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Rogers cancels June TV upfront; to hold 'intimate events with agencies' instead

TORONTO — Rogers Media no longer plans to have a splashy event to promote its upcoming TV season — a one-day celebration known in the industry as an upfront.

In a statement, the company says it has “made the difficult, but fiscally responsible, decision to not move forward with this year’s upfront event.”

Every year around spring, American and Canadian broadcasters typically hold their own upfront presentations to tout their slate of programming and talent for advertisers and media buyers.

Celebrities starring in those shows often attend the day-long events, conducting interviews with members of the media and onstage Q-and-As for an industry audience.

Rogers had originally scheduled this year’s upfront for June 4 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto.

It now says instead of an upfront this year, it will “focus on customized agency presentations” to highlight its fall schedules on Citytv, FX, OMNI Television, and Sportsnet.

“The traditional upfront is a one-way conversation; we want a dialogue with our clients,” Rogers said in Thursday’s statement.

“These intimate events with agencies allow us to better understand clients’ unique needs and deliver creative solutions to meet those needs.”

Rogers says it still plans to hold an event for press at a yet-to-be-announced date, and will reallocate “the significant budget allotted to the upfront” to amplify its on-screen programming and products.

“As the media industry continues to evolve at a rapid pace, it is essential we continue to reassess the areas in which we can deliver the most value to our audiences, clients, and partners,” Rogers said.

“We remain deeply committed to investing in content and growing our core business. Television and our exceptional programming schedule is a primary focus for us. We are heading to L.A. next week to meet with the studios and acquire the hottest new shows for fall.”

The Canadian Press