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“CANADA IS A MICROCOSM of magazine media activity around the world,” says Mark Jamison, CEO of Magazines Canada, the national trade association representing Canadian-owned, Canadian-content consumer, cultural and business media magazines. Certainly, Canadian publishers face many of the challenges seen by their international colleagues: an unprecedented rate of change in the advertising landscape as clients pursue multi-platform advertising options; the emergence and growth of online and mobile content platforms; and the challenges caused by the global economic downtown and slow recovery. But Canadian publishers also face unique hurdles, beginning with living next door to the biggest media producer in the world. “We face a tsunami of foreign media,” says Jamison. Canadian readers have access to more consumer magazine titles per capita than readers in most other developed countries in the world, with almost 50 per cent more titles per capita than France and Germany, more than twice the titles per capita than Australia and the UK and four times the titles per capita than Japan and the United States. At the same time, a relatively small population—just over 34 million—spread

across a massive landscape—almost 8,000 kilometres from its east to its west coast—poses enormous challenges in market size and distribution. With approximately 30 per cent of the population identifying as French-speaking, almost 60 per cent as English-speaking, and an ethnically mixed population, particularly in major urban centres, magazine media publishers are also challenged to produce content that appeals to diverse audiences. “We’ve had to constructively and imaginatively engage a domestic audience in our own country, in the face of enormous competition from our American friends,” says Jamison. “In a way, we’ve had to use the strategies of thinking of Canadians as a niche within a larger mass North American market.” And those challenges of distance and small market size have forced Canadian publishers to be efficient in the deployment of resources. “We’ve always done a lot with a little,” says Douglas Knight, president of the St. Joseph Media Group and co-chair of the 2015 FIPP World Congress. It’s an efficiency that plays out behind the scenes rather than on the page—digital or print—as Canadian magazines present a face to consumers that is sophisticated,

Multi-platform, multi-tasking Canadian publishers take global trends in their stride. They’ll get a chance to showcase their talents to the magazine world, at FIPP’s Congress in October 2015, reports Kim Pitaway.

engaging and on par with the best the world has to offer. (In fact, industry studies show that Canadians prefer magazines that tell Canadian stories, reflect Canadian needs and report on products and services available in Canada and priced in Canadian dollars.) “We’re eager to both learn from leading media publishers from around the world, and to share how we frame and meet the challenges of today’s content ecosystem,” says Knight. And Knight is adamant that it is an ecosystem: “Legacy media often think of themselves as magazine companies and we have to stop doing that,” he says. “I do not mean abandon ship. I love magazines—they are important pillars in the ecosystem. But as a company, we engage communities, and we have to engage them across platforms and monetise them in new ways.”

The big players Three key players dominate the Canadian magazine publishing industry. Rogers Media, which publishes more than 50 consumer and trade publications, including newsweekly Maclean’s, women’s magazines Chatelaine and Today’s Parent, and sports magazine Sportsnet, also owns television properties,

Magazine World | Issue 86_2014 43


For more information about the FIPP World Congress in Toronto in 2015, turn to page 21 or visit

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