Interesting Globe and Mail feature on the survival of OWL and other kids' magazines.
After more than three decades in business, Owlkids – which publishes the iconic Canadian children’s magazine OWL, as well as ChickaDEE and Chirp for younger readers – is staying alive at a time when the magazine industry is as challenged as ever. Circulation and advertising revenues for Canadian consumer magazines fell more than 15 per cent between 2007 and 2010. Compared to its peers in the magazine business, Owlkids is also operating with one hand tied behind its back. While consumer magazines in Canada lean on advertising sales for the majority of their revenues, Owlkids depends almost entirely on money from its readers.
The magazines went to the brink in 1997, when the parent company went into receivership. A white knight came in the form of a group of monks. Bayard Canada, an affiliate of the Bayard Presse publisher in France, is owned by a Catholic religious community in Quebec City called les Pères Augustins de l’Assomption. They assured the publishers that the magazines’ content would remain non-religious – a condition of sale that was written into the contract.
These days, prayer books pay the bills. Bayard also owns a profitable publisher of religious books, with offices down the hall from Owlkids.
Click on the title to read the full story.