“Rogers Media Unveils New Magazine Content Strategy” reads the press release, in typical vague fashion. The upshot is that Rogers is making severe cuts to its magazine portfolio, moving some online-only, reducing publication frequencies of others (including Maclean’s), and selling off the rest.
Except Hello! Canada, the celeb gossip mag. Nothing’s changing there.
Going out of print (but keeping websites “with new content posted daily”):
- Flare (was 12 issues a year)
- Sportsnet Magazine (was 15 issues a year)
- MoneySense (was 8 issues a year)
- Canadian Business (was 16 issues a year)
- Maclean’s (from weekly to monthly)
- Chatelaine (from monthly to 6x a year)
- Today’s Parent (from monthly to 6x a year)
- All business-to-business publications (including Canadian Grocer and Marketing)
- L’actualité (18 issues a year)
- Châtelaine (French, 12 issues a year)
- LOULOU (French and English, 8 issues a year each)
The changes take effect in January. The notice to subscribers says the French magazines will “cease publication” in December, which means if a buyer isn’t found by then, they’re going to shut down.
The fact that Rogers is openly putting these magazines up for sale suggests that obvious potential buyers are not interested (i.e. TVA Publications). But maybe there’s some deep-pocketed person who would be willing to give L’actualité a second chance.
This news comes the same week Rogers announced the shutdown of shomi, its subscription video-on-demand service. You have to wonder what’s next, and in particular what this might mean for Texture, its bulk magazine subscription app. (Rogers tells the Financial Post that Texture makes a profit.)
No word on how many jobs will be lost as a result of these changes. How many magazines are sold versus shut down will have a big impact on that number.
And colour me pessimistic on the future of magazines that have been turned into digital-only publications. Just about every print publication that has gone online-only in the past has eventually been shut down all together.
Parfois c’est difficile de comprendre la pertinence des médias imprimés dans le contexte actuel… Mais je me demande si ces publications sont des money pits ou bien s’ils génèrent encore du revenu, mais simplement moins de revenu que l’objectif d’entreprise.
En même temps, à peu près tous les contenus de ces magazines ont des concurrents web beaucoup plus intéressants pour le marché cible que ces publications. Les magazines “féminins” se font manger par les blogueurs/instagrammeurs mode; les revues d’actualité payantes se font dépasser par des concepts gratuits comme LP+ et Star Touch (tout en restant beaucoup plus près de l’actualité, puisque publiés quotidiennement), les magazines de service sont facilement remplaçables par des publications web spécialisées…
En fait, ça m’étonne carrément qu’ils ne vendent pas tout!
“Just about every print publication that has gone online-only in the past has eventually been shut down all together.”
Except La Presse
La Presse is not an online-only publication.
Is there a credible source out there that shows a traditional print media outlet (magazine or newsprint) making actual respectable profit off its online properties?
Magazines are another one of those “dial phones in a touch tone world” sort of things. With insanely long lead times, expensive printing and distribution, and a shrinking number of retail outlets, they have it all against them. Most non-news print magazines are anywhere from 2 to 6 months behind, which makes them so far out of date when they get released as to be nearly meaningless.
There is always the question of ad dollars. Many of the big dollar print campaigns are gone, replaced by online ads and so on. Long lead times don’t connect with advertisers who work quarter to quarter for results, not over years….
As for Rogers, it appears that someone has shifted the focus to pure bottom line. They seem to be knocking their way through their various ventures and products and moving to kill off or refine the non-performing assets. I don’t think this is the end of what may be a major house cleaning. You have to wonder if Bell the (very few) other major media players might not do the same thing, considering the current advertising market and moves by the CRTC to undercut some of the protected business models.