Here we are again – another year of virtual Upfronts.  Although we were deprived of the beloved flashy presentations and open bar, the networks delivered entertaining and informative presentations.  And let’s be real – it gives us an excuse to indulge in that extra cocktail (shrimp or alcoholic) during the 2022 Upfronts.

Several themes appeared across all Upfronts:

  • New digital products, with an emphasis on advanced technology & data
  • AVOD & CTV offer real time reporting and guaranteed impressions for certain audience segments
  • Diversity in both on-air talent and programming content
  • A renewed focus on quality content
  • Networks are prepping for a post-Covid normality

Below are highlights from each network along with our new series recommendations:

Bell Media

  • CTV remains the most watched network in Canada for the past 20 years.
  • Much Music is getting a re-vamp – the brand has left the linear TV building, and is making the move to a multi-platform social media network. Along with its launch partner, TikTok, Much Music will create branded opportunities geared toward today’s youth with all new content from up and coming digital creators.
  • SAM TV is now offering 22 new audience segments, bringing the total to 70.
  • Fall bookings made before August have a cancellation policy of 2 weeks until the end of 2021, for Covid-related reasons only.
  • M&K’s new series picks:
    • The Cleaning Lady: A whip-smart Cambodian doctor comes to the U.S. for a medical treatment to save her ailing son, but when the system fails and pushes her into hiding, she becomes a cleaning lady for the mob and breaks the law for all the right reasons. Hmm, I bet she knows how to get those cherry stains out of my favourite white shirt.  Anyone have her cell number?
    • La Brea: A massive sinkhole forms in L.A., pulling hundreds of people into a primitive, mysterious world.  Where did the sinkhole people go?  And most importantly, is there a decent WIFI signal down there?  Or at least a Starbucks?


  • CBC will be broadcasting the Tokyo Olympics premiering July 23, and the upcoming Beijing Olympics
  • Gem &, CBC’s free streaming apps, continue to show strong growth
  • M&K’s new series pick: Moonshine. This East Coast dramedy tells the story of a dysfunctional clan of adult half-siblings, battling for control of their family-run summer resort in Nova Scotia.  C’mon, how much battling can ensue – East Coasters are so nice!


  • This fall, Stack TV will offer Dynamic Ad Insertion on it’s VOD content
  • Several new series will run exclusively on social media, with many offering innovative branding opportunities. ‘Twitter Shops’ will allow viewers to shop for items featured in a show while they are watching the content.
  • Audio Velocity will allow advertisers to apply audience segments to radio and podcast buys, along with real-time reporting
  • Fall bookings made before August have a cancellation policy of 2 weeks until the end of 2021, for Covid-related reasons only.
  • M&K’s new series pick: Abbott Elementary, premiering mid-season. A group of dedicated teachers, along with a slightly tone-deaf principal, are determined to help students in a Philadelphia public school succeed in life.  Similar in tone to The Office and Parks & Rec.  After seeing a few clips, we love it already.  Although we would have loved to see Michael Scott as principal.


  • Rogers continues to focus on sports. In fact, they are building a state of the art studio that will feature modular and always on displays for innovative advertising opportunities.  In addition, Rogers is implementing player and puck tracking data through Amazon Web Services.
  • Rogers robust first party data will assist advertisers to reach digital audiences in the new cookie-less environment.
  • Rogers AVOD asset, Tubi, is growing – with the goal of having the largest library of shows and movies in Canada, customized for users.
  • M&K’s new series pick: Bachelor in Paradise: Canada. Ok, Bachelor in Paradise is not a new show, but a Canadian version is and we’re here for it!   We need some light, fun viewing after emerging from the dark days of Covid, right?


  • Quebecor is heavily investing in digital assets.
  • This fall, Quebecor will be launching QUB, a streaming platform that will house all TVA content – TV, magazine, radio, podcasts and everything in between. Plus it will record the all important first party data.
  • The network is focusing on content related to sports, food and entertainment.
  • M&K’s new series pick: L’ile de L’Amour. This is based on the popular reality series Love Island, but with a Quebec flair!  We may register for a French language refresher just to watch this gem of a show.

We’re excited for the new digital opportunities.  They will provide the perfect enhancement to linear buys and provide additional reach to the cord cutters/cord nevers.

  • An op-ed by Jennifer Young