Bee Media Launches In Canada, UK And US

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Bee Media is a new proprietary wireless digital media network able to deliver personalized targeted ads and offers on consumers smartphones within a three-or-five metre radius over its own proprietary Wi-Fi network.

Rather than launching first in one country, Bee Media is taking a marketing approach that sees it launching in Canada, the U.S., and U.K. at the same time. It is headquartered in Toronto.

Bee Media ensures consumers receive relevant offers, information and tools that retailers can use to drive loyalty and increase sales, while advertisers spend more efficiently and effectively.

Once consumers opt into the Bee Media network for the first time, they never have to click into the network again, because it works in every location where Bee Media is installed, regardless of the retailer or mall operator.

“It’s a case on one app, all locations,” says Terence Donnelly, chairman and co-founder with Doug Woolridge, CEO. “We believe consumers don’t want to have to manage an inventory of mobile apps for the shopping, so our solution adopts the branding of the location the consumer is standing in, so long as they are a member store of our network.”

Bee Media signs a contract with the mall owner, essentially becoming a tenent by leasing the air space for its Wi-Fi network. It offers managed services to the retailers, charging them a fixed fee each month. In the common areas of a mall, retailers pay to advertise similarly to coop advertising in a flyer.

Consumers get free Wi-Fi whenever they are in a mall or retaier that has Bee Media Wi-Fi, and get promotional offers, specials and information from the retailers where they are visiting. These offers can be exclusive for Bee Media consumers.

While Bee Media initially is going after malls, mass merchandisers and retailers, it also sees its markets as sports and entertainment, automotive dealerships, restaurants, QSRs and banks.

If a company or mall already has its own Wi-Fi network, Bee Media will take it over. And if the mall has or needs its own network for business purposes, Bee Media can create a secure channel, hiding the business channel from consumers.

Bee Media had a successful two-month trial at one Canadian Tire store in Toronto and a roll-out is now planned. In addition, it will be put into 130 Smart Centres (outdoor shopping malls).

“Our plan is to be in between 750 and 1,000 malls and 1,400 to 1,500 various retail locations in 2012,”
says Donnelly. “Of the malls, we expect that half will be in Canada, one-third in the US., and the rest in the U.K.”

Part of the contract with mall owners and retailers in that these must agree to promote the service in signage and point-of-sale.

Bee Media – whose closest competition would likely be foursquare, shopkick and Gowalla – is headed by people with solid business experience. Donnelly has 25 years in marketing and advertising and as a head-hunter. He is a senior partner at Mandrake. Woolridge is an entrepreneur who has been in senior executive positions with Terranova Capital, Carta Americas, TPI, CIBC Mellon and Texas Instruments.

Heading the U.S. market as president, Bee Media US, is Jim Reichert, who has 25 years of sales, marketing and entrepreneurial thought leadership ranging from Procter & Gamble to Bootstrapping.

David Peres, chief marketing officer, also has 25 years of experience in senior marketing communications and integrated in-store, mobile and social promotions with 6 Degrees/Accumark Communications and Distill Communications.

Other senior execs are; Brad Alles , senior vice-president, global business development; Donald Page, chief financial officer; and Perry Marshall, senior vice-president, corporate development.

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