The Canadian network spin war just lurched into overdrive. The Global PR department has answered yesterday’s CBC claim with a few numbers of their own.
As pointed out here yesterday, CBC’s press release claiming it had surpassed Global this season in the ratings was true only if you accepted their very selective parameters of what constitutes a season.
While it admits it was damaged by the lack of original imports thanks to the writers strike,
Global claims it still beat CBC during weeks six through 32 among the only demo that matters to advertisers, 18-49-year-old viewers.
From Oct. 7, 2007, to April 6, 2008, claims Global, it averaged an 8.2 share of the total English language TV audience in Canada, compared to CBC’s 6.2 share. Take that, Sophie and The Border.
Still, Global’s own numbers show the extent of the damage the strike inflicted on its schedule. The private network sank to a 5.9 share among total viewers in January, just as CBC was boosted to a 6.8 share with the launch of new shows like The Week The Women Went and resurgent ratings for old favorites Rick Mercer and Little Mosque.
What is also interesting is the spike in CBC ratings last December, before the new shows launched in January. While Global ratings plunged 31% year to year down to a dismal 6.2 share, CBC soared to a 9 share on the strength of old reliable Christmas specials. CBC even beat Global among 18-49-year-olds in December, with shares of 8.3 and 7.3 of that audience respectively.
Global’s troubles, therefore, started before the strike effect played out. Did fumbling that valuable NFL package to CTV, especially during that exciting, almost-perfect Patriots run, throw Global for a loss? As has been pointed out here before, losing NFL football, one of the few 18-49-year-old male magnets left in television, was a game changer this season, almost as big a factor as the 100-day writers strike. With Sunday night football games, CTV landed in the Canadian Top-30 consistently during the dark days of January when the import episode shelves were otherwise bare.
The good news for Global is that those old favorite U.S. shows have roared back in the last week or so. At the same time, CBC has dipped to its lowest viewing levels of the season, down to a 4.4 share among 18-49-years olds on the April 6 data (from BBM/NMR). Global’s demo share that same week was nearly twice that at 8.2. No wonder CBC rushed their release out yesterday.
Leading the way was the return of Bones on April 14, drawing 1,265,000 viewers, up 54% since the fall in total viewers and 52% in the 18-49 demo. In two airings this month, The Office has roared back with an average of 816,000 viewers, up 33% year-to-year and a bit better than that in the demo. The three new episodes of My Name Is Earl have boosted that series to a double digit increase off its year ago average. NCIS, the hit show everybody forgets, has come back bigger than ever for Global, drawing 1,518,000 April 15, up 7% from last fall.
Sunday’s return of Brothers & Sisters was also up 10% from last September, drawing 697,000 viewers. Old favorite Boston Legal still has fans, with an average of 788,000 catching the two new episodes this month, way, way up from last fall.
The big show, House, returns Monday with the first of four new epiosdes. Global needs this show like Dr. House needs Vicodin. A 2.5 million hit would help ease the pain of a nightmare winter, but opposite CTV’s Dancing With The Stars, the good doc has his work cut out for him.
Global can thank House’s London, Ont.-born creator and showrunner David Shore for tossing them this four episode life preserver. Fox originally wanted to rest House until the fall, but as Shore told me yesterday, he insisted on being able to finish up a season where he had pretty much reinvented the drama. With Global already having to carry on without Heroes until September and 24 until January, the loss of House would have really hurt.
Meanwhile, CTV, which trounced both these also rans in the Canadian ratings game, has been uncharacteristically quiet. Where’s the usual “We beat both these guys put together Nya Nya Nya” release? A search of the high road has so far revealed nothing.


  1. All this is really silly. First of all, if you wish to play with ratings then leave out the USA shows that both private networks purchase. Cancon ratings alone please.

    CBC should not be concerned at all with ratings. The shows I watch on the network (ie: Nature of Things -Project X; Marketplace; the fifth estate)I appreciate. So what if they don’t reach the top 20…they are damn good.

  2. anonymous 3:56 PM

    “if you wish to play with ratings then leave out the USA shows…. Cancon ratings only please”

    If you leave out American shows in the Canadian broadcast ratings equation your audience becomes about zero – which is why ALL broadcasters, including the CBC, include as much American programming as the Nazi’s at the CRTC allow.

  3. I’m sorry ‘anonymous’, what American shows does CBC run??? Arrested Development at 5:30? Sound of Music once a year? Please.

  4. chris said… 11:00 AM

    “what American shows does the CBC run???”

    well chris, I will open my argument with the most salient of all examples demonstrating the hypocrisy and ineptness of CBC programming – THE ONE – whereby the National News was moved to accommodate the greatest failure in the history of television – the ABC simulcast of THE ONE…

    and if you look at the CBC’s schedule for this week you’ll notice a lineup of American film and television which is available elsewhere on the dial but I suppose the CBC needs to draw an audience somehow – Martha Stewart, Frasier, the Simpsons, Arrested Development, Harry and Tonto, the Hudsucker Proxy, Analyze This, the Ipcress File…

    your Worship, I rest my case

  5. but…but…we’re promoting and nurturing all that Canadian talent that would otherwise be trampled by those Americans…you know jogging down to the Blockbuster and renting Harry and Tonto is a special task reserved for only the cream of the cbcers.

  6. Hardly the same thing as what Global and CTV do, years of simulcasting, and all that ad revenue, with little Canadian production. So yes, CBC may have a few American and British shows,very little of it in prime time, but the difference between them and the private ‘broadcasters’ is like night and day.

  7. CBC’s schedule grid is made up roughly of a fall, winter, summer, and playoff season. The fall and the winter season are based around generally 13 episode orders of scripted series, news and current affairs programs, and slightly longer order variety shows such as Air Farce, 22, and Mercer. During this time you will see very little American content in Prime Time.

    Now, however, we are in playoff season. During playoff season, the National moves all the time to accomodate whatever game is on the CBC. And outside the hockey, the CBC runs whatever it can plug in.

    To compare anything in terms of last week is absurd, since the CBC’s season of all its shows has now ended.

    To be fair, it’s easy to see how Ibid the Anonymouse got confused, since the CBC has only been doing things this way for, oh, about 20 years.

    I tell you, it’s a good thing that thing with the One happened two years ago, for like, a minute, or poor squeaky wouldn’t have a valid comparison at all!

    Which he doesn’t.

    Sooprise, sooprise.

    For those of us on the plane of following and making useful comparisons, yup, going to LA and filling your shopping bag and programming an entirely homegrown schedule are two very different things.

    Unfortunately, the political prism of the inveterate CBC hater means one must view any and all things through about six coded phrases — which you can read if you peruse any and all threads here.

    I can only imagine what poor mouse would do if, like me, he actually had to contend with two passports, two cultures and more than one valid point of view. Gawrsh, Matilta, we’d be pickin the brains off the crockery til Family Day!

  8. dmc said 3:08 PM

    “it’s easy to see how ibid the anonymouse got confused since the CBC has been doing things this way for, oh, about 20 years”

    “poor squeeky” ???
    “anonymouse” ???
    “inveterate CBC hater” ???
    “pickin’ the brains off the crockery” ???

    To make an argument DMC will first attempt to level personal insults at those who express dissenting points of view – I believe he refers to them as “ad hominem attacks” – Dennis McGrath, paid blogger for all things liberal, comes rushing to the defense of Canada’s public broadcaster who, we learn from recent BBM numbers, enjoys a 4.8% audience share of a shrinking demographic.

    Since McGrath seems to know everything there is to know about State sponsored culture consider the facts; with the exception of news, current affairs and children’s programming, the CBC doesn’t produce anything. Sure, they broadcast original Canadian productions, but they only pay a modest broadcast fee. In fact, the CBC doesn’t develop or oversee any of their own programming – and it wasn’t always this way.

    The CBC not so long ago produced all of their own programming in-house. Now, with an operating budget of $1.5 billion, the CBC does nothing.
    And when you add up all of the numbers for arts and cultural funding, film and television, secret blog accounts, the amount of money spent per year comes closer to $7.5 billion, with a third of that going to Canadian television which is enjoyed by an audience share of 4.8%.

    As a Canadian taxpayer in a country with a population the size of California, it is an outrage to be burdened with such a significant cost – especially when the agenda is political and contrary to the values and traditions of Canadians. $2.5 billion for Air Farce and Rent a Goalie?

    It’s time to have the Auditor General examine the cultural industries starting with the CBC. $1.5 billion per year AND THAT DOESN’T INCLUDE THE COST OF THE PROGRAMMING WHICH ATTRACTS ONLY A HANDFUL OF VIEWERS.

    Canadian television doesn’t pass the smell test – and neither does that fat retard (ad hominem) who is always coming to the defense of State sponsored culture. Now go roll a big fat one fatso.

  9. Hey! cut dmc some slack, he’s given up his “sweep out the trolls”
    censorship gig, now if he can only do something about this insane/profane defence of the state funded commie cbc…

  10. Isn’t it curious how DMC considers himself to be the spokesman for the CBC. What an arrogant asshole.

  11. isn’t curious how the only people who try to take Dennis on are people who a) ignore and don’t defend the arguments raised that he was responding to b) choose to raise ad hominem arguments in the typical boring internet fashion and c) do so anonymously. I mean, really, how can you possibly be so threatened by the guy that you won’t stand behind what you say? And how can you possibly ask people to accept your side of the argument if you raise it in such a cowardly and ultimately empty way?

  12. Under the “leave your comment” box is the “choose an identity” section with the “anonymous” option. Seeing as “Dennis McGrath – DMC” has such propensity to insult and post rude invectives (the ad hominem attacks for which he accuses others) it would be foolish, if not insane, to allow such a malicious and mentally unbalanced hateful individual to know who I am.

    I am here, like others, to enjoy Bill’s left leaning analysis of Canada’s television business and occasionally I will offer an opinion – which is solicited. Anything critical of Canada’s cultural industries is immediately met with derision and personal insults from fatso.

    DMC is the kind of person who would work tirelessly through the night waging a campaign of intimidation and internet terrorism against those that he did not agree with – so I will remain anonymous. Who I am is irrelevant – it is my opinions that matter because Canada is still a democracy despite efforts from the fanatical left, people like Dennis McGrath, who attempt to silence dissenting opinions by leveling personal attacks.

    I could sign my first name like “Alison” and continue to remain anonymous if that would make all of the paid bloggers happy.


  13. Now I have the time to actually track you down?


    That, and Bill Brioux, Left Winger, are your best leaps yet.

    Brioux, you GD lefty — see you at the Mayday Parade! Huzzah!

  14. “when the agenda is political and contrary to the values and traditions of Canadians”

    I’m Canadian born and bred and I don’t remember ever expressing my values and traditions to you.
    Denis argues HIS position, no more,no less, and makes no claim of speaking for anyone else. Yet you brand him ‘an arrogant asshole’, claiming him to be the spokesman of the CBC.
    You,on the other hand, seem to think you can talk for all Canadians. Wow, not sure what that makes you. Well, actually, I do know what that makes you but since it is laced with invectives I will withhold it so as not to offend your delicate sensibilities. Seems only fair since you extend the same courtesy to Denis, and I’m sure, in due time,to me…Hold on-actually- you don’t. Your rants are full of invectives and…Oww, hypocritical contradictions make my head hurt.
    Do me a favor – spill your poison at will but don’t ever assume to speak for my values and traditions, you hypocrite.
    It must have been really lonely having no friends in school.

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