CBC Tanks; CTV Triumphs on Election Coverage


By Harvey Oberfeld
Keeping It Real…
November 21st, 2014

The final numbers from the civic elections are in … and, no, I’m talking about the mail-in ballots.

This is about the IMPORTANT numbers … if you’re in the media, a media junkie …or an advertising buyer: election night TV ratings.

CBC had a HUGE advantage, going to its election coverage Saturday right out of Hockey Night in Canada …so in the opening moments the local Vancouver CBC outlet led all other stations … and then tanked, reportedly ending up third out of the three local network stations.

And that’s REALLY bad when you consider that Global TV didn’t even bother offering full election coverage on its CHAN flagship, but relegated it to its sidebar cousin BC1 , which isn’t even offered to Telus or Bell cable subscribers. (By the way, why is that? Corporate censorship? Or just a competitive snit?)

The winner: CTV … drawing 133,000 viewers…  peaking at 183,800 at one point.  And even I’m impressed with that …considering it was, after all, civic election results and on  a Saturday night to boot.

What the numbers also showed is how Global continues to pay a price …lower ratings … for its dismissal of local election coverage.

Not only did they relegate their comprehensive coverage to BC1, they didn’t even bring in Chris Gailus to anchor the results, analysis. Surprising for a station that advertises itself so widely as “BC’s News” station.

I guess not … if it involves weekend overtime for its prime-time anchor or interferes with Saturday night American programming.

Or was this just a stage rehearsal for some Shaw Global plan to eventually relegate all or most of its news coverage to BC1, so it can cash in by putting MORE dramas, reality shows and American programming on CHAN.

And the worst part of it all…the CRTC is complicit in allowing … even in my view encouraging …the billionaire media corporations to slash and kill off local news coverage.

But here are the BBM results for the “Special” election night programs, in the all-important 25-54 years old demographic:

CTV’s Election 2014 …  a 3.1 rating; Global’s BC1 News Special … 1.3 rating; and, CBC’s Election Special … a 0.7 rating.

And the unkindest wound?

It was CTV that was up on the big screens and most widely watched at various civic party election headquarters.

Lucky I’m retired.

If I was still working for Global …I would have been devastated by that and any decision to NOT carry an election special on our major station.

But the saddest part: I’m not sure that anyone cares anymore.

Harv Oberfeld




  1. I watched ctv, but was unimpressed as all they reported were mayoral results. Nothing about councils or school trustees. Coverage in previous elections was much more detailed. They may have had the most viewers but their coverage was very weak.

  2. Since 60 to 70 percent of the population DOES NOT vote in local municipal elections, why should tv networks put a lot of resources and money into an event that few people give a damn about.

    The lack of proper media coverage is commensurate with the mood of the current generation of viewers.

    Perhaps 30 years ago, when Harvey was in the business, people “gave a damn” but obviously not today.

    I agree that politics is still important, but it’s a different era now.

  3. I watched the results on BC1 for most of the night, but I was dismayed that every channel went to black, just as Robertson was ready to give his victory speech!


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