For a business that makes its living reporting, revealing and exposing information … it’s quite curious how secretive television and radio stations are about the DETAILS of their ratings.
You may see or hear an ad here and there boasting that Global’s Newshour etc. is drawing THREE TIMES the number of viewers of their closest competitor (CTV). But what they DON’T tell you is that they USED to regularly draw FIVE AND EVEN SIX TIMES their closest rival.
And of course, wherever ratings are falling, the brass blame fracturing of the audience, more channels, social media, sporting events on other channels, weather. And they are no doubt quite right, to some extent … but not always.
For example, if folks on the CTV Vancouver news set are smiling more these days, it’s because THEIR audience is increasing … slowly to be sure …but on the way up.
Last Thursday, for example, Global’s Newshour was still Number One, but with only 3.2 ratings points in the all important 25 to 54 age group, according to figures leaked to me. (If BCTV ever had those kinds of ratings when I was there, I would have phoned in sick the next day, to avoid the wrath!)
CTV at Six came in with 1.9 ratings points … second place.
But look closely: Global’s Newshour lead was down to LESS THAN TWO TO ONE!
No spin doctor could make that look good.
For the 5 o’clock shows, the gap has narrowed even more: Global getting a 1.9 ratings score; CTV not far behind at 1.2 in the 25-54 age group.
Interesting, Global does best with its News Final, well ahead with 2.2 ratings points; trailed by CTV at a measly 0.1.
And speaking of measly, let’s not forget CBC local news.
It’s Vancouver News at Five draws its BEST ratings, with a 0.4 score. That’s their BEST! At 6 p.m., CBC drew only a 0.1 rating in the 25-54 group and, yikes, a “0.0″ …. that’s zero point zero …not even on the board …. in the 18 to 49 demographic.
And when I criticize their product, some say I’m being too hard !!!
Meanwhile, the growing question now is how much of an anomaly were those Global/CTV ratings last Thursday?
Time will tell, but I am told that so far this month, Global’s Newshour is averaging a 3.7 ratings score at Six … above its 3.2 Thursday rating, but DOWN from its September average rating of 4.2 last year.
What’s pulling viewers to CTV?
Frankly, to me the shows don’t often seem much of a variation, one from another, anymore: maybe that alone speaks volumes! But there IS one big difference: Mike McCardell.
Apparently, McCardell IS doing just what CTV hoped he would when they picked him up after he was dumped by Global … or, as Mike LOVES to say “I was FIRED!”
McCardell’s stint with The Last Word on CTV at 6 has in fact been extended to five days a week now.
And it’s clear: people ARE tuning in to watch.
(Response: Want to hear more on this topic? You can listen to the interview I did with Talk Digital Radio by clicking here. h.o)