Rogers’ Next Issue Canada launches national campaign

In conjunction with the wider release of Next Issue Canada, the all-you-can-read subscription service that gives readers access to more than 115 North American magazines on their tablet, Rogers Media has launched a national marketing campaign to entice Canadians to subscribe. During the initial 60-day free trial period of the service—which was offered exclusively to […]

In conjunction with the wider release of Next Issue Canada, the all-you-can-read subscription service that gives readers access to more than 115 North American magazines on their tablet, Rogers Media has launched a national marketing campaign to entice Canadians to subscribe.

During the initial 60-day free trial period of the service—which was offered exclusively to Rogers customers as of Oct. 15—Next Issue and Rogers rolled out a joint marketing program that has included bill inserts, advertising on Rogers.com and in-store advertising.

A broader multi-platform national campaign launched Monday since the service is now being offered—starting with a 30-day free trial—to the mass market beyond just Rogers customers. The new campaign includes TV, radio, print and out-of-home focused in commuter and travel hubs like train stations and airports. OMD handled the media buy.

In and around Toronto, for example, brand ambassadors will explain how the Next Issue Canada service works to commuters during the morning and evening rush at Union and several GO train stations. The ambassadors will also distribute more than 150,000 promotional postcards (pictured) that come with a digital screen wipe. The first round of the activation will take place until the end of this week, then happen again from Jan. 6 to 10. A similar activation will run at Toronto’s Pearson and Billy Bishop airports.

Next Issue Canada president Ken Whyte, who joined the service after leaving his post as president of Rogers Media’s publishing division in the fall, told Marketing that the media company is putting serious support into marketing the new service.

“Rogers Publishing owns about 55 magazines, including a dozen large consumer titles, and the marketing push behind Next Issue is far more than we spend on marketing all of those magazines,” said Whyte.

While he wouldn’t give a precise figure for the marketing budget, he confirmed it was “in the eight-figure range.”

Whyte said internal marketing resources at Rogers have worked to modify materials for the national Canadian campaign that were supplied by Next Issue in the U.S. The U.S. team had worked with a couple of San Francisco-based creative agencies on some basic branding work and to create some marketing assets, such as print ads.  “So far, we’ve been managing [creative work on the national campaign] internally, though we expect our needs will change over time.”

When asked how many subscribers Next Issue Canada is aiming to get with the national campaign, Whyte quickly responded “All of them.” He said that magazines have never been presented to people in this way before and Rogers has a pretty good idea of the size of the market after doing extensive testing before its launch to show consumers the different price points and magazine mixes.

He won’t share the precise internal estimates of what Rogers thinks the market for Next Issue will be, but does refer to recent Ipsos Reid numbers that show that one in three Canadians now own a tablet. “And it will grow as the tablet audience grows,” he adds. “In fact, I think after Christmas there’ll be more tablets around than we figured.”

Is there a risk of negatively affecting Rogers’ print business with this digital subscription offering? “We looked at the question of cannibalizing our print business very, very closely,” he said. “Of course you’re very concerned that you don’t want to build a new business that cannibalizes the old business unless you’re sure that the new business is going to do a lot better for you.”

In this case, because a subscription to Next Issue Canada costs $9.99 a month for the basic service and $14.99 a month for the premium version with access to weekly magazines, and 60% of subscribers so far have chosen the premium package, “it’s actually about $13 a month revenue per user, or well over $150 a year revenue per user, which is more than three times what our average magazine print subscriber was giving us.

“Every time we can move a subscriber from print to Next Issue we’re much better off as a company and the individual brands are much better off as well because they continue to get revenue and they don’t have to incur the huge costs of printing, paper, distribution and marketing through the mail.”

Disclosure: Rogers Media owns Marketing and MarketingMag.ca

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