Like many traditional publishers, custom publishers are increasingly turning their attention to the online world. Montreal-based Spafax Canada, one of the country’s largest custom content companies, has just launched a new website (or “portal”), built around its flagship enRoute magazine, offering users a variety of editorial, entertainment and shopping options, all designed to enhance and promote the Air Canada brand.
“[The Web] was the one element in the whole family of enRoute media that we hadn’t completely developed yet,” says Katrin Kopvillem, managing director and publisher for Spafax Canada. enRoute is Air Canada’s in-flight magazine, which Spafax has published since 1998. The company also produces the electronic in-flight entertainment system for Air Canada.
The new portal—which replaces an earlier, more rudimentary version of the enRoute site that mainly offered archived magazine stories—carries Web exclusive articles, videos, podcasts, information about Air Canada’s in-flight entertainment (including movie and TV trailers), an online shopping tool where customers can purchase travel-related products from Air Canada, Lonely Planet and Hbc, and a “ticket engine,” where users can purchase flights.
“We also publish OnAir for Air Canada, which is their subscriber-based e-zine,” Kopvillem says. “That had unprecedented success in terms of the content driving ticket sales and inspiring travel. So that’s why we thought it would be logical for enRoute to be part of that experience, to drive travel.”
Spafax has hired five dedicated Web staff members over the launch period, Kopvillem says.
While the print and Web departments do work on separate products, they are integrated and work collaboratively. “The online team is a part of the enRoute team,” says Arjun Basu, editorial director for Spafax Canada. “They sit next to [the magazine staff], they sit in on the planning meetings. They bring another aspect to the table. A print editor thinks a certain way…. Online editors bring a multimedia element to it.”
The new site was built in partnership with CloudRaker, a Montreal-based Web development company.