Unis wants Francophones to speak up

'Sors la langue de ta poche' puts call out on Facebook

Facebook users are being told to get their tongues out of their pockets as part of a promotion for the new French-language TV specialty channel Unis.

The “Sors la langue de ta poche” (an expression meaning “don’t be shy” or “speak your mind”) contest calls upon 16-25-year-olds to submit their favourite French expressions, with the winners getting Samsung tablets. It’s aimed at generating buzz for the new channel, which launches Sept.1.


Unis aims to highlight the diversity of francophone communities across Canada, with most of its content generated outside Quebec.

The new channel was approved by the CRTC in August 2013 and came on the heels of a call from the broadcast regulator for improved French-language content for the estimated 1 million French-Canadians outside Quebec, says Robert Duhamel, sales and marketing director at TV5 and Unis.

Unis has a must-carry license, meaning it will be included on basic digital cable services across Canada. TV5, the new channel’s sister station, is already on basic cable. It broadcasts francophone content from around the world and has partners in France, Belgium, Switzerland and northern Africa.

Operating with the tag line “tout franco, tout beau” (all French, all nice), Unis will introduce 12 new shows including Le 5e élément, a game show for children highlighting the elements that are basic to life (earth, fire, water and air), Balade à Toronto, featuring musicians in performance and J’habite ici, about French-Canadian neighbourhoods and villages.

Duhamel expects viewer numbers to come mostly from Quebec because of the reporting system. “That’s because the only means of measuring the audiences is through BBM [now called Numeris], and smaller French communities outside Quebec are not really on the BBM radar. The sample sizes are too small.”

About 25% of TV5’s current audience is from outside Quebec, according to BBM.

Duhamel expects Unis to attract a younger and more female audience than TV5, which has an average viewer age of 49 and 55% male viewership. The new station will have children’s programming in the morning and after-school teen programming.

The channel’s launch will be promoted heavily throughout French communities across Canada, such as Sudbury, Ont., Winnipeg’s St. Boniface ward and Moncton.

Unis will work with current TV5 advertisers, who will receive discounted rates to advertise on both channels. Car companies and CPGs comprise TV5’s current top advertisers.

Advertisers have been lined up, Duhamel says, but fall sales will begin officially in July when a new ad system is implemented.

Duhamel recently presented Unis during a tour of 14 Toronto agencies. When he asked the agencies whether they will support the new station, “most of them said they will be trying it out.”

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