Winnipeg Free Press partners with health authority on niche print product, brings in new revenue

By Laurie Finley

Following in the footsteps of successful co-publishing relationships with two regional organisations, Winnipeg Free Press once again uncovered an untapped opportunity, this time with our regional health branch, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority

We had heard that the organisation was investigating the possibility of starting a healthy living publication, and we approached it with the concept of co-publishing. Again, we hoped to leverage our strengths of custom content, printing, and distribution. 

Fortunately, a relationship I had with the CEO of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority helped us get direct access to the top, though I believe we would have eventually fostered this relationship even without my direct connection.

When we met with the CEO, we discussed our ability to provide skill sets and expertise that the health authority would have had to either hire or contract to outside sources. The health authority is government funded and there was a concern regarding how it could publish a product for its needs without the input of public funds.

This additional need that we had not thought of allowed us to propose co-publishing with logos for both our organisation and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority on the magazine, which allowed the organisation to easily deflect any potential criticism from government opposition or the public. 

We offered the perfect solution, which allowed the health authority to set the content direction to support its programmes while we wrote the content, sold the advertising, printed the product, and provided distribution.

We have established Wave magazine, a base 48-page plus UV-coated four-page cover. The product has template content covering healthy eating, life balance, physical activity and a Q&A section called “Ask a Nurse” as well as several feature stores.

Using this publication, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority was able to gain us access to healthcare providers and services for advertising sales, and that allowed us to have exclusive access to hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices for rack distribution.

We produce 40,000 magazines; of these, we distribute 10,000 through racks and 30,000 through targeted home delivery of the Winnipeg Free Press. The home delivery pattern was established using demographic profiling of our readers. This product is produced every second month. We have now produced this magazine for three years for the health authority.

The biggest issue we faced with this publication had to do with some restrictions on advertisers that potentially make claims that cannot be medically supported. However, through ongoing discussions and support from the region, we have continued to open up new advertising opportunities.

This partnership was a win-win for both parties. The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority got a dedicated product and, with their input and help, we are able to secure advertising from the health sector we would not ordinarily get.

We are generating more than C$200,000 in annual revenue, and our subscribers gain access through their home delivery to a product not available everywhere. We have also added a mail subscription component for those who do not receive the magazine through their newspaper. Overall, the response from readers has been positive.

About Laurie Finley

By continuing to browse or by clicking ‘I ACCEPT,’ you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance your site experience. To learn more about how we use cookies, please see our privacy policy.