Media buyers foresee problems with Thomson sale

With Hollinger, Quebecor and Torstar the likeliest beneficiaries of the sale of Thomson Newspaper Group's daily and community newspaper holdings, several media buyers have expressed concern that the increased concentration of ownership won't benefit Canadian advertisers. Rising ad rates aside, buyers...

With Hollinger, Quebecor and Torstar the likeliest beneficiaries of the sale of Thomson Newspaper Group’s daily and community newspaper holdings, several media buyers have expressed concern that the increased concentration of ownership won’t benefit Canadian advertisers.

Rising ad rates aside, buyers say there are other, more insidious problems that may arise with the consolidation of several properties under one owner.

Mariam Hoosen, vice-president, strategy director of Toronto-based media management company Starcom, says buyers might be forced to consider other media if they’re compelled to buy several newspapers within a chain in order to get a decent rate.

‘We try to be fair, but if a package is imposed on us…it’s not responsible for us to suggest it to our clients.’

In addition, Hoosen says organizational ‘synergies’ – shared content and a consequent reduction in editorial staff – threaten to reduce local coverage, a strength that has always made local papers attractive to advertisers.

‘If we want a national presence, we go into the National Post, The Globe and Mail, or magazines. But we often want to have insertions in local media that project (our client) as good citizens in that market as well.’

One of the most prized Thomson papers under scrutiny by suitors is The Winnipeg Free Press, which has three times the market penetration of its daily rival The Winnipeg Sun, a tabloid in the Quebecor chain.

Margot Brown, vice-president of client services and media for McKim Communications in Winnipeg, says the Free Press plays an important role in the city, in a region where there are fewer papers per community than are found in Ontario.

‘With all these changes, it will be interesting to see how much of the community aspect will be maintained and how much lost,’ she says.

While many are concerned about the spectre of one Canadian newspaper publishing company having too much control, David Cairns, president of Toronto-based media management firm Carat Cairns, says there are plenty of opportunities to be had in working with a corporation that has multiple media holdings.

The Thomson Corporation is divesting itself of all of its newspaper holdings – 75 non-daily and 55 daily newspapers in Canada and U.S. – except for The Globe and Mail. The company plans to concentrate on electronic and information services such as those it has built around the Globe brand – Globeinvestor.com, ROBTV, Globemegawheels.com, and the new job site Workopolis.com, a joint venture with Torstar.

In Brief: The Garden picks CDs to take on daily creative leadership

Plus, Naked names two new leaders of its own and Digital Ethos comes to Canada.
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The Garden promotes two creative directors

ACDs Lindsay Eady and Francheska Galloway-Davis have taken over responsibility for day-to-day creative leadership at The Garden after being promoted to creative director roles.

The pair will also help develop the agency’s creative talent, formalizing mentorship and leadership activities they have been doing since joining the agency four and three years ago, respectively. In addition to creating the agency’s internship program, the pair have worked on campaigns for Coinsquare, FitTrack and “The Coke Challenge” campaign for DanceSafe.

Eady and Galloway-Davis will continue to report to The Garden’s co-founder and chief creative officer Shane Ogilvie, who is stepping back from daily creative duties to a more high-level strategic role, allowing him to focus on client relationships and business growth.

Naked Creative Consultancy names new creative and strategy leadership

Toronto’s Naked Creative Consultancy has hired Yasmin Sahni as its new creative director. She is taking over creative leadership from David Kenyon, who has been in the role for 10 years and is moving into a new role as director of strategy, leading the discipline at the agency.

Sahni is coming off of three years as VP and ECD at GTB’s Toronto office, where she managed all the retail, social and service creative for Ford Canada. She previously managed both Vice Media and Vice’s in-house ad agency Virtue.

Peter Shier, president of Naked, says Sahni’s hiring adds to its creative bench and capabilities, as well as a track record of mentorship, a priority for the company. Meanwhile, Kenyon’s move to the strategy side, he says, makes sense because of his deep knowledge of its clients, which have included Ancestry and The Globe and Mail.

Digital Ethos opens a Toronto office

U.K. digital agency Digital Ethos is pursuing new growth opportunities in North America by opening a new office in Toronto.

Though it didn’t disclose them, the agency has begun serving a number of North American clients, and CEO/founder Luke Tobin says the “time was right to invest in a more formal and actual presence in the area.” whose services include design, SEO, pay-per-click, social media, influencer and PR,

This year, the agency’s growth has also allowed it to open an office in Hamburg, Germany, though it also has remote staff working in countries around the world.

Moray Hickes was the company’s first North American hire as VP of sales, tasked with business development in the region.