Key Takeaways from the 2018 Canadian Upfronts

At Kingstar, Upfronts season is an anticipated one that we look forward to each year. Company growth hinges on our awareness of our industry and how well we can adapt to new changes occurring within it. As the 2018 Upfronts season comes to an end, we look back on the visits to our network partners earlier this month to celebrate the thriving TV advertising industry that continues to stand strong in the face of competition.

In the company of fellow media buyers and network executives, the Kingstar Media team was delighted to explore all the promising new developments by leading Canadian networks. These networks have shown tremendous perseverance to adapt their businesses to changes in consumer viewership and other new challenges. As we prepare to plan for another quarter, we keep in mind major takeaways and lessons from this year's Upfronts.
TV is healthy and remains the leading medium to reach a mass national audience. Despite double digit rate increases in some areas, we remain certain that demand for TV inventory remains high among advertisers.

Digital integration was undoubtedly a big theme in this year's upfronts. For example, Rogers Media announced the launch of their RED program (Rogers Enabled Data) which gives advertisers a wider, more targeted audience segment. Bell Media announced the launch of CTV Movies and CTV Vault; two new ad-supported digital video on demand services. President Randy Lennox emphasized how great this opportunity is to advertisers, who can benefit from all the newly created digital ad inventory. The newly created VOD services will launch in the fall of 2018, and will include the newly rebranded CTV channels CTV Sci-Fi, CTV Drama, CTV Comedy, and CTV Life (the rebranding is an effort to position Space, Bravo, Comedy, and Gusto as CTV properties).

Old is gold, and networks are definitely feeling the nostalgia. Reboots, spinoffs and remakes continue to dominate television schedules. Roseanne and Will & Grace were just the beginning of the reboot craze. The fall 2018 schedules include very familiar names like Murphy Brown (CTV), Charmed and Rosewell. Spinoffs and remakes include Magnum P.I. (CTV) and Legacies, a spinoff of the hit show The Vampire Diaries. While show reboots may not seem like the most original of ideas any more, they certainly have been successful in recent years to drive viewership. Back in March, the first episode of the Roseanne revival drew in 18 million viewers on ABC.


We would like to thank our friends at Rogers, Bell Media, Corus, TVA, CBC, Channel Zero and V for having us at their annual upfronts. We look forward to another successful year together!