the labour market, we need to control for demographic, population size, nature of work and social changes. Simply citing the unemployment rate or the number of people with a job is not enough. But by controlling for these factors, we see that the Canadian labour market is not particularly strong."
I have never understood the employment data as well as I do now, having read Mike Moffatt's blog post on Canadian Business

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Mag world view: FT is 2/3 digital; What's up doc? in Baltics; LinkedIn buys Bizo; Turkey veggies; Gift Shop sold; Bucking trend at Vogue

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Anna Wintour without rival in controlling
Condé Nast editorial

The ascension of Condé Nast president Bob Sauerberg to be in charge of all revenue generation activities means that Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour has seen off all of her rivals for control of editorial at the company as creative director. According to a story in  Crain's New York Business,
Editorial Director Tom Wallace will leave the company. Though he is not being replaced, his job was considered redundant after Ms. Wintour was named creative director last year. John Bellando, a 15-year veteran who was both chief financial officer and chief operating officer, is also leaving the company, to be replaced by an executive from Time Inc....
"Anna really has more power than Bob and Chuck [CEO] combined," said the former executive. "She's the person everyone sees as a visionary and as having a huge amount of influence inside and outside of the building."

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Rogers's wireless issues depress Q2 results

Rogers Communications Inc. owns and publishes many of Canada's largests circulation and most popular magazines, but you'd hardly know it in light of reporting on the parent company's wireless woes. For instance, the Financial Post reports that Rogers's profit dropped 24% in 2nd quarter growth and the company is facing weak revenue growth and an increasing pressure to pay down the company's roughly $15 billion of adjusted net debt. Yet nowhere is there any reference to its publishing portfolio, which indicates its relatively small contribution to either profit or problems.
Adjusted operating profit in wireless came in at $843-million, up slightly from $821-million a year ago on lower revenue resulting from reductions in roaming rates in 2013 and simplified pricing plans that took effect over the past year.
According to the company's own release, Media in the 2nd quarter accounted for $475 million, up $5 million from the same period a year ago. However, profit, $54 million, was down $10 million from Q2 2013. There was a great deal of discussion about hockey rights on TV, but only a single paragraph that related to magazines, principally a reference to the expansion of Next Issue Canada, the one-price subscription service that Rogers operates in partnership with major U.S. magazine publishers. 

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Terry Sellwood promoted to president of
Cottage Life Media

Terry Sellwood has been promoted  to be president of Cottage Life Media. Founder Al Zikovitz will continue in his role as CEO but will start transitioning more responsibilities to Terry over time. Since joining Cottage Life in 2000, Terry has been general manager and involved in all the company's magazine brands and its events business. Sellwood has been a major player in the magazine industry, including being the chair of the board of Magazines Canada (where he began his career working in the warehouse) and president of the National Magazine Awards Foundation. He was previously well known as a circulation expert, working for Transcontinental Media and Telemedia.

Cottage Life, Cottage Life West and Outdoor Canada and associated web and television properties and consumer shows are part of the broader Blue Ant Media portfolio.  Blue Ant is a privately held media company that owns and operates 11 media brands including Cottage Life, AUX, Smithsonian Channel Canada, and Oasis. Based in Toronto, it recently made an investment in Omnia Media, a YouTube video network operating in Los Angeles.

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It will be smaller, and members will pay more, but MagsBC will carry on

The Magazine Association of BC, beleaguered and under threat for a couple of years, is going to carry on, after a vote at the association's annual general meeting on June 26. It will do so as a smaller entity, operating out of executive director Sylvia Skene's home and giving up its longtime offices on Homer Street in Vancouver and even its fax number, to save money. And its fees will be going up.

In a member newsletter, Trudy Lancelyn, the 2014-15 president, said

"Associations exist because their members derive benefits from joining. For MagsBC, the internship grants, professional development seminars and networking events pay back – in some cases in ways that go directly to members’ bottom lines....However, funding is only possible if the association exists, which means that we as members have to show our commitment and support by ensuring its continued viability."
Members are being asked in a survey to rate current and suggested projects and member feedback is very important, says Lancelyn.

As but two examples of the difficulties under which MagsBC has been labouring, the newsletter pointed out that their popular internship subsidy may or may not be subsidized by the Canada Periodical Fund and, in the meantime, they will continue to collect applications should funding become available. And the announcement of an Economic Impact Study being undertaken this summer by Rowland Lorimer and associates at Simon Fraser University turns out to have been premature, though magazines are being asked to continue to take part.

"What we didn't realize [when the announcement was made] was that the CPF has not yet decided whether to approve funding for this research. 
"We apologize to the folks at CPF for thanking them prematurely. We had no intention of using our thanks to pressure or embarrass the CPF, only to acknowledge its importance in supporting our industry."
 In February 2012, Mags BC was  thrown into a crisis when two funding applications, totalling $151,694, were rejected by the CPF; the agency relented and approved one of the two applications, but still with $25,000 less than it had applied for. A task force was created to address problems in four areas: grants/partnerships, fundraising/sponsorships, Board/Committee recruitment/development, and advocacy. The positive vote at the AGM is the most recent outcome of these discussions. 

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

The disappearing bookstores and the shrinking shelf space; book publishers' concerns familiar to magazine publishers

The most common concerns raised by book publishers in Canada, according to report prepared for the International Publishers Association (IPA), were the closure of bricks-and-mortar bookstores and reduced shelf space for books in stores. This will likely resonate with magazine publishers, particularly of the independent and cultural kind, who rely just as heavily on independent bookstores and display space. The third most common concern was the cost of developing e-books; this is congruent with the challenge that magazine publishers face in creating digital editions. [H/T TWUC]

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Canadian Art to launch 30th anniversary issue as part of free Gallery Hop Day

Canadian Art magazine will mark its 30th anniversary on Saturday, September 20 with a special free Gallery Hop Day. It consists of a round-table discussion  on contemporary art writing, at the Art Gallery of Ontario's Jackman Hall, six tours through Toronto's galleries, led by some of the city's most knowledgeable art experts and a launch of the 30th anniversary issue of the magazine at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA). 

A few days earlier, on Thursday, September 18, the Canadian Art Foundation's Gallery Hop gala dinner and auction fundraiser will be held at Kool Haus. Individual tickets are $600. 

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Golf World ends 67-year-run in print and is rolled in with Golf Digest

Golf World, a 67-year-old title owned by Conde Nast, is discontinuing its print edition and going digital only as part of the Golf Digest website, owned by the same company. Golf World was bought from the New York Times Company in 2001 and had been publishing 31 times a year. Now, according to a story on Ad Age, it will be a weekly golf newsletter sent to subscribers 50 times a year. Print subscribers to Golf World will start receiving the 12-times-a-year Golf Digest from now on. It's reported that 10 people are losing their jobs as the result of the consolidation.

Recently, Golf Digest (the largest golf magazine in the world) launched a redesign to appeal to a younger audience. 

Garden Making magazine goes all to pots with new container gardening app

Garden Making magazine, based in Niagara-on-the-Lake, has launched a free Phone/iPad app for people who like to garden in pots. The new My Garden Containers app provides users with plant recipes for various combinations and a list of 80 plus container plants, plus how-to articles and videos. Users can share photographs and documentation of their own plantings in a public gallery.
“We try to make gardening approachable while providing expertise, tips and techniques," says publisher Michael Fox of Inspiring Media Inc., which produces Garden Making.
The company developed the app with support from the Ontario Media Development Corporation and through collaboration with developer Addicted to Touch, a division of Symetric Productions, Inc. in St. Catharines, Ont. .

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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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