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Magazine industry wants funding cap phased in Add to ...

Magazines Canada is asking the federal government to phase in its planned funding cap to individual Canadian magazines rather than implementing the cap "full-tilt" in April next year as originally scheduled.

Pleading the impact of a "crippling recession," the lobby/trade group, in a submission to the federal finance committee released yesterday, said it wants the cap implemented over "18 months or 24 months or longer if needs be," according to its CEO Mark Jamison, "to mitigate the impact in the current economy where advertising is really down."

Earlier this year, the federal government announced it was creating a new $75.5-million Canadian Periodical Fund to replace the current Canada Magazine Fund and the Publications Assistance Program. As part of the new regime, it would cap the amount available to any one magazine at a maximum of $1.5-million a year, starting April 1, 2010. The cap, if implemented as proposed, would have considerable impact on major magazines such as Canadian Living, Maclean's and Chatelaine which, in 2007-08, received, respectively, $2.93-million, $2.54-million and $2.58-million through the PAP.

Jamison said his group is "not objecting" to the cap program "in itself. ... It's just the timing while the media business tries to get itself righted, if you will." He said his membership has told him the poor economic situation is likely to last "well into 2010."

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