Media Experts makes its picks for mid-season hits

The IPG agency looks to The Launch, a nameless show and the Olympics as big winners.

IPG media agency Media Experts has released its seasonal assessment of Canada’s mid-season TV schedule, with its television buyers calling out a few hits, a few misses and a lot in the middle of the road.

Media Experts’ buyers classified only three shows as “hits” – CTV’s The Launch and upcoming Grey’s Anatomy spin-off, and CBC’s broadcast of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

However, the buyers believe this year’s Olympics might face more of a viewer challenge than in years previous.

While competing networks typically cede the ratings to the Games with repeat programming, this year major networks will challenge the pubcaster with new episodes of reality programs such as an all-star edition of The Bachelor on City, a celebrity edition of Big Brother on Global and a new season of The Amazing Race on CTV.

Despite that competition, however, Media Experts’ overall assessment of the Olympics remained positive.

Time to shake things up
Carol Cummings, director of television systems at Media Experts, told MiC that networks took very few risks mid-season, and that could hurt audiences overall. “People are tired of the same-old,” she said.

She said that networks don’t have to do anything too radical. For example, one of Media Experts’ predicted “hits” was the as-yet-untitled Grey’s Anatomy firefighter spin-off from Shonda Rhimes, who has been known as a hit-maker on the TV scene for years. Changing Grey’s typical setting from the familiar hospital to the fire station was, for Media Experts, just different enough to pique interests. “The networks just have to not be afraid to offer something a little bit different, deviate just the slightest,” Cummings said.

But the wins go beyond just assembling a good lineup. Cummings told MiC the media spend plays a huge part in what makes a hit. “The music genre has always been popular, but The Launch (pictured) really has some amazing promotion behind it,” she said. “I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen the promotional machine work this hard. They’re trying to guarantee it’s going to be a hit, and they’re investing a lot in it.”

She said when looking at the various network strategies from fall to mid-season, Bell Media seems like the clear winner to her.

But she was careful not to discount Corus Entertainment’s Global even though it only added one new show to the line-up at the beginning of the year. “I think if you look at it as they only had one hole to fill, and that should say something about the way they program,” she said. “They tend to pick things that have that staying power.”

(On Wednesday, Global announced two new shows for its mid-season.)

· Media In Canada’s mid-season check-up

The agency’s “miss” lists includes CTV’s Alex Inc., Deception and Living Biblically, and City’s Versaille and L.A. to Vegas.

Despite Media Experts’ lukewarm reception to the new slate of shows, Cummings insists that these aren’t dark days for television. Not yet, at least.

“People are still watching TV, they’re just watching it differently,” she said.