Navigating the niche nets

Source for average-minute-audience (AMA): Nielsen Media Research Aug 29/05-May 28/06, 6a-6a

Source for average-minute-audience (AMA): Nielsen Media Research Aug 29/05-May 28/06, 6a-6a

Ruby Gloom

The Ruby Gloom property launched as a licensed clothing and accessories line in U.S. trend shops such as Hot Topic, quickly garnering a strong online community and spawning an international consumer products franchise. Now, Ruby Gloom is also a series, touted as an ironic comedy with an emphasis on the importance of friendship. YTV will be creating a very strong online presence for the Nelvana-based half-hour series when the first of 26 episodes launches in the Halloween schedule in October. Aimed at 6-11s, Ruby Gloom is targeted primarily to girls, but boys will relate to Ruby’s love interest, Skull Boy, as well as the two-headed musicians and Scaredy Bat.

TSN

(Bell Globemedia)

AMA:

111,000 (2+); 54,000 (25-54)

Target demo: adults 25-54

The launch of SportsCentre in HD this September, the addition of Monday Night Football, two significant national/international hockey deals, and substantial audience growth for all major sports properties firmly puts TSN at the top of its game.

Programming with buzz:

Hockey: Most interesting, TSN and RDS signed a seven-year extension with Hockey Canada for exclusive broadcast and multimedia rights to 11 key Hockey Canada events. The deal, which runs through the 2014 season, is for both English and French rights and provides the opportunity to broadcast on radio and broadband as well as emerging technologies such as video on mobile devices, video-on-demand, podcasting and interactive TV.

YTV

(Corus Entertainment)

AMA: 72,000 (2+); 38,000 (2-11)

Target demo: kids 6-11

Corus has been quick to offer consumers multiple options for consuming its programming, and its key shows boast an immersive strategy with online and mobile components. This fall, all five of YTV’s key series will get deluxe promotion on-air and online. Each series, along with Fox series Malcolm in the Middle, will also have its own mini-site on YTV.com where advertising and sponsorship opportunities are available.

Buzz:

Erky Perky: Aimed at 8-12s, it’s an animated series that will also appeal to parents. Two bugs are forced from a downtown hot dog stand to a suburban kitchen with little food. Fans will be offered the chance to script, direct and edit their own episode of the show online. Thirteen half-hour episodes have been scheduled.

Team Galaxy: This half-hour series will have a simultaneous mobile, Web and TV launch. Team Galaxy tells the story of three friends who train to become space marshals. It’s aimed at 6-11s and was created with both boys and girls in mind. It’s an international co-production out of Nelvana and has been sold to more than 60 territories.

Twenty-six episodes have been ordered.

Weird Years: Weird Years is an animated series about an immigrant family dealing with life and transition in North America. There is great parent/child co-viewing appeal for this funny Canadian series

co-produced by Lynn’s Entertainment and YTV to appeal to nine- to 14-year-olds. Twenty-six half-hour episodes are slated for this season.

Sportsnet

(Rogers)

AMA: 70,000 (2+); 36,000 (25-54)

Target demo: adults 25-54

In April, Sportsnet redesigned and relaunched its sportsnet.ca website with deeper home team content, videostreaming, more stats, blogs, and contests. The mobile wireless space continues to be an important part of Sportsnet programming. The net offers sponsorable platforms involving its text message chat ticket, SMS voting, SMS contesting, video alerts, and text message alerts.

Buzz:

Hockey That Matters continues to be an attractive property for media buyers because it can be purchased either regionally and/or nationally and features five NHL home teams: the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. Other of its key properties include: FIFA World Cup Soccer, Saturday Night Poker and the National Lacrosse League.

Family Channel

(Astral Media)

AMA: 68,000 (2+); 32,000 (2-11)

Target demo: the whole family

Family is a commercial-free network but advertisers have ample opportunity for sponsorship and other involvement on

family.ca and with the net’s grassroots events: Snow Days, Spring Break Out, and Summer Chill. The net is also branching out into licensing and, for example, La Senza Girl is launching a line of Zoey 101 clothing and accessories in August.

Buzz:

Hannah Montana: The first of 20 half-hour episodes of this live-action comedy premiers Friday, Aug. 4. It stars Billy Ray Cyrus and his real-life daughter Miley as a girl leading a double life as a normal school girl by day and international pop star by night. The launch of the series earlier this year on the Disney Channel earned the net its biggest series premiere ratings ever, beating the competition in the time period in two key demos, 6-11s and 9-14s. The series is expected to perform well, will be heavily promoted on-air, online with contests, and as part of Family’s fourth annual Summer Chill national tour

July 1 to Aug. 31.

Teletoon

(Astral Media, Corus Entertainment,

Cookie Jar Entertainment)

AMA: 68,000 (2+); 34,000 (2-11)

Target demo: kids 2-11 (primary), teens 12-17 (secondary)

With action-packed shows like The Batman and Class of the Titans, classics from Scooby-Doo, and the latest breakout hit sitcom 6TEEN, Teletoon continues to be a popular destination. Teletoon.com‘s bilingual consumer site sees an average of 1.5 million visitor sessions a month, with visitors spending approximately 18 minutes on the site.

Buzz:

Di-Gata Defenders: This is a boy-skewing action/adventure series, which takes place in a rich fantasy environment and follows the quest of four young heroes. This 26-episode series is geared to kids eight to 12 and will be supported by an immersive website through a partnership between teletoon.com and prodco Nelvana. A licensing plan is in the works, with a potential merchandise launch in fall 2007. Cartoon Network Latin America, India, Australia have picked it up.

Kappa Mikey: Variety says this half-hour animé-inspired series from Animation Collective ‘shouldn’t take long to be a cult hit.’ The 26-episode series has a storyline that will appeal to kids nine to 14. It follows unemployed Cleveland actor Mikey Simon who is recruited to join the cast of LilyMu, formerly Japan’s hottest animé series. Based on the results of its February 2006 launch on Nicktoons, Kappa Mikey was given the go-ahead for a second season. The licensing program for the series is expected to focus initially on categories such as toys, apparel, games and trend products.

Loonatics Unleashed: Kids eight to 10 are the target for Warner Bros.’ latest update on the classic animated toons. The futuristic redesign of the descendants of the original Looney Tunes characters was done by the Tremblay brothers of Montreal, who have also created and produced the Teletoon series Mega Babies. The 13-episode series boasts cameos by Florence Henderson (The Brady Bunch), and Vivica A. Fox to name a few.

Discovery Channel

(Bell Globemedia)

AMA: 67,000 (2+); 39,000 (25-54)

Target demo: adults 25-54

Fast cars and the Far East are just a couple of the highlights on the roster, which features 14 new series and specials and 12 returning programs. Advertisers wanting to extend their involvement with the new shows and Discovery’s affluent, educated, male-skewed audience can take their brand from on-air to online and on-mobile. At discoverychannel.ca the opps are individually tailored to each advertiser and can range from entry-based contests, banners in a program-themed mini-site, or full integration in an interactive environment.

Buzz:

Star Racer: Eight one-hour episodes follow Canadian drivers as they push the limits and their cars for a shot at big-time auto racing. This program was created using the station’s viewer panel and will be advertiser friendly. It premiers in October.

Patent Bending: Over eight half-hours, two science-savvy and wildly curious hosts scour books of patents from the past 100 years and find the greatest, strangest and oddest ideas that never got off the page.

Doctor*ology: On the sked for winter/spring 2007, this comedic science series stars actor Leslie Nielsen (Naked Gun) with a first-hand look at medicine and medical technology from neurology to urology and everything in between.

Lived to Tell: With spectacular CGI, authentic reconstructions and a distinctive filmic style, seven one-hour episodes bring to life the dramatic stories of those involved in some of the greatest catastrophes of our time.

Showcase

(Alliance Atlantis)

AMA: 55,000 (2+); 31,000 (25-54)

Target demo: adults 25-49

Showcase pushes the boundaries with a lineup of provocative series and uncut movies. The experience continues online at showcase.ca with on-air-related video downloads, features and profiles, microsites, interactive games and contests. Cross-platform ad opps are available and can include involvement with the net’s bi-monthly newsletter.

Buzz:

Rent-a-Goalie: This clever half-hour comedy series will be promoted nationally, including a party and contest to celebrate the launch. It will also have its own microsite with special bonus features. The plot line of the show marries the industry of rental goalies to the world of a coffee shop in Toronto’s Little Italy. With cameo appearances by hockey legends, the first of eight episodes begin in the fall.

Moose TV: This is Canada’s first Native-produced comedy. The main character is George Keeshig (Adam Beach) who returns home to the small town of Moose after 10 years of city life and discovers an abandoned local TV station – and his calling. Eight half-hour episodes have been produced to run winter 2007 and will be well promoted by the net.

Space

(CHUM Television)

AMA: 54,000 (2+); 36,000 (25-54)

Target demo: adults 25-54

Covering a genre known for its fanatical followers, role-playing, and fan conventions, it’s only logical that Space has an extremely dynamic online community. Contests, newsletters, blogs, podcasts, news, interviews, and game reviews are just of few of the features of spacecast.com. Incidentally, a large online contest will tie into the return of its hit series, Battlestar Galactica, now in its third season.

Buzz:

Ice Planet: Ice Planet is taking the innovative step of combining a program-related interactive mobile game and a console game. The mobile game will be ready in October. The console game is set to be released in 2007 and viewers will have the opportunity to enter a contest to get their likeness into it. There will also be a microsite with exclusive interviews and behind-the-

scenes footage.

The Dresden Files: Paul Blackthorne (24) will star in this Lions Gate Television production based on the best-selling novels by Jim Butcher. Nicolas Cage’s Saturn Films is also behind the project.

History

(Alliance Atlantis)

AMA: 46,000 (2+); 23,000 (25-54)

Target demo: adults 35-54,

male skew

History Television continues to take viewers from the early days of civilization with documentaries and dramas to more recent days with a sked of popular series and movies. Online, historytelevision.ca offers behind-the-scenes features as well as newsletters, interactive games and contests related to on-air activities, and plenty of opps for connecting with its affluent and engaged audience.

Buzz:

Ancestors in the Attic: Hosted by Things That Move’s Jeff Douglas, this irreverent, fast-paced 13-eps, series takes Canadians on a road trip across the country and through the past on a worldwide search for people’s most interesting ancestors.

W Network

(Corus)

AMA: 43,000 (2+); 18,000 (W 25-54)

Target demo: women 25-54

Thanks to its online panel of 2,000 Canadian women aged 18 to 54, this net knows women and gives them the blockbuster movies, dramas, lifestyle and reality shows they’re looking for. The connection continues online to wnetwork.com with on-air related and standalone features, contests and quizzes, and message boards. Ad sponsorship opps can be tailored for

on-air, online, or cross

platform campaigns.

Buzz:

The Smart Woman Survival Guide: This innovative new half-hour series combines the best elements of the lifestyle and sitcom genres into something soon to be known as the ‘info-com.’ This show-within-a-show is a cross between The Larry Sanders Show and Martha

Stewart Living.

It goes behind-the-scenes of a fictional lifestyle show called Smart Woman, and like Sex and the City, follows a group of women who bond over their work, life and love struggles. The 13 eps offer real-world tips on everything from finance to fashion. It was incubated in-house with consumer insights gleaned from Corus’ in-house research. The show has components for mobile, online and on-demand. It is produced by Magee TV in association with W Network and created by Allan Magee (Designer Guys). The net says the humour and strong information will appeal to men as well.

HGTV

(Alliance Atlantis)

AMA: 39,000 (2+); 22,000 (25-54)

Target demo: women 25-54

The home and garden genre is known for its loyal and engaged followers so HGTV is definitely a perennial favourite.

The destination for viewers wanting more is hgtv.ca, where they find DIY project plans, detailed advice, quizzes, contests, and timesaving e-tools in addition to a popular biweekly newsletter.

Buzz:

The Big Flip: The Big Flip gives viewers an inside look as renovators Randy McKay and John Stassen take on the ultimate challenge of fixing and flipping as many houses as they can in just 12 months. Premiers in October.

Design Interns: Design Interns gives viewers an all-access pass into the exclusive, intimidating world of Toronto interior design firm Cecconi Simone. It will also premier in October.

The Style Department: Suzanne Dimma, magazine stylist for Canadian House & Home and Wish magazines, brings a glossy design magazine to life.

Makeover Wish: This feel-good series is a makeover dream come true for deserving rural Canadians. Each episode reveals the heart-felt story of the recipients, as they are whisked away to a hotel so the renovation can begin. On the sked for an October launch.

French

Source for AMA: BBM PPM

Aug 29/05-May 28/06, 2a-2a Quebec only

Le Réseau des Sports (RDS)

(Bell Globemedia)

AMA: 59,000 (2+); 24,000 (25-54)

Target demo: men 18+ (primary), adults 18-34 (secondary)

RDS airs exclusive coverage of major sporting events including the NHL and CFL. The RDS.ca website clocks in with over one million visitors monthly.

Buzz:

Tribal: Designed to appeal to younger viewers, this new journal will air every Friday night beginning Sept. 12. It’s devoted to extreme sports in Quebec and elsewhere with lifestyle news, extreme sports culture, the latest sportswear, athlete profiles and events. The show will be extended to RDS’s popular news program Sports 30 and its Info-Sports channel with a weekly Tribal Top 3 – a feature showcasing the top three maneuvers that week in the extreme sports world. Tribal will also have it own minisite on rds.ca.

Hockey: Starting in October, RDS will provide exclusive coverage of all Montreal Canadiens games as well as the Stanley Cup playoffs leading up to the finals. Also noteworthy is Méchants Mardis, a younger, more aggressive program built around the Montreal Canadiens Tuesday night games with a pre-game show and special promos. This concept drew more audience than the Saturday night games in its first season last year.

Teletoon

(French-language)

(Astral Media, Corus Entertainment,

Cookie Jar Entertainment)

AMA: 36,000 (2+); 12,000 (2-11)

Target demo: teens 12-17 and adults 18-34 (primary),

kids 2-11 (secondary)

The Teletoon French-language sked skews a little older than its English counterpart. Teletoon.com‘s bilingual website is for the younger crowd while viewers aged 14+ can access thedetour.ca, a site built around the shows in The Detour time block between 9 p.m. and midnight.

Canal D

AMA: 30,000 (2+); 14,000 (25-54)

(Program information not available)

RDI

AMA:30,000 (2+); 9,000 (25-54)

(Program information not available)

Canal Vie

AMA: 28,000 (2+); 15,000 (25-54)

(Program information not available)

Séries+

(Astral)

AMA: 26,000 (2+); 11,000 (25-54)

Target demo: women 25-54 (primary), men 25-54 (secondary)

Popular returning shows include Les experts (CSI), CSI: Miami and Judging Amy.

Buzz:

Edel & Starck: This German-produced comedy has a similar feel to Ally McBeal. It is well reviewed by the German media and has been awarded by the country’s TV industry.

Paradise Falls: It was a hit on Showcase and is expected to follow suit on Séries+.

Buzz:

Di-Gata, Les Défenseurs:(See YTV, Di-Gata Defenders on page 70)

Johnny Test: This action-comedy extravaganza from Warner Bros. follows a fearless 11-year-old boy who plays test subject for his genius twin sisters’ experiments. The series has already been commissioned for a second season and is exec produced by Toper Taylor for Cookie Jar Entertainment. Thirteen half-hours are skedded.