The senior management of Quebecor invites the press on Wednesday to the presentation of a “brand new major project” entirely digital. Called QUB, it is a platform application in which the Montreal giant will bring together content from almost all of its media properties, from the magazine’s enticing articles 7 days video reports freshly posted online by TVA Nouvelles.
The duty was able to get his hands on a test version of QUB and tried it out for the past few days. In addition to articles and videos taken from Quebecor’s various media properties, QUB integrates podcasts and music from QUB radio and QUB musique. Everything is presented a bit like a news feed on mobile. The application has also been designed to be displayed optimally on the screen of a phone, even if it can be viewed on a tablet and in a Web version.
Quebecor thus offers all of the digital content it produces in one place. This equates to dozens of new pieces of information and entertainment every day.
QUB can be viewed by the public absolutely free of charge, except in the case of integrated services which require a subscription, such as QUB music, which will only work if the user is duly registered. The app relies on an advertising model to generate revenue. It is not devoid of cross-promotion: the participants in the reality TV series The island of love were in fact featured in the app’s search feed earlier this week, like it or not.
As a corollary of Quebecor’s content distribution strategy on its various platforms, identical articles published on the websites of the Journal of Montreal, TVA Nouvelles or 24 hours, for example, can appear one after the other in the general QUB thread. The user can however filter the content according to his preferences to eliminate repetition or elements which interest him less. Later, the application will build custom threads using personalization algorithms that are based on technology from US giant Amazon.
To make some room in its catalog for the newcomer, Quebecor will unplug an older mobile application called J5. Owners of a smartphone equipped with this application will therefore see it transformed into a QUB application in a future update.
“Open” to the Francophonie
As its new creation contains a good deal of topical content, the management of Quebecor seems to want to position it as a rival to the digital offers of its two eternal Quebec rivals: The Press + and ICI Radio-Canada.
But the project, which would be the idea of the CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau itself, is more like the combined offer recently offered by some US digital giants. This is the case, among others, of the Apple One service package, which includes information, audiovisual entertainment and even video games.
QUB does not go that far, but the creators of the platform are already considering an evolution that would include content from outside the fold of Quebecor. Francophone publishers based outside Quebec and creators of non-traditional media content – very popular podcasters and influencers, for example – could among other things be invited to broadcast their content on QUB.
Of course, beyond the supply, there is also the demand. Will Québec news and entertainment content consumers take ownership of Quebecor’s new application? Fans of the Montreal company’s products will undoubtedly be the first to be approached. The company also intends to bank on its subsidiary Videotron to stimulate interest in QUB.
It’s nothing his rivals aren’t already doing, each in their own way. Bell promotes its Crave video-on-demand application extensively to customers of its mobile phone services. Rogers, meanwhile, is offering up to six months free subscription to the Apple Music music service to some of its subscribers.