Maclean's, Chatelaine, Reader's Digest and other big-circulation magazines were the big losers Wednesday in the federal government's announcement of who would be getting what this year from the new $73-million Canadian Periodical Fund.
More than 500 magazines and 400 non-daily newspapers such as Yorkton This Week, The Bashaw, Alta., Star and The Goderich, Ont., Signal-Star were named recipients of CPF largesse.
The creation of the fund was announced in 2009 by Heritage Minister James Moore. It was designed to replace two previous funding streams - the Canadian Magazine Fund, which supported editorial content and business development, and the Publications Assistance Program, a subsidy for mailing costs - and establish what the Harper government deemed a more balanced and flexible regime.
The blows to Maclean's, Chatelaine and magazines of their ilk were entirely expected.
Funding rules for the CPF were announced earlier this year and one of the key regulations placed a cap on the amount a single title can receive in a fiscal year at $1.5-million. (The only exception to the cap are agricultural publications, most notably The Western Producer, published in Saskatoon.)
Canadian Living, Chatelaine, Maclean's and Reader's Digest were among the magazines each allocated the $1.5-million maximum Wednesday. But this was 40 to 50 per cent less than what these magazines had been used to receiving: in 2008-09, for instance, Canadian Living, perennially one of the top five Canadian periodicals in circulation and revenue, received a total of close to $3-million through the PAP and CMF.
Another rule introduced by Mr. Moore disqualified publications with paid circulations of less than 5,000 from receiving CPF assistance, with the result that virtually all the country's literary magazines (among them The Malahat Review, Descant, Grain and Prairie Fire) were removed from government rolls.
Thus while fewer magazines are receiving government assistance than previous, the ones allocated CPF money this week often are getting more than before. Canadian Stamp News, for example, receives $63,188 whereas in 2008-09 (the last year comprehensive statistics were available) it got about $54,000 via the PAP and CMF. Cottage Life has $265,674 for 2010-11, compared with the roughly $240,000 granted in 2008-09, while Cycle Canada's CPF package totals almost $112,000, up almost $30,000, or 26 per cent, from what it received in '08-'09. The Walrus is getting just over $261,000, whereas in 2008-09 its PAP/CMF investment was about $218,000 - $112,450 for editorial expenses, $104,749 in postal subsidy.
In addition, smaller magazines owned by a single large owner appear to be beneficiaries of the new regime. Flare, MoneySense and Canadian Business, for example, are all published by Toronto-based Rogers Publishing, the parent of Chatelaine and Maclean's. While the latter publications may have lost out under the new system, their three companion magazines are experiencing gains. Canadian Business, which received about $471,000 through the PAP and CMF in 2008-09, is getting almost $535,000 in 2010-11. MoneySense, on tap for almost $212,000 from the CPF, had a PAP/CMF package in 2008-09 of just under $157,000. Flare, which received about $720,000 from PAP/CMF in 2008-09, is scheduled to get almost $782,000.