A brief history of Rogers Publishing
Rogers Communications Inc., a cable giant with interests in media and cellular phones, wins approval for a $3.1-billion takeover of Maclean Hunter Ltd., the media conglomerate responsible for launching publications such as Maclean’s magazine in 1905, the Financial Post business newspaper in 1907, Chatelaine in 1928 and Flare in 1979. That purchase marked the birth of Rogers Media, which carved out a publishing division to oversee a number of consumer magazines and more than 35 business titles.
The publishing arm acquires full control of Today’s Parent Group, which owned the parenting magazine Today’s Parent. It also launches industry-focused publications, including Advisor’s Edge, which Rogers has now put up for sale.
Rogers Publishing claims to reach 12.1 million Canadians each month and has annual operating revenue of $290-million, far exceeding the TV or radio divisions. Even then, publishing was not immune to cutbacks – the company decided to “realign the cost structure.” In 2015, by contrast, publishing accounted for only 9 per cent of Rogers Media’s $2.1-billion in operating revenue, and the magazine brands now reach 3.8 million Canadians a month.
Encouraged by the successful launch of women’s magazine Lou Lou in 2004, Rogers launches home decor magazine Chocolat. Through a partnership with Canada Post Corp., Chocolat was distributed to about 250,000 people who paid Canada Post for change-of-address notices on the assumption they would be interested in renovating or redecorating. But Chocolat never caught on and it closed in 2007.
Rogers announces a rare move in a difficult time for the industry: The launch of Sportsnet magazine, an entirely new print publication aiming to cover Canadian sports the way Sports Illustrated covers America. With Steve Maich as the first editor, the magazine was expected to fully integrate with Sportsnet’s TV, radio and web operations.
Rogers makes its biggest bet yet on digital magazines, launching Next Issue with U.S. partners including Hearst Corp., Condé Nast and Time Inc. For $9.99 a month, readers got all-you-can-read access to digital editions of more than 100 magazines, plus premium titles such as The New Yorker and Sports Illustrated for $5 a month more. The service was renamed Texture a year ago and now offers more than 150 magazines, but after early growth, its subscriber base has levelled off at about 100,000.
– James BradshawReport Typo/Error
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