How to Buy TV Ads in Canada

Why "Linear TV"

Traditional "linear TV" remains the most popular way for Canadians to consume television content. Over 85% of Canadians 18+ are reached by linear TV each week, dwarfing any other ad supported video platform.

Four (4) major TV networks in Canada own the vast majority of the broadcast and cable stations; Bell Media, Rogers Sports and Media, Corus Entertainment and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). These four broadcasters cover the entire country and have programming across sports, news and entertainment, much of which is syndicated from the US or UK market and some of which is domestic to Canada. While OTT and VOD are making a splash in recent years, they are still in their infancy and linear TV continues to lead the way from a reach, frequency and cost effectiveness perspective.

TV Networks & Content

Typically, Canada has a "sister station" to top cable channels in the United States. For example, ESPN would be TSN Sports in Canada, HGTV has an "HGTV Canada" signal for Canadians and so on. However there are also uniquely Canadian networks showing a mixture of domestic and international content, like CBC News Network and CTV Comedy Channel.

Similar to the United States, and other TV markets, Canadian broadcasters sells TV inventory in 15s, 30s, 60s, 120s and in some cases 28:30s airtimes. TV spots are bought and sold based on an estimated "ratings point" or "audience delivery" measured in Cost Per Thousand (CPM) and measured by Numeris. Fixed rate "brand" inventory as well as DRTV inventory are available however most networks will not offer reporting with an ad buy.

Buying with an Agency

Due to the limited number of TV networks and concentrated ownership, most TV ad buys are negotiated through an agency. This is to ensure best pricing, transparent and competitive reporting and access to networks that may be "sold out" for a direct ad buyer. While possible, Negotiating direct buys isn't all that easy – you'll want to do your research prior to committing to anything. Ask yourself the cost of a standard ad placements, what a lead usually costs in the television industry, etc. You'll also want to consider when participating in direct buys is that you will be responsible for taking care of reporting.

Typically, Canadian agencies will have "upfront" deals with networks and be able to secure programming and rates that otherwise would be unavailable. Additionally, agencies will be able to provide competitive reporting, data, and analytics to track how your TV campaign is performance and where best to invest your ad dollars.

With decades of experience in media buying and media analysis, Kingstar Media has all the expertise to guide you in buying linear TV media. If you need help approaching linear TV media, chat with is today via our contact page.