Daily Hive

Karm Sumal, Co-Founder & CEO
Kevan O’Brien, Director of Digital Ad Operations

Vancouver, British Columbia
Photo of the Vancouver skyline Photo of the Daily Hive office
Daily Hive: Connecting communities through hyperlocal news

In the early days of the Internet, news was a one-way street. Major media outlets would publish stories, and readers would consume them passively. But in recent years, there has been a shift towards more interactive and community-driven forms of journalism.

One of the pioneers of this approach is Daily Hive, a Vancouver-based online news and lifestyle publication founded in 2008, which has become the fastest-growing Canadian online publication.

"Even in the early stages, we were really heavy on community news like restaurant openings and local events," recalls Karm Sumal, one of the company’s co-founders and current chief revenue officer for digital.

"We started to find our niche when we covered the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Having not been accredited as media yet (we were just a random blog at the time), we took the angle of going to the Olympics if you aren't a VIP or super-well off. We saw our site traffic skyrocket, and we never looked back."

Since then, the Daily Hive team has focused on elevating community stories. "Our goal is to connect the community with hyperlocal news, and also to create a discourse around national trending topics," Karm says.

Screen grab of the Daily Hive website
News for all: Daily Hive’s commitment to accessibility

Now one of the most popular news sources in Canada, Daily Hive receives over 40 million page views per month. Their audience growth has mirrored growth within the company - with over 65 employees (and counting), they have a large editorial team, a marketing department, sales teams, along with the traditional HR, finance and product teams.

Daily Hive has found that ads from the open auction are the most reliable way to support this growing team, and believes ads are key to helping ensure news remains accessible to all its readers: “We believe that news should not hide behind a paywall,” says Karm. “To truly connect the community, information needs to be freely consumed. Ads allow us to offer free content and scale our business.”

The product team has also been really engaged with the Google News initiative’s News Consumer Insights tool, which helped them bridge the gap between ad operations, analytics and editorial teams. “Through this analysis we realized how much more valuable loyal readers were to us than new users, and with Google’s partnership, worked to create site experiences to cater to the later group to drive not only a stronger community, but also higher ad revenue,” shares Director of Digital Ad Operations, Kevan O’Brien.

“To truly connect the community, information needs to be freely consumed. Ads allow us to offer free content and scale our business.”
Buzzing about programmatic advertising

When Kevan started at Daily Hive in 2020, the company saw about 80% of their revenue through direct sales, and 20% via programmatic advertising.

Kevan led a strategic shift in 2020 from a third-party ad operations team to an in-house team with direct ties to Google. Since switching to Google Ad Manager, Daily Hive has seen a 400% increase in programmatic revenue.

Kevan and his team found that working with Ad Manager has its perks. “One of the things I like most about Ad Manager is the transparency and robust reporting capabilities the platform offers,” he says. His team can easily see how their ads are performing, and they can make adjustments as needed in real time, and bulk. “These types of features have helped us deliver on our promises to our advertising partners, all while saving us a lot of time and effort.”

An acquisition with a promising future

ZoomerMedia, a Canadian household name in media specializing in print and TV, acquired Daily Hive in 2022. This acquisition creates the largest Millennial and Gen Z-focused media platform in Canada and provides ZoomerMedia with a national audience that is unrivaled in its core demographics, reach, and engagement.

In an age of information overload, Daily Hive has carved out a niche for itself by providing readers with the news and information that matters most to them. The site is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to stay informed about what's happening in their community.

Karm struggles to think of just one highlight during his time at Daily Hive: “Connecting one-on-one with our audience, whether online or in person, has been a standout throughout the 15 years of Daily Hive. But above all, the people are what have made this journey so rewarding. Growing our incredible team, and getting to meet loyal readers along the way has easily been my favorite part.”

About the Publisher

Karm Sumal is a Canadian entrepreneur and the President of Daily Hive, one of Canada's largest media companies. Sumal co-founded Daily Hive in 2012 as a hyper-local blog covering Vancouver news and events, and has since expanded the platform to cover news and lifestyle topics across multiple Canadian cities and regions.

With a Marketing degree from UNBC, Kevan O’Brien has worked in digital exclusively since graduating in 2009. He has experience spans across media schools, public relations, mobile gaming and app marketing. When he’s not optimizing ad monetization for Daily Hive, you can find him on the soccer pitch, snowboarding or enjoying the beautiful BC outdoors.
Headshot of Karm Sumal