Happy Thanksgiving! A perfect time to talk turkey … in the form of the latest local TV ratings.
And the station no doubt giving the most Thanks this holiday season is CTV.
In recent days, CTV News at 5 p.m., with Coleen Christie, has repeatedly beat Global’s Early News with Deb Hope: CTV capturing 2.0 Ratings Points, compared to Global’s 1.3. Global still does best on most days, BUT it has lost its once overwhelming TOTAL dominance at 5 p.m.
At 6 p.m., Global’s Newshour still leads, but with these kinds of ratings: one day recently, Global pulled 4.4 Ratings points, while CTV captured 2.4 Ratings points. On another, Global scored a 4.5 while CTV drew a 2.3. Ratings that close …. quite often now … not that long ago were unheard of: BCTV used to trounce CTV by five and six times over in terms of total numbers of viewers, so the current much smaller edge should be of great concern!
And apparently it is. the station’s new News Director, Jeff Bollenbach, has met with reporters asking for their input. I suspect the real aim was to find out what’s wrong? what should be changed? In short, HELP!!
I’m glad to add my two cents … having spent 26 years at BCTV/Global when we regularly bashed CTV with record numbers …. and maybe you can give them a few ideas too.
First of all, Bollenbach should demand the geniuses at Global HQ in Toronto butt out! Instead of bringing OTHER Global stations UP to the standards of BCTV, they seem determined to bring BCTV DOWN to their other second and third place stations across the country. The Vancouver station has lost virtually EVERY piece of its visual heritage; and now its audio delivery mimics “all the others” as well: those reporter closers, giving their names, and the fact their on Global (Duh!) , add absolutely nothing at that point in the story …except DETRACT from the closing lines, which used to make you think a bit.
And there’s more …or should I say less, in terms of hard news.
Seems to me, Global has become more and more “small town community television” … puff piece news … reflecting news shows I used to see when I worked in Regina or visited Winnipeg or Calgary: you know, LOTS of non-hard-news, about local community goings-on, community personalities, individuals facing problems of almost every variety, lots of kids-related stuff and a lot more stories that look like paid advertising features … extolling the marvels of new development projects … incorporating very little, if any, critiques about architectural, sight-lines, traffic or local residents’ concerns.
Go Donald Trump!
Talk about turkey stuffing: the show is too often full of it …literally. Those stories I mentioned above used to occupy the lower end of the show: now they’re right up top … small town news brought to us by small town management.
Vancouver is now a large metropolis with large city problems, large city development impacts and large city quality of life problems … well beyond bike lanes … but I sure don’t get the impression the Newshour now reflects that … or even comes close anymore. Do they even have a regular City Hall reporter? Just think of all the stories about major issues facing the city and the region, as well as potential visual features contained in each Council agenda package! And not the puff piece kind either.
Of course, I’ve already outlined in previous blogs (check out BCTV in the Media section) my impressions and concerns about the decline in the quality of even what passes for “hard” news these days: too much emphasis on news-on-a-platter … crime, courts, accidents, fires, press conferences, photo-ops, published reports …or simply regurgitating content of the morning newspapers.
This is very unfortunate, because WHEN they do special features or series (Go Jas Go!) they’re quite good … interesting and captivating …and full of what made BCTV so popular: PICTURES!!!
But sadly those are now very few and far between.
Why? Well, now they seem to have a new problem … on top of the old ones of doing-more-with-less and being increasingly staffed with inexperienced reporters who don’t seem to have much BC historical background or knowledge and very limited creative writing skills.
Now, there is also the need to “feed the Beast” … you know, BC-1, Global’s 24-hour News Channel that has not exactly captured the imagination, nor the numbers of viewers the station had been hoping for since it was launched. So reporters and camera crews are reportedly under increasing pressure to provide live-hits, footage throughout their day to BC-1 … cutting into the amount of time and effort they can put into providing a first-rate story at Six.
Maybe the viewers have caught onto that … and clicking away or not tuning in at all. But viewership has indeed DROPPED a FEW HUNDRED THOUSAND from BCTV’s peak years, and advertisers cannot be impressed.
It’s too early to tell whether CTV’s capture of Mike McCardell and Dave Gerry has affected that station’s ratings; but suffice it to say their back end does seem to be more interesting most nights … Squire Barne’s Satellite Debris on Global still attracting my attention on Fridays.
As for CBC local news, it continues to be a non-entity in the Ratings battle, scoring a measly 0.3 in the same Ratings survey I quoted above. And I’m told some nights their News at 5 gets a 0.0 Ratings score (NIL!!!) … and CBC News at 6 gets a 0.1 …. how embarrassing!
I can’t help but wonder how Tony Parson’s holds on to his anchor position …. and no doubt very lucrative salary … with such a dismal ratings performance. He’s lucky CBC has access to public funding … because I believe in private industry, any anchor attracting such poor viewer ratings , would be long gone.
TV in BC is in flux. Times ARE a-changing and so are viewers’ habits.
Earlier this year, Global’s new news director reportedly said the station would be heading in “a new direction”.
But I doubt the latest ratings are what he had in mind.