2016 Recap: A Year in Broadcast and Direct Response Media in Canada

Pick and Pay Comes to Canada

In 2016, broadcast networks continue to fight the rising tides of streaming by offering Canadian consumers more choice on cable. The CRTC's mandated Pick and Pay means networks like Rogers and Videotron must offer consumers the option to move away from bundled cable and purchase individual channels—a measure which could hurt smaller networks but assuage cord cutters. Early reports conclude that while Pick and Pay hasn't yet enticed a new wave of cable subscribers, Canadians are not making significant changes to their packages.

Rio 2016 Olympics Prove Big Ticket Ad-Buys are Money Well Spent

International events like Superbowl and The Olympics bank on ad execs gambling media buying and creative video production costs in the millions to produce TV commercials that are often only seen for a short window. In the age of channel-surfing and ad-blocking, are big buys still worth it? Rio 2016 proved audiences are still tuning in. A U.S. study revealed that ads played on Olympic networks during the games had an average view rate of 90%. With eyeballs moving to big-ticket events and staying there during the commercials, the challenge for DRTV advertisers will be making sure their spots make the right impact.

Streaming Service Shomi Shuttered

Rogers' Netflix competitor Shomi struggled to gain a consistent subscriber base and in 2016, Rogers made the call to axe the service altogether. Rogers and Shaw reported it only made back $46 million in revenue against the $128 million invested in the streaming service, which launched in 2014. While Crave TV, Netflix and now Amazon Prime Canada are poised to continue gaining subscribers in 2017, the loss of Shomi serves as a key moment for brands and media buyers: the race between streaming, radio and broadcast is still in play.

The TV Renaissance Proves Far from Over

Broadcasters and direct response advertisers didn't have to look far to find new properties worth exploring in 2016. While Shonda Rhimes hits How to Get Away with Murder, Scandal and Grey's Anatomy dominated Nielsen ratings, the U.S. election spurred a renewed interest in politicized Talk TV and Daily Show alums Samantha Bee and John Oliver both found their footing at late night. At TIFF Primetime, film festival audiences embraced TV shows like Transparent and Black Mirror, proving that in the 2016 version of the TV renaissance, there's a home for television creators among filmmakers and their critics.