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Overview | Products and Services | History | CNW Group in the Community

Overview


CNW Group is a global leader in news and information distribution services for professional communicators. Its establishment in 1960 marked the beginning of the Canadian commercial newswire industry.

CNW Group provides electronic news distribution, targeting, monitoring, translation, webcast and disclosure services to corporations, government, associations, labour unions, non-profit organizations and other customers worldwide. CNW Group helps Canadian and international organizations to connect with local and global audiences including the news media, the investment community and the general public.

CNW Group operates bureaux in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax. CNW Group’s wholly owned subsidiary, CNW Telbec, operates offices in Montreal and Quebec City.


Products and Services


For more than 50 years, CNW Group has been a market leader in news release distribution. Organizations from all sectors rely on CNW’s combined text and multimedia news release services to deliver their messages to newsrooms, the financial community and the public.

The organization offers a full suite of news and information distribution products and services for professional communicators.

Recognized as a leader in the dissemination of full-text news releases, the CNW Group website, www.newswire.ca, has more traffic than any other newswire site in Canada and issues a major portion of Canada's daily news releases. Canadian and international organizations from all sectors rely on CNW Group’s unique multi-media communication services and networks to effectively send their messages to news media, financial and online audiences.

Beyond electronic news distribution, CNW Group provides MediaVantage (www.mediavantage.com), the premier web-based application for media intelligence and public relations workflow management. MediaVantage's search engine assists public relations and marketing communications professionals by pulling together traditional media coverage and social media mentions which are relevant to their work, and compiling these into a single database.

CNW Group also provides acclaimed translation services, regulatory filings, and a broad range of multimedia services including webcasting, broadcast services, photo services and social media release production and distribution.

The widespread use of the Internet and web-enabled multimedia mobile devices has empowered a new generation of consumers to rely on alternative media for their information. The demand for real-time content and rich multimedia has never been greater.

Throughout its organization, CNW Group is employing new technologies, tools and formats to help communications and investor relations professionals meet the demand for real-time, enriched content and advanced news services. The newsfeed of its core newswire service is now formatted in XHTML so that a news release and its accompanying multimedia content can be delivered in a single transmission to web audiences and newsrooms, giving them text, photos, video and audio at one time.

Products and services:

  • News distribution
  • Photography and photo distribution
  • Media intelligence (MediaVantage)
  • Video production and distribution
  • Webcasting
  • Corporate profiles
  • News release module for websites (CNW MediaRoom)
  • IR module for websites (CNW IR Room)
  • Regulatory filings
  • Translation
  • Directory of media outlets
  • Conference calls and web meetings

History


CNW Group's origins can be traced back to the development of PR Newswire in the United States during the 1950's. This service gave private sector businesses and public sector organizations a means of delivering their announcements to multiple news media organizations simultaneously, initially using the Western Union teleprinter equipment installed in the latters' offices. News media organizations received an announcement for free; PR Newswire was paid by the sender of the announcement.

During 1959 and 1960 funding was raised for a similar Canadian service, which was launched on August 1, 1960 under the name Unican News Service, with its head office in Montréal and a second office in Toronto. The new organization was owned by a firm headed by Leonard Knott (the Montréal consultant who had been instrumental in putting together the organization), by two Canadian public relations firms, by Universal News Service, based in London, England, and by two private individuals. Announcements were typed up at the organization and transmitted to media organizations via teletype services.

User adoption of the new service was very slow and in a year the organization had exhausted its capital. Potential users tended to rely on their own personal contacts in the news media to issue announcements rather than entrust announcements to Unican, in spite of its efficiencies. By the Spring of 1962 the organization was reduced to a single employee in Montréal. It would take another six years of hard work and special arrangements with the organization's major creditor before profitability was finally achieved. By that time the credibility of the organization's services had become widely accepted by public relations professionals in Canada.

In 1970 the Toronto office was reopened but during that year and the following year the organization slipped back into a loss, leading to changes in the organization's shareholders. By the end of 1972, PR Newswire and Universal News Service had taken up a total of 49.5% of the shares, while the remainder were held between the organization's two original public relations firm investors and a trust. At that time the organization was renamed Canada News-Wire Limited. Joseph A.P. Clark, whose public relations firm was one of the shareholders, had earlier agreed to become the chief executive of the organization on a part-time basis.

During the 1970's, Clark and newly-hired chief operating officer Peter Hunt undertook a drive to expand the organization's client base. As clientele grew, the news media took a greater interest in the news service. The organization became profitable again, and offices were opened in Ottawa and in Western Canada. Following the departure of Hunt in 1979, Clark became chief executive office on a full-time basis and introduced a more concensus-driven, less hierarchical style of management to the organization.

The major task for the organization in the early 1980's was the transition from a news release distribution system based on teletype machines and punch tape processing to a faster computer-based system. In connection with this modernization, the organization needed to place high-speed printers in newsrooms, stock exchanges, securities commissions and brokerage houses across Canada.

In 1984 the Toronto office grew to become the organization's main Canadian office when the translation and accounting units moved there from Montréal.

Clark retired from the organization in 1986. Gordon S. Eastwood, who had been a highly-respected newspaper editor prior to joining the organization in 1980, was chosen to become the president and chief executive officer. Changes also occurred among the shareholders. Universal News Service was acquired by an arm of the Press Association, the national news gathering cooperative in the United Kingdom. One of the organization's two public relations firm shareholders was sold to a major advertising firm, and the owner of the other retired. As a result, in 1988 the Press Association and PR Newswire acquired the shares of the other shareholders and split ownership of the organization equally between themselves.

Modernization of news distribution continued at the end of the 1980's with the use of satellite. The organization began buying time from the Canadian Press satellite network to serve its newswire destinations via satellite link. A further innovation was the transmission of news releases directly into the editorial systems of newswire recipients through dedicated feeds rather than to the printers which had been set up at recipients' locations. At the other end of the business, the keyboard inputting of client news releases sent to the organization via fax was supplanted by a technology which could convert incoming faxes to computer-readable data without the need for retyping. As fax accounted for more than 95 per cent of incoming client news releases at the time, this was a significant innovation.

In 1995 the organization, which had by then expanded to include bureaux in Vancouver and Halifax, saw another change in leadership when Eastwood was replaced by then-COO Thomas S. Enright. His immediate challenge was to prepare the organization to serve a rapidly growing potential client base which had gained a full appreciation of the importance of public relations and investor relations in their work. The organization moved to become a 24/7 news release operation and upgraded its network to make it many times faster than it had previously been. The organization fully embraced the arrival of the Internet, viewing it as an additional communications solution rather than an alternative technology. It was the first newswire operation in the world to have a website.

The public relations industry itself was changing. Increasingly, practitioners came from backgrounds other than journalism and didn't necessarily see the value of news release services. To deal with this, the organization focused its sales and marketing on demonstrating to clients why news release distribution services, and in particular the organization's high value services, would make them more successful.

During the late 1990's and into the new millennium, the organization broadened its services beyond news releases to include webcasting, regulatory filing, media monitoring and other areas. Its goal was to grow its reputation in all areas of communications services, just as it had cemented its reputation over many years as a premier news release service. Potential clients could then choose the communications service best suited to them from among a suite of solutions. Given this new direction, the organization changed its name from Canada NewsWire to CNW Group. Revenue grew substantially as a result of this broader approach.

In 2002 the organization acquired Telbec, which had launched its business in 1966 initially to transmit news releases emanating from the Union Nationale party, which was elected soon after. Over the years Telbec increased its client list to include other levels of government and major labour unions.

When CNW Group celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010, it had grown from a start-up introducing a new business concept to become a leading communications services provider playing a major role in journalism and social media in Canada.


CNW Group in the Community


CNW Group proudly supports Kids Help Phone and Frontier College.

Kids Help Phone

CNW Group is proud to support the dedicated professional counselors who provide immediate, caring support to young people in urban and rural communities across Canada.

Kids Help Phone is the nation’s only toll-free, 24-hour, bilingual, anonymous phone and web counseling (referral and information service) for children and youth, serving people aged 5 through 20. Over the 25 years since its launch in 1989, young people have connected with Kid's Help Phone's counselors by various means a total of more that seven million times.

CNW Group is also proud to be the official newswire provider for Kids Help Phone, helping to ensure that its message reaches the news media and the general public. CNW Group has also donated services to create a Kids Help Phone public service announcement for French and English television, and through charity golf tournaments has raised funds for Kids Help Phone.

Frontier College

For well over a century, Frontier College has been helping to improve Canadians’ literacy skills in order for them to realize their potential and make the most of the opportunities they encounter. It’s estimated that 40% of Canadians struggle to read and write.

The annual SCRABBLE® Corporate Challenge, presented by TMX Group, is Frontier College's preeminent fundraising event. A team from CNW Group won the 8th annual Challenge, which raised a record-breaking $380,000 for Frontier College literacy programs. The team competed against 60 competing organization to win the TMX Cup.


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