Masthead News Archives
March 2007

March 29, 2007
Magazine readership dips slightly
TORONTO—The Print Measurement Bureau has released its annual survey with results showing that magazine readership has returned to 2002 levels.

The most reliable standard of magazine readership is average readers per copy (RPC), which this year comes in at 5, down from 5.5 in PMB 2006. Here’s the trending:

Year RPC
2007 5.0
2006 5.5
2005 5.4
2004 5.5
2003 5.1
2002 5.1

In terms of time spent reading, that has also dipped slightly but it could be argued that in an increasingly cluttered media environment, a slight decline over five years could fairly be interpreted as stability, particularly given the rise of new media competing for attention. Average time spent reading a magazine in 2002 was 43 minutes; in 2004 it was 42 minutes; in this latest survey the figure is 41 minutes. Average degree of interest in magazine content is 6.8 (out of 10); in PMB 2002 and 2004 it was 6.7.

PMB is the largest door-to-door consumer survey in Canada with roughly 25,000 respondents nationwide.

Top 10 English-language magazines

MAGAZINE PMB 2007 PMB 2006 +/- change
Reader’s Digest 7.085 million 7.206 -1.7%
Canadian Geographic 4.4 million 4.099 million +7.3%
Canadian Living 4.268 million 4.406 -3.1%
Chatelaine 4.22 million 4.476 -5.7%
People 3.74 million 3.689 million +1.4
What’s Cooking 3.5 million 3.464 +1.0%
Maclean’s 2.753 million 2.910 million -5.4%
TIME (Canada) 2.572 million 2.758 million -6.7%
Canadian House & Home 2.426 million 2.501 million -3.0%
Canadian Health & Lifestyle* 2.413 million n/a n/a
* one-year data      

Top 10 French-language magazines

MAGAZINE PMB 2007 PMB 2006 +/- change
Coupe de pouce 1.302 million 1.428 million -8.8%
7 Jours 1.198 million 1.253 million -4.4%
Selection du Reader’s Digest 1.16 million 1.29 million -10.1%
Qu’est-ce qui mijote 1.157 million 1.074 million +7.7%
Châtelaine 1.125 million 1.292 million -12.9%
Touring (Fr/Eng) 1.048 million 1.15 million -8.9%
L’actualité 1.023 million 1.154 million -11.4%
Les Idées de ma maison .898 million .976 million -8.0%
TV 7 Jours .887 million 1.019 million -13.0%
Clin d’oeil .797 million .897 million -11.2%

Traditional Rivalries

MAGAZINE RPC 2007 PMB 2007 PMB 2006 +/- change
Canadian Living 8.0 4.268 million 4.406 million -3.1%
Chatelaine 6.4 4.22 million 4.476 million -5.7%
Maclean’s 7.0 2.753 million 2.910 million -5.4%
TIME (Canada) 10.7 2.572 million 2.758 million -6.7%
Canadian House & Home 9.4 2.426 million 2.501 million -3.0%
Style at Home 6.8 1.61 million 1.584 million +1.6%
Flare 10.0 1.677 million 1.811 million -7.4%
Elle Canada 12.5 1.571 million n/a n/a
Fashion 12.3 1.9 million 1.982 million -4.1%
Financial Post Business 5.6 1.22 million 1.302 million -6.3%
Report on Business mag 4.7 1.368 million 1.445 million -5.3%
Outdoor Canada 17.4 1.636 million 1.737 million -5.8%
Ontario Out of Doors 7.3 .640 million .677 million -5.5%
Canadian Gardening 13.7 2.189 million 2.432 million -10%
Gardening Life 14.6 1.491 million 1.673 million -10.9%
Now 3.2 .355 million .395 million -10.1%
Eye Weekly 1.9 .225 million .284 million -20.8%


March 27, 2007
ex-Hello! editor lands at Marketing
TORONTO—Rogers Publishing has rehired Christopher Loudon after firing him as editor of Hello! just two months ago.

Former Hello! editor Christopher Loudon is now editor of sister title Marketing

Loudon was previously editor of celebrity weekly Hello!, produced under license from Spain’s Hola SA, which took editorial control of the brand in January resulting in Loudon’s redundancy and subsequent departure. Loudon was on the job for only five months before being let go. He resigned as editor of Kontent Publishing’s Inside Entertainment to edit Hello!.

On Monday, Loudon took up duties within Rogers' B2B division as editor of Marketing, which has been without an editor since late January when editorial director/associate publisher Stan Sutter was fired by newish divisional senior vice-president John Milne, who took up duties in Fall 2006. Neither Loudon nor Milne could be reached for comment.

Marketing, which will be relaunching this month with a Sutter-influenced redesign and reduced frequency (to fortnightly) will likely continue to be tweaked throughout the year as Loudon eases into the position.

March 22, 2007
Eco papers becoming more available, affordable
TORONTO—The paper industry is making steady progress in providing more environmentally friendly magazine stock at prices within the budgets of many publishers, a small group of production managers and circulators learned yesterday. Some eco paper stocks are even slightly less expensive.

Mark Patenaude, VP sales and marketing, St. Joseph Print; Neva Murtha, Markets Initiative; Lynne O’Hearne, St. Joseph Print

At a presentation called “Forest Friendly Publishing,” Mark Patenaude, VP sales and marketing for St. Joseph Print, showed how some publishers “can even put money in [their] pocket” by using eco papers. For example, a #4 coated stock from Europe with 100% recycled fibre now costs slightly less—about 1%—than an equivalent #4 stock with all virgin fibre, based on the example of a 96-page, 100,000-circulation magazine at 8 3/8” x 10 78”.

However, while the supply of eco papers continues to grow thanks largely to increased demand from publishers and other buyers, it’s true most eco papers are still more expensive. His sample magazine showed paper costs ranging from $24,200 for a #5 coated virgin stock, to $38,550 for a #3 coated with 30% post-consumer waste certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the best-known and most widely accepted certification body for eco papers.

That’s why Patenaude urged publishers to plan carefully if they intend to switch. To pay for the extra cost, some publishers have dropped a grade, reduced page dimensions, or reduced page counts. Toronto-based explore magazine, for example, was the first Canadian magazine to switch to FSC-approved coated stock that’s also stamped “Ancient Forest Friendly” by Markets Initiative, the B.C.-based environmental organization that works closely with book, magazine and newspaper publishers. Explore dropped from a #3 to #4 grade to afford the eco paper premium, but took advantage of the switch to declare its leadership position… and didn’t lose any advertisers.

The other challenge is availability. Although the list of eco papers is growing, so is demand, and publishers need to plan well to ensure adequate supply. Eco papers from Europe take a minimum of 90 to 120 days for delivery, while domestic stocks can take 30 to 45 days. Also, some stocks require minimum orders, though buyers have been able to team up to meet the minimum. Toronto’s Green Living magazine, for example, was able to tag along on a paper order for Mountain Equipment Co-op’s catalogue.

Neva Murtha, magazine campaigner for Markets Initiative, showed how Canadian consumer magazines could save 400,000 trees a year by switching to 30% recycled fibre content. Hitting that target will take some years, but she noted Canadians are trailblazers. “I would say Canadian magazines are the leaders in North America because of the way we’ve been pulling together,” she said. So far, 74 magazine publishers have signed Ancient Forest Friendly paper policies, 21 are using AFF paper, and more than 30 printers stock AFF or other eco papers.

Among the magazines to switch are: explore, U of T Magazine, Outpost, Know, Canadian Home Workshop, Cottage Life, Yes Magazine, The Walrus, and Vancouver-based Hobo, which went from coated to an uncoated eco paper and “advertisers loved it,” said Murtha.

Murtha and Patenaude also reviewed the confusing alphabet-soup of certification bodies and logos. AFF might be considered “top of the food chain” because it requires the maximum amount of recycled fibre; any virgin fibre must be FSC certified from well-managed forests; and bleaching must be chlorine free. FSC is probably the best-known certification system, is the most widely accepted by environmental groups, and also has the blessing of paper industry groups and others such as First Nations. FSC certifies paper consumption from the forest level right through to the end user, and many Canadian printers are now FSC certified and undergo FSC audits. PEFC is a European standard and many PEFC forests are also FSC certified, but it hasn’t grown as quickly as FSC and it’s just starting to become known in North America. Other bodies such as CSA or SFI don’t apply the same rigour or independent auditing provided by FSC.

Markets Initiative maintains a database of eco papers at its web site here. It has also produced a one-page chart showing good-better-best when it comes to eco papers.

Magazines Canada and the CMC Circulation Management Association jointly produced the Forest Friendly Publishing seminar. Murtha noted that more circulation stocks are also becoming certified, such as American Eagle BRC which is AFF approved with 100% recycled fibre, including 30% post-consumer waste.

March 21, 2007
Bigger, better PMB data next week
TORONTO—When the Print Measurement Bureau releases the latest magazine readership findings on March 29, ad buyers will be able to sift through data on eight new magazine members as well as access sample sizes that have doubled in scope.

The Print Measurement Bureau will release new magazine readership data on Thursday March 29

The new English-language magazines to be included in next week’s results are: Bell TV Magazine, Elle Canada, Canadian Health & Lifestyle, The Hockey News, and Movie Entertainment. New French-language members are: La Semaine, Star Systeme and the French sister to Bell TV Magazine. Also new this year will be readership results for The Toronto Star and daily commuter newsmagazine 24 Hours Toronto.

With a sample size of roughly 25,000 Canadians, PMB’s survey is the most comprehensive polling of consumer tastes in Canada and, as such, is the main arbiter of magazine readership. It is perhaps the single most important yardstick that media planners—and reps—use in the business of buying and selling magazine ad space. Of course, publishers pay PMB to include their titles in the fieldwork that gets carried out year after year. Advertisers and advertising agencies are also paying members of PMB, an arrangement that allows them to access key consumer information.

Also new this year will be aggregate results from 2003 to 2006 inclusive, bringing the sample size to approximately 50,000. By combining four years’ worth of fieldwork rather than just two, PMB president Steve Ferley says the larger sample size will increase the statistical significance of data collected on smaller demographic clusters. For example, the small number of arthritis suffers in a field of 25,000 makes it difficult to extrapolate reliable information about them; doubling the sample size enhances statistical accuracy and is also cost-effective as PMB is merely repurposing existing fieldwork results. “Brands with low penetration means it’s very difficult to break them down by geographic and demographic information,” Ferley says. Furthermore, as PMB is now collecting data based on sexual orientation—a traditionally tiny demo cluster—this year’s increased sample size will yield a richer (i.e., larger) sample, and therefore better results.

March 20, 2007
Canada Wide to launch city magazine
VANCOUVER—The largest independent publisher in Western Canada is set to enter a somewhat crowded category—but with a distinctly “green” twist.

Granville magazine will publish quarterly and take on existing city monthlies Vancouver (Transcontinental Media) and independently produced VLM magazine

Canada Wide Media promises that Granville will be “an innovative magazine for the urban, socially aware consumer,” the company says, noting that it will be “part city magazine, part lifestyle magazine, and all about sustainability.” Regular departments will cover food, fashion and homes while “serious issues” such as shelter, transportation and energy options will receive feature treatment. Published quarterly, the premier Summer issue will debut May 22. The title alludes to both to Granville Island and Granville Street, both of which are closely associated with the downtown core.

A one-time, full-page colour ad sells for $3,400. It’s unclear what the circulation will be, however the media kit promises the magazine will reach an audience of 25,000.

Vancouver already has a couple of city magazines: Vancouver (Transcontinental Media) and the independent VLM (Vancouver Lifestyles Magazine). In 2006, monthly Vancouver mag generated $3.8 million in run-of-press advertising revenue at full ratecard pricing, according to LNA Canada. Its circulation is largely controlled at almost 50,000 copies. VLM is not tracked by LNA and has a controlled circulation of almost 30,000. Granville’s focus on sustainable living will serve as a distinguishing characteristic. Interesting to note that Toronto Life (paid circ 90,000) generated ROP ad revenue of $11.2 million last year—that’s 195% more than Vancouver mag—yet the greater Toronto area (5.3 million) has only 141% more people than the greater Vancouver area (2.2 million), according to Statistics Canada data.

Canada Wide is owned by motivational speaker Peter Legge and publishes more than 40 magazines and directories, including BCBusiness, TV Week, GardenWise, BCHome and Award magazine. The company also owns The Art Department, a graphic design and production company and a hardcover book publishing operation. It employs about 130 people. In a January interview, Legge said his goal for this year is to reach $30 million in total sales.

March 15, 2007
Glacier buys Crailer, CLB Media buys Baum
TORONTO/VANCOUVER—Business Information Group has acquired Building Magazine and Canadian Interiors from Crailer Communications. Meanwhile, Heri Baum has agreed to sell his three-book, Vancouver-based operation to CLB Media.

Crailer Communications has sold its two long-running bimonthlies (Building, Canadian Interiors) to Business Information Group, a division of Vancouver's Glacier Ventures

BIG is the Toronto-based division of Vancouver’s Glacier Ventures . We’ve known each other for years,” says BIG president Bruce Creighton of Crailer principal Sheri Craig, who is retiring. The two Crailer magazines fit nicely with BIG’s Canadian Architect and Canadian Consulting Engineer. Both Building and Canadian Interiors are commercial-audience oriented bimonthlies with controlled circs of 10,000 with long track records, established in 1952 and 1964, respectively. The deal was not brokered.

Aurora, Ont.-based CLB Media, meanwhile, now has a strong foothold in the forestry sector following the acquisition of Baum International, which publishes Logging Management, Mill Product News, and Specialty Wood Journal. CLB already publishes Woodworking magazine and Canadian Kitchen & Bath. Heri Baum, 57, will continue to oversee his “babies” (he launched them from scratch) for at least the next two years. Vancouver-based Watershed Partners brokered the deal. “We are continuing to look for further acquisitions,” said CLB Media president Stuart Morrison in a released statement. “We have focused on consolidating our publications for the past two years and it’s time to move forward again.” CLB now publishes an estimated 26 distinct magazines and has declared an intent to reach 50 by 2014

Heri Baum of Baum International has sold his trio of forestry magazines to CLB Media. "With the addition of the Baum magazines, we now cover the forest and wood industries from primary extraction and processing right through [to] secondary processing, finishing, design and installation," says CLB Media VP Niel Hiscox.

A rather torrid M&A pace has been set in the first quarter of this year with several B2B properties changing hands. In January, Simcoe, Ont.-based Annex Publishing & Printing announced that it had acquired Robert Consedine’s Montreal-based Aggregates & Roadbuilding Magazine and, in a separate deal, Annex scooped up Manure Manger, which was based in North Vancouver. In February, Transcontinental Media sold its six infotech titles to IT World Canada for an estimated $6.3 million

March 14, 2007
Toronto Life devotes URL to Black trial

Conrad Black's trial begins today in Chicago
TORONTO—It all begins today. As prosecutors and defense attorneys start to winnow their way through a pool of prospective jurors who will sit in judgment of Conrad Black on charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering, Toronto Life is scheduled to unveil a comprehensive website devoted exclusively to covering the trial, which is expected to last more than three months.

The website——will consist of a daily synopsis, media links to the best stories, a running “odometer-style” tally of Black’s legal costs, and special guest commentaries running each weekday from a variety of perspectives, says Toronto Life editor John Macfarlane.

Guest columnists will include: Toronto litigation lawyer Alan Gold on the legal dimension; PR consultant Patrick Gossage on spin doctoring; a yet-to-be-named business personality; various media types on world press play; and fashion reporter David Livingstone (formerly editor of now-defunct sister title The Look) on wardrobes, primarily, one imagines, Barbara Amiel’s.

Putting it all together will be writer Douglas Bell, who will monitor the barrage of media coverage from Toronto.

The site will also include:

  • background bios of the cast of characters involved in the case, including a piece on the jury that author and Black biographer Peter Newman is expected to file today;
  • a case-for/case-against summary;
  • all past articles published by Toronto Life regarding Conrad Black (excluding at least one article for which the magazine was made to apologize under threat of litigation [“A Toast to Lord Black On his arrival in Hell,” July 2004]);
  • an opportunity to cast a daily guilty/not guilt vote
Toronto Life editor John Macfarlane

Macfarlane says that as journals of record, daily newspapers must perforce treat the proceedings rather seriously. A city magazine has a little more latitude. “While we will also take it seriously and provide people who visit our site with access to the serious stuff, we will also be treating it—because we can and because it’s what we are—with a little attitude, so that we will be able to not only inform but entertain.”

Macfarlane hopes the site will be a destination for those who are, like him, keenly interested in the trial but haven’t the time to keep up on all the coverage. In a recent issue, Frank magazine suggested Macfarlane’s interest in Black’s legal troubles (he has retained Peter Newman to pen long feature following the verdict) is based on his dislike of Black. Not true, Macfarlane says. “I just find him fascinating. I find him probably the most fascinating person I’ve ever known in this jurisdiction, in this country, in this city…

“The arc of his career is like nothing that any of us has ever seen before, and are unlikely to see it again. Because he’s such a Shakespearean figure, he’s so larger than life, because of what he’s aspired to do, because of the way he’s aspired to live, because of the way he comports himself. I mean, he’s like something out of the pages of fiction, and now he’s at this most dramatic juncture of his life, how could we not be interested? You’d have to be emotionally dead not to find this compelling.”

March 13, 2007
Press Review put on the selling block

Fall 2006: The last published issue of Press Review
TORONTO—A 30-year-old industry journal targeting reporters, editors and communications professionals has suspended publication and is looking for a new owner.

Following the death of founder Michael Cassidy in 2005, Press Review has been operated by Cassidy’s wife, Jana. “This isn’t my calling,” she says. “I inherited the magazine… It’s really about journalists and for journalists. Perhaps a journalist or someone with the passion for it would be well-suited for this position.”

Founder Michael Cassidy (Photo credit: Boris Spremo)

Publication was suspended following the Fall 2006 number. Other than the brand and its bound archive of back issues, the 7,500-circ quarterly has no assets. The asking price is about $50,000, or the assumption of current debts.

Cassidy personally delivered copies of the Press Review to newsrooms and offices in Montreal and Ottawa. Shown here carting a load into Parliament via wheelchair

After returning to Canada as a WWII veteran and POW, Michael Cassidy worked as a financial reporter with Dunn & Bradstreet. In the 1950s and ’60s he moved to the marketing side but kept a toe in journalism working part-time with the now-defunct Press Journal, which distributed to newsrooms across the country. He launched Press Review in January 1977 and it was very much his consuming passion. Jana recalls that the couple would load up his Mercury Cougar to deliver issues of the magazine to journalists and politicians in Montreal and Ottawa. In those pre-9/11 days, she notes, Cassidy would be able to stroll right into the Parliament building and insert a copy in each MPs mail slot and in the press gallery. Once, he even loaded up a wheelchair with which to better negotiate the snow on Parliament Hill.

Media critic Barrie Zwicker, who launched Content magazine in 1970, recalls that Press Review was a good source of keeping track of staff movements (promotions, firing, deaths and retirements), but never matched Content’s serious investigative/critical approach to media criticism. (Content later sold to Humber College around 1980 and was then conceptually adopted by the Canadian Association of Journalists, which continues to publish its thrice-annual Media magazine for members.)

For more information, interested parties can contact Mark Borkowski of Mercantile Mergers & Acquisitions at

March 7, 2007
Rival city mags adjust frequency

Edmonton Life launched with an ambitious monthly frequency last May. Now, less than a year later, it's a quarterly
EDMONTON—Captive Media’s Edmonton Life has drastically reduced frequency from monthly to quarterly while archrival Avenue plans to jump from bimonthly to 10-times-a-year this fall.

Alberta’s soaring provincial economy inspired the launch of these two controlled-circ city magazines in mid-2006. The city hasn’t had a glossy to call its own since Edmonton Magazine folded in 1988 after 10 years of publication.

Competing directly with Edmonton Life, Avenue's Edmonton edition will increase frequency in September 2007

Captive’s Edmonton Life was first out of the gate in May but it was an uphill race from the start as the title launched with a punishing monthly frequency. By fall, the decision was made to scale back. Content scheduled for the November and December 2006 issues was poured into a Winter issue, says editor Gene Kosowan.

While Edmonton Life shrinks, its rival is set to expand frequency from six to 10 times a year in September. “We’re at break-even,” says Orville Chubb, publisher of the Edmonton edition of Avenue, produced in partnership with Calgary-based Avenue (RedPoint Media). “Advertisers are more aggressive,” he adds. “There’s more business to be done.”

March 5, 2007
Sorry Primedia, we’re landing this niche
PALMER RAPIDS, Ont.—Catching big fish from little boats isn’t just another magazine idea. For Rapid Media, it’s a business philosophy.

Set to launch April 1. Billed as a special issue of Adventure Kayak, Kayak Angler will spin-off into its own brand if it can set the hook in this thrilling, though obscure, new sport.

Based in this little town of about 300, Rapid is about a three-hour drive northeast of Toronto on the shore of the mighty Madawaska River. From this rugged vantage point, publisher Scott MacGregor is convinced that he’s about to beat his American rival to a huge, untapped niche: kayak fishing.

It’s a growing phenomenon, says MacGregor, whose enthusiasm for paddling and whitewater rafting (for which the Madawaska is famed) has given rise to a trio of national enthusiast quarterlies—Rapid, Adventure Kayak, and Canoeroots, a family camping magazine.

Kayak Angler will launch next month as a special glossy issue of Adventure Kayak, targeting North America’s 100 million fisherfolks and 13 million kayakers, offering a buyers’ guide, hot-spot locales and a variety of how-to features.  At 75,000 copies, the controlled-circ one-off represents a significant investment aimed squarely at the U.S. market with distribution via complementary events and retailers on both sides of the border.

There is, no doubt, a Jaws-style thrill to be had from setting off in search of quarry that rivals the mass of the fishing vessel itself. “It’s big in California,” he says, “with people going offshore and landing tuna, marlin and red snapper. They fish with bait bigger than the fish we catch in Ontario,” he says. The problem: there really isn’t a venue that targets this unique sport. Until now.

Existing fishing magazines will sometimes cover kayak fishing, “but it’s kind of more like a freak show or circus act than anything they’re taking seriously,” he says. “This is the first time in my business life that we’ve actually been able to beat the American publishers to the market.”

Look like fun? A happy fisherman lands a 100-lb. sailfish from his dinky little kayak. Photo source:

MacGregor, who launched Rapid in 1998 after liquefying his RRSP and borrowing from family, says he’s “sitting on something that can be huge for the paddling industry. We need a way of taking it to fisherman and paddlers, and saying, ‘Hey fishermen, let’s try fishing from a kayak,’ and ‘Hey paddlers, let’s go fishing.’”

His principal U.S. rival is likely pre-occupied at the moment. In December, Primedia announced the sale of its hunting, fishing and outdoor titles for US$170 million to InterMedia Partners LP, a private equity firm.

Primedia’s Canoe & Kayak, established in 1973, was included in the deal.

March 1, 2007
Transcon sells IT mags, withdraws from B2B sector
MONTREAL—Four months after they were quietly held out for sale by Vancouver-based broker Watershed Partners, Transcontinental Media’s six infotech magazines and related Web portal have sold to archrival IT World Canada for an estimated $6.3 million.

IT World Canada chairman Michael Atkins commenced negotiations with Transcontinental Media in November 2006.

Sold are: flagship Computing Canada (published 18 times a year, 41,000 controlled-circ), Computer Dealer News, Edge, and Direction informatique as well as the Web portal; two other Transcon titles (Communications & Networking, Technology in Government) suspended publication at the end of 2006 although databases and brand rights were included in the deal. Transcontinental retains a small nub of B2B titles—horticultural properties Québec Vert and Guide de l’acheteur, which complement its existing consumer gardening titles.

Transcontinental is choosing to focus on its core business, consumer and business magazines and associated brand extensions,” says Nathalie Cyr, director of internal communications at Transcontinental Media. “We believe that the IT business group is a sound operation, but we are confident they will enjoy a larger growth potential with a company such as IT World.”

IT World Canada chairman Michael Atkins led the negotiations with Transcontinental. “We’re delighted to be in Quebec now,” he said of Direction informatique, adding that the overall deal presents “a wonderful opportunity for us to serve the community well. We’ve made great strides in investment on the Internet side of the business. We have expanded the events side of the business dramatically. [Transcon’s team] has done tremendous work on the custom publishing side [clients include Microsoft and Telus]. You know, it fits very nicely for us and we have some wonderful people.” He declined to reveal the purchase price, although industry insiders suggest that the properties were especially valuable to IT World Canada as the Transcon books were prime competitors and, as such, afforded ample opportunities to realize synergies and bring an end to the revenue-splitting that has been going on for years.

Atkins says about 20 Transcon employees will make the move to IT World’s offices, also in Toronto. Joe Tersigni, who oversaw the Trancon books, will join IT World Canada and work closely with IT World president Andrew White. Tersigni says he will continue to oversee those aforementioned custom publishing operations. A total of seven people have been declared redundant effective immediately, four at IT World and three at Transcon. (Atkins says there will be no others.) Tersigni said that a “hard look” will be taken at how all the new titles fit together, but declined to comment on which, if any, titles will be closed. IT World’s flagship Computerworld (25x/yr, 40,000 controlled-circ) and CIO magazines appear to go head-to-head with Transcon’s Computing Canada and Edge, respectively. The fate of these titles will be decided in the coming months.

Other suitors
Executives at Rogers Publishing and Glacier Ventures International declined to comment on their interest but said they were aware of the assets’ availability, as was CLB Media vice-president Niel Hiscox. In the end, the properties likely held the most appeal to category veteran IT World Canada, Hiscox said, noting that the IT sector is a tough one for Canadian publishers to enter given the relative unimportance of Canadian content and the high degree to which foreign IT pubs have already penetrated the Canadian market. IT World, he said, had the most to gain from the deal.

The sale brings to an end Transcontinental’s thoroughly disastrous foray into the IT sector, marked by the acquisition of these titles in 1999 from Plesman Communications for an estimated $15 million.

“Our objective here is to become the largest business-to-business publisher in Canada,” said André Préfontaine (then president Transcontinental Media) shortly after acquiring the titles. “It’s a wonderful addition to our portfolio.” However, many insiders said he paid far too much, even at the height of the market when the IT sector was booming.

Of course, following the dot-com meltdown in 2001, the value of the former Plesman titles plummeted, along with their revenues. During Préfontaine’s tenure, subsequent to the Plesman acquisition, Transcontinental Media never did broaden its penetration of the B2B sector in any significant way.

When Natalie Larivière succeeded Préfontaine as president in June 2006, it’s now clear that following a period of initial familiarization with the company’s publishing assets, the B2B division was seen as a poor fit for a company that specializes in consumer media. “It stuck out like a sore thumb,” says one Transcon executive. Last fall, after just months on the job, Larivière proceeded to liquidate the titles, at an estimated loss of about $9 million. “[Transcon] would never have recouped an ROI on that deal,” says another industry insider.

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