Browsing articles from "November, 2010"

Liveblog: The future of Facebook in Canada

Nov 30, 2010   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

Jordan Banks, Managing Director of Facebook Canada. - Photo by

At nextMEDIA in Toronto, Facebook Canada managing director Jordan Banks talks about Facebook’s role in Canada and how businesses can leverage social media to boost their brand. This is a liveblog running from 2 p.m. to 2: 45 p.m. is once again a media sponsor of digital media conference nextMEDIA. Taking place on Nov. 29 and 30 in Toronto, nextMEDIA features speakers from leading companies such as Facebook and Torstar Digital.

In this one-on-one conversation, Achilles Media CEO Robert Montgomery sits down with Jordan Banks, managing director of Facebook Canada. Banks is discussing where he sees the future of Facebook in Canada and how businesses can take advantage of Facebook to help their company reach more people and increase their revenue.

Banks manages all commercial operations at the Facebook Canada office based in Toronto, Ontario. Previously, Banks was CEO of Jump TV, a leading broadcaster of sports and international television over the Internet. He was also the head eBay Canada. He is a member of the Young President’s Organization and was previously named one of Canada’s “Top 40 Under 40″ honorees.

For more on Facebook’s role in Canada, follow Bank’s discussion via our liveblog below. You can also see a sit-down TV interview Digital Journal did with Jordan Banks.

Banks is scheduled to speak from 2 – 2:45 p.m. (Eastern). Anyone can view and comment on the liveblog:

How media companies are harnessing the mobile space

Nov 30, 2010   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

A nextMEDIA panel discusses the fragmentation of media. From left to right: Matthieu Houle, Director, Mobile & Platforms, Yellow Pages Group; Angus Frame, Vice President, Digital Media, Globe and Mail; Candice Faktor, Vice President, Strategy and New Ventures, Torstar Digital; Sara Diamond, President, Ontario College of Art & Design; and Marina Glogovac, Chief Marketing Officer, Kobo eReader.

By David Silverberg

In a panel discussion at NextMedia Toronto 2010, prominent decision-makers at some of Canada’s leading digital companies spoke on the various benefits of bringing their content to the mobile market.

Toronto’s Design Exchange was the site for a discussion on the various platforms available to media companies who want to bring their content to tech-savvy customers. Moderating the panel was Sara Diamond, president of the Ontario College of Art & Design. The speakers included: Candice Faktor, Vice President, Strategy and New Ventures, at Torstar Digital; Angus Frame, Vice President, Digital Media at The Globe and Mail; Marina Glogovac, Chief Marketing Officer, for Kobo eReader; and Matthieu Houle, Director, Mobile & Platforms for Yellow Pages Group.

The session began with Glogovac citing Verizon as a business role model, saying she admired how it transformed from “a sleepy carrier into a 3G powerhouse, unafraid to cannibalize its own business.” Torstar Digital’s Faktor then pointed out how businesses should realize there isn’t one centralized approach to mobile. “Each brand and business should look at the market to see how it’ll define their business,” she said.

Faktor hinted Torstar will soon be offering daily deals for mobile users, a connection that makes sense considering Torstar’s acquisition of group-buying company WagJag. A mobile push requires a multi-pronged approach, she said. “Torstar’s mobile experience is a collaborative effort between the content management system, the content producers and the ventures group making everything work. There are many challenges when you have a big organization such as ours.”

The Globe & Mail‘s Angus Frame said the past two years were “intense with lots of experimentation in the digital space.” The Globe and Mail views mobile as a “catchpoint” for its customers: users accessed their mobile apps when print readers usually put the paper down, such as in the evening and on the way to work. “It’s not a black and white transition, to engage with customers on different platforms,” Frame noted. He added its apps, such as the iPad app, also attracted traditional national advertisers as well as new Globe readers.

Houle stressed Yellow Pages Group is focused on local search, and they view the smartphone as the ultimate tool for search. “We don’t view phones as a major change to our business model but an extension and acceleration.”

At Kobo, an eReader company, Glogovac found male customers use their apps differently than women: men tend to graze, looking for how-to books. Women prefer longer-form content, such as novels. She also noticed baby boomers are still willing to pay for content, while younger users are more accepting of advertising but not keen on paying for content.

Houle’s free app, Urbanizer, was introduced to the NextMedia crowd: he said the app allows users to search for services nearby based on “mood”, such as looking for “trendy restaurants” or “intimate coffee shops.” He said Urbanizer “satisfies a customer’s basic need to search socially for bars and restaurants that might fit their needs.”

The panel was then asked about the skill sets their companies look for in new hires. Frame said The Globe and Mail has overhauled its “internal communications skills” and has focused on analyzing metrics to help the team better understand its digital potential. “Also, design is no longer a flat experience; we are designing so people can interact with our content and seamlessly move across different platforms.”

The single biggest change in this area is how publishers are talking to customers directly, Glogovac said. She said, as a marketer, she prefers avoiding traditional PR routes and instead would hire journalists and writers “who know how to talk to people directly.”

Houle ended the discussion by pointing out companies should be in control of the conversation between themselves and customers. That idea led Frame to mention how Facebook is both competition and complementary to The Globe and Mail‘s interests.

Faktor said media firms should find out where users gather. “Consumers are promiscuous and it is up to us to be there in different media platforms.”

Liveblog: Open vs closed, content distribution in the digital age

Nov 29, 2010   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

A panel discussion on open VS closed networks takes place at nextMEDIA in Toronto. From left to right: Matt Thompson, Mozilla Drumbeat; Janis Nixon, Universal Island Def Jam; Richard Kanee a digital media expert; Michael Hennessy, Telus; and Theresa Smith, Olive Media.

We’re live from nextMEDIA in downtown Toronto, covering a panel discussion on open vs closed content in the digital age. The panel discussion features representatives from Telus, Universal Island Def Jam and Mozilla Drumbeat. is once again a media sponsor of digital media conference nextMEDIA. Taking place on Nov. 29 and 30 in Toronto, nextMEDIA features speakers from leading companies such as Facebook and Torstar Digital.

In this liveblog from Toronto’s Design Exchange, we’re following a panel discussion on open versus closed content distribution networks.

Over the last decade, content creators and distributors have struggled to respond to the dramatic behavioral shifts of digital audiences and the “liberation of content” brought on by the Web.

This panel aims to address strategies industry leaders are using to monetize and compete with “free” while still giving audiences what they want, when they want it.

The panel is moderated by Theresa Smith, VP Product at Olive Media. Speakers include: Michael Hennessy, Senior Vice-President, Regulatory and Government Affairs at Telus; Richard Kanee a digital media expert; Janis Nixon, Marketing Director for Universal Island Def Jam; and Matt Thompson, Communications Strategist with Mozilla Drumbeat.

For more on this, follow the liveblog below. It’s scheduled to run from about 11:15 to noon (Eastern):

Liveblog: Who will bring order and profit to the digital world?

Nov 29, 2010   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

By Chris Hogg

Speaking at nextMEDIA in downtown Toronto, founder Michael Wolff discusses digital media’s impact and what the future holds for organizing the industry and generating profits. This is a liveblog of the nextMEDIA keynote address. is once again a media sponsor of digital media conference nextMEDIA. Taking place on Nov. 29 and 30 in Toronto, nextMEDIA features speakers from leading companies such as Facebook and Torstar Digital.

In this liveblog from Toronto’s Design Exchange, we’re following the keynote address by Michael Wolff, founder of

Newser is a news aggregator that selects and condenses news stories from hundreds of sources all over the Web. The company summarizes each story into two succinct paragraphs or less.

In his keynote, Wolff is discussing who will bring order and profits to the digital world.

“Chaos isn’t a business model,” says Wolff. “A new breed of media moguls is bringing order — and profits — to the digital world.” Wolff is an author, essayist, contributing editor for Wired, columnist for Vanity Fair and founder of

At nextMEDIA, Wolff discusses the impact of digital media. First music, then publishing, television and advertising — all have been hit by the digital tsunami. He asks questions such as: Are we finally pulling back from the chaos caused by an open web? Are we returning to a world away from the Web, where audiences are willing to remain in closed walled gardens?

For more on this, follow Wolff’s keynote via our liveblog below. Wolff is scheduled to speak from 9:15 – 9:45 am (Eastern): founder explains why Canada needs a politics-only news site

Nov 25, 2010   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by David Silverberg

The U.S. has Politico for its in-depth political news and now an online media outlet is shaping up to be the Politico of Canada. launched on Monday and the site features political coverage on policy, departmental news and inside scoops from Parliament Hill. It not only includes original reporting from eight full-time journalists but also news feeds from Canadian Press and Postmedia. Also, the content partnership with Postmedia allows the conglomerate to republish articles after they appear on the site.

If Monday’s traffic congestion is any indication, may have a bright future: on Monday, the site’s servers crashed because it was flooded with more than 30,000 pageviews within hours. The Ottawa-based team can handle the financial burden of such an emergency – they are funded by a wealthy family in Canada who gave them a cheque in “the seven figures.”

Founder James Baxter, formerly a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation, spoke to Future of Media about the site’s paywall, the importance of reporting on Canadian politics and why the site isn’t for the average news consumer.

Future of Media: Why do you think is necessary in today’s already crowded media landscape?

Baxter: Readership habits are changing. Verticals like thrive because people want to go to the best-informed news sites. I think across the world there is a  cheapening of political coverage along with growing cynicism and a trend toward columns as opposed to straight-up reporting. We realize our site is not for everybody, but for people who are intelligent, like to have facts and make up their own minds.

Future of Media: So isn’t for the everyday news junkie?

Baxter: Reporters are aiming coverage for professionals working in the public service. The coverage is more micro-level than what you would find in, say, The Globe & Mail. It’s for people who live, drink and breathe politics. People like those working in medical associations, trade groups, exporters, companies supplying the government…they would be interested in our news.

Future of Media:  You have a paywall on your site, offering monthly subscriptions starting at $15. Why did you decide to go this route, considering how contentious paywalls have been recently?

Baxter: I would be lying if I said that decision didn’t keep me up at night from time to time. The future of news is still up for grabs, and people from Rupert Murdoch to the Globe & Mail owners are trying to figure out how can we make this a professional business again. I think time is running out to come up with solutions. We started with a paid service because we hope people realize there’s value in our news. It would be harder if we started offering news free then decided to clamp down on it.

Future of Media: What were some of the challenges you faced getting off the ground?

Baxter: Getting past the fear factor of finding good reporters who are willing to give themselves to journalism. I notice some are going into PR, some don’t want to tackle politics, and that’s fine. After all, we were below the radar for a long time, we only are just now getting a gamut of resumes. That’s OK. We husbanded our resources and are well funded going into the future.

Future of Media: Speaking of moving forward, what else can we expect from in the coming months?

Baxter: I was just in a meeting about an iPhone app so that’s in the works. Also, we want to bring the fun back in the newsroom because we’re dog-tired trying to get the site off the ground. We know can be fun and compelling and we also want to come up with new ways to tell political stories. That’ll be our challenge going forward.