TVA calls Quebec’s fall sked ‘utopia’ for clients

Quebecor Media’s TVA Group put its fall programming grid up for grabs to advertisers and media buyers in Toronto yesterday, and national sales manager Renée Verret told the crowd that, for clients, the sked is ‘as close to utopia as we can get it.’

Having owned 86% of the fall 2006 prime-time block, 21 shows that held a 27% market share last fall and 29% in spring (the equivalent of both competitors combined), TVA is ‘unbeatable on the innovative solutions front and the consumer engagement front,’ Verret explained.

Against a programming grid backdrop that includes many shows entering their sixth, seventh and even ninth seasons, TVA execs promised growing opps for integration into branded entertainment expansion, long-form advertising, commercial pod innovations, game playing, interactivity and user-generated content campaigns.

Heading into the fall, the net will continue to emphasize an ‘open dialogue’ strategy for engaging viewers, TVA media creativity consultant Franz Fontaine tells MiC. This will include further development of user-generated content campaigns such as the Johnson & Johnson’s baby care promotion in May, which used on-air spots to drive viewers to www.mamanetmoi.com to submit photos and content for a mosaic called Salut Bonjour and a 30-second promo, as well as other Web 2.0 campaigns tied to Quebecor Media’s social media site, espace.canoe.ca.

TVA is now working with ITVX to measure brand integration within shows for the net’s newly implemented Branded Entertainment Modeling Unit. The net is also pushing forward with VOD commercialization and long-format advertising through etc.tv – an ads-on-demand feature that allows viewers to link from 30-second commercials to longer-form ads. It launched on Videotron’s illico digital cable network in April 2006.

Major hits are returning along with three notable new shows on TVA’s fall prime-time sked. The first new addition is Les Soeurs Elliot (Mondays at 9 pm), about two sisters whose father vanished 30 years earlier and has now returned with criminals in hot pursuit. ‘We’re expecting 1.2 million viewers for this show,’ says Sylvie Castonguay, director of programming and scheduling for Group TVA Montreal.

The second newcomer will be Destinees (Wednesdays at 8 pm), a 26-episode drama that takes place in a beauty and plastic surgery clinic (in a notably different style than Nip/Tuck).

TVA will also produce a Quebec version of Thank God You’re Here (Sundays at 7 pm), which will differ from the American semi-scripted version on CTV and the Australian original, which quickly catapulted to top five status down under. TVA’s version of Thank God You’re Here will incorporate actors, singers and other artists, not just comics, into the improv show.

Le Banquer (TVA’s Quebec-produced version of Deal or No Deal, but with a female host and a female/male mix of models) debuted to two million viewers last season, capturing a 58% market share. By contrast, Castonguay says Deal or No Deal captured only a 15% market share in Canada. The dating series Occupation Double, one of TVA’s powerhouse hits, will enter its fourth season with a new public voting feature.

Click Primetime for TVA’s Fall-Winter 2007-08 Primetime grid.

Click Daytime for TVA’s Fall-Winter 2007-08 Fringe grid.