Cadillac Fairview launches Eaton Centre content studio

"Streaming at CF" adds a new experiential element to the mall, while connecting with content creators and their fans.

Cadillac Fairview has launched a space where podcasters and video creators can produce content on-site, an experiential way to provide entertainment to mall visitors and draw in fans.

Located at Toronto’s Eaton Centre, “Streaming by CF” features a studio space with a full set-up for podcast and online video creation, with screens broadcasting the process for shoppers passing by. It also features a store selling merch, both from creators who use the space and others in the Toronto creator community, as well as a lounge space. Sections the space have also been dedicated to content that Madeline Wolkove, director of experience marketing and communications at Cadillac Fairview, says over-indexes with YouTube viewers and its shoppers, such as gaming, food, beauty and music, which are also categories served by Eaton Centre retailers.

Cadillac Fairview will be bringing in a roster of creators to the space. The opening weekend will bring a number of creators into the space, including former Toronto Raptor Danny Green (recording his podcast Inside the Green Room with Harrison Sanford), brothers Jae and Trey Richards (who run the 4YE Comedy YouTube channel) and DJ and hip-hop producer Ajay Saxena. Outside of the talent Cadillac Fairview brings in, other creators can submit their proposal for the space via email to be considered for an available time slot.

Wolkove says the studio will be open until Oct. 31, though it is considering ways it could potentially bring similar concepts to its other malls and shopping centres.

“We have a vacant unit, as mall operators sometimes do, so we decided to utilize it as an opportunity to test something that we could connect with the community on a different level,” she says. “We think it’s important to use our buildings and spaces in different ways for the community.”

Wolkove says part of the goal behind “Streaming at CF” was to forge greater connections with the creator community in Toronto, adding that the studio might be especially appreciated after YouTube announced its Creator Studio in the city would be closing. But it is also a way to adapt to the changing nature of physical retail, where experiences are a key factor in driving mall visits.

“From a ‘retail-tainment’ standpoint, there will be a lot of content for our shoppers,” Wolkove says. “We need to find better ways to connect with our shoppers and bring them experiences they wouldn’t expect to drive visits to the mall. We also needed a way to connect with people in a digital world, and take the things they are interested in when it comes to a digital environment and connect them with the physical world. This is doing that and giving people another reason to come to our properties, outside of simply shopping.”

And from a pure product standpoint, Wolkove points out that merch from online creators is a “booming” product category, and the space gives CF a way to participate in it in a way none of its current retailers are able to.

The initiative was spearheaded by Ravel by CF, the company’s internal innovation team that was created earlier this year. While Ravel was launched to utilize digital platforms, connected technologies and AI to improve the consumer experience, Wolkove says this is more of an example of the Ravel’s goal of exploring new ideas to disrupt the retail experience. Ravel currently has a number of other projects currently being piloted at several CF properties, although Wolkove could not provide more details.