SPECIAL REPORT – Magazines new initiatives for 1994

In this special report, media reporter David Chilton talks to a cross-section of magazine publishers about their plans for 1994.As well, Strategy's regular PMB Index column has been broken into charts providing magazine readership information for selected segments of the population.The...

In this special report, media reporter David Chilton talks to a cross-section of magazine publishers about their plans for 1994.

As well, Strategy’s regular PMB Index column has been broken into charts providing magazine readership information for selected segments of the population.

The data are shown in the form of five `quintiles’ from heavy through to light magazine readership. For example, an index of 163 would show that regular wine drinkers are 63% more likely than the general population to be heavy readers of magazines.

Looking to new media

House & Home may be taking

up residence on television, radio

The director of corporate promotion at Canadian House & Home, Kim McGuigan, says her magazine is run as a ‘small entrepreneurial business’ specializing in the fields of home design and decorating, architecture, domestic arts and living at home.

Repackage

And to that end, McGuigan says House & Home’s strategy is to repackage its editorial information and communicate it through other media.

For example, she says, without divulging names, a production house approached her magazine with a proposal to turn House & Home into a tv show, and the magazine is in negotiations with a radio station to develop a show for its publisher, Lynda Colville-Reeves.

Videos

Also electronically, McGuigan says House & Home is producing videos in partnership with selected advertisers to promote and showcase their products, as well as training buyers and retail sales staff to understand the basic principals of design and trends in decorating.

On the promotional front, McGuigan says House & Home has cemented an exclusive partnership with ikea Canada, part of the Swedish-owned, worldwide furniture chain.

She says a special subscription offer is included in ikea ‘s welcome kit for the 1994 ikea a Family Club program.

Promotional value

She says this relationship offers ‘exceptional promotional value’ to raise national awareness as well as a highly targetted chance to build circulation.

Editorially, McGuigan says House & Home has undergone a subtle repositioning for 1994, with a greater focus on lifestyle and living at home as opposed to decorating.

Toronto Life: consumer shows help woo readers

Although long regarded as the city book nonpareil, even Toronto Life cannot afford to sit and let its past speak for itself.

So the magazine has taken a number of steps to secure the readership it already has and at the same time attract an audience hitherto undeveloped.

Cynthia Evans, promotions director at Toronto Life, points out the magazine will continue to produce pullout guides and attend consumer shows, but the latter at least will come with a twist.

(The guides appear 12 times a year and cover such things as fashion, city schools, international travel and more.)

Evans says on the show front is Toronto Life’s future participation in evviva, a multicultural lifestyle show in Toronto this year that focusses on the Italian, Portuguese and Greek communities, groups with significant presence – and buying power.

Evans says although Toronto Life had planned to be in the show this year, management changes by its organizers mean it has been postponed for a year.

She says the immigrants may not want to buy or read Toronto Life, but suggests their Canadian-born children very well might, hence another generation of readers.

She says at one time, Toronto Life ventured outside the metropolis for the odd show, but adds, with the economy and budget constraints, ‘every show we do is purposely local’ now.

This year, the magazine will exhibit in eight shows.

Also fresh for Toronto Life this year is its invitation to favored clients for a night at the new Canadian musical, Napoleon, which depicts the life of the Corsican who got his comeuppance in 1815.

Evans says Dubonnet, the French drinks firm, will provide product sampling for that evening in Toronto.

As well as the consumer round, Evans says Toronto Life also has some new editorial lined up.

She says Sheldon Gordon, a former editorial board member at The Globe and Mail and a former writer for The Financial Times of Canada is talking to experts in all fields and will report his findings on the future of the city in the magazine’s November issue.

Cottages recycles

Recycling has become standard practice in all industries: tuna cans are made into cars; waste plastic becomes lawn furniture; even cast-off prescription glasses are collected and distributed to those in the Third World too poor to buy them.

But recycling editorial content is something else again.

Still, at least one publication is doing it to reach an entirely new readership, more than doubling the size of the magazine’s base.

Steven Griffin, publisher of Mississauga, Ont.-based Homes & Cottages, says what he intends to do this April and September is mail his magazine to 60,000 consumers who have bought resale homes in the last 12 months in greater Toronto and greater Vancouver.

Griffin says these consumers have not received the magazine before.

He says what these consumers will get in the mail is essentially the same editorial found in the usual April and September issues of his eight-times-a-year magazine, but the advertisements will be different.

For next year, Griffin says he will recycle Homes & Cottages four times.

Griffin says he will have to make small alterations to the magazine on the printing press, and perhaps give the odd customer a free or cheap ad simply because the old ads he takes out may not be square with the new ones slotted in.

But he says that is a small price to pay for more than doubling his circulation.

A full-page color ad in the recycled renovation issues in either the Toronto or Vancouver markets will be $3,240.

The rates in the original Homes & Cottages are unchanged, although for a ‘minimal fee’ the advertisers in that title can be included in the renovation print run.

Homes & Cottages is billed as Canada’s magazine for building and renovating.

Its 53,000 copies go to consumers who have bought land, blueprints or plans, building contractors, architects and retail lumber yards.

Griffin says the ads that will be removed are those which are directed at new construction – such as log and pre-engineered home companies – and in their place will be advertising for the renovation market.

He says he got the idea for recycled editorial/new ad issues by studying market information obtained from Statistics Canada and Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation.

Griffin says for this year, cmhc has forecast a $17.5-billion renovation market.

Further, he says surveys in Canada and the u.s. show renovation starts, in some fashion or other, about 12 months after people move into a new or resale home.

Financial Post Magazine celebrating its 30th birthday

Some magazines, it seems, have been around for ever. The Financial Post Magazine does not quite fit into that category, but it has been published for three decades.

And that is one half of the big news this year for the magazine that is a once-a-month companion to The Financial Post, the Toronto-based tabloid daily.

Bill Neill, advertising director for the Post, says the magazine’s 30th anniversary issue in May will be an event and is timed with The Financial Post 500, the magazine’s annual listing of the top 500 companies in Canada ranked by revenue.

Neill says the other half of the big news is the magazine’s March issue featuring the Branham Top 100.

He says there has already been a ‘terrific amount’ of interest in that issue.

Tim Corcoran, The Financial Post Magazine’s sales manager, says the Branham Top 100 is a listing of the top 100 independent software companies in Canada, the top 30 multinational software firms in this country and its top 25 computer systems integrators.

Corcoran says the software listings will likely be a 32-page supplement split evenly editorial to advertising.

Background

He says editorial will give the background on the companies listed, as well as an explanation why the Post became involved with the venture.

Corcoran says the main reason why the magazine will list the Branham Top 100 – called that despite there being 155 companies listed – is because no other company has done it before and geared the listings and editorial to executives rather than technophiles.

Also, Corcoran says the supplement will boost the Canadian industry since there is a ‘tremendous number’ of all-Canadian software firms that go unrecognized.

Not unnaturally, Corcoran also says there is money to be made with a supplement such as this one.

He says ad sales are doing well, with the bulk of the advertising coming from software-related companies.

He says the software supplement was prompted by the success last year of the Post’s ‘desktop data book,’ a look at the Canadian computer hardware industry.

Corcoran says Branham, an international consulting firm, is putting the Top 100 together, something in which it has some expertise.

For some years, Branham has been compiling a top software companies list for Industry, Science and Technology Canada.

Canadian Airlines magazine

Acumen to insert coporate almanac

Acumen – as an English noun – has been around for more than 400 years. One dictionary defines it as keenness and depth of perception.

Of course, the magazine of the same name – mailed to Canadian Airlines International’s Canadian Plus and President’s Club Gold frequent flyers – has not been around for four centuries.

But that has not stopped it from displaying the perception necessary to innovate.

Peter Crosbie, associate publisher of Toronto-based acumen, says the magazine has two Canadian editorial firsts lined up for this summer for its subscribers, 75% of whom live in the country’s seven major markets.

In its June-July issue, acumen will carry a World Trade Corporate Almanac insert, a country by country and region by region analysis of economic outlook, political risk, trade prospects, and more, and a list of key contacts in the countries and regions examined.

Crosbie says in the August-September issue, there will be a World Trade Corporate Directory insert in acumen, in co-operation with management consultants Deloitte & Touche, ranking the most successful companies and an analysis of their assets, growth, number of employees, and so on, written by a group of international business writers.

He says Canada is three times more likely per capita to export its products than the u.s. and must compete for markets against foreign competition.

‘There’s so much need to know about overseas companies,’ Crosbie says.

He says the regular editorial content of acumen will remain the same for the almanac and directory issues.

He says although acumen is mostly mailed, it does have newsstand sales, adding the magazine’s second innovation this year is its plans to take the almanac and the directory issues to that point of purchase.

Crosbie says the magazine will polybag them together with a read-only disk of the almanac’s and the directory’s editorial material and sell the package on newsstands, although no price has yet been fixed.

He says acumen has a total circulation of 110,000, adding half the households it is mailed to have incomes of more than $100,000 a year.

Acumen is owned by Synergism Marketing and Communication, a privately held company in Toronto.

Cottage Life, the show

Going to the holiday cottage is serious business in Ontario.

Especially when the word ‘cottage’ is stretched to include everything from shacks and cabins to stone baronial splendor set down on private islands.

It was to the upper half of this cottaging market that publisher Al Zikovitz introduced his six-times-a-year Cottage Life magazine in 1988.

Since that launch, Cottage Life has spun off into radio and tv.

Three-minute spot

Zikovitz says Cottage Life radio is in 21 markets in Ontario, with a three-minute spot broadcast Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays running May to September.

Stations in such traditional cottage country towns as Bracebridge, Parry Sound and Lindsay are the main broadcasters.

And Cottage Life Television will run for 26 weeks this year on Baton Broadcasting stations, says Zikovitz, with sponsors such as General Motors of Canada, Viceroy Homes, Trimark Investments, and others.

But it is Cottage Life’s latest innovation that is occupying the publisher’s time these days.

Zikovitz says in March, in Toronto, Cottage Life will put on its own consumer show for cottagers (or would-be cottagers) by cottagers.

He says Cottage Life – the magazine – has exhibited at other shows but the experiences were less than satisfactory, adding people coming to the shows were confused about who was running them and concerned they did not meet cottagers’ needs.

Zikovitz says what the Cottage Life show will try to do is put the editorial content of the magazine, as it were, on the exhibition floor.

So, instead of rows and rows of booths, there will be seminars on such topics as solar heat/ power, capital gains tax and the esoteric art of canoe paddle-carving, he says.

Zikovitz says there will also be a free-of-charge family activity centre at the show, since ‘cottaging is a family thing.’

Warming to the prospect of the show, Zikovitz says a Cottage Life kitchen will actually bake bread at the show and there will be a Cottage Life bookstore, a Cottage Life general store and a construction demonstration put on by Beaver Lumber.

The Cottage Life show will run in tandem with a boat show separated from it by just a curtain.

Zikovitz says for an extra dollar consumers can go to both shows.

Almost sold out

He says 80% of the show’s space is sold out, mostly to firms that advertise in Cottage Life, and he is not, he emphasizes, looking for ‘filler exhibitors.’

Zikovitz says most publishers think vertically, but he thinks ‘horizontally.’

He says what he wants to do is help advertisers reach their target markets, regardless of how they want to reach them, hence the expansion from Cottage Life magazine to radio and tv, books – the first, called Cottage Water Systems is due out this year – and the consumer show.

Attractive market

That target market Zikovitz speaks of is singularly attractive.

He says his research shows 91.3% of his readers own their primary residence – as well as a cottage, of course – have an average household income of $77,500 and an average age of 40.

Two-thirds of those who read his 80-page to 100-page magazine are aged 18 to 49 and slightly more than half are male.

Inserts, northern focus help keep readers happy Up-here

It has been observed before that institutions – like sharks – have to keep moving forward or they die.

Magazines are no different.

It is axiomatic of course that they have to keep reader and advertiser sufficiently satisfied so both keep coming back.

But the simple satisfactions of a good read or steady numbers probably are not good enough any longer given current competitive pressures and an economy staring transfixed at its own six feet of eternity.

Publishers have to innovate, even in Yellowknife, n.w.t., a cold, tough-guy town kept solvent by mining, government spending and summer tourists.

Started a decade ago, Up- here is a savvy blend of northern reality and southern fantasy.

It is published from the capital of the North West Territories and boasts a circulation of 37,000, the northern half of it controlled and most of the rest sold in the south.

A fraction is sold in the u.s.

Special inserts

Marion Lavigne, founder and owner/publisher of Up-here, says one of her magazine’s successes has been the use of special inserts.

(The first innovation of Up-here, some may argue, is actually being published up there, although the magazine is printed in Winnipeg.

(Yellowknife, despite satellite communications and regularly scheduled flights, remains far away from anywhere of consequence save Hay River, the Territories’ second-largest town and separated from Yellowknife by Great Slave Lake.)

Lavigne says in an interview from Yellowknife the inserts in Up-here are paid for like commonplace advertorial but that is as far as the comparison goes, at least to southern eyes.

Clothing catalogue

Lavigne says in the six-times-a-year magazine’s March-April issue the insert is actually a catalogue for the small but growing northern clothing manufacturing sector.

And in the past, she says, Up-here has carried other inserts.

One was a 24-page catalogue on northern holiday packages; another was on northern Manitoba, which despite the perception the area is a frigid wasteland actually encompasses such northern outposts as Flin Flon, Thompson and Lynn Lake – all mining towns – and the Hudson Bay port town of Churchill, perhaps best known now for its annual invasion by vacationing polar bears.

Lavigne says coming up in the magazine’s September-October issue is an Up-here insert on minerals and rocks found – and mined – in the Territories.

She says a typical lineup of advertisers for such an issue includes mining companies, exploration outfits, and their suppliers, the Chamber of Mines and various government departments.

She says in addition to the inserts and catalogues, she has also placed Up-here as a sort of auxiliary in-flight magazine, adding it is placed inside Air NWT’s in-flight magazine.

Air NWT is an Air Canada feeder carrier much like Air Ontario or Air Nova.

Publicor playing it close to the chest

Lyane D. Blackman, vice-president of sales and marketing at Publicor, is not keen to disclose what innovations she has planned for two of her titles – Le Lundi and Idees de ma Maison.

Blackman says competitive pressures in the tight Quebec market give her no choice.

But for Clin D’Oeil, a fashion and beauty monthly, she is more forthcoming.

Giant poster

Blackman says, as well as the usual editorial fare, March’s edition, for example, will carry a giant poster on spring fashions bound to the back of the book with a plastic sleeve.

She says this poster is ‘indispensable’ to readers and can be pinned or taped to bedroom walls, changing rooms and elsewhere.

She is confident about the place of Clin D’Oeil in the fashion and beauty magazine hierarchy, saying ‘the Quebec woman really identifies with it.’

Not innovative from a commercial perspective, perhaps, but new and fresh, nevertheless, is Clin D’Oeil’s support for the fight against what Blackman calls by its French acronym: sida.

Known to English-speaking Canadians as aids, Blackman says a percentage of the revenues from the February edition of Clin D’Oeil will be donated to the Farraht Foundation, started by Montreal designer Ron Farraht before the disease killed him.

Further, she says on the front covers of February’s Clin D’Oeil, the magazine has taped inverted V-shaped red ribbons, the North American symbol of the struggle against aids which, as Blackman points out, has killed many in the fashion business.

Blackman says Clin D’Oeil’s circulation is elastic, adding some months it is in the low 70,000s and others it hits 100,000.

The magazine, which costs $3.25 plus tax, is put out by Publicor, a division of Groupe Quebecor.