BC televsion news viewership shifting – Harvey Oberfeld




By Harvey Oberfeld

Keeping It Real…

October 5th, 2015

The shift in Vancouver television news viewers’ preferences is continuing … despite recent moves by Global to stem its decline.

Overall Global TV still leads Vancouver local news television ratings … drawing on average about twice the viewers of  CTV:  it used to be ahead by six times more viewers … but more and more often,  CTV is now celebrating victories over the Newshour.

Just this past Thursday, Oct. 1,  I’m told CTV News at 5  beat Global’s News at 5 quite handily  …  scoring a 2.3 ratings share, compared to 1.6 at Global.

And  CTV News at 6 also edged Global … with a 3.4 ratings share, compared to 3.3  for The Newshour.

Apparently, NEVER has Global been beaten by CTV on BOTH evening shows on the same day.

And the once-indomitable Newshour is now being “bested” by its major competitor, CTV at 6, repeatedly.

On Monday, Sept. 21 ,  CTV News at 6 apparently scored a 2.6 ratings share, compared to Newshour’s 2.4; and on Friday, Sept. 25, CTV racked up 2.3 ratings share, Global a 2.1; and, on Tuesday, Sept. 22 Global barely stayed ahead, capturing a 3.7 ratings share, compared to CTV’s 3.6.

(From Wikipedia “Share is the percentage of television sets in use that are tuned to the program. For example, Nielsen may report a show as receiving a 9.2/15 during its broadcast; this would mean that out of all television-equipped households, 9.2% were tuned in to that program, and out of all television-equipped households with a television currently in use 15% were tuned in to that program.

Global Morning News is also starting to get passed by CTV Morning News … once unheard of in Vancouver!

That was a horrible week for my old stomping ground, where I have to admit,  we used to laugh as we regularly trounced CTV with six or even seven times their ratings.

Not any more!

Year over year viewership stats are also reportedly showing BIG shifts: the monthly year over year report for July for 6pm showed CTV up 65%, Global  is down 9%, CBC is down 35% and CHEK is down 60%!


Stations don’t give out their numbers easily … except to advertisers …  but if any of them have different figures they want to share with you, I welcome them to do so here.

Clearly the public are more frequently clicking their remotes AWAY from what used to be a province-wide  habit at 6 p.m. ….  watching The Newshour.

I have written many times about what I feel has been the reasons for TV news’ decline in general and Global’s in particular: many of those commenting on here agreed and even suggested I wasn’t harsh enough; others accused me of sour grapes (never understood that …  I had a most marvelous career there,  had won many awards, was paid well, genuinely liked almost all my colleagues there … and retired only when I decided I was able to and wanted to.)

It’s obvious: the ratings show something IS wrong there … and it’s not MY blog postings!

And even the shifting of personnel and anchors and/or dual anchors doesn’t seem to helping … nor does what seems to be more and more perky banter.

Perhaps they should SEARCH their own news shows/network  on my blog and carefully read what I and ESPECIALLY YOU wrote about what’s wrong.

What about CBC Vancouver local news?

Again, some from within and outside the media criticized me sharply some months ago when I decried their new look and  the  lack of gravitas of their very young new anchor:  chastising me for being too negative, too out of touch … living in the past etc. etc.

Well,  the local news CBC ratings last week were at O.O … goose eggs … from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. …the entire suppertime block.  ZERO! (I can hardly wait for apologies all those who pooh-poohed my criticisms: I was clearly keeping it real …  they were not!)

None of that, however, brings me pleasure: we ALL lose when quality deteriorates and viewers leave; and, when I write about it all, I’m  not gloating … just trying to inform blog readers what IS  really going on … because, the media here curiously do a terrible job of covering … the media!

However, I do still have feelings for my old station, where several friends still toil and try to do the best they can with what/who they are given to work with … each day, each week … under some very pressing conditions.

Truth is, it used to make me sad to see the way Global’s succession of new owners and new management brass  slowly but surely killed off the once proud BCTV quality, the almost-revered BCTV name, the BCTV dogwood, the BCTV sign outside their Burnaby station,  the BCTV logos on their trucks and their cameras and their microphones and their coats etc. … replacing them ALL with “Global” and “Shaw”.

Now,  watching the shows and the ratings, I’m kind of glad they did that …  and don’t even pretend it is still BCTV.

Harv Oberfeld

(PS: If anyone wants to comment on the new TPP trade deal, please wait until I publish a full blog on it Wednesday: will NOT  post them to this media topic.)





  1. Harvey, your opinion on CBC’s Vancouver anchor is bang-on, Andrew’s been there now for well over a year and hasn’t made any sort of impact with viewers whatsoever. It’s not that he’s “bad”, it’s just that, at least for me, he doesn’t have the same type of presence that Ian Hanomansing or Gloria Macarenko displayed. If Andrew was working for a commercial station, he’d be gone by now, or at least shifted off to a much less important role.

    Not sure if it’s a budgetary thing, but the quality of the CBC’s hires over the past year or so across Western Canada leaves a lot to be desired — the anchor in Calgary, Rob Brown, is especially weak. I realize he was allegedly an up-&-coming “star” reporter when he was in Vancouver, and reporting may be where his strengths lie, but as an anchor? Let’s just say it’s not a strong skill set.

  2. Isn’t this editorial a rehash of Harvey Oberfeld’s earlier editorials. LOL

    If so, zzzzzzzzzzzz.

    Well, regarding CBC television, when CBC had Tony Parsons as their news anchor. (and Oberfeld cannot deny that Tony had “gravitas” while at CBC, since he is known as perhaps the best TV anchor of all time in BC) were the ratings any better for the mothercorp, really ?

    Not really !

    Global kicked the CBC’s ass, good and proper, even with the legendary Tony Parsons, at the controls.

    So, how much better should it be with Gloria or Ian ?

    The reality with CBC is mostly about cost. Andrew Chang is a lot cheaper than a Tony Parsons or an Ian Hanomansing.

    Andrew Chang is a good, solid read and he is likely worth a another spin on the block.

    But he is also “nice and cheap” and CBC likes that.

    However. we are still all waiting for the day when Harvey Oberfeld comes out of retirement and returns to tv journalism.

    Maybe that will bring some listeners back to the boob tube.

  3. The addition of a female co-anchor with Gailus does look odd at times. She has a “deer in the headlights” look much of the time and I am not sure if Gailus has possibly reached his sell by date. Maybe a total revamp might help the image as they dont appear to have a budget to improve the content.

  4. Somebody said: “Television has viewers. Radio has listeners.”

    No. Television has both !

    Ever visit a Doctor’s office and watch the tv in the waiting room without sound. You have no idea what the heck was said. One is titilated, but also, confused at the same time.

    Therefore, without audible sound or closed captioning, television news is stunted.

    Why do you think that Yahoo has automatic audio volume blaring on every one of its internet video reports.

    It’s to annoy the fuck out of people !

    That said, what also sells the news is sexyness, ie a “sexy” presenter can mitigate followers even not interested in the news, and even if the script is written in a shit ass manner (which it tends to be written?)

    However, if the presenter were completely naked, then, there would be no credibility. Therefore, you, the television presenter, must ultimately decide whether to be Pee Wee Herman, Bozo the clown, or Walter Cronkite ?

    Finally, television uses radio (and vice versa?) for its own personal gain to find new audiences and viewers. Just like political leaders tend to use the French language media, (or speak in French) when they have something nasty or important to say to English voters.

  5. I am one of those that has regularly been switching from Global to CTV Vancouver.
    I find the CTV product more professional, and find that they actually focus more on news, than fluff.
    That being said, I do flip back to Global for sports around 6:45…my preference being Squire to whomever is doing sports on CTV.
    But…as someone who NEVER watched CTV…my tastes are changing.

  6. Is it coincidental or just a plain old fact that the downward slide of both Global and CKNW began with Shaw taking over ownership of both. Shaw may be capable of building infrastructure but staffing cannot be done on the cheap if you want to get to the top. They have lost touch with both viewers and listeners.

  7. While I like Sophie Lui, pairing her with Chris Gailus is a big mistake. It smacks of desperation and adds nothing to the show. I find myself switching away from Global now.

    And as for CBC, I remember quite a few years back when some exec floated the idea of cancelling all local CBC TV newscasts, and concentrating on the national news operation. Given the expense of running those local shows, that seems to be a more reasonable approach than selling all their properties. And believe me, CBC’s anchor is not a cheap expense.

  8. I would second, third (?), fourth (??)…that the Sophie/Chris pairing is terrible. I firmly believe that CG’s expiry date has passed…and it doesn’t seem that SL’s ever caught up on her sleep. She’s so sleepy!

    Anyhow…CTV…keep up the good work!

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