THE INFLUENCE OF MAGAZINES

Can newspapers survive? If people were to stop buying newspapers tomorrow, newspaper organizations would survive because they have an asset that other media lack; the largest, most skilled newsroom staffs in a given community.

In addition to dailies, thousands of weekly community newspapers are published throughout Canada.

Recent developments between the Southam and Hollinger chains have rekindled criticism in concentration of newspaper ownership in Canada.

Magazines are a mass medium through which culture is brought to a national audience.

Magazines have been an adaptable medium, adjusting to the times and to changing audience interests.

Periodicals pack literature, photographs and ideas into a format that anyone can afford.

MASSIVE MAGAZINE AUDIENCE

Magazines are a pervasive mass medium.

Almost 90% of adults read an average of 10 magazine issues a month.

Not only for the "upper-crust but also edited for ‘downscale’ audiences, which means the medium’s role in society is spread across almost the range of people with different literary skills.

The Magazine industry is extremely competitive with 12,000 different publications vying for readers.

See table page 62 for magazine circulation

WHAT MAKES A MAGAZINE CANADIAN?

To determine whether a magazine is Canadian, we must look at the Income Tax Act of 1988. A magazine is considered "Canadian" if:

  • The typeset is set in Canada (Excluding advertisements).
  • It is printed in Canada
  • It is published and edited by people living in Canada.
  • It is not Canadian if more than 20% of the issue(not including advertisements) is the same magazine that is printed, edited or published outside of Canada.
  • It is also not Canadian if published or printed under a license granted by someone who publishes outside of Canada.

MAGAZINES AS MEDIA INNOVATORS

Investigative reporting

Personality Profiles

Photojournalism

MIDTERM PROJECT: USE SEMIOTICS FOR ANALYZING PHOTOGRAPHS AND ADVERTSISING PAGES 60-61.

The most visible category of magazines is general-interest magazines, which are available on news-racks and by subscription.

Called consumer magazines, they try to offer something for everybody as well

Newsmagazines: Maclean’s

Women’s Magazines: Chatelaine

Men’s Magazines: Playboy

Sponsored magazines: The National Geographic

Trade Journals: Broadcaster

Exported Magazines: Reader’s Digest, Cosmopolitan, Newsweek and Time derive substantial revenue from International editions.

Cooperative International Arrangements: Joint ventures such as Time Warner and Hachette have teamed up for a French edition of Fortune.

MAGAZINE DEMASSIFICATION

Today the magazine industry thrives through demassification, the process of seeking audiences with narrow interests.

Special-interest magazines, whose content focus on limited subjects and whose advertising rates are lower fill the bill for advertising compared to expensive television.

CRITICS OF DEMASSIFICATION

Demassified magazines betray their traditional role of enriching the culture of a society.

Dilutes the intellectual role of magazines. A frothy mix of light, upbeat features. No thoughtful or hard-hitting investigative features.

Creates an ‘unholy alliance’ between advertisers and readers. (Example: Cat Magazines).

HAZARDS OF DEMASSIFICATION

Serving a niche of readers has its hazards

  1. Fickle audiences for narrowly focused magazines
  2. Finding a balance between news-rack and subscription sales. (Subscriptions represent long-term commitment, news-rack sales generate more revenue).
  3. Ever-rising costs forcing the abandonment of large European formats
  4. New competition from cable channels and direct mail

 

SOURCE: Abridged version of Chapter two from:

Vivian, John and Maurin, Peter. (1997). The Media of Mass Communication. Allyn and Bacon Canada. Scarborough, Ontario.