NADbank building on solid base

Anne Ruta is executive director of Toronto-based NADbank. Given the heightened attention that the newspaper war has focused on the annual NADbank readership study, Strategy figured it was time to check in and find out what's up with the Canadian newspaper...

Anne Ruta is executive director of Toronto-based NADbank. Given the heightened attention that the newspaper war has focused on the annual NADbank readership study, Strategy figured it was time to check in and find out what’s up with the Canadian newspaper industry’s principal research body. This is Ruta’s report.

It has been a tumultuous year for newspapers – and for newspaper research – in Canada. A little more than 18 months ago, a new national daily was launched into a fragmented media marketplace, and consumers were exposed to one of the most fiercely aggressive campaigns to build newspaper readership that this country has ever seen.

The result was a significantly more dynamic newspaper marketplace. The results of the NADbank 1999 Survey – the first to include the new National Post – were awaited anxiously by the industry. With so much at stake, NADbank chose to postpone the release of the study in order to complete a review, so that our members could be assured that the data was, indeed, an accurate reflection of the marketplace. And as our review confirmed, the survey results reflected a wildly volatile market.

Newspaper readership research in Canada has evolved and grown along with the newspaper industry, and the needs of the buying community.

In 1997, NADbank became a tripartite organization. Where our membership once consisted solely of daily newspapers, it now encompasses advertisers and agencies as well.

Today, our expanded board of directors includes a number of leading Canadian advertising and media executives, who motivate the organization to consider future market directions and the changing role of media buying. And, with their support, NADbank is now able to source membership fees from a growing roster of agencies and advertisers, to provide funding for the study and other new initiatives.

Two and a half years ago, NADbank’s technical committee began the task of shaping what was already a comprehensive survey into a piece of leading-edge media research.

As an organization, our mandate is to measure accurately the size, quality and characteristics of the medium; NADbank, however, has expanded beyond this key role, and now provides its advertiser and agency members with information on consumer buying patterns, lifestyles and media habits, across a wide range of product and retail categories.

NADbank 1999 includes readership data on a total of 60 dailies in 40 urban markets, representing 92% of the total daily newspaper circulation in Canada. In all, 26 markets now have product data that can be directly linked to newspaper readership data.

As a rule, newspapers have funded half-samples each year, to provide buyers with larger samples than would otherwise be financially feasible on an annual basis. Last year, in response to the buying community’s need for larger and more current samples, three markets conducted full samples: Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa – all of which now have data on the National Post.

In addition, a supplementary database with aggregated 1999 data provides members with readership information on the National Post, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, the Torstar Daily Newspaper Group and Sun Media papers for 16 English markets and three major regions across Canada.

In order to standardize newspaper research in Canada and bring smaller newspapers into the study, NADbank also introduced its "Readership Only" study in 1999, which covers markets with populations of less than 150,000. A total of 13 new NADbank members participated in this study.

To provide added value to members, NADbank has formed partnerships with Compusearch and Generation 5, thereby making it possible to do geo-demographic and psychographic analysis with the NADbank product data.

Currently, NADbank conducts its study annually. However, as the economy changes and markets grow more dynamic, there may well be a need to provide data more often. So in the fall of 1999, NADbank introduced a second "Readership Only" study. The goal was to gauge the level of interest in more frequent measurement of dailies, and to provide updated information on the highly competitive Toronto market. The methodology was identical to the spring survey, and the results directly comparable.

With this strong base to build upon, NADbank has some ambitious plans for 2000.

Because it’s important to maintain continuity in an annual study, changes can be difficult to introduce. Still, it is essential that we continually evaluate our product – both to assure ourselves that it measures what it’s supposed to measure, and to make certain that it keeps pace with the changing media landscape.

A technical review of the NADbank Study during the summer of 1999 confirmed that it continues to meet our criteria for accurate and reliable data. At the same time, however, the review highlighted a number of issues for further consideration – and as a result, changes have been made to the methodology, thereby establishing a more stable research platform.

The 2000 study will include 66 daily papers in 46 markets across Canada. Product data will be available for 26 markets.

Given the breadth and complexity of the NADbank study, it is essential that we continue to work with our members to ensure that they understand how to use it effectively. Through presentations and training, we endeavour to keep our members across Canada up to date on any enhancements made to the study.

Ongoing dialogue with our software suppliers, meanwhile, helps to ensure that the study is readily accessible and the software easy to use.

The NADbank Web site ( offers extensive information on newspaper readership. And designated "members only" areas within the site provide NADbank members with access to even more detailed data.

Looking forward, there are many new opportunities upon which the NADbank study may choose to capitalize. Some of the possibilities we are considering include: larger sample sizes, more frequent measurement in the major markets, ongoing expansion of the product survey, a focus on teen readership, more detailed sectional readership information and expanded multi-media data. As time passes, the study will continue to evolve to meet the needs of the advertising industry.

Also in this report:

- Flying blind: Without knowing the answers to some pretty fundamental questions about newspaper readership, media buyers are forced to make their decisions based on assumptions, not facts. And that’s not good enough, says one expert. p.B16

- The war: views from the sidelines: The battle of the national dailies is causing other papers to redesign, rethink their news delivery p.B20

- Spotlight on Newspaper Creative p.B23

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.

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.