Global Newshour Ratings: the Sky IS Falling!

Chris Gailus (Global BC TV Anchor)

By Harvey Oberfeld
Keeping It Real…
February 9th, 2015

News LOVES publicizing numbers: weather numbers; stock numbers; crime numbers; sales numbers; body count numbers; and, especially polling numbers on just about any and every topic.

Except LOCAL television news.

It always amazes me that, within a few hours of the US Super Bowl game, Canadian media were all atwitter with the facts that the game scored (where it REALLY counts… in delivering TV viewers for advertisers’ bucks) at whopping 49.7 ratings score … even topping 52.9 at the end.

That meant more than 114 million people (consumers!) were tuned in.

We also read, hear. see coverage in Canadian media about ratings ups and downs for American TV channels and networks.

In fact, CBC.CA just last week carried a FULL detailed story on Nielsen ratings battles in the US, complete with analysis that overall viewership declined 12 per cent in January, compared with the same month last year.

But try to find/get TV ratings in Canada … and you encounter the GREAT WALL OF SECRECY: stations and networks guard their numbers from the prying eyes of the public and some of them even from their own staffs.

What are they ashamed of …that US stations/networks are not???

I think it says a LOT that an industry which spends a lot of time, effort reporting OTHERS’ numbers is so disrespectful of the public’s right to know when it comes to themselves.

Fortunately, though, there are still those in the media who understand that … and feel the public DOES have that right to know … so they feed me some tidbits from time to time.

And I’m happy to pass n the latest:

The sky IS falling at Global TV’s Newshour … or perhaps I should say continuing to fall ….if you can believe a few tidbit pieces I’ve garnered from recent ratings at my old alma mater .

In January, Global’s Newshour garnered an average 4.6 rating, which I’m told is their worst January overall ratings score since the station went BIG TIME into the television news business …back in the 1960s!

CTV scored a 2.0 average rating…their second best January ever, while CBC at 6 p.m. averaged a miserable 0.4 …. DOWN from 0.6 in the same month last year. (Seems I was right about new anchor Andre Chang’s lack of gravitas.)

Already this month, CTV News at 6 came even closer to Global’s Newshour …garnering a 2.6 score Feb 1, compared to 3.3.

All these ratings (percentage share of tv viewer audience) are in what advertisers see as the key 25-49 audience demographic (supposedly the BIG spenders).

Really hard to believe that for YEARS AND YEARS, Global … when it was BCTV and out of Global management’s clutches … regularly buried CTV by SIX to ONE!!!!

Now, if local media outlets have different or more detailed ratings and they agree the public DOES have a right to THEIR local news numbers as well as OTHER people’s, I’d be happy to publicize them.

Or are most of them too embarrassed?

Harv Oberfeld





  1. Harvey is right, Canadian media companies need to be more transparent with their numbers, both Television & Radio. With Radio it’s pointless being only able to go by 12+ numbers, let’s see the breakdowns, lets see where everyone is actually doing well or terribly. Having the public know the numbers actually will make the media work harder to deliver a better product.

  2. So, what is the point here ? That tv (and radio) ratings continue to suffer at the gain of the largest sewer pipe around (the internet).

    Even stupid idiots know that !

    Put up with your diminished tv audience, Oberfeld. Stop waxing nostalgic about an era that will never come back.

    Savour your former BCTV dominance in a world where anything east or north of Abbotsford was once seen as completely irrelevant.

    Nothing mattered to BCTV, except Vancouver, the city of egocentric people.

    Who gives a shit about crime and traffic stories from Vancouver.

    We have our own crime and traffic, now, just as bad as yours.

    As far as Andrew Chang goes, he is a decent, humble, and trustworthy anchor in an era where anchors can lie about anything, such as the egotistical Brian Williams

    Trustworthy and humble has gravitas, too !

    The unfair comparisons between the old BCTV era and today’s television landscape has become annoying. just like the comparisons between the old CKNW and today’s modern version.

  3. The survey company’s like Numeris want us to fill out the questionaire, and they do not allow us to see the results.
    So why participate?

  4. WOW … Harvey, your hate on for Andrew Chang might come across a bit racist no? oh wait, are you going to talk about gravitas again? lol
    Media (both tv and radio) is not, nor will it be, what it once was! Lots of reasons for that (including higher (sic) newbies cause it’s cheaper than higher (sic) seasoned pro’s, lack of caring, and taking internet stories as “news”)… and to be honest, the only people who seem to care/worry are those in the industry — baby boomers and older folks may watch/listen to the news, but most people under 50 take it with a grain of salt.
    Of course the egos at Global are going to be hurt.. but come on!.there are only so many ‘news’ stories about animals that one can take…

  5. The simple fact is it’s infotainment that they’re producing now not news. Apples and oranges.Traditional news has died and it was the live truck that killed it – talking heads just like radio

  6. I wonder if there’s others that attribute at least part of the ratings slide at Global to the hosts all being part of the “happy happy news team” Good god, the inane banter is insufferably hard (impossible) to watch. Just deliver the news and maybe I’ll watch.

    And Harv, does Chang have less gravitas than Taggart??

  7. After I originally critiqued Chang’s lack of gravitas, I heard from several inside and outside the industry …on the blog and privately. Most agreed … he has good potential …but did lack the gravitas an anchor on a station’s prime news show should have … ie you would never see his delivery style on, say, The National. Why not? It’s too flippant. Is CBC News at 6 not as deserving of a serious news treatment? In fact, some actually found his style/delivery as condescending … seemingly talking down to viewers. Whatever…if the figures leaked to me are true, CBC local ratings are even lower than a year ago. Maybe they can provide different info. Taggart also has gravitas problems …but Killeen pulls the show up in that regard. Maybe CBC should bring back Makarenko to co-anchor and pull Chan up?

  8. Chang was very good when he handled The National for several weeks a few years back. It may have been the shot framing … mostly closeups on The National rather than the standing, moving around the set we are seeing for Chang in the Vancouver setting.

  9. I think Andrew is doing quite well. Not his fault that CBC has languished at or near the bottom of the Vancouver TV News Ratings for decades. These things take time Harv.

    To bump up his “gravitas” maybe he should end each newscast with “and that’s the way it is.” 🙂

  10. Andrew Chang is the best anchor at the dinner hour, hands down. His style of delivery is very appealing to me and to many others who were bored by the bland presentation of Global (and CBC before he got there), and the annoying tabloid style that CTV has adopted. Just because you think he lacks “gravitas” doesn’t mean he isn’t doing a great job. As BLT said, he’s got a big job trying to rescue CBC’s ratings and it’s going to take more than six months in the role to get there.


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