Insights on Upfronts: Key Predictions for 2023

It’s Upfronts season in Canada, the annual reveal of programming that will be made available for advertisers across all segments. With significant shifts in the way Canadians are consuming TV in Canada (accelerated through the pandemic), the way in which advertisers think about buying inventory must also change. We checked-in with IAB Canada member, Dave Pauk Sales Director Canada at Samsung Ads who gave us some bold predictions about what to look for in 2023.   

  1. Flexibility will take Center Stage: Advertisers will increasingly prioritize flexibility as a key area of focus, working with partners who offer scalable solutions and leverage first-party data in privacy-compliant executions. Programmatic transactions provide maximum flexibility for the buy side, allowing agile decision-making and optimizing advertising impact. Having a partner with extensive first-party proprietary consumer data, like Samsung Ads, gives marketers a significant advantage. By focusing on audience-centric strategies and utilizing first-party data, advertisers can reach consumers accurately and enhance their ROAS. Despite the efforts of incumbent measurement companies in Canada, it is predicted that linear viewership will continue to decline, prompting broadcasters to continue relying on raising their CPM and Frequency rates. However, this strategy may not be attractive to advertisers who place a high value on accountability, performance, and the ability to quickly adapt to changing market demands. 
  1. Connected TV Being Imperative: While the Canadian streaming wars aren’t heating up as quickly as in the US, we do have major AVOD platforms as well as FAST channels like Samsung TV Plus that exist in our market. From the perspective of individual publishers, we’re still in the first inning of CTV’s potential. We will see a demand for such deals with streaming platforms, but it is still unlikely that individual publishers will make upfront commitments. In fact, our latest report, “Navigating Canadian TV Landscape: The CTV Imperative,” found that mostly streaming Canadian Samsung Smart TV households watch just 6 minutes of linear TV per day, or about 42 minutes each week, making it very difficult for linear TV advertisers to reach this audience. 
  1. Improving User Experience: A key area that should be addressed this year is the consumer experience and a need to ensure that advertising practices align with changing viewer habits. Although reports indicate that consumers may be more willing to watch ads, the high ad loads and long, traditional linear ad pods used by some providers may turn off viewers who are accustomed to shorter ad placements. The beauty of FAST lies in its immediate content availability, without the need to watch ads before accessing desired content. This is a major draw for consumers who want to turn on their TV and watch their shows without delay.