Canadian Magazine Industry News
19 December 2008,     TORONTO
Circ Watch 2008 excerpt: Gathering data online

Back in October, we gathered three of the country's top circulators—Jason Patterson of Transcontinental Media, Jon Spencer of Abacus Circulation, and Peter Willson of Hello! Canada (Rogers)—for a wide-ranging conversation over lunch at The Rivoli in Toronto, moderated by our Circ Matters columnist, Scott Bullock.

A lengthy, edited version of that discussion will appear in the final print edition of Masthead, due in mid-January. In the meantime, we'll be running some selected excerpts here on MastheadOnline, partly to build anticipation and partly beause there's not enough room in the print magazine to fit all 10,000+ words.

Below, the panel discusses how the online world is changing the way circulators gather data.

Scott: Jason, what trends can you share with us about demographics online?

Jason: We see a huge difference between brands and how the audiences participate online. Some of our brands don’t really sell that much online. Something like the Hockey News does phenomenally well with anything that we offer for purchase online, just because it’s a demographic of guys that are like that, plus we have a cross border presence too. Some of our magazines don’t get much traffic at all in terms of e-commerce, relative to the size of their audience.

Scott: Are you able to capture any demographic information online that typically you can’t do with a blow-in card or other sources?

Jason: We’re heading in that direction, but we don’t do a lot yet. Typical to our disciplined approach, we have to prove that it’s OK to do.

Scott: Without diminishing responses…

Jon: Or privacy issues…

Jason: Yes. We’re probably going to start acquiring through other tools once we get you into the community. The website will have sign-up ability so that you’re a user of the site as opposed to just a user of the magazine. And that’s where you start to collect that other stuff that people are willing to give you as opposed to asking.

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Wow, Torstar really seems to be on a mission to bankrupt one magazine after another....
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