Masthead News Archives
March 2001
March 30, 2001
Canadian titles fly with Roots Air
TORONTO—When popular clothier Roots teamed up with Toronto-based Skyservice Airlines to develop Roots Air, one question popped to mind for Elfriede Hannivan, program manager, special projects, at Rogers Media: which magazines would Roots Air carry on board? She contacted the fledgling airline back in August, but the when negotiations began in earnest earlier this month, Roots Air executives expressed a desire to also carry non-Rogers titles and preferred to deal with just one distributor. So, Hannivan passed the file over to Coast to Coast Newsstand Services. “It sort of fell into our laps,” says Coast to Coast vice-president Scott Bullock. “We literally had to turn it around in seven days.”

Roots Air, which launched on Tuesday, now carries 12 Canadian titles, including Canadian Business, Cottage Life, explore, Fashion and Toronto Life. The numbers are admittedly small—about a 100 copies of each magazine per month. “It’s not solving anybody’s rate base problem, to be honest,” says Bullock, but given the captive audience and healthy readers-per-copy figures that inflight titles typically command, it’s better to be onboard than not.

March 29, 2001
Maclean’s investigative prowess vindicated
OTTAWA—Repulsing critical charges that Robert Lewis’ Maclean’s lacked the digger instinct, the Canadian Association of Journalists announced yesterday that four of five finalists for best investigative magazine article published in 2000 belong to none other than Lewis’ Maclean’s. The only other contender comes from Equinox (Ed Struzik’s “Life on Mars”), a magazine that folded as of its September 2000 issue. Maclean’s won in this CAJ category last year for “The Human Smugglers.” In 1997 and 1998, Saturday Night walked off with the honour.

The Maclean’s nominations are: “Smugglers’ Slaves,” “Abuse of Trust,” “Freeing the Slaves of Sudan,” and “Passports for Sale.”

Lewis stepped down as editor last December after seven years. His departure sparked retrospective criticisms, one of which was that the level of investigative reportage during his watch had been substandard. Responding today to the CAJ nominations, Lewis said “I’m very, very proud of my staff ... [The entries] were all tricky, requiring a lot of very patient work.”

As for the perception that Maclean’s doesn’t deliver the investigative goods, publisher Paul Jones suggested it may be a function of critics’ capacity for recollection, noting that Maclean’s has collected a number of journalistic accolades in recent years. “Memories are not long,” he said.

March 28, 2001
Production workers told to rise up
TORONTO—At a conference today on digital workflow, magazine production personnel were urged to form their own society. Publishers have their association, as do editors and circulators. Why not production workers?

Spearheading the campaign was Today’s Parent associate publisher and former production manager Kathy Bergen. She addressed a lunchtime crowd of more than 150 attendees with the idea of drumming up support for a “Magazine Production Association.” More than 40 attendees later signed up.

“Production is very unglamorous. We just do the work,” Bergen said afterward, adding that in this age of rapid change, notably the switch to computer-to-plate technology, the need for sharing experiences has become acute. “At the end of the day, maybe it [the proposed association] is just an annual dinner, and that would be great because there’s nothing at the moment.”

For more info, contact Bergen at

March 27, 2001
Maclean’s appoints new editor
TORONTO—The four-month search for Bob Lewis’ successor as editor of Maclean’s is over. At a press conference this morning, publisher Paul Jones announced that Maclean’s national affairs columnist and editor-at-large Anthony Wilson-Smith has been handed the editorial reins. “The new editor won us over with his enthusiasm,” said Jones.

Wilson-Smith, 44, promised “provocative” content and a redefinition of what constitutes news. “The old concept of simply reporting what happened last week with our national institutions no longer works,” he said, adding that more original reportage will be the order of the day as well as bolder use of photography.

Wilson-Smith left The Gazette (Montreal) in December 1983 to join Maclean’s as Quebec editor; he spent three years as the magazine’s first Moscow bureau chief in 1987. In 1990, he returned to Canada and for the next seven years was Ottawa editor.

Masthead magazine will profile Maclean’s new editor in the May issue.

March 23, 2001
Trustar Q2 revenue $11.5 million
MONTREAL—TVA Group reported yesterday that publishing revenue generated by subsidiary Trustar Publications was $11.5 million for the fiscal quarter ending February 25.

Trustar publishes the following magazines: Star Inc., Cool, Le lundi, Dernierre heure, Femme d’aujourd hui, Guide internet, 7 jours, TV 7 jours; the company also shares a 50% equity stake in tv Hebdo with Transcontinental Media.

Quebecor Inc. holds a 35.6% equity stake in TVA Group through it’s acquisition of Group Videotron last year. The remaining stake in TVA takes the form of publicly traded shares.

March 22, 2001
Trafalgar plans quarterly on erotica
TORONTO—Shifting cultural attitudes toward sex and sexuality have convinced a contract publisher that Canada is due for an erotic-lifestyle magazine.

Trafalgar Productions will launch The Everything To Do With Sex Magazine at the second-annual The Everything To Do With Sex Show in Toronto this October. Trafalgar publisher Keith Sharp says show owner Free Land Marketing Inc. approached him last year to promote the show in Access magazine, Trafalgar’s music/entertainment title. When Trafalgar realized how successful the show was (50,000 attendees), a proposal was made and a partnership formed. The magazine’s first issue will serve as the show guide but future issues will be datelined Christmas, Valentine’s Special and Summer.

“We don’t want to get into pornography,” says Sharp, “because that’s been done to death.” Editorial content slated to appear in the first issue includes a travel piece on “Hedonism in Jamaica,” the return of the corset and an interview with fetish model Dita Von Teese.

March 21, 2001
enRoute publisher sold to advertising behemoth
MONTREAL—Spafax Canada Inc., contract publisher of Air Canada inflight magazine enRoute, has been purchased along with British parent company Spafax Airline Network Ltd. by WPP Group plc.

WPP, based in London, England, became the world’s largest advertising firm last year following its purchase of Young & Rubicam for US$4.7 billion. WPP revenue in 2000 was US$19.9 billion. It also owns public relations firm Hill & Knowlton.

Air Canada is one of 60 airlines with which Spafax Airline Network holds a content-creation contract. In a released statement, Spafax Canada suggests WPP’s digital technology prowess may influence the way in which inflight content is delivered.

An upcoming issue of Masthead magazine will report the details.

March 20, 2001
Teen mag swings massive distribution agreement
TORONTO—Faze Teen magazine, a quarterly glossy launched last spring by neophyte publisher Lorraine Zander, has struck distribution paydirt. A deal signed with sample pack distributor Simplex Group of Toronto will see Faze’s standard press run of 10,000 skyrocket to 500,000 copies, the bulk of which will be included in gender-specific back-to-school sample packs distributed at such retailers as Shoppers Drug Mart, PharmaPlus and Zellers.

“Our distribution channels seem to be coming at us left, right and centre,” says Zander who, with her husband Paul’s marketing expertise, expects circulation to level off somewhere in the neighbourhood of 150,000 following the back-to-school issue. The husband-and-wife team created Faze Publications Inc. last year with financial support from friends and family. Zander says she’s invested $100,000 so far.

March 19, 2001
Fishing publication closes
TORONTO—Anticipating softer advertiser support in 2001, Marble Publishing has decided to cease publishing its newsprint bimonthly The Fishing News. “All our editorial, Internet and distribution objectives were met, but the advertising forecast didn’t show enough optimism,” said Marble president James Pugsley in a statement issued Jan. 31.

Roughly 800 subscribers have been offered either a refund or an alternative subscription to either Real Fishing or The Canadian Fly Fisher magazines if they respond by June 1. If they miss that deadline, all subs will be fulfilled by Real Fishing.

The Fishing News is survived by its Web site,, which is currently seeking advertisements.

March 16, 2001
Cycle Canada climbs to 30,000 feet
MONTREAL—What’s the difference between a vacuum cleaner and a Harley-Davidson? With a vacuum cleaner, the dirtbag is on the inside. Now, that joke might have resonated 20 years ago but, as Mike Moloney sees it, motorcycling has gone mainstream and is no longer the exclusive domain of unshaven scoundrels. And to prove it, Maloney, sales director at Cycle Canada magazine, points to the fact that Air Canada recently requested 4,250 copies of his mag for placement within its network of private Maple Leaf airport lounges and for inflight distribution on its fleet of 374 domestic and international jetliners. The arrangement, effective with the May issue, will boost qualified non-paid circ by 15%.

Cycle Canada is owned by Montreal-based Turbopress Inc., and was voted Magazine of the Year in the under-50,000 circ category last year by the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors.

March 15, 2001
Latest circulation stats reveal industry snapshot
TORONTO—What’s the trend in paid circulation? According to composite indices based on fresh year-over-year data from the Audit Bureau of Circulations and the Canadian Circulation Audit Board, total paid circulation is largely stagnant. The ABC data show an overall drop of 1.3% in newsstand and subscription sales while CCAB data indicate a barely perceptible growth just 0.31%.

There is, however, a cluster of strong performers weighing in with healthy double-digit gains in total paid circ. Find out who’s winning and who’s losing in the April issue of Masthead magazine.

March 14, 2001
Australian mag formula comes to Canada
TORONTO—With the recent closure of two trade magazines covering the Canadian music industry (RPM closed last October after 37 years; The Record closed its print version in August 1999), it’s interesting to note that a new publication will emerge to fill the void.

MastheadOnline has learned that a new weekly magazine called the Canadian Music Network will debut in May. Mock-ups will be circulated at the end of this month during Canadian Music Week. The two principals are well-known Canadian concert promoter Donald Tarlton and Australian John Woodruff, publisher of Australian Music Network magazine, upon which Canadian Music Network will be based.

The Canadian Recording Industry Association represents the five major record labels in Canada. President Brian Robertson says CRIA endorsed the Tarleton-Woodruff proposal for a number of reasons, including the success of the Australian model and the prospect that the new magazine may carry a French-language insert. “This is a $1.4 billion industry retail value. You have to have a vibrant trade publication,” Robertson says, adding that Rogers Media and Southam were approached but “neither came through with a proposal.”

March 13, 2001
Maclean’s to redefine newsmagazine notion
TORONTO—While we still don’t know who will be the new editor at Maclean’s (wait another two weeks), publisher Paul Jones said yesterday that readers can expect a major overhaul.

“Maclean’s will continue to be a newsmagazine but you can expect a very significant redefinition of what that means,” Jones said. “I’m not one of those who believe that the newsmagazine will go the way of the dodo ... It can reinvent itself and that is what we plan to do.”

Jones declined to comment on gossip as to who’s on the short list, including Globe and Mail columnist and former ROB Magazine editor Margaret Wente, Toronto Life editor John Macfarlane, Globe columnist Jeffrey Simpson and Maclean’s editor-at-large Tony Wilson-Smith.

March 12, 2001
Retail check-out contracts renewed
TORONTO-Between last September and this coming spring, more than 5,000
retail check-out magazine racks are set to be replaced with improved
versions at grocery and drug stores across the country. Major retailers including A&P Dominion, Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws and Safeway have recently "reconfigured their front-end checkout programs," says Scott Bullock, VP of communications and publisher services at Coast to Coast Newsstand Services. In total, some 5,200 new display units will be installed in seven high-traffic retail outlets across Canada. Coast to Coast has secured prime placements for many of the Key Media and Rogers titles it represents as distributor.

March 08, 2001
Books in Canada editor quits
TORONTO—Less than three months after her return, Diana Kuprel has resigned as editor of Books in Canada, an industry source says. Kuprel declined to comment.

The magazine has not published since February 2000. Kuprel, who succeeded editor Gerald Owen in 1998, returned to BiC in January after owner/publisher Adrian Stein orchestrated a lucrative cash-for-content deal with Seattle-based book e-tailer The deal promises to provide BiC with the money needed to resume publishing, Stein said at the time. But just hours after the deal was announced, the Periodical Writers Association of Canada denounced the arrangement and issued a demand that Stein reimburse BiC freelancers for alleged copyright infringements. (See News Archives, Jan. 17, 18.) PWAC also called on writers to boycott the publication until Stein complied with its demand.

MastheadOnline’s source says freelancers are indeed boycotting the magazine.

Rumours that Amazon has since backed out of its deal have not been confirmed. Amazon’s Canadian market GM Marven Krug could not be reached for comment today.

Stein said during an interview yesterday that BiC’s planned launch for this month has been pushed back to mid-April.

March 07, 2001
Military mag back in the cockpit
MARKHAM, Ont.—Having published irregularly for the past two years in a row, Synergistic Enterprises’ Canadian Defense Review promises to return to a quarterly schedule this year and to embrace a bimonthly frequency in 2002. The magazine was launched in 1995.

“The market has picked up a bit,” says publisher/editor Peter Kitchen, referring to anticipated increases in national defence spending in areas such as the maritime helicopter program, surveillance aircraft, air transport and scheduled upgrades to CF-18 figher jets. Such investments, he says, bode well from an advertising perspective.

Military trade publishing is a bit of a slog in a pacific nation such as Canada, says Bill Baxter, publisher of the now-defunct Canadian Defence Quarterly, which ceased operations at the end of 1998. “It’s a tough market.”

March 06, 2001
Group responds to Saturday Night’s NNA eligibility
TORONTO—Brows are furrowed at the Toronto Press Club. Rumblings from within the 121-year-old institution suggest the decision to allow Saturday Night to compete at this year’s National Newspaper Awards sits badly. So what? Well, the Toronto Press Club owns the NNA name and outsources the administration of the awards to an independent Board of Governors, the body that admitted Saturday Night to the fold.

Learn about the Toronto Press Club’s position and possible course of action in a column by president Ed Patrick in the April issue of Masthead magazine..

March 02, 2001
Giveaway title to hit the newsstands
TORONTO—You might recall seeing issues of Your Office magazine stacked in giveaway racks at the exits of various Business Depot stores. No more. The two-year placement contract lapsed recently and Your Office will now be stepping up to the next level—newsstand. Furthermore, the title is now audited by Audit Bureau of Circulations. Controlled circulation stands at 154,000 and a plan to convert a portion of that to paid is underway, says publisher James Preece. Your Office runs with the tag line, “Canada’s small business magazine.”

March 05, 2001
Reader’s Digest to pitch insurance
MONTREAL—The parent corporation of the Canadian edition of Reader’s Digest magazine—a monthly with one million-plus readers—has announced plans to pair with casualty insurer BELAIRdirect in a bid to sell auto and home insurance. Readers will receive direct mail info packets offering discounted rates. This is the first of various alliances planned by the Reader’s Digest Association of Canada. Other so-called affinity programs set to roll out this year will offer family, health and financial products.

March 01, 2001
Adbusters rejected by printer
VANCOUVER—An anti-advertising stance combined with a spoof manifesto on digital culture referring to Jesus Christ and Satan in a sexual context was just too much for Concord. Ont.-based St. Joseph Printing. The printer has therefore terminated printing negotiations with Adbusters, an anti-establishment magazine based in Vancouver.

After ending a three-year printing arrangement with Transcontinental Printing, Adbusters editor-in-chief Kalle Lasn says he approached St. Joseph vice-president John Gagliano in early February. After examining the “manifesto” (contained in the March/April issue) and several back issues of the magazine, Gagliano decided against printing the award-winning title, Lasn says, adding that “[Gagliano] said he didn’t like [Adbuster’s] whole viewpoint on advertising.”

John Gagliano could not be reached for comment.

Look for more on this story in an upcoming issue of Masthead magazine.

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Wow, Torstar really seems to be on a mission to bankrupt one magazine after another....
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