Declines were marginal

I read with interest the article, "Specialty mags on the rise" in your April 10 issue....

I read with interest the article, "Specialty mags on the rise" in your April 10 issue.

For the benefit of your readers, I should clarify that the writer of the article did not contact me for comment about PMB 2000 readership data.

Thus, the statement that "a slight rise in overall readership…has come almost exclusively in the area of specialty titles at the expense of some old stalwarts" is not attributable to me. The statement is also non-defendable from the data as they appear.

A syndicated readership study such as PMB may show increases and decreases in individual title readership from year to year – some may be statistically significant; others not so. Year-on-year changes also often fail to conform to any long-term pattern. Even more important, however, it is impossible in a study such as PMB to attribute a gain by any one publication to a loss by another publication or publications – and vice versa. Two individual readership measurements – even from the same study – cannot, and should not, be linked in this way.

I should also point out that some of the titles mentioned in the article as having sustained decreases did in fact experience only the most marginal of declines, and one actually saw a marginal rise in its readership (declines and increases which no trained researcher would treat as statistically significant). Other titles quoted as having seen decreases are undergoing substantial changes in a mix of distribution/circulation/content, which make analysis of their total, "global" readership somewhat superficial, at best. Finally, perhaps the most glaring error is that Profit magazine – cited as having lower readership in PMB 2000 – in fact saw a significant increase in its readership!

As well as the above sins of commission, the article also contains at least one sin of omission in that it disregards some significant PMB 2000 increases in French-language publications. I must confess I’m not sure what exactly constitutes a "specialty mag" (by one definition, all magazines might be considered "specialty"), but some of those French-language title increases may well not fall into such a category.

PMB would have been pleased to provide these, and other, insights for your readers if invited to do so.

Steve Ferley

President

PMB Print Measurement

Bureau

Toronto, Ont.

Ed: For the record, Strategy’s writer did, in fact, contact Steve Ferley for the above-noted article and was provided with comment and background PMB information by him. That said, however, the article did wrongly state that the overall readership of Profit and Flare magazines was down in PMB 2000 over the previous year, when in fact the opposite was true. For that, Strategy apologizes unreservedly.

Google launches a campaign about news connections

The search engine is using archival footage to convey what Canadians are interested in.
Google

Google Canada and agency Church + State have produced a new spot informed by research from the search giant that suggests it is a primary connector for Canadians to the news that matters to them – a direct shot across the bow of the legislators presently considering Bill C-18.

In a spot titled “Connecting you to all that’s news,” the search giant harnesses archival footage reflective of many of the issues Canadians care about deeply, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, truth and reconciliation and the war in Ukraine, to demonstrate the point that many Canadians turn to Google as a gateway to the information and news they’re seeking.

“From St. John’s to Victoria and everywhere in between, when Canadians want to understand or get updated on the most pressing topics, Google connects them to the news sources that provide it,” says Laura Pearce, head of marketing for Google Canada. “All of us at Google are proud to be that consistent and reliable connection for Canadians to the news they’re searching for.”

In some ways, the goal of the campaign was to tap into the varied emotional responses that single news stories can have with different audiences across the country.

“News may be factual, but how people respond to it can be very emotional,” explains Ron Tite, founder and CCO at Church + State. “Importantly, those emotions aren’t universal. One news story can create completely different reactions from different people in different places. Because of that, we simply wanted to let connecting to news be the focus of this campaign. We worked diligently to license a wide variety of actual news footage that we felt would resonate with Canadians.”

The campaign can be seen as a statement by the search provider on Bill C-18 – the Online News Act – that is currently being deliberated by a parliamentary committee. That legislation seeks to force online platforms such as Meta’s Facebook and Alphabet’s Google to pay news publishers for their content, echoing a similar law passed in Australia in 2021. The Act has drawn sharp rebukes from both companies, with Facebook threatening to ban news sharing on its platform.

Google Canada is not commenting on whether this new campaign is a response to C-18, but it has been public in its criticism of the legislation. In testimony delivered to parliament and shared on its blog, Colin McKay, the company’s head of public policy and government relations, said, “This is a history-making opportunity for Canada to craft world-class legislation that is clear and principled on who it benefits.” However, he noted that C-18 is “not that legislation.”

The campaign launched on Oct. 24 and is running through December across cinema, OLV, OOH, podcast, digital and social. Airfoil handled the broadcast production.