CTV and Global in Furious Fall Fight for Fans by Harvey Oberfeld



Harvey Oberfeld


Keeping It Real…

PSR Contributor

Monday September 12th, 2016



Out with the old … in with the new … and when it comes to local TV news in Vancouver, the Fall fight is now on for those who still view.

Ratings for TV News programming in Canada (unlike the US) are often TOP SECRET … for the eyes of management, sales staff … and potential advertisers.

However, some recent figures I have obtained show CTV has made solid inroads on Global’s Morning Show and 5 p.m. Early News ratings.

Global used to lead comfortably in all the news time slots, but statistics from one of my sources reveal for the full month of July, in the key 25 to 54 age category,  CTV’s Morning Live captured a 0.8 ratings, compared to 0.9 for Global’s Morning News … a spread of only a miniscule 0.1 . And  on some days, CTV’s Morning program actually beat Global’s.

If you take into account how tv viewers … especially adult regular news watchers … are often people of habit, the growth of CTV over the full month …  and now within striking distance of the lead … should be causing great concern at Global Vancouver.

Take the 5 p.m. weekday TV news … a slot Global’s Deb Hope “used to own” (as one TV executive put it).   I’m told Global scored only a 1.3 ratings score through July … barely edging out CTV’s  1.2 score.

If the trend over the past several months continues, CTV could take over the Number One ranking in BOTH the Morning AND 5 p.m. slots!

The times … and viewers’ habits … are a-changing!

If there was any good news in the July news ratings for Global, it was that the Newshour still leads other Vancouver newscasts at 6 p.m. But even there, it was only a silver lining, not gold.

The Newshour pulled in a 3.9 ratings score, while CTV’s News at Six garnered a 2.4 … for second place. In July, 2015 CTV had a 2.1 score … and Global a 3.6.  (CBC’s half-hour News at 6 drew only a 0.4 .)

I personally find the Newshour’s tremendous decline quite shocking.

Hard to imagine my old alma mater used to COMMAND the airwaves at 6 p.m. … with FIVE TO SIX TIMES the number of viewers of our closest competitor, CTV.


I can just imagine …with dread … what would have gone on in the Global newsroom here if such a calamitous drop in ratings had occurred when the owners and top management were ensconced in Vancouver! Heads would have rolled …and I would have tried as much as possible to work from home and only phone in my story ideas and then edit out in a remote/truck location … rather than head out to face the wrath in the lions’ den at the station in Burnaby.


But thankfully for my comrades still working there, the fall from grace in current ratings may be softened by the fact that Global’s top news bosses and network brass are now all stationed in Toronto …  where I hear Global’s News is in THIRD place, behind BOTH CTV and CBC  So they may be DELIGHTED with their FIRST place in Vancouver!


From a reporter’s point of view, ratings tell the story of  how VIEWERS see news story choices, story-telling, pictures and even on-air presentation, graphics, pacing and anchoring.

But where ratings (and audience size and demographics) REALLY count for the brass are in advertising sales.

And judging by what I’ve seen, CTV ad-pushers and revenue-pullers are very happy these days.

In recent weeks, the Vancouver station continued to gain on Global in the Morning market.  Here’s a release CTV sales sent out last week:

“CTV Morning Live claimed the top spot for morning news ratings in Vancouver last week! The show achieved a weekly average rating of .8 while Global rated a .3 and City scored a .2. Also of note, on two days last week, CTV Morning Live scored a 1.0 and a 1.2 while Global registered two days at  0.1. This marks a tie with our best overnight rating for CML ever while also marking a new historic low for our primary competitor. It is amazing how a show that was once a 0.1 endeavor is now regularly registering in the “ones”.

I have no doubt Global will fight back, and I’ve already noticed what seem to be substantial departure from the kind/scope of stories that made BCTV so popular and successful …. and NOT for the better, in MY opinion.

Much more police blotter content now (ugh!), shorter pieces (instead of in depth reporting) and LOTS of fluff (News is in trouble, when a dead dog in a dumpster LEADS the show, and explosives found in a storage locker and an entire block-long evacuation in a heavily urban area runs afterwards!)

Sometimes Global still unearths a gem of a story … but then again, almost as often now so does CTV.  The former WIDE gap between the two arch competitors is clearly gone.

And the Fall feud for fans … and ratings … should be a furious fight.

I sent a note to Global News Director Jill Krop seeking any alternative ratings figures or perspective the station may have for this blog piece about CTV’s gains …  but received no answer.

Silence may be golden … or as we always believed in the news business … it may also say quite a lot!

Harv Oberfeld




  1. To quote Harvey:

    ““CTV Morning Live claimed the top spot for morning news ratings in Vancouver last week! The show achieved a weekly average rating of .8 while Global rated a .3 and City scored a .2”.

    Talk about tiny Market Share!

    FEWER people are watching. I think TV is starting to get over run by the Web.

  2. @ Tom Jeffries — thanks, Tom. I wondered at those small numbers. I thought it must have been some weird mistake. I’m no ratings guru, so correct me if I’m wrong, but does that mean, again quoting the always quotable Harvey, “CTV Morning Live claimed the top spot for morning news ratings in Vancouver last week! The show achieved a weekly average rating of .8 while Global rated a .3 and City scored a .2”, that more than 98 percent of the available audience is WATCHING SOMETHING ELSE????!!!! If I’m correct, words fail.

  3. The numbers for all of the local newscasts are a joke. Mike is correct in that a 4 rating means that 96% of the population is doing or watching something else. The only people watching these dinosaurs are old and technologically illiterate. Global’s newscast in Toronto has always been a dog going back to the Canwest days so nothing new there.

  4. Northwest it depends on what the “universe” is. 100,000 people would mean 800 viewers. A million people would mean 8,000 viewers. Back in Harvey’s day the Tony Parsons Newshour was doing double digit ratings. I bet in 2016 there are infomercials pulling a .8.

  5. Nothing surprises me … even Harv being ignored by Jill Krop!
    Global mornings is sinking, I occasionally watch CTV mornings, otherwise, .. I stick with radio.

  6. None of the morning shows is very good so these numbers are no surprise. Harv needs to find a new hobby horse to ride. His thinly veiled glee at the erosion of Global’s market dominance suggests a bitterness he should have gotten over by now.

  7. Maybe one of these stations will hire Chris Weddes (JP Patches) or Pete Rolston (Pete’s Place) to liven up their morning offering!

  8. The old saying goes – tv is no good because it doesn’t have to be.
    Does it have to be now or are we talking obsolescence here?
    The corporate masters of broadcasting do not want to be part
    of the old “afflict the comfortable” mantra of journalism.
    Far better to show pablum like pandas, the Royal couple
    and hits from YouTube.
    Maybe Harv is just a cry in the wilderness that used to be
    fully populated.

  9. Is it a factor that ‘NW now prefaces all it’s newscasts as “Global News”? I no longer watch TV at all and Harv’s pointing out the doggie lead is one of the reasons why.

  10. They’re both horrible. Neither does any investigative reporting or attempt to hold the government’s feet to the fire.

    They’re both glorified PR firms for the government, but Global goes way above and beyond when it comes to coddling and softball questions.

  11. Reality Check: You mean like Catherine Urquart getting cosy with her interview subjects, via email, like in the good ole days ! Truth is, in today’s tv biz, everyone has to suck a little cock to get by…


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