Montreal TV ratings: Global morning show struggles out of the gate with 500 viewers

Global Montreal morning show cast, from left: Richard Dagenais, Jessica Laventure, Camille Ross

Global Montreal morning show cast, from left: Richard Dagenais, Jessica Laventure, Camille Ross

Global Montreal’s Morning News hasn’t had the smoothest start. As a guinea pig for a new way of producing live TV, with local control-room staff using servers across the country, it has been plagued with technical problems, some so serious they have forced the show off the air a couple of times. Marketing for it hasn’t been terribly overwhelming, and if it has been generating buzz it hasn’t been for the best reasons.

Now comes confirmation that the show hasn’t started resonating with viewers yet. BBM numbers for the first survey of Montreal TV viewers since the show went on the air estimate its audience at about 500 viewers, which is about as much as it had before the show went on the air, when it was showing things like repeats of the previous night’s newscasts.

I break down ratings numbers for this story in Tuesday’s Gazette.

It would be easy to have too much fun with this, to make jokes about the show’s lack of impact (I’ve heard a few already). But it’s not for lack of effort from those involved. Hosts Richard Dagenais and Camille Ross are trying hard to get comfortable in their new roles, deal with the technical issues and make the show work. Jessica Laventure has been trying to make her presence as entertaining and informative as possible. And the people behind the scenes are tearing their hair out juggling everything to put three hours a day of live television on the air. They all deserve better.

If anyone deserves blame for this, it’s Global management and Shaw Media, which have put the bare minimum (one could argue even less than that) into the show in terms of resources. It’s understaffed, underfunded, undermarketed, and so it should come as no surprise that it’s underviewed.

This show is here to fulfill a commitment that Shaw made to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission when it bought Global TV in 2010. It promised to fund local morning shows in six markets, including $5 million for Montreal until 2017. That means no matter how badly the show is received, it will continue to be on air at least until then. So in a sense Global doesn’t have to care about ratings, certainly not in the first few weeks.

But it should, for two reasons. First, Global News Senior VP Troy Reeb told me he wants the show to be self-sufficient. Not necessarily to be profitable with advertising, but to come close enough to breaking even that it’s worth continuing the investment and building a viewer relationship. That won’t happen if it continues to build a relationship as an unwatchable show with nothing to offer.

Second, we’re now only a few months away from the launch of a competing local morning show on City TV. That show will launch with three times the staff, and you have to expect that the difference in quality will be noticeable almost instantly. If Global’s morning show hasn’t developed a strong connection with viewers by then, any morning viewing looking for a local alternative to Canada AM will switch to City instead.

Global: No comment

I tried to get comment from the three broadcasters for my story, but only heard back from one by deadline (though CBC did provide me with some data). It’s funny how those with good ratings information are always the easiest to get in touch with.

When I finally got Global Montreal station manager Karen Macdonald on the phone on an unrelated matter, I asked her about the ratings, and whether she’s disappointed in the numbers from the morning show. She said she doesn’t believe the ratings, that she feels Montreal’s English market does not have a large enough sample size, and she doesn’t have anything more to say on the subject.

Global has had various theories for why ratings show them so far behind their competitors (though they acknowledge that they are behind). They feel they have a strong francophone audience, which is ignored by BBM. They feel that the diary system is biased toward CTV’s self-marketing power that causes some people write down that they’re watching CTV News when they’re actually watching Global. BBM rejects the latter argument, saying diaries ask for network, channel number and program name, and survey takers are called if there is any discrepancy.

I can understand Global’s frustration with the ratings. This isn’t an easy market to crack. CTV had been the only private game in town from when it launched in 1961 to when Global opened in 1997. CFCF’s audience is intensely loyal, which leads to high ratings which leads to larger budgets which leads to better quality which leads to higher ratings. Only an overwhelming infusion of money over a long period of time could seriously compete with that, and even Shaw isn’t ready to spend that kind of cash.

At least with mornings, Global didn’t have to compete with CTV here. It runs the national Canada AM show (though “national” might be exaggerating since western CTV markets have local morning shows). But viewers so far are still happy enough with that and haven’t been switching. Shaw and Global need to do a lot more if they’re serious about making this show a success and keeping it going past that five-year mark.

More numbers

The rest of the ratings details don’t show much difference from the last report. CTV Montreal’s newscasts still dominate in every time slot by a wide margin. The weekday 6pm newscast has a 52.8% market share, compared to 4.5% at CBC and 1.5% at Global. In terms of actual viewers, that works out to 133,000 for CTV, 11,400 for CBC at 6, and 3,800 for Global.

The top-rated show overall in the market is CTV’s 6pm newscast. The second-highest rated is the weekend 6pm newscast.

There has been some variation. CTV says its 6pm weeknight audience is up 11%, the 6pm weekend audience is up 7.4%, and its late-night audience is up 20.5%, while its noon newscast has dropped by 21%. GM Louis Douville told me that they would be looking at the noon show. Coincidentally the next day he told me that Paul Karwatsky is being moved off of it so he can co-anchor the 6pm newscast an anchor at 11:30pm while Catherine Sherriffs is on maternity leave.

At CBC, the 5pm evening newscast continues to make gains. The spring 2013 numbers show that in the English Montreal extended market, the show has 21,000 viewers at 5pm and the same at 5:30. Its share of the audience has more than doubled for both those periods since 2011. But the 6pm newscast, which has to compete with both CTV and Global, hasn’t seen that kind of growth. It has only 11,000 viewers in the latest report, and only a 5% share, compared to a 16% share at 5pm.

And yet, when you watch the newscast, it’s clear that they’re trying to push viewers to tune in at 6. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard “we’ll bring you more on this story at six o’clock.” But clearly viewers are switching channels at that time. You have to wonder why they don’t just come out with their news at 5 and either kill the last half-hour or turn it into something else.

Unfortunately decisions like these are made in Toronto, so we won’t be seeing any big changes unless they make sense on a national scale.

CBC’s late-night newscast has 5,000 viewers, or a 4% share, same as it had in the fall.

The BBM measurement covers three weeks in February and March. The next measurement of diary markets like Montreal will take place in October and November, for publication in January 2014.

 

24 thoughts on “Montreal TV ratings: Global morning show struggles out of the gate with 500 viewers

    1. John

      How on earth do these Global executives keep their jobs? This should be a wakeup call for Brad Shaw! The Montreal show may be bad but the Toronto morning show is even worse.
      Senseless conversations, an annoying morning show host whose ignorant views on current events is laughable… whose voice goes through you like a nail! No matter what Global tries to create, they make a mess of it and embarrass themselves in the process. These executives are the same people who drove CanWest into bankruptcy and instead of being shown the door, Shaw reshuffled the deck and kept the worst of them! Troy Reeb and his side kicks have got to go!!

      Reply
  1. Neil K.

    The first thing they gotta’ do is stop with the incessant “Thank you’s” every time one host hands off to another. “Thank you Richard”, “Thanks Jess”, “Thank you Camille”…and on and on it goes.

    I know Canadians have a reputation for politeness but it gets tedious over the course of the three hours and is not necessary. They probably say “Thank you” to each other 100 times per show.

    If they dropped the “Thank you’s” they’d probably have time to fit it one extra guest segment per show! (I exaggerate, but only slightly…)

    Also, the out-town-weather is probably only relevant to a handful of viewers, and those viewers who ARE travelling to, let’s say Vancouver, either have already checked out the weather for their respective destinations online or don’t care. That also chews up tons of airtime and once again, is a turn-off.

    I won’t even mention the dozens and dozens of timechecks, which have already been discussed here. I have a cable box with a clock right under my TV, as do most people. I know what time it is, and if I don’t, I can glance down at my cable box, look at my cellphone, check the microwave or stove, or even, heaven forbid, look at a clock or a watch. Dickie D. is a friend of mine but dude, the timechecks are too much!

    Just the opinion of one of the 500…trying to be a loyal viewer.

    Reply
  2. Mitch

    We need local AM programing, I know in the past I’ve said some negative things about this Global slot, but that was mainly due to tech issues. I really do not need to see national news (Toronto) first thing in the morning, I want weather, traffic and info about Montreal, and no I don’t want read a ticker at the bottom of the screen for “local”.

    Dagenais, relax, don’t try to be funny, Camille, love the glasses, Jessica, love the weirdness……

    Reply
  3. Neil K.

    Steve,

    Maybe I missed this in your Gazette piece, but for comparison how many people in Montreal watch Canada AM?

    I’m wondering just what the potential available audience is altogether for a morning TV show, and how that pie will be divided in three once the Rogers show hits the air.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Maybe I missed this in your Gazette piece, but for comparison how many people in Montreal watch Canada AM?

      Canada AM has a 15.6% share in Montreal, down from 19.6% in the last book. I don’t have that in actual numbers, but it’s a decent amount. We’ll see next January if City makes a big change. The problem is that morning numbers are a lot more volatile than evening numbers, so it’s hard to make conclusions based on small numbers over short time periods.

      Reply
  4. Steve Wong

    When you say Global Management deserves blame( along with Shaw Media), are you talking about Global Montreal management specificall y?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      When you say Global Management deserves blame( along with Shaw Media), are you talking about Global Montreal management specificall y?

      No. The people who work at Ste. Catherine and Peel work with the budgets they’re given, and there’s just so much they can do.

      Reply
  5. Dilbert

    “that works out to 133,000 for CTV, 11,400 for CBC at 6, and 3,800 for Global.”

    There stands the proof, 90% of the news viewers in Montreal get their news from Bell.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      There stands the proof, 90% of the news viewers in Montreal get their news from Bell.

      Assuming that local television newscasts is the only way Montrealers get their news. But sure, it’s terribly one-sided, a problem that started long before Bell ever got involved. Since there’s no way to split a television station in two, the only way to solve this is for a big-pocketed competitor to come in and spend a lot of time and money creating a better option.

      Reply
      1. Dilbert

        Let me quote you from a past discussion:

        “That’s a bit of an exaggeration. It’s more like 80%.”

        Nope, it’s 90%. (89.7%… rounded).

        Yes, the problem started before Bell was there, but why help to perpetuate the problem? Why would you want to add 75% of the english radio market on top of that? Can you think of any logical reason why you would want to end up in this position?

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          Yes, the problem started before Bell was there, but why help to perpetuate the problem?

          Because it’s kind of hard to split a television station in two?

          Why would you want to add 75% of the english radio market on top of that? Can you think of any logical reason why you would want to end up in this position?

          That’s a good point. Unfortunately it’s one that didn’t come up at all during CRTC hearings.

          Reply
  6. Robert H.

    What I do not like about the morning show is Richard Dagenais. I wish he would acting like a clown. I sometimes watch the Global morning show from Vancouver. Some of their traffic reports are live from a helicopter and not an animated drawing. City TV Toronto also has live traffic filmage Also the Global morning show is on seven days a week in Vancouver.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      You can’t really compare Global’s Vancouver station, which dominates its market, and Montreal, which has struggled since launch. Global BC has money because it has audience. In Montreal, the audience is still tuned to CTV.

      Reply
  7. William

    I caught an exercise segment with RD and some guy trying to show him how to do some exercises.

    Brutal

    Reply
  8. Rosi

    I regularly watched the Global morning show This Morning Live with Tracy McKee, and I was devastated when it was cancelled. I really wanted this new show to be successful, but the technical issues and the format have made it unbearable to watch, so Canada AM it is!

    Reply
  9. ATSC

    This is a terrible show. I’m not blaming anybody who is involved with it though. It’s just that it seems to have too many things going against it to work. Plus add the upcoming BT Montreal show on CJNT-DT 62, and it’s just doomed.

    It would be better if CKMI-DT 15 simply killed the show, and used the three on-camera people to provide one story a day for their regular newscasts. I think this would add more local news content to their news that seems to run out of locals news by the 10th minute mark of the show.

    Right now, the on air staff, and the behind the scenes staff seem to be there just to fill up time. This adds nothing to the CKMI’s ability to provide a solid newscast for 6pm and 11pm. They can try even doing a 7am newscast as well.

    But the current 2 hour fillerfest show that is currently on air is just terrible. Put those people to good use by adding depth to the newscast instead.

    Each markets needs are different. They should go back to the CRTC and explain this. And promise to add the resources of the morning show to their regular newscast to build a loyal following of viewers.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      It would be better if CKMI-DT 15 simply killed the show, and used the three on-camera people to provide one story a day for their regular newscasts.

      Since this show is a commitment to the CRTC, that won’t be possible without going to the commission and making a serious case for redirecting those funds. And since the 6pm newscast only gets a few thousand viewers anyway, why bother?

      Besides, it’s not like they didn’t know all of this when Shaw bought Global.

      Reply
  10. Steve Banyan

    Once I saw the promo for the show – the three of them prancing around to Gangem Style – I knew it would fail. We want people we can trust, who refuse to simply repeat the news but report on it. The total and complete failure of local media to “uncover” corruption the rest of us saw when they dug up St. Laurent for the third time, is proof that we need news in this city, not jokers. Same goes for CJAD running alien content all night, every night. You can’t be a city’s news station only when the sun is out. This city’s anglo press is embarrassing, repeating press releases blindly, never asking why or how much or how do other cities handle the situation? They can all be replaced by nobodies and a teleprompter.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      The total and complete failure of local media to “uncover” corruption

      Uhh, I’m pretty sure the entire reason we have a corruption inquiry in the first place is because of the work of the media, particularly Radio-Canada, La Presse, The Gazette and Le Devoir.

      Reply
  11. Edmund

    I have to believe there are more than 500 viewers of the morning show. Is this a misprint. The thing I don`t get, technical glitches aside, the people running the show have to realize the akward amateurish approach of Richard is a turn off. Will they tweak this show or trot out this show for another few years?

    Reply
  12. Edmund

    I am convinced the bosses don`t care. What other explanation can there be for the glitches and goofiness continuing? It has become my go to morning show, I watch it to see what will happen next. After an interview, the mikes are still live and you hear the host chatting with the guest.

    Reply
  13. Pingback: Montreal TV ratings: Global and City morning shows tied | Fagstein

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