Mac users get a forum

The best aspects of a career in the newspaper advertising sales business involve working with interesting and creative customers.When Robert Cohen of The Cohen Group gave me a call some months ago and said, 'Let's get together to talk about an...

The best aspects of a career in the newspaper advertising sales business involve working with interesting and creative customers.

When Robert Cohen of The Cohen Group gave me a call some months ago and said, ‘Let’s get together to talk about an idea for a new joint venture,’ the antennae went up.

When we sat down to talk, Cohen outlined how he had been giving a lot of thought to the Canadian Apple/Macintosh marketplace.

He explained that this community now has about 300,000 members and is growing rapidly.

In slightly more than a year, Apple’s Macintosh has almost doubled its market share in Canada, to the point at which it now represents about 20% of all microcomputer sales.

U.S. pubs

However, Canadian Mac users’ only source of news and information about the Mac environment is u.s. publications.

Despite the lucrative market in Canada, there is no cost-effective vehicle for advertisers to reach the Canadian Mac marketplace and, consequently, Canadian advertisers rely on u.s. publications such as MacUser, MacWeek and MacWorld to market their products.

Cohen detailed what he thought to be the primary weaknesses of u.s. publications: they do not cover the Canadian market or issues that are of particular interest and relevance to Canadians; they do not publish Canadian sources for Mac products and services; they do not publish profiles on Canadian users; they have high advertising rates; and they average more than 300 pages per issue, which means advertisers must aggressively compete for attention in a forum consisting of much more advertising than editorial.

His idea was to develop a forum for disseminating information regarding the complete range of Apple and Apple-compatible hardware, software and peripheral products and services, as well as trends, educational information and opinions to the existing and growing Canadian marketplace.

He also saw a chance to stimulate more interest in Apple/ Macintosh products and services among Canadian businesses (I now knew why he was talking to The Globe and Mail) and position the products as viable solutions to their information technology needs.

Cohen explained that he had been hired by a consortium of investors who were interested in becoming the publishers (MacBiz Publishing) of Canadian Mac-related editorial products.

Not surprisingly, the meeting was stimulating and I was definitely leaning forward.

We finished up by agreeing to work together in the creation of a cost-effective network advertising buy for companies which wished to market Apple/Mac and related products and services to the Canadian marketplace.

Two Canadian editorial products will be launched shortly.

The MacBiz Reporter will be a bi-monthly supplement (six times a year) to the national edition of The Globe and Mail, with a circulation of more than 311,000.

The editorial will consist of primarily fast-paced news, product reviews, business application stories and short human interest stories directed to an audience of readers in the Canadian business community.

It will be a full newspaper broadsheet format, as a free-standing section if more than eight pages and included as run-of-press in the Globe’s Report on Business section if less than eight pages.

Advertising in the section will be cost-effective.

The first issue is planned for Nov. 17.

Published six times a year (on alternate months to the MacBiz Reporter), MacBiz Canada Magazine will be delivered to more than 60,000 targetted Canadian Apple users.

The circulation consists of heavy users, as determined by Apple Canada, attendees of the MacWorld Canada Expo, Canadian Mac Dealers and a growing base of paid subscribers.

The magazine will provide a distinctly Canadian editorial package on the products and services available here.

The launch issue will be inserted into the full national edition of the Globe. The first issue is planned for February.

The publications will heavily cross-promote each other in every issue.

The editorial direction of the two new products will be handled by Steve Wexler.

Having spent eight years as an editor of leading Canadian high-tech publications, Wexler has the publishing experience and knowledge base needed to ensure high quality and lively editorial content.

Each product will have its own editor: MacBiz Canada will be edited by Melanie Franner, while Marisa Mainelli will edit The MacBiz Reporter.

Recently, Apple Canada helped MacBiz Publishing launch the project by donating space in its booth at MacWorld Expo/Canada on Sept. 20-22 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The double launch amounts to what is probably the most comprehensive vertical/horizontal advertising network buy for any Canadian newspaper and magazine.

Advertisers will enjoy rate discounts when buying the two products in combination, and there will be a joint and co-operative sales effort by sales representatives from MacBiz Publishing and the Globe.

Cathy Wilson is sales manager at The Globe and Mail, specializing in the computer, business services and recruitment categories.