Panel research guides Toronto Star’s print innovation strategy




Julie Murtha, director of audience + innovation at Toronto Star in Canada, urged the audience to keep innovating in print at the 2015 INMA World Congress on Sunday.

Toronto Star uses panel research to improve product offerings, looks for ways to monetise current products, and invents creative solutions to offer ad partners exciting new options when innovating in print.

Toronto Star relies heavily on panel research to determine what its audience wants, Murtha said.

Panel research has lead to rethinking and monetisation of a current product for the company.

Research focused on a free product offered by Toronto Star found that readers were not interested in photos or editorial content, but was more interested in the TV listings. The company also discovered that readers were willing to pay for it. Learning this, Toronto Star was able to repackage and monetise this content, and give readers exactly what they wanted.

Toronto Star research found that readers like content about historic events. The company developed a new product, Once Upon a City, filled with historic archived content. Readers and advertisers responded very positively to the product.

“This partnership diversifies revenue base with very little additional effort,” she said.

It is essential that readers remain engaged, Murtha said. Toronto Star’s print ad innovation has lead to attention-grabbing advertising spaces on the cover of print products as well as cover wraps.

“Escaping the standard space creates visual impact,” Murtha said.

Toronto Star’s print innovation endeavors has lead to clear success for new and current products, Murtha said: “I’d like to say and confirm here there is still money in print.” 

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