Interview with Transcontinental

FEATURED INTERVIEW;

Company: The Mega Catch from Transcontinental Media


They own Canadian Living, Dealstreet.ca, Weblocal.ca, Elle Canada/Quebec, Decormag, etc. Transcontinental is the 4th largest printer in all of North America, owns over 150 web sites, and is Canada’s largest distributor of advertising material in Canada. They deliver over three billion pieces a year, either directly through Publisac in Quebec, or through their newspapers and partners in the rest of the country. They reach over 10 million visitors per month through their web properties and 11 million readers through their magazines.

They also boast over 5.5 million as an online audience and close to 1 million email addresses, making their marketing database one of the largest of any media company in Canada. If they can organize themselves effectively, they can capture an enormous share of the Canadian Daily Deal market.

 

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:

Why did you start a Daily Deal service?
We started our site for a number of reasons. Because we’re owned and operated by the St. John’s The Telegram we have strong connections with local merchants and businesses. On a local community we’re committed to featuring and promoting local businesses.

Where is your Daily Deals main office?
Head office in Montreal, QC

How many employees do you have working on this service?
We’ve currently got 10 team members.

How many cities are you currently in?
We’re currently live in St. John’s and our sister site, La Mega Prise, is live in Quebec City, QC.

What are your plans for expansion?
We’re currently looking at launching in Halifax, NS as well.

What are your thoughts on consolidation in the space?
I believe the market can only bear a certain amount of competition and the public will decide on what will work. Companies may consolidate but I believe you’ll see company’s fold before they merge.

Where do you feel you rank in the Daily Deal space in Canada?
Because we only operate in two markets we’re very limited by in our Canada wide rankings. In St. John’s we certainly hit the ground running though with our first launch that sold 500 vouchers.

How is your Daily Deal service different from the other companies?
We’re different from the others because we don’t just feature a deal a day, we promote a deal a week. Companies that partner with The Mega Catch are extending their marketing budget through 7 days of full colour ¼ page advertising in The Telegram, thetelegram.com and of course through themegacatch.com. No one else can offer this! Because we partner with local businesses there is direct support from a grassroots level and both parties – consumer and the business – benefit.

What else would you say your service does very well compared to others?
We’re very flexible in the deals we run. We work with a business to structure a deal that works for them. We’re never going to put a business in a position that they’re not comfortable with.

Understandably you won’t share numbers about subscriber size, but what can you tell us about them?
Our customers are 65% female and 35% male. 46% of our female users are between the ages of 25-44, the key years for purchasing power, decision making and family planning. We’ve learned they’re very loyal to specific high profile brands and products in and around St. John’s.

What excites you most about the business?
Honestly, we love competing with the big dogs! As a small market group buying site our advantage really lies with our existing relationships, our local reach, knowledge and presence. It’s what sets us apart! We’ve made a big splash in St. John’s and we can’t wait to keep the ball rolling.

Discuss one of your most successful deals? (successful does not only mean most sales)
Because we sometimes put a limit on certain deals there is a real incentive for customers to take advantage early. Our fastest seller was right before Easter 2011 and featured the Newfoundland Chocolate Company. They put a limit of 250 vouchers into the marketplace and they sold out almost immediately. There was such demand for their wonderful product!

How do you feel about the current market and how do you see things progressing in 2011?
We feel confident about the current market. I think by this point retailers have had a chance to evaluate and review the effectiveness of such programs. I also believe we’re wiser now, too. Because of this we’re better able to pick and choose our partners and effectively structure deals to better suit their needs.

Thoughts on the legal issues within group buying? (Gift Certificate laws, deals on alcohol, taxes, etc)
There is a definite need to insure that both merchants and consumers are equally protected in these transactions. Canada has passed laws to better protect the consumer in terms of gift certificates and I believe in large part these have worked. The Mega Catch is very conscious of never putting our consumers in a position where they feel ripped off. Our expiry dates are never less than 6 months and any limitations are clearly specified on each deal.

From what you have seen, what benefits have merchants been seeing with your daily deal service?
The biggest benefit our merchants have been identifying to us is their brand visibility through our media channels – digital, print and online. Because of this, our deals are viewed more as an extension of their marketing budget than a discounting feature.

How can merchants leverage Daily Deals better than they presently have?
I believe merchants who are in tune with their business and it’s ever changing needs are best suited to the daily deal programs. The social buzz that comes from the daily deal market is astounding and the best results we’ve seen come from businesses who promote and foster this excitement.

Why is the Daily Deal concept working well for consumers and for merchants?
When done correctly the daily deal concept is a win/win/win for consumers, merchants and suppliers. If we can grow a business while provide the general public with a quality product then everyone wins. We’ve had a couple of duds but for the most part we’ve been very successful in structuring deals that works for everyone.

Biggest failures of deal companies so far?
I would say that the biggest failure of deal companies so far would be their inability to work out the kinks. For a business this young there have been too many cases of deals gone horribly wrong – from merchants who are forced to go under to price gouging by others. The unfortunate part is that these flaws are largely committed by the same big players and yet they give the whole industry a black eye.

One or two things you’d like Merchants to do better:
Have faith. We’re not out there to get you. We’re there to create a mutually beneficial relationship that extends far beyond their launch date.

One or two things you’d like consumers to do better:
Nothing. Consumers have embraced the group buying strategy with open arms! I think merchants would like to see a bit more loyalty from the consumer but this opens up an opportunity for us, the supplier, to assist in this.

Where is the Daily Deal industry heading?
Give us your vision of the next couple of years. Again, it all comes down to whether the market can withstand the ever increasing competition with the still occasional flops. I believe the industry will have to tighten up at some point however. There will always exist two kinds of customers – those who are brand or store loyal and those who are deal-seekers. Any long term success in this market will depend on a healthy mix of both and innovative and inventive businesses.

We thank Transcontinental for their time in answering these questions. Very much appreciated. If you would like to nominate others to be interviewed, please let us know.

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