T.o.night puts readers on PATH of persuasion

The evening daily newspaper in Toronto has set a new indoor media strategy to boost readership among commuters coming and going from Union Station.

Forgoing the pageboy caps and Newsies-style sales strategy of its outdoor paper carriers, t.o.night has launched a new indoor media campaign to get papers into the hands of that elusive Toronto commuter: the PATH user.

Working with Toronto-based IMA Outdoor Group, the free weekday newspaper launched an indoor billboard campaign this week focusing on PATH, the system of underground walkways and retail spaces in downtown Toronto. Each billboard features a pocket containing 75 to 100 newspapers people can grab on the way by.

The independently owned t.o.night Newspaper Group purchased six billboards through the high-volume traffic areas, in the hopes of grabbing the attention of the approximately 100,000 Go Train and TTC commuters who use the concourse to reach Union Station.

‘None of our billboards face south,’ t.o.night publisher John A. Cameron, told MiC. ‘We plan all our billboards based on where traffic will be heading in the evening. All of them are facing north or east or west – all based on where traffic would be heading at the end of day.’

‘We’re a little taken aback with how successful it’s been,’ he added. ‘Our pick-up rates have substantially increased.’

Cameron said an exclusivity distribution agreement between competitor Metro and Gateway Distribution prevents t.o.night from entering the subway premises, so the paper has had to rely on an alternate strategy.

‘Although Metro currently has an exclusivity with Gateway, there’s basically nothing preventing you being five feet in front of the door in front of the TTC, so this is a way to target those TTC riders when they’re underground, and work around that,’ said Cameron, who also came up with the idea for the campaign.

Cameron said immediate plans are to increase the number of billboards to 15, and add more newspaper pockets for each.

He also said that the distribution campaign may last beyond its original winter mandate if results continue to improve.

T.o.night prints 50,000 copies daily and is distributed exclusively in Toronto’s downtown core.