Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Ray Argyle on Newsstand Research

Posted by Scott On April - 4 - 2012

The Periodical Marketers of Canada have comissioned a marketing study that has been released today.  (See link to Globe & Mail article here:

The poll shows that readers still prefer printed magazines to digital versions overwhelmingly. Plus, those who do buy digital editions are nearly twice as likely to buy additional printed magazines in any given month.

We asked Ray Argyle, executive director of the Periodical Marketers of Canada, to expand a bit on why they commissioned the survey and what they hope to do with the information to leverage additional newsstand sales.  Here’s what he shared with

“One day in August 2011, a roomful of industry folk were pondering the question: How can we demonstrate to retailers that magazines are still a vital product, and deserve strong support from retailers?”

” Industry veteran Tom Worseley (with RS2) summed it up aptly: “We need to get all the partners together in a single cause – maybe that’s a job for PMC.”, he said.

” PMC – Periodical Marketers of Canada – the wholesaler association, took the gambit. With leadership from Peter Olson at News Group, Dan Shapiro of Metro News and Paul Benjamin of Benjamin News, we took on the task of crafting a multi-layered campaign. Generous financial support was forthcoming from PMC members and other industry players, publishers and distributors.”

” We decided on a two-prong strategy: to design presentations for retailers, and to model a consumer media campaign that would reach the public with persuasive messages about the value of magazines. We realized we had to find new and definitive data to support our arguments. Retailers were tired of the same old “motherhood messages” about magazines.  They’d made it clear they didn’t want to be bothered being told once again what they already knew. So we had to unearth new data. That meant a national survey (never before done) of Canadians’ attitudes toward newsstand magazines – what motivates them to buy and read, whether they’re still loyal to print, and the role of such factors as cover prices and display in influencing their buying habits.”

“Leger Marketing talked to 1,600 magazine readers and produced an extremely well thought out report. It became the basis of our campaign, which we dubbed MARC – Magazines at Retail Canada. We used the survey results, together with other industry information, to produce an array of tools: a print brochure, a Powerpoint presentation “Fast Facts for Retailers”, and a video, “Consumer Preferences in the Magazine Category.”  We posted all of these tools to a bilingual web site,, in downloadable form. The complete Leger report is available there too.  The video also went to You Tube,”

“We issued news releases which are garnering a ton of publicity, starting with a half page in the Globe and Mail ROB section. As we go forward, PMC members will be using the MARC campaign to give retailers a fresh understanding of the fantastic asset that newsstand magazines represent in their marketing mix. We intend to follow up with an evaluation of the program, and will go from there to build further support for single copy sales across the country.”

Ray Argyle, Executive Director, PMC

Leave a Reply


About Me

Scott Bullock is a veteran circulation expert with over 38 years experience in both Canada and the United States. He has worked on trade titles such as Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, School Library Journal and Small Press in the USA. In consumer magazines, Scott was the Circulation Director for D Magazine (the city magazine of Dallas, Texas), and in Canada he was the Circulation Director for Toronto Life, Fashion, and Canadian Art. From 2000 to 2004, Scott was a partner at Coast to Coast Newsstand Services. Scott has also held the post of VP Sales & Marketing, for CDS Global, Canada. Currently, CoversSell.Com is Scott’s circulation consultancy. Active clients include: Fly Fusion, Canadian Geographic, Canadian House & Home, Canada’s History, Canadian Real Estate Wealth, Canadian Woodworking, Canadian Cycling, Canadian Running, Canadian Scrapbooker, Legion, Harrowsmith, SkyNews, and SuperTrax.



    Activate the Flickrss plugin to see the image thumbnails!