Rogers has announced radical cuts to its publishing division, with four of its print publications — MoneySense, Sportsnet Magazine, Canadian Business and Flare — all moving to a digital-only format in January 2017. The publications will continue through daily publication on their respective websites and apps.
“We are going where our audiences are, and doubling-down on digital to grow our consumer magazine brands,” said Rick Brace, president of Rogers Media in a statement.
“We have already made significant investments in creating content and making it available on digital platforms, including Texture, Sportsnet NOW, and Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE, and today’s announcement builds on that.”
Reduction in print frequency
Additionally, Rogers’ largest publications — Chatelaine, Maclean’s and Today’s Parent — are all seeing reductions in their print frequency. Maclean’s is moving to monthly publication, while Chatelaine and Today’s Parent will both produce issues six times a year, or one issue every two months.
In its release, Rogers also states that its focus going forward will be on English-language consumer-facing publications. As such, it’s completely divesting itself of all business-to-business publications and French-language publications LOULOU, Châtelaine and L’actualité. The company notes that in recognition of the cultural importance of its French publications, it is “going through a thoughtful process to find strong new ownership.”
Entering the digital first future
The company notes that these print division cuts are reflective of a new, digital-first media environment. It backs this up with statistics gleaned from its own publications, revealing that digital consumer revenue for Rogers magazine brands is outpacing newsstand revenue by 50 percent.
Aiming to be on the cutting edge of this shift, Rogers says it has committed more than $35 million in capital and marketing to create and promote digital content.
“It’s been clear for some time now that Canadians are moving from print to digital, and our job is to keep pace with the changes our audiences are demanding,” stated Steve Maich, Rogers Media senior vice president of digital content and publishing.
“We are so much more than a collection of magazine brands, and we’ve seen rapid growth on our digital platforms over the past few years. Now is the time for us to accelerate that shift.”