AR expansion and a new sales VP for Metro

Mark Finney on his initial plans for the new role, and updates to the media co's use of AR and 3D in its dailies.

Metro made a splash this spring, announcing former Guardian sales director Mark Finney would be coming to the media co to work as its VP of sales. He will be managing the sales group for Metro in addition to that of the Toronto Star, which were merged into one combined group earlier this year.

Finney will be starting in the office next week, and says the main reason he wanted to come to Canada and take on the role was his excitement around the brands that he will be working with, and the opportunities around selling them all together.

“I started thinking about the power and potential that the brands might have for advertisers when you sell all of these brands together,” he said. “When I do start in the role I want to make it really easy for advertisers to harness all the potential of that combined audience. What I want to do with the team is translate the value of the combined audience into a growing and justifiable space on media schedules. That is nice to say, but to be able to do it you need to describe the power of the combined audience, the kind of people they are, how they feel about the world around them, why they consume the brands that they do and also how they use all the platforms that the publications offer.”

Finney says he will be drawing from his experience at The Guardian, where he merged the print and digital sales teams early on due to the impact of digital on the U.K. market.

“Digital hit very hard and very early in the U.K., the amount of money from classified ads plummeted and media budgets got reallocated very quickly,” he says. “We had to explain the issues to the industry, and also how we were helping to alleviate them. What we were finally able to do was put mechanics in place to allow clients to buy audiences not platforms. When I have talked in the past people haven’t been interested in the platforms but in the audiences they could reach. That idea made me fascinated by this job, because I think we will be doing a lot of work qualifying what it is about the audiences that makes them different and desirable, as well as the massive scale we have.”

Finney will have access to sales options including Metro‘s recently introduced AR posts in his new role. Bill McDonald, president and publisher of Metro English Canada says that since the start of May there have been about four AR editorial posts running in the paper each day. One advertising integration has been done using the format so far, with Canadian Tire running a spot for its Jumpstart charity.

Metro will be expanding its AR offering this summer, relaunching  its Play page with the interactive element next month. McDonald says the paper will also be adding 3D elements to the paper this fall.

According to the latest numbers from nadBank, Metro had five-day print readership of 1.2 million in Toronto in 2013, with weekly online numbers coming in at 164,300 for the period. The Toronto Star had a seven-day print readership of 1.9 million in Toronto and a weekly digital footprint of 948,4000 visitors to its site.

Here are Metro readership numbers for other markets from the report:


Five-day print readership: 631,600

Weekly digital footprint: 50,100


Five-day print readership: 903,900

Weekly digital footprint: 73,800


Five-day print readership: 222,000

Weekly digital footprint: 23,500


Five-day print readership: 284,200

Weekly digital footprint: 35,100


Five-day print readership: 261,000

Weekly digital footprint: 24,000