Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Arts and Lit Mags; Alive and Well

[This post has been updated.]
The Canada Council for the Arts recently released a study of benchmarks for Canadian mags based on 2010 applications to its Grants to Arts and Literary Magazines. Here’s a recap: 

  • The number of titles has remained steady for the past decade sitting at 90 (60 in English and 30 en francais.
  • Half a million copies were in circulation throughout the year.
  • These mags served more than 75,000 subscribers.
  • The arts and lit mag industry makes up a $5 million enterprise with 2/5 of revenues coming from mag sales and 2/5 from advertising sales. The remaining fifth comes from various sources.
  • Overall revenue comes in at about $10 million with grants making up roughly half of all income.
  • These mags generate about 200 full-time-equivalent jobs.
  • Magazines are critical in the creation of “social capital”.
  • Overall, it’s clear that arts and lit titles are dependent on Canada Council funding.

The study gives arts and lit publishers a sense of how their operations and costs compare against their peers, keeping in mind that many aspects are covered off by volunteers or low-paid interns. The biggest costs are overhead (30 to 36%) and editorial (21 to 30%). The full study can be viewed at magazinescanada.com/benchmarks.

Unfortunately, like most government funding, very few Alberta magazines receive Canada Council support. That said, it also speaks volumes about the tenacity these publishers possess to continue publishing their titles especially given how many titles rely on Canada Council dollars to publish. 

AMPA is always looking at ways to support this special group of magazines. If you have ideas for how AMPA can help your arts and lit title, drop us a line at ampa@albertamagazines.com or post a comment here so we can have a public chat about it! For readers, be sure to check out AMPA's 30% off promotion for arts and lit titles.
--- Colleen Seto  
AMPA Blogger-in-Residence