Metro Vancouver faces increasingly crowded market

In addition to yesterday's launch of Metro Vancouver and the upcoming launch of Dose, the Globe and Mail is expected to roll '7,' its weekly tabloid entertainment and lifestyle section, into the city and, says Vancouver-based media consultant Smita Patel, Sun Media is reportedly bringing its free daily 24 to the market as well.
All of this activity will ultimately be positive for local advertisers, says Patel. 'TV is outrageously expensive. Radio is cluttered and there are a lot of games being played that are keeping the rates high. Outdoor is difficult to buy because of limited space and it gets sold out. I hope the (free dailies) won't be so outrageously priced because I really think the local advertisers are going to win.'

In addition to yesterday’s launch of Metro Vancouver and the upcoming launch of Dose, the Globe and Mail is expected to roll ’7,’ its weekly tabloid entertainment and lifestyle section, into the city and, says Vancouver-based media consultant Smita Patel, Sun Media is reportedly bringing its free daily 24 to the market as well.

All of this activity will ultimately be positive for local advertisers, says Patel. ‘TV is outrageously expensive. Radio is cluttered and there are a lot of games being played that are keeping the rates high. Outdoor is difficult to buy because of limited space and it gets sold out. I hope the (free dailies) won’t be so outrageously priced because I really think the local advertisers are going to win.’

Metro Vancouver, a free daily created as a joint venture of Torstar, CanWest MediaWorks and Metro International SA, has the triumvirate setting its sights on the city’s 18-49s. Vancouver joins Toronto and Montreal as the third market in Canada for Swedish-based Metro, which publishes similar papers in 17 countries.

With Metro Vancouver, CanWest pretty much has every demographic covered in the market and still plans to launch Dose in Vancouver and four other cities on April 4. The news, information and entertainment daily is national with a local overlay specific to Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Toronto.

Dose will skew a little younger than Metro, targeting 18-35s with 24 as the bull’s-eye via multiple touch points – print, online (www.dose.ca) and a wireless portal.

Metro Vancouver will circulate 145,000 copies daily while Dose plans a national run of 320,000 – 80,000 of those scheduled for the Vancouver market.

CanWest currently owns the Vancouver Province and the Vancouver Sun as well as a number of weekly community papers in the area.

The Province‘s readership, mainly 18-34s, has been pretty steady but the Sun‘s numbers amongst 25-54s have been slipping a bit. Patel says the launch of Metro Vancouver is a good strategy to attract a younger audience and sell that hard-to-reach young demo to advertisers, although CanWest risks cannibalizing some of its Province and Sun readerships.

She says this venture may also help CanWest recapture some of the ad dollars it has lost over the years to Georgia Straight, a 30-year-old weekly lifestyle and entertainment paper that reaches 340,000 young readers each week.

Patel says she was glad to see Metro is a joint venture rather than three individual papers because the market is getting saturated with younger-skewed print media.

‘I don’t think there is room for two or three competitors in the same field. When I first heard there was going to be Metro, Dose and the Globe and Mail section, I thought it would be a bloodbath and that the one with the deepest pockets would win.’