Metro gets set to ‘Play’

The Toronto daily is launching a new 'games' product next week designed to entertain commuters on the go.

The start of September is always a little bittersweet, but Metro Toronto is hoping to make it a little less bitter with a new games product designed to entertain commuters.

MetroPlay, launching Sept. 7, is a new 16-page print publication and website featuring train and streetcar-friendly games such as Soduku, crossword puzzles and word games. The games are also featured online at (also going live Sept. 7) and on Sept. 20, Metro is launching a MetroPlay iPhone app.

Targeted at downtown professionals on their lunch break or making the trek home, MetroPlay paper will be distributed Monday to Friday with a circulation of 100,000 through channels such as street teams, Gateway kiosks, International Newsstands and Pizza Pizza locations downtown. The street teams will also be handing out Metro-branded pencils during the first two weeks of launch.

The new pub is being promoted with traditional media such as in-paper advertising in Metro, spots on Flow 93.5 in Toronto and in-store at distribution points. As well, a ‘playful’ experiential campaign will run throughout September, featuring random hopscotch chalk art on city sidewalks and teams of double-dutch skippers drawing attention to the street teams handing out papers.

Ad opps for MetroPlay are mainly traditional, with a ‘limited inventory’ of quarter-page, half-page and full-page ads inside the paper, as well as earlug and banner ads on the front page, as well as display ads online, Irene Patterson, publisher, MetroPlay, tells MiC.

‘We will even customize games for advertisers within their ad space,’ she adds.

The diversion page on facing the inside back cover of Metro has always been popular, Patterson says, and the paper’s market research has long indicated there was reader appetite for more games content, she says. A poll through the paper’s reader panel confirmed the opportunity was viable, green-lighting the project for production.

‘The response through the reader panel was overwhelming that this was a great product for both the lunch crowd and the commuter going home,’ Patterson says.