Vancouver TV News Ratings Race Tightening … Even More


By Harvey Oberfeld
Keeping It Real…
September 16th, 2014

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.

Harv Oberfeld


  1. Good to hear. It’s about time the inferior newscast of Global started its decent towards obscurity. I don’t have the time or patience for endless pro-government propaganda.

  2. Well, shifting Gloria Macarenko to radio is a good starting point! She didn’t deserve to be treated that way. Especially for some guy from the East that no one has ever heard of. Whatever happened to having a news anchor that people knew and trusted? Gloria was nothing, if not that!

  3. I am forcing myself to watch the Global Morning News. I really enjoy watching Steve and Sophie but there is too much traffic and weather. I have tried switching to CTV but the hosts are way too uncomfortable to watch.

  4. Harv is right when he says that one program doesn’t differ much from the other…except in one category.

    Technical proficiency.

    I made the switch to CTV because of all the technical screw-ups on Global. Empty blue screens, teleprompter miscues, anchors not looking at the right camera and a host of other technical glitches made the change easy for me.

  5. Shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. I have not had television in the home for 2 years, and don’t miss it at all. Let’s look at the total number of viewers, like radio’s lead the total numbers just keep dropping and dropping. People have a voracious appetite for LOCAL news, but that takes reporters. Instead you can tell when the news is over (ususally before 6:10) then it is a series of wire service feeds.
    The King of White Rock has spoken

  6. Sorry, but one night does not a pattern make. It’s true that early last year while Global was using new technology in their control room, rating suffered a bit because of all the technical screw-ups. But they are back to a healthy lead on CTV. Just this week, Global was getting a 6-1 ratings point win over CTV. The teachers strike played a big part in the large ratings, but it also goes to show you that people still turn to Global when there is big news. And the lead in the key demographic was also substantial. Sorry Harvey, I know you’re bitter at Global and so is your mole, but your info is more wishful thinking than anything else.

  7. Harvey, what you don’t know is that CTV News ratings were at their peak more than 7 years ago when Tom Walters was news director and Bill Good and Pamela Martin anchored. Then the 6 p.m. newscast would regularly score highs of 3.0 and higher. CTV has stayed at where it’s always been in the ratings game since then, about 1.5-2.0, while Global has dropped and narrowed the gap. Comparatively, 1.7 at 6 p.m. for CTV is nothing. And yes, unless you have access to minute by minute ratings, I have trouble seeing how you equate Mike McCardell with higher ratings.


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