In the fiercely competitive world of Canadian periodical publishing, the ability to predict the preoccupations of the reading public is the proven route to success. This month, the introduction of a new business magazine and the announcement that two more will appear early next year indicate that many Canadian publishers are making similar predictions. They think that recessionbattered Canadians have developed a profound interest in making the most of their money. And, despite the opinion of some publishers that the market for business magazines has become saturated, others are betting that their high-income readers will be an enticing lure to advertisers who are disillusioned with the high cost of television and radio spots. Said Peter Swain, president of Toronto-based Media Buying Services: “Advertisers are increasingly trying to reach decision-makers, and business magazines can deliver them.”
The first of the new magazines, which made its debut this month, is Personal Finance, a glossy insert in The Financial Times, a weekly newspaper pub-
lished by Toronto-based Southam Inc. Its aim is to capture the interest of general readers who have recently become concerned about managing their own finances. Said publisher David Tafler: “Even before the recession, slower economic growth was hitting people in their pocketbooks. Now there is a sharpened awareness of the importance of doing a better job with the resources at hand, however slim they might be.” Personal Finance will be delivered 12 times a year to all 103,000 Financial Times readers.
Beginning early next year, Personal ¡ Finance will compete directly with anI other new magazine on the same subject ■ called Your Money. Its launch will be officially announced on Oct. 3 by C.B. Media Ltd. of Toronto, which also publishes Canadian Business magazine. Unlike Personal Finance, Your Money will be independent of its parent and will be sold separately at newsstands and by subscription. But, like Personal Finance, it will concentrate its attention on individual money matters and avoid corporate news and affairs. Said publisher Wallace Wood: “We think [ there is a real place for a magazine that serves the interests of Canadians who are less than filthy rich but above the middle majority level.”
A third new business magazine will be published by the Toronto Globe and Mail, which tested the market last June with its Report on Business 1000. The new Report on Business Magazine, announced earlier this month, will be distributed with the paper free of charge 10 times a year, giving it a circulation of 350,000, according to its editor, Peter Cook. Cook said that the magazine will include general business features, corporate information and advice on personal finance. He added that The Globe embarked on the new venture partly because market surveys had indicated that the audience for business material has recently increased markedly.
The new magazines will be joining several other consumer periodicals that compete for the same readers and advertisers. They include The Financial Post Magazine, published by Torontobased Maclean Hunter, Canadian Business, Influence, published by Chimo Media Limited of Toronto, and Equity, published by Pacific West Publications Ltd. of Vancouver and distributed only in that city. And this month, Quest magazine, published by Comae Communications Limited of Toronto, entered the lists with a new format and editorial content designed specifically to appeal to business-oriented readers.
Increased interest in business among the general population is not the only reason that publishers are crowding into the specialized field. To advertisers, business magazines are attractive pri-
marily because of the expensive tastes of business readers, who often have large disposable incomes. That is especially important in a tight economy, which makes advertisers reluctant to waste money by advertising in media whose audiences include people who either cannot afford or are not interested in buying their products, according to Quest editor Michael Enright. Tafler agreed: “Advertisers are looking for the most efficient way to reach potential customers,” he said. “They are much less interested in how many they are than in who they are.”
Dramatic increases in the cost of advertising in electronic media, which reach broader and, on average, poorer audiences than specialized magazines, have also fuelled the trend. Five years ago a 30-second ad during CTV’s prime time cost $5,800. This fall the same spot will sell for $9,200, while Canadian Business is selling a one-page, four-color ad space for $5,800. Said Swain: “Over the past five years the cost increases in the electronic media have frustrated many advertisers. Magazines appear to be a much more stable environment.” The danger of launching magazines on the basis of their appeal to advertisers is that there may not be enough readers to support all of the publications, regardless of the readers’ incomes. Some industry observers reacted with skepticism to the impending launch of Report on Business Magazine, according to Marketing, a weekly newspaper published by Maclean Hunter for the advertising business. They felt that the new magazine might saturate the already competitive financial press market. Other publishers have expressed the same concern. Said James Lawrence, publisher of the successful bimonthly magazines Harrowsmith and Equinox'. “I see this phenomenon as similar to the tremendous boom in computer magazines. The collapse is going to be dramatic.” Robert Wilson, a staff writer with Marketing, agreed that the new publications will be competing for the same advertisers and readers, but cautioned that the saturation point is still unknown. Said Wilson: “The new publications could well open up new markets and lead to a net expansion in advertising revenues and readership as they have in the United States.”
With most of the new entries still in the planning stage, the battle for success can only be decided in the future. For now, the publishers and advertisers appear to have adopted a common theme. Said Paul Rush, publisher and editor of the 14-year-old Financial Post Magazine, which pioneered the field but now must contend with upstarts: “May all the magazines prosper. And may they all make money.”
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