Canadian magazines recover from tough 2009

Masthead reports that most Canadian magazines recovered from their 2008–9 doldrums, with most showing an increase in revenue in 2010. The magazine business is still growing strong, but Masthead recognizes it is still only looking at print revenue, and does not include online revenue. Full report at Masthead.



Groping the way forward on digital mags

Good, long, detailed and thoughtful article in the Report on Business yesterday (Feb. 26) about the wary struggle between digital media and MSM to come to some sort of mutually profitable reconciliation. Apple has a program in which it slices off 30 per cent of the magazine subscription to download it through iTunes to its tablet. Meanwhile, other tablet producers like Google and RIM my come out with their own system of monetizing with the mags. Biggest issue thought is that Apple wants to keep the subscriber data (age, income, purchasing preferences) to itself and not share with the mags. The mags meed that detailed info to sell ads and persuade advertisers that their messages reach their potential customers’ eyeballs. Both sides very wary now, knowing this is not a good deal, but hoping to find their way forward. Reminds me of the early days of movies, when Edison patented a camera and demanded a piece of the action from every movies made with it. The producers had a more novel solution; they moved from New York to some place called Hollywood far from the eastern lawyers. Wonder if either side on this dispute will come up with a lateral solution like that.

Report on Business, Feb. 26 22011

Magazine ad revenue up in US

While newspapers revenue continues to decline. Magazines were affected by the 08 crash like all media, but like all media except newspapers they’ve since recovered, and shown that it was just another economic downturn, that they’ve survived before. US newspapers though continue to struggle, and may be a genuine dinosaur. Canadian newspapers are still in tough; the Sun chain keeps being subsidized by Quebecor and management blindness insists on bleeding the otherwise profitable PostMedia chain dry to support a money losing ineptitude called the National Post. The Post is unaivaible in the prairies and Atlantic Canada outside Halifax. Kill it already and support your local newspaper.

Reuters/CNews, January 10 2011

A new form of embedding for international journalism

Too often, foreign reporting out side of major capitals consists of sending a crew to a disaster, taking a few shots and some stories, then flying out to the nearest safe haven. The Guardian chose to embed itself in a small Ugandan community for three year, setting up a media centre and generally following the slow pace of development in what used to be called the third world. The Globe and Mail has started a similar project in Haiti. Well worth the read. And Walrus is worth subscribing to. I was skeptical earlier on, but the last two issues show more interesting commentary and excellent writing, on the level of Saturday Night in its better years.

The Walrus, December 2010

Losers lead winners in Canadian mags

Masthead, counting online line as well as traditional magazines, finds that the difference between new launches and dead magazines is -20, the first time in a decade that magazine world has lost more titles than it has gained. Of all traditional media, magazines with their long lead times have found it the hardest to compete with the web.

J-Source, May 17 2010

Niche magazines successful

Interesting story from FP/CBC about how micro niche magazines are becoming more successful than general interest magazines, which reflects what is happening in commercial television. Only when you get to the end of the story though does it mention these kinds of mags need substantial government subsidies to survive. Why not then for MSM?

CBC/FP, January 4 2010

It’s the debt, not the Net

Readers’ Digest continues with its debt problems, being one of the many US publications in bankruptcy, and in its latest move swapping debt for equity (i.e. ownership), of the venerable magazine. Only affects US magazine, but again illustrates that the biggest problem with most North  American publications is not the ad slump (which they’ve ridden through many times before) but the huge debt overhang they have, usually from reckless moves ten years ago to get into “convergence”, one of the worst business strategies of the new century. The Net isn’t killing them, it’s the debt.

Christian Science Monitor, August 18 2009