It’s almost Canadian television upfront time again, where major Canadian media conglomerates sell advertisers on the merits of their programming. This article will be updated as dates, venues, and times for the upfronts are finalized.
Bell Media (CTV): Thursday, June 5, 2014 (location withheld by request)
CBC Television (English): Thursday, May 29, 2014; Canadian Broadcast Centre; morning
Channel Zero (CHCH): Thursday, June 12, 2014; Real Sports Bar and Grill; early morning
Rogers Media (City): Tuesday, June 3, 2014; time and venue TBA
Shaw Media (Global): Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Unless otherwise noted, all English-language Canadian television upfronts are held in Toronto, Ontario. Upfront events are not public events; they are by invitation only.
Update (May 30, 2014): Due to scheduling conflicts with the Ontario election of June 12, 2014, the Channel Zero/CHCH upfront will be bypassed this year.
Usually, CBC Television is first with its
mid-May late May this year media day. CBC Television tends to release its fall schedule ahead of time; this year, CBC Television released the fall 2014-15 schedule (and the 2013-14 cancellations – blame CBC’s recent budgetary cutbacks for that one) earlier than usual, so CBC Television lays practically all its cards on the table weeks ahead of its media day. I don’t understand why CBC Television does this, but that’s its usual strategy.
Rogers Media, Shaw Media, and Bell Media focus most on their terrestrial program services. That reads as obvious, but having attended all three upfronts (Rogers Media in 2012 and 2013; Canwest/Shaw Media from 2010-12; Bell Media in 2012 and 2013), City, Global, and CTV are the top priorities. In particular, Rogers Media, Shaw Media, and Bell Media focus on their terrestrial program services’ prime-time schedules. Bell Media sets the majority of its time aside for CTV’s offerings, whereas Rogers Media and Shaw Media spread attention between their terrestrial and specialty offerings.
Bell Media actually tweeted CTV’s upfront date on Monday, April 14, 2014. Unless I’m bad at paying attention to other online marketing efforts, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a major Canadian media company promote an upfront save-the-date on Twitter. It’s a welcome trend; I hope it spreads.
CHCH’s 2014 upfront will feature the Tiny Talent Time revival in some way. That’s not much of a spoiler, as both the date and Tiny Talent Time‘s involvement were confirmed to me by CHCH marketing manager Rhonda Messieh on March 12, 2014. The Tiny Talent Time revival was announced during CHCH’s 2013 upfront, so the TTT revival has been a while in coming.
Corus Entertainment, Stornoway Communications, ZoomerMedia and Blue Ant Media do not participate in the annual upfront season, as far as I know.