The mention of upfront season brings up visions of flashy presentations, exciting fall schedules and parties featuring celebrities. Thanks to Covid-19, this year’s upfronts were radically different: all upfronts were virtual, brief and focused on our new normal. Several announcements were made across the industry:
- New fall shows will be premiering, albeit a lighter roster
- More flexibility will be offered when booking and managing media campaigns
- Upfront rates will be extended past the usual window
- Cancellation policies have been loosened during the summer
- An alignment between Bell, Corus and Rogers has been formed to use 19 standard audience segments through a mutual buying platform
Below are highlights from each network along with our new series recommendations:
- Three new shows are premiering in the fall
- Audience levels will be guaranteed for certain demos in both the English and French markets.
- CTV is the most watched network in Canada for the past 19 years and the #1 national news for the past 10 years.
- M&K’s new series pick: Filthy Rich, starring Kim Cattrall. Wealth, power and religion intersect for a mega-rich southern family famed for creating a wildly successful Christian TV network. Mystery and intrigue will be thrown in. Get the Orville popcorn ready!
- CBC is able to be nimble when acquiring new programs as they don’t rely on U.S. content.
- Two new series are premiering in the fall, with another two series premiering in the winter.
- Gem & IciTou.tv, CBC’s free streaming apps, are showing growth in the double-digits.
- M&K’s new series picks: War of the Worlds. Starring Gabriel Byrne, the series takes place in present-day Europe, but it serves as a re-imagining of the classic H.G. Wells’ novel.
Julie & Laura really like Trickster, about an indigenous teen struggling to keep his dysfunctional family above water.
- Showcased the largest library of new series, premiering in fall 2020/winter 2021.
- Several exclusive partnerships were announced: 1) Peacock TV (their produced content will run on Corus TV & OTT assets), 2) Playwire, an e-gaming network and 3) Complex Canada, an OTT targeting millennials and Gen-Z’s.
- Corus will be guaranteeing audience levels for key demos
- M&K’s new series pick: neXt, starring John Slattery. Centers on the emergence of a deadly, rogue A.I. that combines action with a layered examination of how technology is invading our lives. Although you may want toss Alexa/Google out the window after watching!
- As the official broadcaster of the NHL, owner of the Blue Jays and holding a large stake in MLSE, Rogers continues to focus on sports. In fact, they have changed their name to ‘Rogers Sports and Media’.
- Two new series will be premiering in the winter, and Rogers is ready to hit the ground running when live sporting events return. In the meantime, Rogers is broadcasting their magazine style programs and re-plays of the past games we all love.
- Rogers main focus for advertisers is expanding distribution and investing in ad technology, and are working toward ‘outcome based reporting’.
- M&K’s new series pick: Mayor, starring Ted Danson. A wealthy businessman runs for mayor of Los Angeles for all the wrong reasons. We are excited to see Ted Danson on our TV screens now that The Good Place is over.
- Four new shows will be premiering in the fall, with another four new shows in the winter.
- New and innovative products have been developed to reach consumers through TV and digital Automated Omni Channel Synchronization, Pause Ad and Hublo.
- M&K’s new series pick: La Tour. An interesting new daily talk show hosted by Patrick Huard (Trio Orange). The show will cover current news & issues, and the people behind them. Important topics will be covered that are relevant to Quebecois and all Canadians.
It’s obvious the media industry has been thrown for a loop, and the networks have been quickly adjusting. Some may see only challenges ahead, but M&K sees new opportunities to build our clients’ businesses.
For a summary of all new shows premiering this fall/winter/spring, head over to our summary page!
- An op-ed by Jennifer Young