As a taxpayer, I sure hope the publicly funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) isn’t paying anchor Tony Parsons a huge amount of cash!
Because in the current tour-de-ratings (there are no real ratings WARS locally any more), the 72-year-old veteran isn’t even close to donning the yellow leader’s jersey … the one he used to wear years, and decades ago.
For news junkies, the news in April that Tony Parsons had joined CBC News had generated a great deal of excitement. But three months later, I doubt the compettion really worries much about him any more.
Friends in the industry have given me an unofficial peak at some recent news ratings.
First …as a barometer, let’s start with the figures a few weeks after Parsons joined CBC: the rationgs May 19 (while the Stanley Cup Playoffs were still going on) gave CBC local news at 6 p.m. Zero.Point Two of a ratings point . That’s two-tenths of a single ratings point … or on that day, about 36,000 viewers in in the 25-54 year old demographic group. That same week, my source says, CTV had ONE POINT SIX rating points in the 25-54 demographic (79,000 viewers) while Global championed them all with FOUR POINT FIVE ratings points (261,000) in the same demographic.
Well, the hockey season is well over … and my intepretation of the figures through June and into July show the addition of Tony to the team has done almost nothing to the CBC ratings.
On July 16, in the 25-54 demographic, CBC News reportedly drew a ZERO POINT THREE ratings point; CTV captured a ZERO POINT SEVEN, while Global wiped up with a SEVEN POINT FIVE.
Ratings information provided me from another source, for the entire week of July 12-18, tell a similar tale.
CBC News at Six scored a ZERO POINT FOUR ratings point; while CTV pulled in a ZERO POINT NINE; and Global topped with a FIVE POINT FOUR.
During the weeks in between, the figures shift tiny bits up and down, but basically I don’t see Parsons as having much impact or attracting and sizeable new audience or masses of viewers away from his old home at Global.
Maybe he’s just too old … like me, part of the past, but of course, I’m retired! :) Perhaps it’s the overall package … stories, reporters, production values … that are just as important? And I suspect , old habits (if not old anchors anymore) die hard with viewers: so many are so used to watching thew Newshour for so long, breaking that habit may take another whole new generation of viewers.
But news junkies need not fear complacency! CTV News at Six is bringigng on board a new assignment editor, effective mid-September: former Global reporter, news producer and Global National Managing editor Elaine McKay.
McKay knows news and she knows the “BCTV” way of choosing stories, asking questions, shooting video and story telling. She could actually stir the troops at CTV to do battle again … that is, if she can fight off interference and agendas from Toronto (remember all those horrible JUNO garbage promos forced on the local news station? I can still hear the channel xchangers clicking away!)
But looks like ONE thing McKay won’t have to worry much about … her old boss Parsons breathing very hard over her shoulder, from down the road at CBC.