Rogers cuts Profit… but not for financial reasons says publisher

December 11, 2013  |  Chris Powell  |  Comments

While the decision to fold small business-focused magazine Profit into its larger sibling Canadian Business will generate cost savings, publisher Ian Portsmouth says that was not the primary motivation.

Rogers Media announced Monday that it is merging the two titles to create an “all-encompassing” business magazine featuring enhanced content and a projected readership of more than 1 million. Profit will cease to exist as a standalone publication effective Jan. 16, but will live on as a branded section within Canadian Business, said Portsmouth.

“[The cost savings] are sort of a happy accident of all of this,” Portsmouth told Marketing (which, like Profit and Canadian Business, is owned by Rogers). “The merger is going to end up putting more pages of Profit content into the marketplace.”

Portsmouth said the decision was not financially motivated, noting that revenues at the 30-year-old title, which caters to Canada’s entrepreneurial community, increased 10% this year.

Traditional run-of-press advertising was essentially flat, he said, but Profit grew revenues through its events and a series of special projects, such as regional editions of its popular “Profit 500” editorial package.

The revamped Canadian Business will reduce its publishing schedule from 19 to 14 issues in 2014, with two Profit-themed issues: The “Profit 500” and “W100,” which is dedicated to Canada’s leading female entrepreneurs. It will publish twice in October and November, when advertiser demand for business publications is traditionally at its highest, said Portsmouth.

Profit’s events and its website ProfitGuide.com – which boasts monthly traffic of about 75,000 unique visitors – are unaffected by the merger, said Portsmouth.

He said the change to a monthly publishing schedule will enable Canadian Business to thrive in a “very competitive” market that is also serviced by daily newspapers and blogs.

“We entirely expect this to drive substantial growth, and we suspect that we will be able to grab market share with this move,” said Portsmouth. “We have what we feel will be the best editorial product in the marketplace among all the monthly business magazines – it’s highly differentiated from all of the competition, whether it be monthly magazines, daily newspapers or websites of any kind.”

Portsmouth said that 2014 ad rates for Canadian Business would not increase beyond the customary inflationary increase of about 2%. A print ad now comes with a static ad in Canadian Business’ iPad edition, while multi-media ad units in its digital product carry a premium price.

Rogers also announced that it has created a new business unit called Canadian Business Insights designed to serve the communications and marketing needs of mid to large-size corporations through a combination of strategic communications, research, sponsored events, custom publishing and what Rogers describes as “multi-year cross-platform communications programs.”

“It’s going to be the only entity of its kind in Canada,” said Portsmouth. “Nobody can bring the full suite of expertise and distribution channels to the table that Canadian Business can.”

Portsmouth said that recent staff reductions at Rogers addressed the restructuring of the two business titles. There are no plans for further layoffs, he said.

Asked if this is a publishing approach that could be adopted by other publishers with complementary titles, Portsmouth responded: “After our plan works, I fully expect that our competitors will follow.”

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