The new normal among Canadian media brands: innovation


Down 5%. Down 13%. Down 9%. What I am I referring to? Stock declines … for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, respectively, in the last week.

What did you think I was talking about?

Some think of newspapers as an old, challenged industry, and even newspapers themselves don’t give themselves enough credit.

Newspapers are doing it – and I don’t mean declining.

As an industry, innovation is the new normal. There are robust and exciting new programmes and initiatives springing up every day.

Don’t believe me? Let me take you on a quick tour.

The Grid, despite being lauded as one of the world’s best designed newspapers by the Society for News Design — and for the third year in a row, I might add — is not resting on its laurels. It has re-designed its tabloid dimensions for a narrower look and is shifting its content away from arts and lifestyle content toward more “hyper-local” news.

The Winnipeg Free Press approached the local Regional Health Authority and provided it with the perfect solution. It created a co-branded healthy living magazine.

Both partners brought their strengths to the project, with the Health Authority setting the content direction to support its programmes, while the newspaper wrote the content, sold the advertising, printed the product, and provided distribution.

Sun Media Corporation recognised the importance of the Olympics and entered into a three-year partnership agreement with the Canadian Olympic Committee. It will be the official French-language media partner and regional French and English-language media partner.

The Globe and Mail just launched its Globe Now video. It is a six- to eight-minute piece that airs at noon daily. It is sponsored by Lexus, whose brand name is shown not only during the couple of seconds of pre-roll, but also on-screen throughout the video, with equal billing for the Globe Now brand name.

This is progressive, evolved stuff — on both on the editorial and advertising side!

The Chronicle Herald continues to roll-out new elements. It started a year ago by launching a re-designed newspaper with a larger, enhanced weekend session. Six months later, it began charging for digital content. It just announced its expansion into Cape Breton, where it is adding staff on both its editorial and ad teams.

Many newspapers have added Augmented Reality (AR) — that is, using a mobile app to get more from a print ad or editorial, i.e., watch a video, link to a site, purchase tickets, and more.

This has been embraced by Glacier Media, the Toronto Star, Postmedia, Winnipeg Free Press, and the Globe and Mail, to name a few (click on each news brand’s name to to see its launch of AR).

The Toronto Star, through its focus on investigative reporting, broke the Rob Ford (yes, that’s Toronto’s mayor) scandal. The media company has stayed with the story, which is so juicy that U.S. late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel can’t help but comment on it regularly.

La Press+ (La Presse newspaper’s free iPad app) provides advertisers with breakthrough ad options and a new audience. It has done this by presenting the newspaper on the iPad every morning — the editorial allows readers to go deeper through videos, maps, and more.

The more than 20 unique ad options provide interactivity for advertisers brands, as well. Of those who regularly use the app, 74% were not readers of the print edition. This newspaper decided to zig (move to the iPad and make the app free) when others zagged (going to paid digital access).

The PEI Guardian is making changes to deliver more news earlier. Readers can join the newspaper’s Web editor (on the site, Facebook, and Twitter) beginning at 6 a.m. This delivery focuses on practical, usable information. Content, such as the latest cancellations, road conditions, overnight breaking news, and top stories of the day, are covered.

I could go on … but enough about newspapers. How is social media doing?

By continuing to browse or by clicking “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.