Rogers Communications to divest its B2B division and French language magazine titles
The weekly news magazine Maclean’s will go from weekly to monthly come January in a massive realignment of the magazine portfolio of Canada’s largest publishing company
The Canadian media company Rogers Communications announced a major realignment of its magazine portfolio, announcing that it would divest its B2B division, as well as its French language titles Châtelaine, LOULOU, and L’actualité to concentrate on its English language titles.
But this is huge news that probably won’t get that much attention here in the States, which would be sad.
During my B2B magazine days some of my best friends in the business were my Canadian colleagues at publishers headquartered both in Toronto and Vancouver. Honestly, it would have been a dream to move up to Canada to publish as I love both cities and both B2B publishing firms looked like great places to work.
So, the news that Rogers would divest its B2B division is personally sad news.
Of course, the big news here is that a number of titles are leaving print.
FLARE, Sportsnet, MoneySense, and Canadian Business will go digital-only in January, while three other magazines will reduce their print frequency.
I can’t even imagine what publishing pros in the US would be saying if a company like Condé Nast, Time Inc. or Hearst were to announce something even remotely similar. But don’t be surprised if, indeed, one of these companies have something similar to announce in the next couple months.
Here is the announcement from Rogers:
TORONTO, Ontario – September 30, 2016 – With consumers’ growing appetite for digital content, Rogers Media is making some key changes to its magazine portfolio to address the ongoing challenges facing the print media industry.
“We are going where our audiences are, and doubling-down on digital to grow our consumer magazine brands,” said Rick Brace, President, Rogers Media. “We have already made significant investments in creating content and making it available on digital platforms, including Texture, Sportsnet NOW, and Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE, and today’s announcement builds on that.”
Below is a summary of the changes:
- FLARE, Sportsnet, MoneySense, and Canadian Business will be available exclusively on the web and on apps beginning January 2017, with new content posted daily
- Four consumer magazines will remain in print, offering fresh content digitally through Texture, stand-alone digital editions, websites, and apps:
- Three magazines will reduce their print frequency as of January 2017: Maclean’s (monthly), Chatelaine (6x per year), and Today’s Parent (6x per year)
- HELLO! Canada will remain a weekly print publication
- Texture editions will match the print schedules, except for Maclean’s which will run as a weekly edition on Texture
- Rogers Media will focus on its English-language consumer brands, centred on five content pillars: Entertainment, Lifestyle, Parenting, News & Current Affairs, and Sports. As a result, this fall the company will:
- Divest all Business-to-Business publications, as they no longer align with the company’s core focus
- Divest Châtelaine, LOULOU, and L’actualité, as the company narrows its focus on its English-language consumer brands. Recognizing these are storied brands that require dedicated attention to best serve the distinct French market, the company is going through a thoughtful process to find strong new ownership
Rogers Media is investing in digital content creators, capabilities, and facilities to produce digital programming and enable a digital-first culture. The company has committed more than $35 million in capital and marketing to create and promote digital content and transition the business to a digital-first infrastructure.
“It’s been clear for some time now that Canadians are moving from print to digital, and our job is to keep pace with the changes our audiences are demanding. We are so much more than a collection of magazine brands, and we’ve seen rapid growth on our digital platforms over the past few years. Now is the time for us to accelerate that shift,” said Steve Maich, Senior Vice President of Digital Content & Publishing, Rogers Media.
Canadians spend upwards of eight hours a day on either mobile, tablet, or desktop, while time spent with print is in decline, down 18% since 2012 (1). As part of this shift, Rogers magazines have experienced significant digital uptake:
- Digital consumer revenue for Rogers magazine brands is outpacing newsstand revenue by 50%
- Rogers magazine brands have a combined digital reach of 3.8 million Canadians per month for the first half of 2016, up 30% yoy (2)
- Canadians spend an average of 40 million minutes per month online with Rogers magazine brands, up 34% yoy (3)
- Unique visitors to Rogers magazine brands online have increased 41% in the last two years (4)
- Video viewership with Rogers magazine brands online is up 162% yoy (5)
- Sportsnet.ca is the fastest growing digital sports outlet in Canada with monthly reach up 47% yoy (6)
- Texture users in Canada download an average of 1.7 million magazines each month (7)
Print subscribers will continue to receive their print subscriptions through the end of the year. Different options have been developed based on customers’ needs and current subscription status, and if desired, subscribers can request a full refund on their account.