Videoway Multimedia opens Toronto marketing office

In a bid to develop closer contacts with national advertisers based in Toronto, Videoway Multimedia has opened an office in that city.Videoway Multimedia is the sales and marketing arm of Groupe Videotron, the Montreal-based cable operator that is developing an interactive...

In a bid to develop closer contacts with national advertisers based in Toronto, Videoway Multimedia has opened an office in that city.

Videoway Multimedia is the sales and marketing arm of Groupe Videotron, the Montreal-based cable operator that is developing an interactive communications system linked to the household tv.

The system, known as ubi, which stands for universality bidirectionality interactivity, will offer home shopping, home banking and home automation, among other things.

The new Toronto office will house three consultants charged with contacting potential ubi advertisers and making sure they are aware of the system, of how it operates, and of what it has to offer.

Videoway Multimedia has operated a similar office in Montreal since the beginning of the year.

But Pierre Dion, the firm’s general manager, sales and marketing, says he feels the time has come to establish a presence in Toronto.

Dion says an estimated 60% of ubi’s potential advertisers have their headquarters in Toronto, so it only makes sense to set up shop in the city.

As well, he says about 60 Toronto-based advertisers have sent ubi letters indicating interest in the system.

Dion says the ball is in Videoway Multimedia’s court now, adding that ‘by coming to them, we will show how serious we are.’

In January, Videotron announced the formation of a consortium, comprising itself, its interactive subsidiary Videoway Communications, and five other companies, which would finance ubi’s development.

Implementation of a major market test, involving 34,000 households in and around Chicoutimi, Que., is scheduled for the fall of next year.

The list of companies Videoway Multimedia has already met with reads like a who’s who of Canada’s major advertisers.

The companies include: Coca-Cola, General Mills, Nestle Canada, Petro Canada, Sears Canada, Goodyear Canada, Campbell Soup, Regal Greetings and Gifts and Whitehall-Robins.

Dion says the Toronto and Montreal offices are staffed with experienced marketers, who will assist advertisers and their agencies in finding ways to integrate ubi into their existing media plans.

He says when ubi was launched at the beginning of the year, clients, particularly at the senior levels, were initially more receptive to hearing about it than were agencies.

But he says agency interest has caught up, adding ‘as we speak today, the agencies are all aware of it and are working hard to figure out how to integrate interactivity into their agencies.’

Videoway Multimedia will soon launch a training program, a sort of ubi multimedia school, to support the efforts of its Montreal and Toronto consultants.

Dion says he intends to establish a full-day training course at a yet-to-be determined location in Montreal, possibly the University of Montreal, that will be open to anyone in the industry who has an interest in the ubi system.

According to Dion, the course curriculum will be designed to teach the technical side of the information superhighway, the ins and outs of the ubi system and offer concrete examples of interactive marketing programs.

Dion says his goal is to increase the chances that advertisers will be successful in their initial marketing initiatives on ubi.

He says if too many marketing plans crash during the early going, advertisers will begin to think twice about using the system.

‘At the end of the course, people are going to say, `So that’s what the information highway is about, and that is how ubi can work for me,’ ‘ Dion says.