Specialty mags on the rise

Just as specialty channels are stealing audience share from traditional television networks, so vertical-interest magazines are gaining ground on more general-interest titles, a recent study by PMB Print Measurement Bureau appears to confirm. Steve Ferley, president of the magazine readership research...

Just as specialty channels are stealing audience share from traditional television networks, so vertical-interest magazines are gaining ground on more general-interest

titles, a recent study by PMB Print Measurement Bureau appears to confirm.

Steve Ferley, president of the magazine readership research body, says while PMB 2000 shows a slight rise in overall readership, it has come almost exclusively in the area of specialty titles at the expense of some old stalwarts.

Some of the titles down this year include women’s magazines Canadian Living, Chatelaine, Homemakers and Flare; general interest publications Maclean’s, Reader’s Digest, Time and Toronto Life; and business books Report on Business Magazine, National Post Business (formerly Financial Post Magazine) and Profit. Readership of Canadian Business remained static.

Chris Herlihey, research manager with Toronto-based Initiative Media, says the results of PMB 2000 aren’t that much different from last year’s study.

‘Over the past few years, we’ve been seeing an overall decline in readership, especially on some of the women’s books and business books. There are exceptions, but that’s the general trend.

‘The interesting thing is that there are more vertical books coming into the market and their readership is growing. Canadian Home Workshop, Food & Drink, Canadian House & Home – they’re all up.’

Herlihey attributes the decline in general-interest readership to the fact that consumers are pressed for time and, as with television, are zeroing in on their specific interests.

And while he agrees that many of the big titles are down, he says he’s not so sure the numbers are statistically significant.

He says there are other market factors not necessarily reflected in the PMB study, such as increasing competition from U.S. magazines, as well as the wide range of publications available that PMB doesn’t measure.

‘It appears that overall magazine readership is shrinking, and maybe on a title-by-title basis it is, but the overall readership of magazines may not be,’ says Herlihey.

Greg Ramsay, research director for Toronto Life, says while it’s true readership of his magazine has been on the way down for the past few years, that’s been the case for most of the magazine’s major competitors. When that happens, he says, it doesn’t change the competitive landscape too much.

He points out that during this time, circulation numbers have remained constant, so it’s not clear whether there is a decline in general-interest readership or whether there’s a problem with PMB’s current methodology.

‘I don’t know how much weight anyone is putting on PMB 2000 results right now.

‘Everybody is really looking forward to the switch to ‘recent reading’ [survey methodology] in 2001. We’re all expecting to see higher numbers.’

Canada is the only country still using the ‘through-the-book’ methodology where respondents are shown a skeletonized version of each magazine, asked to flip through it, and then asked whether they have read that particular issue.

Critics of the methodology say the greater the number of publications included, the greater the danger respondents will skip magazines placed before them just to get to the end of the interview.

With recent reading methodology, respondents are simply shown the magazine’s logo and asked whether they’ve read an issue during a certain time period.

Corner Officer Shifts: Martin Fecko leaves Tangerine

Plus, PointsBet Canada and Thinkific name new marketing leaders as Lole gets a new ecommerce VP.
Corner Office

Martin Fecko departs Tangerine 

After roughly two years of serving as Tangerine’s chief marketing officer, Martin Fecko has a new gig. And this time, the financial services vet will apply his marketing leadership to a new sector, having been named CMO of Dentalcorp.

Fecko will lead the dental network’s end-to-end patient journey, support its overall growth, and work to maximize patient experiences across every touchpoint, the company said in a release.

“Martin’s in-depth expertise in engaging and retaining customers through a digitally enabled experience will be valuable in realizing our vision to be Canada’s most trusted healthcare network,” said Dentalcorp president Guy Amini.

Prior to joining Scotiabank’s digital-only banking brand in late-2019, Fecko was country manager for Intuit Canada and spent 10 years at American Express in consumer and digital marketing.

PointsBet Canada nabs former Bell marketer as it pursues expansion

Dave Rivers has joined PointsBet, an online gaming and sports betting operator, as Canadian VP of marketing.

Rivers joins from Bell, where he was most recently director of brand marketing and sponsorship, responsible for driving the company’s national sponsorship strategy and portfolio. He will report to PointsBet Canada chief commercial officer Nic Sulsky.

According to Sulsky, Rivers will “play a key role as we prepare to launch a business that is unique to our roots here in Canada.”

PointsBet has a significant presence in Australia, where it was founded, and in the U.S. In July, it named Scott Vanderwel, a former SVP at Rogers, as CEO of its Canadian subsidiary, one of several hires aimed at establishing the company’s presence locally.

Thinkific names first CMO among other executive appointments

Vancouver’s Thinkific, a platform for creating, marketing and selling online courses, has appointed Henk Campher as its first chief marketing officer as it invests in marketing to support its growth plans. It has also upped Chris McGuire to the role of chief technology officer and moved former CTO and co-founder Matt Payne into the new role of SVP of innovation.

Co-founder and CEO Greg Smith said Campher and McGuire “will play key roles building high-functioning teams around them and optimizing investment as we continue to carve out an increasingly prominent and differentiated position in the global market.”

Campher joins from Hootsuite, where he was VP of corporate marketing. Before that, he was VP of brand and communications at CRM giant Salesforce.

Lolë names new VP of digital omni-commerce as parent company exits bankruptcy protection

The Montreal-based athletic apparel and accessories retailer has appointed Rob French as VP of digital omni-commerce.

French will lead Lolë’s efforts in consumer insights, supply chain-to-consumer models and online customer journeys. In what is a new role for the company, he will also work to grow the company’s retail brand. He arrives with sixteen years experience in ecommerce, having spent the last few years as chief digital commerce officer at sporting goods retailer Decathlon.

In May 2020, Lolë parent Coalision Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection, citing several years of losses as a result of a downturn in the retail clothing market, increased competition and excess inventory – problems exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of the filing, Coalision was seeking an investor or purchaser of its assets.

It successfully exited bankruptcy protection last year and is currently rebuilding its executive team, according to a spokesperson.