Bell Media, a player in the Daily Deals industry with AstralRadioDeals.com

Within the deals industry in Canada, most large Media companies are participating in one way or another. Torstar owns Wagjag, Jaunt.ca and a percentage of Tuango.ca, Postmedia owns SwarmJam, Yellowpages owns Dealoftheday, Sunmedia/Quebecor owns Stealthedeal, Rogers owns rDeals, Glacier Media owns Dealmate, Astral Media owns AstralRadioDeals and TransContinental owns The Mega catch.

The largest media companies that were left to own anything was BELL, SHAW and CORUS. For a time I thought that BELL’s Sympatico unit would launch a deals service and given that CORUS dabbled in gift certificate sales, I thought they would launch a full deals service as well. That did not happen and for BELL  it all changed in March of 2012 when Bell Media bought out Astral Media for $3.38 billion.

Now Bell Media owns and operates AstralRadioDeals.ca and SHAW and CORUS are the only large media companies left that still do not have a Daily Deal presence of some kind. (SHAW will probably buyout the rest of CORUS given that they already control it)

 

Now back to AstralRadioDeals.ca. Here is how they work:

  • They publish local deals every Wednesday, not every day.
  • The primarily focus on local offers
  • They very rarely offer products if at all
  • They have offers in most key cities across Canada
  • The focus is on saving consumers 50%
  • They target their existing advertisers and provide advantageous advertising packages for running deals.

I am wondering if their name will change due to Bell’s acquisition. I am not sure if the name BellRadioDeals is better but I am absolutely sure that their name should change in order to leverage all of BELL’s media assets and audience. As such, AstralRadioDeals just isn’t effective enough for audiences of either BELL’s or Astral’s existing assets. There’s Sympatico, TSN, CTV. MUCH, The Movie Network, Disney Junior, Family, HBO Canada, Discovery Canada, Mpix, BRavo, Animal Planet, Comedy, Virgin Radio and many more impressive TV programs, websites and radio stations. All of which would be better served with a master deals brands called something like: BELL DEALS, or bDeals, or BellMedia Deals. I like BELL DEALS because it is short, leverages the master brand, especially on search engines, promoting the name on other large brands they own like Sympatico would fit and consumers can easily understand what it is about.

For now AstralRadioDeals.ca is the master and they heavily support the service through constant advertising on their radio stations. Is it working? We do not have revenue numbers just yet but the inventory of local merchants that are participating has steadily increased. That is always a good sign. Radio Stations like Astral’s stations have 4 very large advantages when it comes to operating a Daily Deals business:

  1. They already have a large audience
  2. They already have relationships with local advertisers/merchants
  3. They already have sales reps selling advertising
  4. Advertising does not cost them

The above costs a fortune for Deal businesses that start from scratch. For Astral, and now Bell, this is a significant advantage. However, they must still convert their audience from a listening audience to an online buying audience. They must still collect emails, they must still convince merchants to promote offers with them instead of the 50 other competing deal businesses in any given city.

The fact that Astral can offer a merchant payment in the form of extra value advertising instead of cash is a huge benefit to merchants who already advertise on the radio and a nice cost savings to Astral. I wonder how well that is working for them.

More on Astral and Bell Media Daily Deals over the coming months as they work their way through the merger. Until then, keep your eye on them. They may very well be a strong player this time next year.