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Shaw Execs Cash In While Newshour’s Viewers Drop … Again

January 13th, 2014 · 28 Comments

I really hate to admit it …. but you can lower the quality of what you provide on TV,  even lose viewers … and still make MILLIONS!

News reports have revealed the top five executives of Shaw Cable in 2013 pulled in $30 MILLION in “bonuses” … (can you believe that!) … for doing a great job on behalf of the media conglomerate.

Executive chairman Jim Shaw alone was rewarded with a $10 MILLION bonus and added $5.6 MILLION pension provisions on top of his $1.5 MILLION salary. Chief executive Bradley Shaw was paid a $2.5 MILLION salary plus a $6.3 MILLION bonus; and President Peter Bissonnette had to make do with a total $7 MILLION take-home.

Good job, boys!

But wait … didn’t Shaw LOSE another 120,000 video subscribers (viewers) in 2013, on top of the 70,000 they lost in 2012?

Good job?

True, they picked up 28,000 more Internet subscribers and 52,000 phone customers … but there seems to be something terribly wrong to me when Shaw brass can wallow in so much extra “bonus” wealth while so much of the once-glorious television news empire they acquired seems to be crumbling at their hands.

And that’s not just ME saying that … it’s YOU, the viewers …. in falling numbers of Shaw TV subscribers and in the key Newshour viewer ratings as well.

A friend at CTV tells me their local news numbers were UP 30 per cent last November compared to November, 2012 …a ratings jump to 2.1 share from 1.6.   Global’s Newshour reportedly DROPPED 1.9 ratings points to 4.1 during the same period.  (If Global has differing figures, I would be happy to see them.)

Good job at Shaw?

Global is still Number One overall … but the lead, which used to be as high as five or six to one is now down to around two or three to one. This is …or should be VERY scary … for Newshour management and Shaw execs.

Those numbers may not mean much to you, but they mean MILLIONS in gained or lost advertising revenues to TV stations.

That’s BIG NEWS … which, of course, no one is reporting.

If there’s ANY good news for Global, I hear it’s BC-1 is starting to catch on at last, and although they haven’t released viewer numbers, people ARE starting to tune it in when looking for news updates when they want them, which is what 24-hour loop broadcasting is all about.

But there’s another particular statistic from my CTV source I find particularly intriguing: CTV viewers at 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. are watching, on average, 12 minutes more …. while Global’s Newshour are watching, on average, 18 minutes less.

If that’s true, I can’t help but wonder whether Mike McCardell’s firing at Global and hiring at CTV is now taking a toll on the Newshour!

Should be a GREAT year for a huge ratings/viewership war between CTV and Global.

Another great story …. no one is doing.

But no matter… the brass are taking home MILLIONS!

Maybe they should use part of their bonuses to buy fiddles.

Harv Oberfeld

(Follow me on Twitter @harveyoberfeld to get FIRST Alerts of new blog topics )

Tags: British Columbia · Media

28 responses so far ↓

  • 1 RS // Jan 13, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Right up there with Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland, BC Ferries…

  • 2 frosty // Jan 13, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Lest we not forget radio….SHAW’s CKNW hit a record low 8.8 in THEIR last outing….sales there are tougher than ever.

    (Response: You MUST go back on air …. 12 hours a day! h.o)

  • 3 D. M. Johnston // Jan 13, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Executive bonuses are nothing more than theft from shareholders.

    Remember, CEO’s are from the same social order that generally bemoans unions, minimum wage, or strict government rules for jobs.

    That our governments, both federal and provincial, allow CEO executive bonuses demonstrates that they are Corporatists, which is of course another word for Fascists, who, as we all know were exemplified by that rather dreary little Austrian back in the early 1930’s.

    If CEO’s are allowed bonuses, then every worker should have one as well.

    As for the Shaw family, they amply show why oligopolies are a dangerous thing.

    As for the News Hour, yesterday’s news, made all the more boring by the lack of real news.

    (Response: Actually, MANY companies used to reward workers with bonuses too …at year end or with share options etc. That was when employees were considered valuable assets…not liabilities …to be laid off, replaced with cheaper younger minimum wage workers wherever possible ..even as profits grow. h.o.)

  • 4 Lew // Jan 13, 2014 at 9:39 am

    ‘NW gained ten minutes of my time with the move to take Bill Good off the 8am news. Now I don’t have to switch dials until Michael Campbell comes on with his morning lecture to the infidels.

    (Response: Funny you mention Campbell…I listen to Till up to 8, then go watch BBC World or Al Jazeera till 8:35 … AFTER Campbell …and then switch radio back on to hear Good …but usually not for the whole show any more…just till I get bored. Although when Mike Smyth is on…I find myself listening right through …at home or in the car. h.o.)

  • 5 R // Jan 13, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Sounds like BC Ferries.

  • 6 Bob Proctor // Jan 13, 2014 at 11:41 am


    I find with retirement I have a lot of time on my hands so I’ve become more of a news junkie. I think
    news anchors are still very relevant at attracting viewers. Global news hour with Chris compared to
    CTV with Tamera is far more dare I say entertaining. Tamera shows some heart as well as depth with her delivery. I pvr everything I can including CKNW with their podcasts. The commercials are just to overwhelming to say nothing of the native advertising creeping in especialy on Global.

    Regarding executive bonuses one had to remember that many media platforms exist at Shaw and all form the brand that bonuses are paid on.

    (Response: I think each broadcast has its own strengths and weaknesses. My problem is the content is so similar …where BCTV used to be so different …a real leader that other stations used to try to catch up with the following day. Occasionally Global and CTV DO come u with some good series or stories or features … but not nearly often enough. Too much fluff, daily police/fire/ambulance stories, press conferences etc. And when you mention entertaining, I think political reporting …a great opportunity to inform, have fun and promote the public’s …not the government or opposition’s agenda …and draw in hundreds of thousands viewers, and I think that is now sadly lacking..and it shows in the ratings. h.o.

  • 7 RS // Jan 13, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    If Frosty goes back, so must you HO 😉

    (Response: No, no ,no. Okay, Frosty …go back to your nap. h.o)

  • 8 michael // Jan 13, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Re change in Global/CTV viewer % switch.My viewing change is almost identical.I cannot watch Kristi Gordon ot I hate to say Deb H
    Constant stumbling and misreading by Ms K and I think Deb wont accept fact she needs Specs.It took me a Year to accept My need but at least I can read smoothly
    Re NW The Ads are atrocious aimed at level way below the NW Listener{I hope}Awful Harsh voiced shouting women and Men from Misc Car Dealerships and really loathesome constant “To good to be true”ads re House Money loans,plus those Shaw Wi Fi ads UGH

    no wonder the ratings are sinking I am much more a CBC man now
    How Till,Bill Simi John can bear to air the segments with sound bites of maybe 3-5 minutes before an AD breakis beyond Me.I see big changes in the Offing
    Harvey wery few “Radio Voices”coming out of Broadcasting School
    Graduates mainly Younger women seem to be taught high pressure faes shrill delivery
    I would be interested in Frosty’s Thoughts re this observation?
    I may be older but I find it hard to accept that Younger Listeners like being shouted at all the time.I guess profits have taken over from quality!

    (Response: I didn’t mention CBC in the blog, because they are NOWHERE in the ratings war right now.
    they do some good stories … but they really lost my respect as serious journalists when they could see nothing wrong with having the wife of their legislative reporter working in the premier’s office. If that’s their ethical standard…they are not for me. h.o)

  • 9 morry // Jan 13, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Newspapers are dying, TV News ratings are tanking, Radio Talk shows are 60% Ads 40% talking.

    No thanks. I have given them up.

  • 10 lou // Jan 13, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Shaw execs get huge bonuses yet the retired employees lose there health care benefits that the employees themselves paid for. I guess in Shaw lingo that is fair

  • 11 PAUL // Jan 13, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Global has become unwatchable no investagateing reports. The anchors do not ask any tough questions anymore.
    But the real joke is the Bill Good show. I only tune in for a short while as it has become boring and predectable. He really out of touch with the average person. The producer of the show sounds like she is 12. Both Bill and her don’t have a clue of many issues affecting the masses. How they keep their jobs is be on me. I guess as long as the management get their bonuses who cares!
    Where can I see the current ratings for the radio sations, or how far has NW falling?

    (Response: Ratings are secret …avail only to those who pay for them. Unless someone who gets them wants to pass them on to me confidentially or all of us to know what’s going on. A public service. h.o.)

  • 12 13 // Jan 13, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    I dont like Shaw. About 10 years ago the lured me into a bundle home phone, internet and TV for about $100 permonth for a year or two. The new price is about $190 per month and one of these days Im going to scrap Shaw and do Telus bundle for a year. I also dont like executives. But when Shaw exes with the last name of Shaw get huge bonus checks I dont get the uproar. I guess that its only free enterprise as long as the workers are happy. When the workers arent getting their fare share then its “corporatists” and othe ologists . Most Shaw employees must be unionized. If you dont like your contract vote to strike. If Shaw destroys the news hour then they will get what they deserve. Bigger bonus checks.

  • 13 pete // Jan 13, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Hope I’m not off topic but I really find most of the lead Global BC news stories to be way too much murder, death, pain and suffering. CBC and CTV seem to be a little less depressing. I didn’t notice till my wife pointed how crappy it was to come home to those stories after work.
    I have also noticed ever since Global changed their sets a few months ago they can’t seem to get through a single show without numerous technical screw ups.

    (Response: Actually you’re very astute … and I’ve written about this before: crime, fires, mayhem, weather etc are much easier and cheaper to cover than investigative or in depth news. And in the US that’s almost all you see on some local newscasts that have very large ratings. But WE are not THEM …and it does not seem to be working here, which just may lead to more quality stories when the ratings drop far enough to make the BIG bosses realize change is needed. h.o.)

  • 14 morry // Jan 13, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    “Ratings are secret”. wow!

    (Response: Yup. Unless someone leaks them. And I’d be happy to see any my readers in the media can provide me confidentially. h.o)

  • 15 Skippermurph // Jan 13, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    It is really sad to see the demise of CKNW. was topped listening to Bill Good about 10 years ago. He is pathetic. The best thing on that station is Bruce Allen’s Rants. We love talk radio but have had to become regular listeners on TUNEIN RADIO to Rush, Beck, mark Levin, Bill Bennett. Too bad there is not a really good talk show line up in Vancouver.

  • 16 Mike // Jan 13, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Did you see tonight’s Newshour? More mistakes each night, amazing their director is still there.
    Come back from a commercial break, side camera on Chris, he turns his chair and then other camera takes over so he turns back as says, “maybe I will use this camera” starts the next store about a train derailment and says ” looks like this train is going off the rails” WAY to throw your own show under the bus and not 5 mins later the train store that is supposed to be on is a story about cardboard boxes…….don’t even get me started on Kristi or Deb and her silly voices that she makes GRRRRR…. CTV so much more professional and hardly ever a mistake with a story or camera, maybe robotic cameras are not the way to go.

    (Response: Actually sometimes tuning in for the mistakes can be more fun than tuning in for the news content. I wonder if all the gaffs are because of so much increased automation and computerization…all apparently now run remotely for out of Calgary for several Shaw stations … providing lousier quality broadcast technically but no doubt saving Shaw a lot more money for executive bonuses. h.o.)

  • 17 mike // Jan 13, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Not sure if you have noticed Harv. I watch the noon new hour daily. I have noticed that Deb cannot go a segment without stumbling over her words. Perhaps she needs to retire. It is just cringe worthy.

    And I agree, global’s content is just boring. Too many human interests stories that are of no relevance to anyone.

    (Response: I know she was off the air for a few weeks and I don’t believe it was just vacation. Maybe it’s time she should do what I did …leave them wanting more, instead of eventually leaving them laughing. h.o)

  • 18 13 // Jan 14, 2014 at 6:16 am

    I watched the News Hour last night. I felt sorry for Mr Galius. He never knew which camera he was to look at and if he introduced a news piece they played something else . Made him look like an idiot. Production values have plummeted. At the end of that show Chris Galies would have been within rights to have appollogized fro a fiasco.

  • 19 michael // Jan 14, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    When I referred to switching to CBC from NW I meant CBC AM Radio,I saw the ratings for radio a few weeks ago I think?{Senior moment for detail} thru the interesting “Northwest Broadcasters “site many interesting local Radio Happening Items
    CBC was approx 11.8 and NW was 8.4 far below “Top Dog” Heights”
    I agree re comments posted after mine re disarray at Global now Shaw rules the Roost
    I do think that Gailus has a good voice and handle s awkward situations well !
    And Squire is driving Me mad with His Ultra Germ Free Lifestyle He will have no natural Antibodies if a real “Plague” hits Vancouver!!
    Harv,I agree it is almost funny to watch all this stupidity!!
    I grew up in UK with Radio ,no TV until I was 12 yrs old and thoroughly Spoilt with the perfect diction and 99% perfect delivey from the BBC
    CBC Radio is the BBC best equivilent
    Forget Federal Grants Argument etc They Just have a high Voice and Delivery stumble free standards and I am sure the presenters are paid way less than Phil Till Bill G etc.

    (Response: I see. If you search “CKNW” on my blog, you’ll find a few blogs I’ve written on NW’s fall in the ratings. I’m sure they’re well aware of …but don’t seem to be able to much about it. Why? Maybe they don’t care…still making money; or some of those on air have iron-clad contracts … very expensive to terminate; and then, the biggest question…who IS available and would be any better? h.o.)

  • 20 r // Jan 14, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Maybe hire AGT for radio slot time.?and /or give Bruce Allen more time also.?

  • 21 Keith E. // Jan 14, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Hi Harvey,

    in regard to the executive pay this seems to be the norm these days. Losses are profits, black is white, up is down.

    We saw this with the wall street fiasco, the Royal Bank of Scotland in the U.K. it seems to be a culture of string along as many of the people for as long as you can, grab what you can when you can while the shareholders are making money. B.S. them when they aren’t and when it hits the fan, we’ve got ours, screw the rest of you.

    “R” comment #5 mentioned it’s just like B.C. Ferries, well it is to a point but the execs. in private business have figured this out for themselves, in the case of B.C. ferries some-one has to yes to the high priced help.

    In regard to the dropping global numbers, I wonder what the % of those numbers are folks that just have the T.V. on for no other reason but to have the T.V. on as background noise.

    Personally I can’t watch it for long, 5 o’clock up until Christy Gordon comes on or until the inevitable inane babbling of 2 people talking over each other about nothing. For me and I’m sure many others it’s like nails on a chalkboard. That’s it for global for the rest of the night.

    Catch the car crashes and fires at the top of the hour most mornings, watch them imitate the Simpsons on the couch then over to the CBC or BBC.

    Pretty sad state of affairs but hey, as long as Shaw are making money and the people regurgitating 4 day old news stay to the script, all is well in Global land.

    (Response: I hope those in charge over this will just read this and other comments…so they understand I’m not making this stuff up. I’ve been warning them for year viewers … but nothing improves, and ratings have fallen and fallen. Someday they’ll get it. h.o.)

  • 22 AndyO // Jan 14, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Harvey, I really dont know what’s going on at Global BC. Once in a while I watch it, more over I watch CTV. The other day Lynn Collier on the weekend show was doing a story about Pennask Lake, by Peachland. She called it Pinaskee Lake. For someone from this province it was humerus for her to do it. I watched the next half hour segment to see if she would correct herself and she said it again. And that’s the tip of the iceberg.
    I find myself, when I do watch Global, when they do a story politics or in-depth, yelling at the TV “ask the next obvious question!” “Why” but it never happens.
    And Harvey, keep up the good work.

    (Response: Have to admit, I USED to do the same watching their political questioning … but I stopped after I realized it’s unlikely to ever happen in the foreseeable the way I used to push. Now I just shake my head and sometimes even laugh. h.o.)

  • 23 e.a.f. // Jan 15, 2014 at 2:39 am

    It would be interesting to know if these executives pay income tax on all the money they are making and if so how much?

    the shareholders are being ripped off. Shaw pays bonuses to executives for a company which is deteriorating? Ah, well it maybe the execs are making the last grab at the cash before the company stops making money.

    No longer watch Global. It is so pro provincial lieberal, its beyond watching and they don’t really give you any news. Nothing which can’t be found by simply checking the RCMP website. There is nothing of interest. who cares how many gang bangers kill each other or how many car accidents there are, except to avoid the line ups. if the news actually reported on news it might be worth watching, but not these days.

    don’t read the Sun or Province either. Waste of money.

  • 24 mrpro // Jan 15, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Would be very interesting to hear comments about the print media in Vancouver especialy the Vancouver Sun and Province. These brands are in trouble working with half the resources they had in 2010.

  • 25 morry // Jan 15, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    S0 last night I decide after your posy here and the comments to see for myself what the state of global is. Well it’s worse that I thought. A pretty lame news programme. It was very amateurish. as For the weather; other than her vocal delivery – Kristie Gordon wasn’t that bad. I found that Mr Barnes has gotten a little too self-important. I missed not seeing Mike McCardell.

    (Response: A lot of people seem to share your reactions … although I personally still enjoy Squire. As for McCardell, it’s looking like Global’s loss was CTV’s gain. h.o)

  • 26 Barry // Jan 15, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Remember, capitalism is the most efficient means yet developed for taking money from the hands of the many to flow into the pockets of the few. Examples:

    –Blow up a town–go bankrupt.

    –Nearly destroy the economy with your greed–get bailouts.

    –People make too much money or want to be treated well–offshore as much as possible to third world hell holes and get your bought and paid for government to bust unions.

    What we have here is the maxim of produce stuff as cheaply as possible and charge as much as you can. Looking at my cable bills over the years, the Shaw family sure knows how to do this! And judging by their paychecks, we won’t be seeing them collecting UI any time soon.

  • 27 morry // Jan 15, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Wages frozen. Pensions going the wrong way. Costs rising… Our Cable bills are rising the fastest! What “extras” have Shaw delivered to warrant rising costs??? NOTHING. But Jim Shaw continues to want MORE. GREED

  • 28 Ara Hepburn // Jan 22, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Thank you Mr Oberfeld for another excellent article. You are one voice we can trust.
    The best media in BC is the bloggers. Not that I agree with all but I need all the information, pro and con, to make a decision. Like you, many have a network of insiders etc that can leak you the information BC’er need and you fact check which our MSM ignores.
    Global should be renamed – “BC Liberal News Network”. They don’t even pretend to be neutral. They simply read Liberal press releases as gospel without any questions or fact checking.
    Their new channel is 24/7 liberal propaganda.
    And Deb Hope should learn to read and speak. Last week she consistently called the Pattullo, the ‘Patella’ which is part of the knee. So did some of the others.

    CTV does a better job of pretending to be neutral. CBC lost a lot of credibility hiring Smart against it’s own Ombudsman’s decision.

    (Response: It’s sad for me to see what passes for most of the local news these days. Lots of daily news-on-a-platter. If I were running local news shows, I’d certainly beef up their Vancouver City Hall coverage and even have a couple of reporters covering he suburbs…going after real issues; I’d also totally revamp political coverage, with new blood and new more aggressive reporters; and I’d boost province wide coverage by sending real reporters into areas to cover issues…not use stringers so much, who are seldom good reporters. h.o.)