Masthead News Archives
July 2007

July 31, 2007
More flexibility for mid-size mags with Canada Magazine Fund
GATINEAU, QC—Medium-sized magazines now have more flexibility for accessing federal funding following recent changes to the Canada Magazine Fund administered by the Department of Canadian Heritage. The changes could mean more money in federal support for some magazines.

CMF manager Nadia Laham

The new rules, announced late last month, mean certain magazines can choose between formula-based funding under the existing Support for Editorial Content (SEC) program, or project-based funding—for potentially more money—under the newly named Support for Business Development for Magazine Publishers. The latter program had been named Support for Business Development for Small Magazine Publishers; the “small magazine” descriptor has been dropped.

It works like this: SEC funding is based on a formula, based on circulation and editorial costs, for dividing $10 million available annually to eligible paid-circulation magazines. The median level of support was about $36,000 in the 2005-2006 fiscal year.

However, under the new rules for Support for Business Development for Magazine Publishers, magazines with circulations up to 45,000 per issue (the old cut-off was 20,000) can apply for a maximum of $40,000 per year to support an approved project. Some projects can run more than one year.

CMF manager Nadia Laham says the changes reflect department research and input from publishers. “You’re looking at flexibility and responding to the needs of the publisher,” she says. The old Support for Business Development for Small Magazine Publishers was very successful but “there was a clear gap for medium-sized publishers who didn’t benefit from that,” she says.

As always there is fine print in the eligibility criteria. Important criteria include:

  • Eligible magazines must have at least 10% paid circulation. Project applications for magazines with between 10% and 50% paid circulation must be focused on building paid circulation. Magazines with more than 50% paid circulation can apply for all types of projects. Under the old rules, magazines with 0% paid circulation could still apply for circ-building projects. “We wanted to make sure that funding was targeted at magazines that were really serious about increasing paid circulation,” says Laham.
  • Aboriginal, ethnocultural, gay-lesbian-bi-transgendered, and official-language minority magazines are exempted from the 10% paid circulation criterion under government policy to support a more inclusive society, also recognizing these magazines may have more obstacles to overcome.
  • Eligible magazines must choose: they can apply for and receiving funding from only one program, either SEC or SBDMP, in the same government fiscal year.
  • Publishing firms are ineligible if they publish more than seven titles, unless the total average circulation per issue for all titles published does not exceed 50,000 copies.
  • magazines must have print runs of at least 500 copies per issue as well as an average circulation of no less than 250 and no more than 45,000 per issue or 500,000 copies per year.
  • a magazine must have completed at least one uninterrupted full twelve-month publishing cycle and have been in operation for a complete financial year prior to the application.

Last year the project-based fund invested $2.29 million in approved projects out of a total budget of $2.5 million. Laham says the total budget remains the same for 2008-2009. “We’re confident there’s enough money to fund the new projects,” she says.

Applications must be submitted a minimum of four months before the anticipated start of the project. Applications received after Nov. 1 will automatically be considered for the government’s next fiscal year.

The new SBDMP guide is available at the CMF web site here.

July 26, 2007
Another mag adopts FSC paper
RICHMOND, BC—The 200,000-circulation health-and-wellness monthly Alive is the latest title to make the move to environmentally certified paper. The publisher says the increased costs are worth it.

Switches to 30% recycled stock with its 300th issue

Beginning with its October edition—the magazine’s 300th issue—Alive will convert to ConsoPress Arbor Gloss, a 38lb. #5 sheet from Stora Enso, for its inside pages. The stock has 30% recycled fibre content and is also certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for its virgin fibre from well-managed forest sources. The new cover stock is Natureweb 30 Gloss, a 100 lb. #3 sheet from West Linn Paper that is also FSC certified and contains 30% recycled fibre.

With the change, Alive earns certification from both FSC and the U.S.-based Rainforest Alliance. While the stock switch will cost more, marketing manager Kiran Gill Judge says it’s worth it. “The benefits go from everything to saving trees to saving water, air pollutants and electricity,” she says. Advertisers, for their part, have been “nothing but completely supportive. It follows our branding and position in the marketplace.” There will be no extraordinary rate increase to cover the increased costs, which Gill Judge declined to reveal.

The magazine is owned by Teldon International, which also owns printer Teldon Print Media. The sister printing company performed printability tests on the new stock to ensure it would perform well on press. Teldon was Alive’s principal creditor when it took over the struggling magazine three years ago. Since then, new publisher Ryan Benn and his team have instituted many changes that appear to be working. Circulation, which is a mix of individual subscribers and bulk subs through health food stores, has increased from 170,000 to 200,000 and an ad campaign aimed largely at media buyers was launched this past spring. For more on Alive, see the March/April 2007 issue of Masthead and the profile of Ryan Benn.

July 25, 2007
Firefighting titles merge following acquisition
SIMCOE, ONT.—Annex Publishing and Printing is merging its latest acquisition The Fire Services Journal into its existing titles for the firefighting market.

Advertising, editorial and circulation from Fire Services Journal will be merged into Annex’s existing two titles above

The magazine, which had been published by Dan Haden of Ajax, Ont.,, was purchased this past spring. “It was a good tuck-in acquisition for us,” said Mike Fredericks, president and CEO of Annex. The company published two issues of the magazine under its own title, but the May/June issue was the last. Annex will merge advertising and editorial elements into two other Annex magazines, Fire Fighting in Canada and Canadian Fire Fighter. A handful of unduplicated names from the circulation list were also added to the Annex file.

Dan Haden, a firefighting professional, will consult with Annex on the transition and on other developmental work for the next few years, Fredericks said. No staff joined Annex at the time of the acquisition.

Fire Fighting in Canada is aimed at chiefs and management, with a circulation of 4,300, eight times a year. Canadian Fire Fighter is published quarterly with a circulation of 6,800 and is targeted at trainers and frontline firefighters and emergency services staff.

Other titles are published regionally and by the national chiefs’ association, but Annex is “the largest national publisher at this point” in the market, says Fredericks. His company, based in this southwestern Ontario farming centre, has been acquiring trade titles over the last few years, especially following the sale of his regional newspaper holdings. The magazine and printing division moved into the renovated newspaper plant in 2005. Annex now publishes 23 magazines in various markets, according to its web site.

July 18, 2007
Big shoes to fill – again – at Chatelaine
TORONTO—Last Thursday’s sudden departure of Chatelaine’s Sara Angel has once again left the chief editorial position at Canada’s most profitable magazine vacant.

Angel has told reporters that she resigned for personal reasons. She was Chatelaine’s editor-in-chief for less than 14 months. Her predecessor, Kim Pittaway, resigned after 15 months and took nine months to replace.

Suneel Khanna, Director of Communications at Rogers, offered no details regarding Angel’s departure except that “Sara is essentially no longer with Rogers or Chatelaine.”

Editorial director Lise Ravary, who usually splits her time between Rogers’ Toronto and Montreal offices, will now spend all of her time in Toronto, and much of it directly with the Chatelaine team, says Khanna. This isn’t her first time taking over in a pinch.

“In Lise’s role as editorial director, she has always been very actively involved with Chatelaine,” said Khanna. “She has a strong ongoing presence there.”

A major Chatelaine redesign has been rumoured to be unveiled this fall. Asked about those plans, Khanna said simply, “Great magazines always evolve, and Chatelaine will continue to do so under the continued leadership of Lise Ravary and other editorial staff at the publication…We have a certain plan in place, editorially speaking, and we’ll continue to execute on that plan.”

July 16, 2007
MOM is ‘not a parenting magazine’
If things go as planned for Tamara Plant, moms in Edmonton-area small towns won’t have to rely on the big city anymore to find great play groups, restaurants and spas. Rather than hit the high-populated areas, Plant is taking a different route as publisher of MOM and focusing the magazine’s distribution on hard-to-reach places.

Tamara Plant, publisher of MOM magazine

Based on the premise that women don’t cease to be women when they start a family, MOM is “about moms getting back to themselves, and remembering that all women are goddesses no matter what their age, shape or size,” says Plant.

With its initial launch in September, 20,000 copies of MOM will be distributed in the towns of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Devon “and all the little hamlets in between that don’t necessarily get touched by advertisers,” says Plant. Her plan is to gradually branch out to other small towns near Edmonton and to eventually target areas surrounding Calgary.

So far, her client base includes pipeline companies, jewellery stores, maternity and children’s clothing stores and more. And word is getting out. A pre-launch party that featured, among other highlights, pole dancing demonstrations for moms and a session on adult toys, raised over $800 for the Alberta Council Women’s Shelter and, according to Plant, won local women’s support for the upcoming magazine.

MOM was Plant’s idea. Having worked as a sports writer for many years as a freelancer for the Edmonton Journal and on staff at the Kelowna Daily Courier, Plant decided a few years back that she wanted to learn about publishing. 

“I wanted to be more than just a writer. I wanted to be someone who is very versatile in the publishing industry.”

In subsequent jobs she worked for a print shop, then as an advertising coordinator. When came time to start a family, Plant noticed there were few available resources for moms in the Spruce Grove area where she lives.

“We pick up magazines all the time and say, ‘What a great spa… Oh. It’s in Toronto.” Or “That’s a great restaurant!… Ah. It’s in Vancouver.’ That really doesn’t do us any good,” she says.

July 10, 2007
C.E. BIZ says ‘goodbye trade, hello consumer’
MARKHAM, Ont.—Consumer electronics and imaging retail magazine C.E. BIZ has left the trade press and shifted to the consumer. “It was time,” says publisher Phil Metford. “My major advertisers were all telling me they wanted to have touch points with the consumers, not the dealers.”

Phil Metford, publisher of C.E. BIZ

The magazine is keeping its name, general look, editorial staff and format. Its frequency remains at 10 times a year. The big change, says Metford, is that “instead of going to about 10,000 industry participants, we’re now going to roughly 300,000 consumers.”

The company, C.E. BIZ Corp., has an agreement with the Toronto Star whereby home subscribers will receive C.E. BIZ magazine with the newspaper on the third Sunday of every month. The magazine is now exclusive to Sunday Star subscribers and is not available in news boxes or variety stores. It has changed from a bilingual to an English-only publication.

In its former trade format, C.E. BIZ was distributed across Canada. The new distribution to Sunday Star readers is concentrated in the Golden Horseshoe and Greater Toronto Area. The massive jump in circulation seems to warrant the switch.

“I think it’s going to go well,” says Metford. “The paper came out on Father’s Day, and by noon I’d already received dozens of entries for our C.E. BIZ photo contest. So people are apparently reading it.”

The photo contest, with prizes provided by Hewlett-Packard, is one of the many features from the trade magazine being replicated in the new C.E. BIZ and massaged for a consumer audience. A product section called “Cool Gear” has been expanded by 50 percent. Product knowledge questions formerly geared to industry types will now be tailored to a consumer audience and replicated on the magazine’s www.techiq.biz website.

Online advertisers now have a bundle option for banner ads, which appear on both www.techiq.biz and www.cebiz.ca, as well as in an ebulletin Metford is sending to select subscribers of the former trade edition of C.E. BIZ.

He says the new, local circulation brings added benefits to clients in the print magazine.

“The advertiser buys an ad in the magazine and, because it’s local, we can allow the advertiser to promote some of the dealers in the ad, which we could never do before.”

July 5, 2007
Alive branches out to satellite radio
BURNABY, B.C.—People tuning in to The Good Life Show on SIRIUS Satellite Radio will notice that alive magazine now features there prominently. As of July 1, the company is promoting the magazine through the show as part of a multi-faceted deal that splashes the alive brand over the airwaves.

Terry-Lynn Stone, editor-in-chief of alive

It all started in February ’07, when Kiran Gill Judge, alive’s Marketing Manager, was having coffee with the show’s host and producer Jesse Dylan.

“Both alive and The Good Life Show (www.tglshow.com) have been around for quite awhile in the industry,” says Judge. “I was saying I wanted to work more with Jesse and go to radio, and he wanted to build his base more in Canada [the show is recorded in Vancouver and broadcast throughout Canada and the U.S.] “so it was a natural agreement between the two of us.”

Terry-Lynn Stone, alive’s editor-in-chief, will be featured as a regular monthly guest on the program. Stone has some public speaking experience as president of the Walnut Grove, B.C. chapter of Toastmasters. She says she’s up to the task and will have no shortage of material to cover.

“We’re going to be talking about what’s coming up in the magazine,” she says, “and seeing as I’m very intimately involved in that, it’s going to be wonderful.”

Also as part of the new agreement, listeners can hear an “alive Tip of the Day,” every day, in alternate months (July, September, November, etc.).

Judge feels it’s high time the company branched out. “It’s building on 33 years of our reputation in Canada,” she says. “There’s definitely a cost associated with creating the content for the Tip of the Day, creating the radio commercials, all the behind-the-scenes things, and having Terry-Lynn not be in the office for a day – that’s quite costly – but the major return we’re looking for is exposure to our brand. If this increased personal subscriptions, that would be lovely.”

Judge says alive is somewhat unique for a magazine of its genre because each copy that leaves the office is paid for. Health and wellness retailers buy the magazines to give to their customers.

“Subscriptions are a very minor portion of what we do,” says Judge, “but some folks want the magazine delivered to their home. And if that increases, fabulous.”

The alive Academy of Natural Health, which offers natural health related courses, diplomas and accreditation through distance learning, is also involved with The Good Life Show. It is investing in radio advertising spots and will be sponsoring the alive Tip of the Day.

If things seem to be snowballing for the company, Stone says it helps that readers and audiences in general are so much more receptive to the topic of natural health than in the past.

“It’s not just a cultish little following,” she says. “Everybody’s interested.”

July 3, 2007
Decision Highlights: How the PAP survived attack by UPS
The court decision concerning United Parcel Service (UPS) versus the Government of Canada, owner of Canada Post, is now available for viewing.

Mark Jamison, president of the Canadian Magazine Publishers Association

In January, 2000, UPS initiated a legal challenge against Canada, claiming US$160 million in damages. The courier company alleged that Canada was in breach of article 1102 of NAFTA Chapter 11 because, among other things, it does not accord Canada Post and UPS treatment in “like circumstances.”

UPS also alleged that the Publications Assistance Program (PAP) of the Department of Canadian Heritage is contrary to Canada’s national treatment obligation because it requires publishers to deliver their publications through Canada Post to obtain the subsidy. Canada’s response was that it was exempt from that obligation because, as a measure designed to assist cultural industries, it fell within the scope of NAFTA’s cultural exemption (Annex 2106).

The tribunal rejected all of UPS’s claims. Concerning the cultural exemption, it ruled that the PAP “falls squarely within the scope of the exception” but, regardless, the tribunal found that Canada is not in breach of article 1102.

Read the full decision here.

“For a decision by a NAFTA panel to recognize and rule in favour of cultural exemption has, I think, huge and positive implications for our cultural industries in general,” says Mark Jamison, president of the Canadian Magazine Publishers Association.

The purpose of the PAP is to ensure the widest possible distribution of eligible Canadian publications to Canadian readers at affordable and uniform prices. The tribunal determined that Canada Post is “the best and most cost effective means of meeting its policy objectives.” Regarding UPS’s objection to the fact that PAP only applies to publishers that use Canada Post, the tribunal found that “this requirement is rationally and intrinsically connected to assisting the Canadian publishing industry.”

Other highlights from the court decision:

  • “…the requirement that PAP publications be delivered by Canada Post results in more money going to publishers under the Program than would otherwise be the case.”
  • “…In the context of the PAP, the distribution of eligible Canadian publications by Canada Post is an integral element of the federal government’s overall scheme of assistance to publishers. Further, given that the subsidy provided by the Program ensures that publications are accessible to all Canadians, thereby helping to sustain the Canadian periodical publishing industry and strengthening Canada’s cultural identity, it is in fact an integral part of Canada’s cultural policy.”
  • “Canada Post provides the most effective way for publishers to reach all of their subscribers across Canada at a reasonable price, given its existing universal service obligation.”
  •  “Courier companies, including the Investor and UPS Canada, focus on time-definite delivery within densely populated areas. They do not, as a matter of course, go to every address in Canada.”
  • “Given the volume of goods transported by Canada Post pursuant to the PAP, the Heritage Department is able to negotiate more favourable rates for mailing Canadian publications than would otherwise be possible.”
  • “Canada Post itself contributes significant funds to the PAP [$16 million in 2004].”

Moya Greene, president and CEO of Canada Post said in a press release about the decision:

“To put things in context, this dispute was about money. The United Parcel Service of America is attempting to force postal administrations around the world out of the parcel and courier business in order to increase their market share. Canada Post has been in the parcel delivery business for more than a hundred years and UPS, like other competitors, has every opportunity to compete in Canada and has their share of the very rigorous Canadian courier market.”

Could the issue of UPS and other alternative delivery mechanisms resurface? The government has directed Canada Post Corporation to support the PAP until 2009.
This recent court decision, Jamison says, allows for more creative discussions about Canada Post’s role in the program.

“I think the issue of alternative deliveries is being looked at more and more seriously… It’s an open book for us right now,” he says. “We need to look at every possibility that makes things as predictable, stable and efficient as possible with respect to magazines policy and programs.

“It’s very important for us now not to say no to any possibility, but to make sure we’re thinking as openly as possible about satisfying the core need of providing the most efficient way to connect Canadians with their own stories.”
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