Friday, July 08, 2016
This is the final COPA Digital Media spotlight post, and I saved magazines for last. What I have noticed while looking at all the different forms of digital media, is that a lot of them are becoming more magazine-like as they jump on the “Content Marketing” bandwagon, while magazines are trying to be more ad tech-like, which is ironic.

This observation is all part of the digital media convergence that is happening in the market with all media brands crossing over each other in the digital space.During the course of my career I have met a lot of magazine publishers at various conferences across Canada and I picked out some of the niche publishers that go unnoticed nationally, as they cater to specific geographic area, lifestyle segment or hobby. We created a niche content award category for the 2016 COPAs that will give these brands a higher profile in Canada and recognize their talents.

 

Saltscape is a popular title based in Halifax. The regional lifestyle magazine for the East Coast is known for its  stories on food and drink, homes & cottages, people & culture, healthy living and travel. This integrated brand has a website, paid magazine (print & digital), email newsletter and consumer events as part of their publishing mix. The magazine has a distribution of 425,000, with website traffic of 200,000 visitors per month. Saltscape evokes a sense of community and regional pride that ties in all the provinces on the east coast of Canada.

 

Avenue is a free monthly urban lifestyle magazine for the city of Calgary. It offers its readers content on city & life, restaurants and food, shopping and attractions and events. To compete with mobile local business search ad companies for Calgary retailers, they have a restaurant search widget on their site. This is supported editorially with a Foodie Guide and Best Restaurants Awards to provide readers info on who are the hottest restaurants in the city. Their digital platform includes all the reader touch points with a website that has traffic of over 250,000 visitors per month, a digital edition of the magazine and email newsletters. There is also an Edmonton edition of Avenue that is co-published by Red Pointe Publishing in Calgary and their partner Odvod Publishing in Edmonton.

 

The focus of Homes magazine is to cater to Toronto's new homebuyers. It has all the information you will need to start a search for a new home, that includes profiles of new home builders and new projects. Additional content includes design and décor, financial news, and community profiles. The free publication is available in print and digital edition, website and email newsletter that includes new project alerts. The “Search for a Home” widget enables the magazine to be part of the buying process during the home research stage, in addition to providing stories on homes design, communities and builders.

 

Real Weddings is a regional Bridal magazine in BC that caters to the $4.5 billion wedding industry in Canada. It is estimated the wedding crop each year is 160,000 with the average spend including the honeymoon clocking in at  $30,000. The BC portion is 20-23,000 weddings a year, which translates into a $690 million market.  This niche had to get digital fast as the majority of marriages are between couples 25-35 years old that are digital savvy. The style and form of the website is radically different from other magazine sites as it is more picture oriented and navigation is set-up with a page advance control, that mimics turning a page. There are 27 web pages of content that you can scroll down to see stories on inspiration, style,planning and venues. You can check out their digital edition of the magazine here.

 

Hobbyist’s titles are a staple of the magazine industry, where a reader can enjoy their passion by reading stories about things they love to do from an authority on the subject. Scrapbook & Cards magazine is for the papercraft hobbyist. What started out as a free print magazine that is published 4x year, now offers paper kits, online seminars, local events, and items for sale on their website. They have effectively leveraged their authority on the topic into additional revenue streams so people new to the hobby can learn, play and socialize. They offer a digital edition of the magazine and email newsletter as part of their content distribution model. 

 

Cycle Canada is a hobby magazine for the Motorcycle enthusiast. It's a Canadian institution for people that like a little speed and adrenaline as part of their day. The site has information on new and used motorcycles; product news and video test-drive coverage. Like Homes Magazine, Cycle Canada assists people is shopping for a new motorcycle or a used one with their “Product Search” widget on the website. The widget is supported with editorial that talks about all the products in the marketplace. The video inventory is packaged as Cycle TV to bring event coverage and test-drives to their audience. Cycle Canada is a paid magazine published 10x per year in English and French (Moto Journal) and is packaged with free content on their website and an email newsletter.
 
 

Kayak, a bilingual history magazine for kids 7-12, offers a mix of fictional short stories, videos, games and contests to learn about Canada’s history. The kids can play on the site with quizzes, puzzles and match games. They have created interactive features with one themed “Bubbleology” that asks readers to submit a caption for photo. The site has a list of 75 Heritage Fairs where history re-enactments are held across Canada. This is a non-profit magazine produced by Canada’s History Society that relies on donations, paid subscriptions, sponsorships and grants to sustain the magazine. Canadian Heritage and Hudson Bay Company are key supporters. You can visit the French version at this link.

All these magazines have evolved like other media from their traditional channel to include a website, digital edition and email newsletter as the optimal digital mix with some free and some paid content. Some have also become more sales oriented with “Product search” widgets or the selling of branded products and services online to create revenue beyond web display ads.  The word on the street is for magazines to be more magazine-like according to the discussion held at Digital Day held by the Ad Club in May. They talked about the importance of “Authentic 3rd Party Content” to attract the reader and the “Return of Engagement” metrics for the marketer. This is a good spot to be in and magazines have a leg up, as they already are a trusted 3rd Party source, with lots of engagement stats.

If you have missed the other COPA Digital Media spotlights you can check them out below. The deadline for entries for the 2016 COPAs has been extended to July 15  and you can enter here.


COPA Digital Media Spotlight
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
In my opinion, content marketing has its roots with associations that produce content for their members as a form of industry branded content, as their views are not typically neutral like traditional media.

It has been estimated that there are 18,000 associations in 1,500 subject classifications in the Associations Canada directory. To attract members, a magazine subscription has been used as an anchor for the member recruitment package. This has evolve in the digital age to include a website, newsletter and digital and print versions of the magazine. Through the use of digital editions, many associations have saved on the printing and distribution of a print magazine with digital opt-in at 20-40% of the member lists.

As a media planner I have always liked association publications for B2B campaigns, as the audience is equivalent to a paid audience and each firm must be a member to get the magazine. I can also target by vertical market and there are a lot of industry associations to choose.

Companies like MediaEdge Publishing and Naylor Associations Solutions have helped associations in producing their magazines/websites/newsletters and selling advertising to help pay the costs. So lets take look at various associations’ websites and see what they are doing.

 
I noticed that association content strategies differ from traditional media sites. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) uses more of a member service approach with content for physicians like CMA policy and medical industry advocacy, clinical resources, professional development and financial planning.

They provide print/digital journals, websites in both English (CMAJ) and French (Santé Inc.) and an email newsletter. Each issue of CMAJ's digital format is sent to 16,000 medical students and residents, plus additional journals for psychiatrists and surgeons. There are over 83,000 members across Canada and each can receive discounts items such as car rentals, luxury cars, courier, phones, computers, travel and private golf memberships.  

 
The association of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) is one the largest in the country with over 200,000 members. The bilingual website provides the content you would expect geared to the accounting professional with articles that talk about the nitty gritty of the profession, including audit & assurance; finance/investing; financial reporting; management accounting; strategy risk and governance; and forensic/investigative accounting. There is some free content on the site plus paid that can be bought through the online store that has 1,300 titles.  CPA Canada offers a website, two email newsletters and a magazine in print and digital. The bilingual magazine has 250,000 subscribers with 25% opting for the digital version. CPA Canada also has a members discount program for expenses such as hotel, cars, wireless, fitness clubs, courier and clothes.

 
That’s right there is even an association for associations call the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE)with 10,000 members. This modern looking website offers their members a magazine style format for content with a blog, articles, research, bookstore, events and a supplier directory to help their members do their job better.

Michael Bell, from MediaEdge, who works with the CSAE says that long form journalism is alive and well. He says it's needed to explain issues in depth that cannot be done in a snack size article (500 words) that has typically been used by the adtech community as click bait. You can check out the digital version of their magazine at this link
 
 
The Association for General Contractors in Ontario has a wide range of content for its 2,500 members that includes news, events, government relations, health and safety and a store. The store enables members to buy industry related documents and sign up for courses. They have a discount program for members for the purchases of cars, insurance and medical services like we saw with the CMA.  They have also partnered with a company called biddingo.com that enables tenders to be advertised online for subcontractor procurement and bidding. Their magazine is branded “The Generals” and is available in print and digital.

After looking at these sites you will notice they all have similar content style and a reader service approach seen in traditional media models. What is unique about industry associations is that they can use their collective buying power to generate discounts for their members on products and services that you do not see on traditional media sites. For B2B marketing, associations offer media products that are highly targeted and deliver a qualified audience that is like a paid subscriber, the ultimate proof of readership.

If you have missed the previous COPA Digital Media spotlights you can check them out below. Up next and our final spotlight will be on Niche publishers in Canada. The deadline for entries for the 2016 COPAs is July 11 and you can enter here.

COPA Digital Media Spotlight

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
We live in a multicultural society and it's only fitting that we take a closer look at the cultural media websites that have evolved to serve the different cultural groups that have been in Canada for multiple generations.

 
I am a big fan of cultural media as I was its biggest advocate 20 years ago when I worked on the Chinese Edition of Maclean’s and Enroute Asia with Air Canada.

Immigration to Canada brings about 250,000 new Canadians each year and in 10 years we will have added a population of 2.5+ million, enough for a city the size of Vancouver. The biggest cultural groups in by population in Canada are Indo-Asian (1.6M), Italian (1.5M) and Chinese (1.3).

Together these three communities total a population of 4.4 million or the equivalent of 20 cities the size of Regina (pop 210K). So let's have look at some digital properties that serve these communities.


 

This is an English site serving the Indo-Asian community that has a similar format as other news sites but with more Indo-cultural content that includes coverage of Bollywood. It has standard content mix of editorial, news, entertainment, lifestyle, sport and e-paper.  The Indo-Asian community is now the largest cultural group in Canada with an estimated population of 1.6 Million. Fifty percent of the population is located in the Toronto GTA. The top five cities with Indo-Asian communities are:  Toronto 834K, Vancouver 252K, Calgary 85K, Montreal 79K and Edmonton 61K. 


 

This website serves the Quebec-based Italian community with news, community, culture, entertainment and sport. The news section includes stories of news in Italy and a heavy dose of European soccer coverage. The print newspaper was established in 1941 and is based in Montreal, a hub of cultural media in Canada. It is estimated that there are 1.5 million Canadians of Italian descent and it is the second largest cultural community in Canada. The top five cities with Italian communities are: Toronto 465K, Montreal 261K, Vancouver 76K, Hamilton 72K and Niagara 50K.

 

Sing Tao Toronto is a Chinese daily print with a website, radio station and digital supplements to offer marketers to reach the Chinese market. The Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) community is the third largest group with a population of 1.3 million and the community gained prominence during a heavy period of immigration prior to the takeover of Hong Kong by China in 1997. Seventy percent are located in Toronto and Vancouver.  The top five cities with Chinese communities are: Toronto 531K, Vancouver 400K, Montreal 91K, Calgary 75, Edmonton 53K, and Ottawa 42K.


 

The multilingual broadcaster Omni TV, a Rogers’s station, caters to multiple cultural groups that includes Italian, Punjabi, SE Asian and Chinese. This news and entertainment site offers an inventory of local news, soap operas, and movies for all these cultural groups in the form of video. The site included local news for BC, AB and ON markets including kids playing hockey in local leagues. What was not expected was a heavy dose of hockey content to promote the game to new Canadians.


 

While not the largest, but still prominent is the Jewish community in Canada that numbers 380,000 with 75% located in Toronto (200K) and Montreal (86K). This bilingual site offers news, perspectives and culture that reflects the Jewish lifestyle, like kosher food recipes. This site is polished and is on par with any mainstream media site.

The Internet has enabled the cultural community news media to reach more members of their communities, where traditional media could not reach. This is especially noticed in markets where the population is less than 30,000 where print may be uneconomical. It has been able to unite these groups that are located in urban markets across Canada. The biggest stumbling block will always be that advertising budgets cannot afford multiple versions of their ad in different languages. But a smart marketer never follows the herd as they will not stand out in a crowd. So maybe it's time to revisit cultural marketing as part of the media mix.

The COPA’s Digital Media Spotlight hopes to raise the profile of community news sites this year, and cultural media are considered as part of this community news community.

If you missed the other COPA Digital media Spotlights including Part 1 on Community News, check them out below.

COPA Digital Media Spotlight

Thursday, June 09, 2016
The little siblings of major urban news media are the ones that cater to smaller communities and cultural groups. This COPA Digital Media Spotlight will show what is evolving in the Community News space as we see television, radio and newspapers crossing over each other with similar content.

This segment of the media industry has been hit hard by the digital age as print distribution changed to weekly, and they needed to adapt or perish. Let's start in Western Canada to see how they address this challenge as the publishers look for new sources of revenue and to engage the reader to stay a little longer per visit.

 

Burnaby Now offers a standard mix of traditional content, including News, Sports, Opinion, Entertainment, Business and Community News/photos that is seen in print. The site’s content also has Real Estate, Store Flyers and a unique section called Standout that is used for sponsored content that they have been very successful with in populating. Readers can also subscribe to an email newsletter.

 

Small community newspapers like the Jasper Fitzhugh in Alberta, are trying to reinvent themselves to replace lost print classified and employment ad revenue taken away by their digital competitors, who give it away for free. This tourist town website has a content mix of News, Sports & Life, Arts & Culture, Events and a Tour of Alberta section. This publication is leveraging the use of digital editions for the newspaper and local telephone directories for new sources of revenue online.

 

The Prairie Post with its base in Swift Current provides News, Sports, Opinion and Entertainment on their website with content that includes local news in Saskatchewan and Alberta. This small town paper provides similar content that is available in print with broader geographical coverage on the website with sports video highlights. The sports video highlights are for the Swift Current Broncos games, a Jr. A team in the CHL, providing a TV style coverage that is local.

 

The digital age has not only affected the local community newspaper; it has impacted local TV stations as well in communities like Peterborough. CHEX TV station’s website is a News Magazine format with lifestyle content. The core content of News, Weather, Sports and Community are there but its mix includes Entertainment, Science & Tech, Health, Business, Politics, Autos. CHEX Daily TV newscasts and station community shows can also be viewed on the website. It also has a really unique piece of content, a Police Blotter that reports local crime activity and Police PSAs. Who would of thought 10 years ago a local TV station will be a Community News website.

 

Serving the rural communities in Quebec’s Laurentions is the English language Main St, based in Lachute. This community news site has a website and digital edition of their weekly newspaper that has lots of ads in it (It looks like print is still strong in this market). The content mix includes the standard fare of Local news, Entertainment, Business Directories and Real Estate listings that you would expect. The unique content on the site are information on health care and schools in English. They also offer an email newsletter.

 

The next place of digital convergence is local radio stations as they face the same pressure as print and TV. This radio station in Grand Falls, NB – K93FM, a top 40 hits format has a content mix that includes music and contests—standard fare for a radio station, plus, news, events, a community Instagram feed and a discount coupon service for local retailers to advertise in. This station is part of the Bell Media family and the discount coupon program is through their shopify.com program that they use with their network of radio stations, where are shopper can purchase a discounted gift certificate online.

In the Community News space the print, tv and radio mediums are truly colliding as each have similar core content that makes them a community news website, but each have unique characteristics.

The COPAs this year are recognizing the “Best Community Website” to give them a higher profile in the COPA Awards program.  that closes on July 11 for entries, as you cans see there is good work being done out there. Next up Cultural Media websites, this is a natural since Canada is a multi-cultural nation as cultural sites are also considered “Community News”.
Thursday, May 19, 2016
The demise of radio as depicted in the 1979 song from the Buggles - Video Killed the Radio Star is a great example of what's happening to all traditional media in the digital age. Doom and gloom came to the radio industry when TV was invented, but it is still around and is ranked #2 of all mediums after TV.  This high ranking could be higher if AM/FM tuner apps were available on top selling smartphones. The technology is there, where your headphones can be used as an antennae for the AM/FM tuner.

Why then is Radio Surviving?
The answer - The medium owns the car,  it is free and the ads are entertaining.
The facts supports this case. According to Audience Insights, a market research firm, the AM/FM dial has a 68% share of listening time in the car. The time spent in the car according to the 2015 Media Directors Digest is 127 km per week with radio listenership at 13 hrs./wk. TV by comparison is 21 hrs./wk. The 30-second ad spot is very effective in creating “Theatre of the Mind” with a great jingle or brand story versus other ad formats.

 

Radio comes in a wide variety of formats including music, news, talk, cultural and sports. Music has formats like Adult Contemporary, Rock, Hits, Jazz, Classical, Dance and each genre appeals to a different slice of today’ consumer. But, there is no medium that can reinvent itself like radio, as they can change their content format over night sometimes. The history of CHUM 1050 AM in Toronto is a classic case, as it started out as a TOP Hits Radio station during AM’s hey day and is now a sports station owned by Bell Media (TSN).

We now live In a world where all media is crisscrossing each other in their content strategy. Radio websites have also crossed over into the magazine, entertainment, sports and news media space, in this age of media convergence.  So let's have look at what stations across the country are doing, as they reinvent themselves as the “reading and listening" medium—based on their content strategies. You can now go to a radio website listen to the tunes and read news and stories that may interest you.

Indie88, a rock station in Toronto has created a website that is more music and entertainment magazine than radio station. They just won “Rock Station of the Year” at the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards. The website allows you to check out new bands that do not get airplay on other music radio formats and also offers content on Canadian artists, music, film, events, local Toronto news and music videos.

 

The station was launched three years ago and now has 179,000 traditional daily listeners in the Toronto market. On the digital side the website has 425,000 visitors/month, 45,000 App downloads and 40,000 email subscribers. Users are highly engaged spending 27 minutes per website visit with streaming visitors lasting 1 hr and 20 minutes, which number 50,000 per month.

On the social side the station has over 125,000 followers/likes on three platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). The digital audience is rock solid and one that any magazine would be happy to have. The questiojn now is…Are  they still a radio station? Or are they a Music & Entertainment Magazine with a live streaming service of your favourite music?

If we go to cowboy country in Edmonton the Bear 100.3, a Rock station, it takes a different approach, using sex and edgy content like “If you Like Strippers” promo and humorous “guy locker room talk” video content for their male demo. Their approach is leveraging the on-air talent Paul Brown as a talk show host that video broadcasts jokes/skits and on-air interviews. I found them real funny, but I am guy and they remind me of Howard Stern in their type humour.

 

In Montreal 96.9 CKOI, a French language Hits Radio station has morphed into a content destination hub that offers, music stories, comedy podcasts and a lifestyle magazine that cover topics like news, sports, arts & entertainment, art of living, technology, science & nature. This hub of information rivals any lifestyle magazine that is out there. This site is a truly a read and listen medium for the French market.

 

Lastly, 680News,  a Toronto news radio station, is now a news aggregator website with  local, national, business, sports, world and entertainment sections from all Rogers titles. A unique feature is a traffic monitor that includes links to traffic cameras for live feeds. This is no different that any newspaper or TV news website for content in the digital age.

 

There are over 560 radio stations in Canada that are in the digital media scene now and they are producing some great content. Many of them will be recognized at the 2016 COPAs for the first time with the Best Radio Website Award and Best Podcast as the most obvious categories. They can also enter in the News and Consumer categories for content, based on what we see here. In my next COPA Digital Media Spotlight, I will be looking at the changes in the Community News area of content as print and local TV stations converge in this space.





About Me
Martin Seto

 
Martin Seto is the principal of Reflex Media, a media consultancy practice offering media owners digital publishing, event management and ad sales help. His media expertise also include working with ad agencies as a media buyer/planner for tv, radio, print, outdoor, magazine and online. He has been in the advertising and media industry for 25+ years and he has been an instructor/speaker with Centennial College and at magazine conferences across Canada. He can be reached at marty(dot)seto(at)
reflexmediasales.com or 416-907-6562, and on LinkedIn.

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