Upfronts ’21: What Bell has planned for MuchMusic

Through a partnership with TikTok, the pop-culture brand's always-on format will provide unique integration opportunities.
Bell Media-MuchMusic Returns as Content-Driven Digital First Net

In an effort to speak to a younger audience, Bell Media has announced the relaunch of its MuchMusic brand.

“The youth audience is not necessarily engaging with content on broadcast platforms that we own,” Justin Stockman, Bell Media’s VP of¬†content development and programming, tells MiC. “That’s been holding us back and it’s why Canadian advertisers have to go to a non-Canadian entity or to the influencer market to reach a youth audience.”

In response, Bell Media revealed today it has reached a deal with TikTok for an official relaunch of the pop-culture brand. Beginning July 7, the reimagined MuchMusic will expand the brand’s legacy across major digital, content, and social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, “so we can offer the youth audience in Canada, as well as advertisers, something that’s truly Canadian,” Stockman says.

“Think of the MuchMusic brand as an influencer, with diverse creators all across the country,” adds Perry¬†MacDonald, Bell Media’s VP, advertising sales and partnerships. “This is building on the legacy of delivering the most relevant youth content, and we will be talking to clients imminently about branded opportunities.”

Integrations will include branded content, social-first executions, live social and in-person events, plus talent and influencer-led executions. “It’s going to be bespoke, custom opportunities based on client needs and how to best bring those integrations to life,” MacDonald says.

To celebrate the relaunch, MuchMusic is bringing back classic series Spotlight, Intimate & Interactive, and Video on Trial, which will live exclusively on TikTok. Future offerings will include tentpole events and live performances, as well as other initiatives with brand integration opportunities under the MuchMusic banner.

From a creative standpoint MuchMusic is also poised to introduce a new lineup of diverse VJs to present its content, while also drawing from digital creators and Much Studios personalities who will showcase their signature brands through new productions.

The company also unveiled a new logo (pictured) that contains a new, modernized font over the signature sphere, in conjunction with the announcement.

“Culture starts on TikTok, from music and trends to artists being discovered and rediscovered, so there’s an obvious synergy between TikTok and MuchMusic for the relaunch of this iconic institution,” Adam Burchill, head of music, TikTok Canada, said in a statement. “MuchMusic has played an essential part in shaping the musical landscape for generations. Today, TikTok is redefining the way that fans discover and engage with their favourite music and artists, and I’m excited for our platform to bring MuchMusic to a new generation of fans not just in Canada, but around the world.”

There will be no changes to the current Much linear channel as it exists under Bell Media.

The new partnership was driven by the same team behind TSN’s BarDown, an initiative that first launched in 2014. The model currently creates integrated social media content with high engagement rates, covering the intersect between sports and pop culture.

With files from Amber Dowling.