‘The National’ Ratings Tanking

Rosemary Barton with Justin Trudeau


by Spencer Fernando

July 24, 2019

Down from 2017-2018, which were already down from the year before.

Ratings for CBC’s flagship news program The National continue to tank.

According to CBC data provided to The Hill Times, CBC ratings are down 14% in 2018-2019, when compared to 2017-2018.

Hilariously, CBC tried putting a positive spin on the obvious decline:

“Despite these decreases we have seen growth in specific segments of our audience on [CBC’s main network],” CBC’s head of public affairs Chuck Thompson told The Hill Times in an email. “Specifically, 18-34 year olds and viewers from Vancouver both account for a bigger portion of overall audience than they have over the last five years.”

To get a sense of how bad The National’s numbers are, consider their competitors.


Read More HERE





  1. Well the ratings certainly are not very good. Just wondering do these ratings for CBC and CTV include the running of the national newscasts on the news channels or just the main networks?
    Both CBC and CTV repeat the newscasts many times on the news channels. If not it would be interesting to see how those numbers are. CBC news channel does have higher ratings than CTV’s news network.

    Personally I have never really been a fan of the new format. I would just let Ian anchor the whole production rather than have various anchors. I do like however that the west coast version is live to the country, good for late breaking news.

    Liberal bias also the reason? That is the writers opinion and based on more emotion than fact I think. The CBC was hard on the liberals during the SNC scandal and they were the ones that tried to make a big deal of the 5 judge appointments in New Brunswick that all had ties to the liberals and Dominic LeBlanc. They broke the story, hit it hard for two days but other competing media didn’t give it much play. Don’t know why that would be. Should have been a major story.

    The only network that has a real “pro-government bias” would be Fox News. Donald can go on air live whenever we wants. Just call in on Hannity or Fox and Friends and let the prez ramble for 30-45 minutes and slam the democrats or whoever he is cheezed off with today. Free airtime, and hosts that never ever challenge him, they even help him when he is getting into the weeds. Fox news in the evening and much of the day, and their website is mostly opinion and not much in the way of actual news. I don’t hear the liberals calling into CBC on a whim and ramble on about the conservatives for half an hour.

    Thankfully all of our major networks still actually cover the news, unlike Fox, CNN and MSNBC who tend to be overly opinion based, at times even more political entertainment, and have little news coverage in a typical day.

  2. The problem is the difference between “liberal” and “Liberal”. CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, CBC, CTV, Global, NY Times, Washington Post are all anti-Trump 24/7. Sure the CBC might do a story that criticizes the Liberals once in a while, but I’ve never heard a positive comment or spin about Trump (or any conservative) on any of the above outlets. Every political story has to have a snide, sneering anti-Trump/Trump supporter comment or edge to it. The new game will be to do the same with Boris Johnson. Try and make it look like everything he says or does, and anybody who dares to say something positive about him, to look like an uneducated hick. The only media outlet that supports Trump, that shows the other side of the story or plays the entire news clip, is FOX and somehow that constitutes a “pro-government bias”. I guess the ratings will be the ultimate decider.

  3. Good comments Rick and I do agree with much of what you have said. However I wouldn’t say any of the Canadians networks would be anti-Trump 24/7 since he doesn’t get nearly as much play here as in the US. And that is how it should be since we are in Canada. However CNN and MSNBC are pretty much as guilty as Fox News in terms of all Trump all the time and being terribly biased and one sided. New York Times and Washington Post, I don’t read so I am just going by what I hear and I know they are not in support of Trump. But Fox absolutely crossed the line allowing the president a free forum whenever and however he wants. And the way the Fox hosts “baby” the prez with softball comments and questions is laughable in my opinion.

    The big three American networks NBC, CBS and ABC I would term as centre left not as anti Trump biased as CNN and MSNBC. Since they are entertainment networks they do scewer Trump on their talk and comedy programs. Sadly all of this hyper division in US news did start with Fox and their 8 years of constant anti Obama coverage and them becoming less a news network and more of a news entertainment/opinion network. They gave Obama no positive coverage either regardless of any good economic news as well, and he did have plenty of good economic news in his last 4 years. They became a mouthpiece of the right/tea party and Republican Party. CNN and MSNBC eventually did the exact same except supporting centre left/left.

    True Fox is the most popular cable news network, however they benefit from the centre left audience being split between CNN and MSNBC, Fox doesn’t really have any competition for the centre right/harder right audience. If you look at twitter followers however CNN is quite a bit ahead of Fox with 42.2 million compared with Fox’s 18.5 million followers. In terms of news traffic on their websites again CNN is ahead 95 million viewers every month compared with 65 million on Fox. Most popular newsite in the US by far is Yahoo! news and in Canada CBC.ca has the most traffic, followed by the Globe and Mail.

    I live in the east and I find the Toronto Star to be very one sided in favour of the Liberals and are constantly running down Doug Ford. The battle between the Star and the Ford’s is very personal, and local because of how the Star lambasted Doug’s brother Rob when he was mayor. Some of it was justified and some was just mean on the Star’s part in my opinion. But the Toronto Sun and Post Media in general are pro conservative and in their defense they do seem to be more balanced than the Toronto Star.

    I just hope our media doesn’t become as polarized as the US, I don’t think it will happen however since Canadians traditionally really avoid extreme views, either left or right. Anyway good comments Rick, I enjoyed reading your post. Sorry for my verbal diarrhea.

  4. Good posts all..
    I like the existing format for the outstanding journalists covering most Cdn time zones each evening…4 superior talents.
    Ian is good @ 10, but most of the population is in bed.
    Of course they lean left…always have.
    My beef is the amount of time covering ‘minority’ issues affecting a small % of the population.
    I give them a 7 out of 10..,

  5. I don’t watch The National so I can’t comment.
    I don’t watch local CBC Edmonton News, so I can’t comment.
    I don’t subscribe to the news package on Telus TV, so I can’t watch CBC Newschannel, so I can’t comment.
    But I DO read the CBC Internet news, so I CAN comment. Their Internet news is surprisingly good and a refreshing alternative to the so-called newspapers that SHOULD be dominating online, but aren’t.
    Perhaps the CBC should concentrate their ample resources on Internet and their specialty newschannel instead of wasting money on The National and local TV news, as apparently viewers have expressed their views, or rather LACK of views.
    I WON’T call for the CBC to withdraw from news coverage entirely, as private broadcasters and print media have demonstrated over and over again that they are incapable of providing adequate coverage of Canadian issues.

  6. As bad as the ratings for the National appear to be. CBC.ca does do well on line. According to the blog Feedspot they are the most popular newsite in Canada in terms of traffic, twitter and facebook. CBC.ca is followed by the Globe and Mail site, CTV News and then Global in terms of popularity.

    Last ratings I saw for the news channels from a few years ago CBC news network outrated CTV news channel by a fair margin, but the specialty channel ratings seem to be hard to come by. However the most popular TV news channel in Canada was CNN, ever since Mr. Trump came onto the scene. So I am thinking CNN is likely still the most popular news channel across Canada.

    Locally in Southern Ontario where I live Bell Media’s CP24 is the most popular news channel. They do an excellent job covering live events feature stories, breaking news, weather, traffic etc in my opinion. Also they will cover major breaking Ontario, national and international stories. They are more like the old City tv model, and it’s odd since the local City tv channel now owned by Rogers is really just another TV station now. They have lost all of the edgy, innovative downtown vibe that they were known for years ago. CP24 has that now. Go into almost any restaurant or bar in Southern Ontario and you usually see CP24 on at least a few of the screens.

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