No magazine here does the same job

The magazine Sports Illustrated Canada is looking to test in the Canadian market for one simple reason - there is a need to respond more effectively to the readers of Sports Illustrated who want not only more information on their own...

The magazine Sports Illustrated Canada is looking to test in the Canadian market for one simple reason – there is a need to respond more effectively to the readers of Sports Illustrated who want not only more information on their own athletes, but to receive their copies earlier than they do now.

Sports Illustrated is no stranger to Canadians. It has been bought and read here for more than 38 years.

Canadian subscribers have been loyally paying more than $80 a year in spite of the fact that a slow delivery system from the u.s. delays the commentary on weekend games for a week and a half after the score has been settled and the last player gone home.

By printing the magazine at the Quebecor plant in Richmond Hill, Ont., and using the Canadian postal system, Sports Illustrated Canada will be in the hands of those loyal readers up to five days earlier with current information on those games they enjoyed or missed during their weekend viewing.

Sports Illustrated Canada will attempt to satisfy the obvious interests of Canadians in hockey, baseball, skiing, golf and football, as well as their growing interest in basketball, the National Football League and profiles of world-class sports personalities.

There are no borders on sports. The excitement of Wimbledon is the same for the Canadian reader as it is for any other tennis enthusiast wherever they may live.

No magazine in Canada does the job Sports Illustrated Canada plans to do. It is unique. It will deliver the magic of a magazine already enjoyed by many Canadians.

Sports Illustrated Canada will offer a fresh approach to Canadian triumphs, and we are prepared to increase significant cost in doing so.

Magazines and all media in Canada have found the current restructuring in our economy tough, and the last few years have affected us all.

Will Sports Illustrated Canada have an adverse impact on the Canadian magazine industry?

Considerable debate

This has been a matter of considerable debate, which will continue, no doubt, long after the first issue has rolled off the press and readers have enjoyed the best sports magazine that Canada has to offer.

The reality is this: there is always room for a good product of any description and the successful in any market should not be afraid of competition.

The world is changing, and protectionism cannot continue to prevent the consumer and the marketer from finding new avenues to enjoy either their personal time or spend advertising dollars.

Marketers need to see growth and excitement, as well as feel confident their money is being wisely spent.

The industry must stimulate the interest and energy that are being rightfully demanded by those advertisers who ultimately pay the bills.

Reach new audiences

Advertisers deserve to reach audiences which have not been provided for in the past.

Magazines are bought by our clients because we provide readers who are committed to our magazines.

Canadian magazine publishers have produced excellent magazines with loyal readers who will continue to enjoy the books that have become part of their lives.

The smaller magazines will continue to receive government grants and subsidies which have become a way of life.

The price advantage to which all Canadian publishers can avail themselves through application of Section 19 of the Income Tax Act will continue – this has not been challenged.

Can we, in all honesty, and in the interests of a free market to which all of us are ultimately accountable, refuse to allow the opportunity to readers and advertisers to take advantage of magazines for which there is no parallel in Canada?

This is an advantage not based on price, as Sports Illustrated is offering Canadians a fairly priced product not currently available.

Canadian publishers have made economic choices over the years and have invested heavily in offshore ventures.

Media owners such as Conrad Black and Kenneth Thomson have fought protectionism around the world and won. They must be congratulated for their efforts and successes.

Ultimately, there is only one course of action, and that is to let the market decide. Provide the market with what it wants and needs.

We will stand or fall on that simple principle, and should welcome the opportunity to do so with open arms.

Sandra Berry is the managing director of Time Canada. Time Canada magazine and Sports Illustrated are owned by Time Warner in New York.