Congratulations to Polar Mobile!
Original article by Matt Hartley, published in the Financial Post, July 19, 2011
Fans of local news in more than 100 communities across Canada will soon be able to access news stories about their community from their mobile devices, thanks to a new deal between Torstar Corp.’s Metroland Media Group Ltd. and Toronto’s Polar Mobile.
Under the terms of the deal between the two companies, Polar will create a series of smartphone and tablet applications for Metroland’s 104 local community newspapers located throughout Canada.
“We are truly excited to take our leading community brands into the mobile application space with this unique and comprehensive solution, giving our readers and customers new ways to interact with our award-winning local content,” Ian Oliver, president of Metroland Media Group, said in a statement.
In total, Polar will create more than 500 applications for Metroland that will run across a range of platforms, including Apple Inc.’s iPad and iPhone, Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerrys and PlayBooks as well as devices running Google Inc.’s Android and Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone 7 software.
While most major newspapers have created their own smartphone and tablet applications, many smaller newspapers have lacked the resources to create stand alone mobile apps.
Although many readers in small communities still get their national and international news from major media outlets, about 74% of Canadian adults still read their local newspaper, according to data from the Canadian Community Newspaper Database.
“The local newspaper space is an untapped opportunity in mobile, as the content is exclusive and the advertisers needs are unique,” Kunal Gupta, chief executive of Polar Mobile, said in a statement.
“We are proud that Metroland selected Polar Mobile to partner with to launch over 500 mobile apps and plan to grow our presence in the local newspaper market globally.”
Mr. Gupta said he believes the new mobile applications will open fresh advertising opportunities for local newspapers and that the apps will likely evolve over time to include additional mobile-first content, especially for weekly publications.
Metroland will take advantage of the same Polar technology that is used by publications like Sports Illustrated, Vogue and MacLean’s.
Polar Mobile has also recently signed a series of deals with the unions of professional sports leagues, including NFL Players Inc., the Major League Baseball Players Association and the National Hockey League Players Association.