Masthead News Archives
November 2004

November 30, 2004
Agencies to publishers: where’s the ROI?
TORONTO—What can publishers do to help agencies increase the amount of money their clients spend on magazine advertising? That’s easy. Position your advertising service in such a way that the agency is able to provide their client with a quantifiable return on investment. That was one message that a panel of agency CEOs delivered at the Audit Bureau of Circulations 90th annual conference in Toronto earlier this month. Zenith Optimedia Canada president Sunni Boot, Carat North America CEO David Verklin and Renetta McCann, CEO, Starcom North America, all pointed to an increasing level of scrutiny their agencies are under partly as a result of more stringent corporate governance laws imposed stateside in the form of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. “The more we can prove ROI, the more we can prove our value,” said Boot. McCann added that advertisers’ marketing costs are seen as expenses “as are the fees they pay to media agencies. And all of us who are business practitioners realize that the things that are under expense lines need to be managed, that they are managed down.” ROI, she says, “is a way for us to work our way off the expense lines. We have to be able to prove that the services we provide are capable of lifting the client’s businesses and therefore getting us put at least in the investment bucket as opposed to the expense bucket.”
Verklin regretted that face-to-face meetings between agencies and media reps were becoming increasingly rare. “The most effective sales presentations I am seeing these days are group presentations,” he said, where representatives from sales, circulation and editorial all play a role. Asked if he asks his editors to attend such meetings, panel moderator Brian Segal, president of Rogers Media, replied: “We do. And some of them go,” he said, which prompted a few wry chuckles from the audience.

November 25, 2004
Today’s Parent wins silver stateside
New York—Publisher Ildiko Marshall was spotted in a corridor of the New York Hilton last week beaming with pride following the 2004 Eddie Awards, which celebrate editorial excellence in magazine publishing. Under the editorship of Linda Lewis, Marshall’s magazine, Today’s Parent, walked away with a silver in the Consumer Parenting category, edging out Parents magazine, which took bronze while Exceptional Parent won the gold. Last year, Today’s Parent took the gold. Other Canadian titles were also honoured this year: oversized upscale glossy Nuvo, based in Vancouver, won bronze in the Consumer General Interest/Lifestyle under 250,000 category, while Montreal-based yoga magazine Ascent took bronze in the Consumer Religious/Spiritual category.
…and then there were Ozzie Awards
In addition to the Eddies, there were the Ozzie Awards, which celebrate excellence in magazine design. Both award programs are organized by Folio: magazine. Today’s Parent and Air Canada inflight title enRoute, published by Spafax Canada out of Montreal, both had strong showings. Today’s Parent received two silvers and a bronze in the under-250,000-circ category (Best Feature Design, Best Use of Photography and Best Use of Illustration, respectively) while enRoute snared a silver and two bronzes in the under-250,000 category for Best Cover, Best Feature Design and Best Overall Design. A reliable source assures us that enRoute publisher Raymond Girard “was strutting the corridors of the Hilton with a pretty big smile on his face, too.” Congratulations to all.

November 23, 2004
Veteran editor steps aside
BURNABY, B.C.—One of Canada’s longest serving consumer magazine editors has resigned after a run of almost 20 years. Bonnie Irving joined BC Business in 1982 as a promotional coordinator and was appointed editor in 1985. She left on Nov. 5. “Management wanted to take the magazine in a new direction and wanted a ‘fresh start,’” she said in an e-mail, adding that she’s “looking for the next great opportunity.” Irving is succeeded by Noel Hulsman, formerly the magazine’s managing editor. BC Business is owned by Peter Legge’s Canada Wide Communications.

November 19, 2004
Average industry salaries rise 7.1%
MISSISSAUGA, Ont.—Masthead’s biennial Salary Survey shows that magazine management types are enjoying the highest increase in pay while those in the circulation department are enduring the smallest. Managers saw their compensation jump 21.6% over the past two years, jacking their annual take to a very respectable $77,785. Meanwhile, average pay for circulators, trade and consumer combined, jumped just 0.64% to $41,100. Average pay in the editorial suite this year was $51,281, up 4.7% from 2002. Average pay on the ad side was up 1.1% since 2002, to $62,709. For more, get the November/December issue of Masthead. The November/December issue mails to paid subscribers on Nov. 26.

November 16, 2004
Freelancers put editors on the hot seat
TORONTO—There were plenty of editors slouching awkwardly in their seats at last Thursday’s Canadian Society of Magazine Editors’ luncheon. Many were, like Chatelaine health editor Lisa Murphy, “guilty as charged.” Murphy was part of a panel discussion on improving relations between editors and freelancers. She was referring to Toronto freelancer David Hayes’s remarks on editors’ tardy response, or lack of, to query letters. Toronto freelancer Allan Britnell said he finds query letters “unprofitable to pursue.” He’d rather pitch story ideas over the phone to editors he’s built relationships with than invest time crafting well-researched query letters to new magazines and then wait weeks, if at all, for a response. Hayes suggested editors have a selection of template response letters ready to send off to freelancers in a timely fashion. Outdoor Canada has a number of templates, said editor Patrick Walsh. If he receives a good story idea that doesn’t quite fit, he’ll send the writer his magazine’s guidelines and section descriptions and encourage the writer to continue pitching. Murphy admitted to being swamped by the number of query letters that she receives. She recommends keeping them short and pitching regularly to stay on an editor’s radar. She also suggests taking an editor out for coffee. “It’s harder to say no to someone I’ve met face to face.”

November 11, 2004
Toronto Life under the knife
TORONTO—For the first time since it “refreshed” its look in the late 1990s, glossy city monthly Toronto Life is undergoing a redesign, says editor John Macfarlane. Art director Carol Moskot, who has served as a consultant for the design overhauls of Maclean’s and Canadian Gardening, will be spearheading the new look, which will include a logo change. Former art director Sandra Latini left the magazine in September after nearly 14 years, confirms Macfarlane. The redesign will be introduced with the April 2005 issue. “There’s no indication that the readers are demanding it,” he adds. “It’s just that we felt the magazine was getting a little bit tired looking. In this business you have to be constantly making changes, and we are. This is just more dramatic than most.”

November 9, 2004
Canadian titles make global Top 50 lists
LONDON—The U.K.-based International Federation of the Periodical Press (FIPP) recently released its annual World Magazine Trends 2004/2005. The study compiles magazine industry data from 71 countries across five continents. The best Canadian performer in the Top 50 sweepstakes was Reader’s Digest (Canada), which ranks as the 12th largest general-interest title in the world (its U.S. cousin is No. 1 with a circ of 11.1 million. Next best was Maclean’s, which is the 14th largest news-and-business magazine (the U.S.-edition of Time is the biggest with a circ of 4.1 million.) Other Canadian titles making that list: Report on Business magazine (29th), Time Canada (33rd) and National Post Business (36th). Chatelaine cracks the Top 50 women’s magazines worldwide, coming in at No. 28 (U.S. titles occupy nine of the top 10 spots in this category, the largest being Better Homes and Gardens with a circ of 7.6 million). CanWest’s TV Times ranks as the 13th largest television listings publication (U.S.-based TV Guide is No. 1 with a circ of roughly 9 million). The Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s Food & Drink comes in at No. 46 in the Top 50 special-interest titles (U.S.-based National Geographic, with a circ 6.6 million, was at the top. The rankings are based on circulation data available to FIPP when the study was written. FIPP reports that consumer magazines’ share of total adspend in Canada last year jumped to 7.2% of $8.5 billion, or $608 million. In 2002, magazine adspend accounted for 6.8% of a total advertising pie of $8.2 billion, which includes advertising in newspapers, TV, radio, cinema, outdoor and Internet.

November 4, 2004
Publisher resigns, Frank mag speechless
TORONTO—Former Globe and Mail business columnist Fabrice Taylor, who helped a group of secret Bay Street investors acquire Frank magazine roughly 18 months ago, has resigned as publisher and acting editor. “By and large I am entirely out, as of the end of September” he said in an interview late last week. "I have no day-to- day or even week-to-week say in editorial. I planned and hired people to do the [direct-mail subscription drive], but it’s basically out of my hands now. I did the budgets before I left.” Taylor had been overseeing editorial following the summer departure of former editor Kim Honey, who was released, Taylor says, to “try to conserve cash and divert it to subscriber growth.” Taylor said he’s had no luck finding talented satirists who could contribute to the magazine. Most candidates, he says, prefer to give the muckraking biweekly a wide berth “until it turns the corner,” he says. Former Canadian Business editor and This Magazine media columnist Arthur Johnson is serving as an editorial consultant and long-time contributor Jeff Wells remains involved with the magazine. But it seems Frank has become a little media shy lately—no one, it seems, is saying a peep. It’s certainly at a low point. Fewer people than ever are buying it. Circ in 1998 was about 14,000; when Taylor and his group acquired the title last year, there were about 7,200 paying readers. One source says it currently sits at about 5,500. If the magazine flops, the brand could revert to Michael Bate, who has intimated the product could be reborn online.

November 2, 2004
Rogers restructures—Jones, Clark gone
TORONTO—In an 1,800-word statement to staff this morning, Rogers Publishing CEO Brian Segal announced that the consumer publishing division will be streamlined to “bring more initiatives to market more quickly with a faster return on investment.” Consequently, several key executives will be leaving the company, including veteran publisher Paul Jones, Donna Clark and MoneySense publisher Kathryn Swan. The consumer division has for the past several years consisted of three groups: Women's, News and Business and Éditions Rogers Media, the Quebec division. Those groups will now be integrated into one group, called Consumer Publishing, to be led by Marc Blondeau, formerly president of Éditions Rogers Media, now promoted to senior vice-president, Consumer Publishing. “The disappointing fact of life in any integration process,” writes Segal in the statement, “is that not all senior positions and officers of the previously separate units can be accommodated in the combined organization.” Jones was a senior vice-president overseeing News and Business and publisher of Maclean’s, and Clark was senior vice-president, Women's Group. In his statement to staff this morning, Jones explained that he considered staying on as publisher of Maclean's but decided to make a “clean break” and hasten his rumoured retirement—“one of the world’s worst-kept, best-kept secrets.” The company is holding information sessions in Toronto this afternoon and Montreal tomorrow in order to brief hundreds of staffers on the changes. For more details, see the November/December issue of Masthead.

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