12 CanWest papers join ComBase

CanWest has signed up 12 of its British Columbia community newspapers to ComBase.

The papers are all part of CanWestÔÇÖs VanNet group. The papers include the Abbotsford Times, Burnaby Now, the Chilliwack Times, Coquitlam Now, the Delta Optimist, the Langley Advance, the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Times, the Royal City Record, the Richmond News, Surrey Now, the North Shore News and the Vancouver Courier.

The addition of the CanWest papers will see the membership in ComBase jump from 8 to 32 in B.C. Black Press, another major chain in B.C., recently signed 12 papers onto ComBase as well.

ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs great ÔÇô another very important domino that fell for us is going to lead to other major markets participating,ÔÇØ said ComBase President Elena Dunn. ÔÇ£Maybe this will change some peopleÔÇÖs minds in Manitoba now that the two chains here are on board.

ÔÇ£This is going to have a real ripple effect,ÔÇØ she said.

In June, 2002, 22 Manitoba papers had agreed to take part in the readership research project. Ultimately, all of the Manitoba papers backed out.

ÔÇ£The CanWest papers joining also means that we have all three major markets in Canada ÔÇô Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver,ÔÇØ said Dunn. ÔÇ£Having these three markets is vitally important to any national study.ÔÇØ

Madison Publishing Publisher Peter Kvarnstrom said that the CanWest move is extremely important to Madison, as VanNet represents MadisonÔÇÖs community newspapers for national advertising. He said Madison might reconsider putting some or all of its community newspapers into ComBase.

Now that CanWest has confirmed  their participation, it bears reconsideration on the part of Madison, said Kvarnstrom. That reconsideration will take place immediately and the final answer will be forthcoming within the week.

Madison Publishing owns five papers in British Columbia.