Montreal TV ratings: Global and City morning shows tied

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

Global Montreal’s Morning News, with Richard Dagenais, Jessica Laventure and Camille Ross, hasn’t fallen to new competitor Breakfast Television. At least not yet.

The first ratings report after the launch of City’s local programs is out, and so we can finally say which of the two local English morning shows has won the first ratings battle.

As it turns out, neither. They’re tied. Though both of them are far behind CTV’s Toronto-based Canada AM, which has three times more viewers in Montreal than the other two shows combined.

I have some analysis of ratings, and some quotes from the various parties, in this story, which appears in Friday’s Gazette.

But let’s get into some detail.

The morning show war

Here are the official numbers of estimated viewers, in the Montreal extended English market, as confirmed by BBM Canada:

  • Canada AM (CTV): 15,000
  • Morning News (Global): 2,700
  • Breakfast Television (City): 2,400

So Global has a slight edge here, though considering the ballpark-ness of the ratings measurement system, it would be safer to say they’re tied. (And both Global and City describe them as “neck and neck”.) The numbers also show that there’s a slight edge for BT in the adults 25-54 demographic, but again let’s just consider them tied.

This is good news for both. Global recovers from an embarrassing first book, which was measured weeks after launch and showed only 500 viewers on average. The new figure is low, but at least respectable. As is the fact that Global has achieved the same ratings as a competitor with far more resources (including three times the staff).

City, meanwhile, has already caught up with Global despite the latter having a seven-month head start. Executive Producer Bob Babinski also points out that Global’s show is on an established Montreal station that benefits more from promotion during primetime. Babinski says based on what he sees through other metrics like social media, the popularity of the morning show is growing fast.

But Canada AM, which comes out of Toronto and airs on Eastern Canada CTV stations and on CTV News Channel, is still king. Whether that’s because viewers are still unaware of the local competitors or because they prefer the high-quality production of a national morning show, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Evening news

No major changes on the evening side. CTV News at 6pm still rules the market with 107,800 average viewers and an exceptional 57% share. CBC shows 13,200 viewers on average from 5 to 6:30pm, and it continues to be stronger from 5 to 6 than after 6, when it faces competition from both CTV and Global. It has 14,000 viewers at 5, 16,000 viewers at 5:30 and only 10,000 viewers at 6. Global picks up the rear once again with 7,700 viewers overall, though station manager Karen Macdonald points out that Global beats CBC among viewers 25-54 in that half-hour.

No big changes for local news at other time periods either.

I’m waiting to get numbers for some of the other local programs that have started up in the past year. Montreal Connected, the weekly sports show on City, doesn’t have a number to report because it shifted time slots during the ratings measurement.

Montreal moving to PPM system

This will be the second-last report of Montreal English TV ratings under the current system of written diaries. Another survey begins in a few weeks, and will be published May 6 (so stay tuned for more special reports on the local news in February and March).

Starting in September, English Montreal TV moves to the Portable People Meter. The device, which looks like a pager that people wear at all times during the day, records inaudible tones that air with TV and radio programming, which allows it to know exactly what people are watching or listening to, taking all the guesswork and faulty memories out of ratings measurement. They also report daily to BBM Canada, while they’re charging overnight.

Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto already report TV ratings using the PPM system, as does a separate national panel with viewers across the country. French-language television in Montreal is also measured using PPMs, as is radio here in both languages. Why it made sense for English radio to be measured using PPMs but not television I’m still not entirely sure.

PPMs are more expensive to administer than written diaries, which is the main reason they’re not universally used. Because BBM Canada is owned by its members, it’s up to those members (broadcasters and advertising agencies) to decide whether to pay the extra money to switch over. The launch of City here might have been the catalyst for making the switch.

The PPMs will make a big difference. Their implementation in radio has already shown that more people are listening than was previously thought. And the daily feedback will be much more useful than reports only twice a year, though it will undoubtedly create more stress for station managers.

14 thoughts on “Montreal TV ratings: Global and City morning shows tied

  1. Michel

    So, um, what are the stations for Global and City?
    I watch Global in the morning on (Bell) 234, but was wondering if there was an HD station. (Can’t find it on the Global website). Don’t even know what station City is on.
    Or, is this a Bell thing that won’t broadcast City?
    Would watch CTV, but the lack of local broadcasting annoys me.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      So, um, what are the stations for Global and City?

      Since you’re apparently on Bell satellite, City Montreal is on 207 in SD and 1033 in HD. Global is on 234 in SD, and isn’t being carried in HD on Bell.

  2. Dilbert

    Seems like it’s a pretty good book for both City and Global, at least for the morning shows. While the numbers aren’t big (and overall, the total number of viewers at that point are still not big), they have certainly put a combined dent into the morning marketplace in a very short period of time.

    Changing the morning routine for people isn’t easy, but I think they will have a better chance over time because their morning shows are local and not Toronto based. Each has the chance to get more and more involved with the local community, which over time will pay dividends.

    Another plus is that while CFCF gets about 15% of the number of viewers in the morning that it does for the evening news, Global is getting about 1/3. It’s a pretty big difference, but the numbers are too small to make them happy.

    In the end this could be a start of something good for both stations. They can play the “local” card, they can be a little more in touch with the communities, and perhaps over time use that to leverage their entire programming up a notch or two. Perhaps a few stories that come from the morning program (such as quotes from a politician that get reported in other media) might help too.

    This also however shows the power and the problem of the Bell media concentration. You have to imagine that the Bell properties will work together in general, which means that a story that breaks on the Global morning show might not get the same coverage or exposure levels, because the Bell people will cover the story in a manner that doesn’t disclose or mention the source in a way that could be promotional. It really is a shame that Montreal lives with essentially a radio duopoly at this point, with TTP nowhere to be seen to change things up.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      This also however shows the power and the problem of the Bell media concentration. You have to imagine that the Bell properties will work together in general, which means that a story that breaks on the Global morning show might not get the same coverage or exposure levels, because the Bell people will cover the story in a manner that doesn’t disclose or mention the source in a way that could be promotional.

      Cross-medium concentration issues are certainly real — promotional advertising is a big issue there. But the news media’s habit of failing to disclose who broke a story existed long before Bell.

      1. Dilbert

        Yes, but the difference here now is that the Bell stations are generally revealed by each other, and for that matter by the TV news.

        Remember, CJAD Sports is now “sports from TSN 690”, which is in itself a real kicker.

        So if a story breaks on CJAD, it can get covered (with the pump) on CTV news, but if it breaks anywhere else, it’s “on local radio” or “on camera today” and that’s it.

        Media has always been self-promoting and self service. Media concentration means that it’s used to control the marketplace, which is never a good thing.

  3. MBR

    It’ll be interesting to see if Karen MacDonald’s right about people watching Global at 6, and writing down CTV in the diaries.

  4. sleepy

    I wake up at the morning, I want too know is there any traffic, is it gonna be a sunny day, what went wrong last night… but they’re telling me that random politician corrupted 500 dollars last year (what CTV dose) or that random singer’s new album came out yesterday (what Global dose) or even though… What too eat Saturday night (what City dose)…
    So evry morning, im just turning around Global Montral, Global Toronto, City (Alexandre Desparties is funny anyway), V and even NBC and CNN…
    Why Canada AM can’t do what NBC dose? National show with 5 min Local news and wheather with a local anchor… Why not Global HD on Bell?

  5. Joanne Good

    Well, I just turned on CTVNews, and I’d be happy to see a political scandal. Instead, their second lead at 7h30 was a summary of the CTV drama The Following. The SECOND lead story! This proves a few things. One, that they can’t tell real life from fiction and two, that Bell is providing the content for their news. Very very sad. CBCNews does the same thing, reading promos of CBC shows as part of their news package and then interviewing some nobody. Our national news stations have become talk shows/promotional channels. Objective? Not at all. News? Not at all.

  6. Mortemer

    My morning routine involves watching multiple TV channels for news.

    I usually start at 6:00am with CBC Newsworld, followed by Global Morning News and CTV Canada AM. I will watch CBC for the first half hour then switch to Global for the local news, traffic and weather segments followed by Canada AM for their BNN segment and then back and forth between Global, CBC and CTV based on my personal interest of the type of stories they cover.

    I tried to watch CITY Breakfast Television a few time but does not interest me at this time. I much prefer the Global hosts and the studio set-up with the bright lights and vibrant colors. I find the CITY studio set too dark and dreary for a morning show. Their Toronto show is much better.

    As far as the evening news are concerned I will watch CBC Montreal from 5pm-6pm then switch to CTV Montreal from 6pm-7pm. I do not watch Global Montreal at this time.

  7. Robert

    I watch Global in the morning, Canada AM is lacking in local news. I’ll jump to City from Global then back again. I watch the CBC evening news from 5 to 6 PM then switch to CTV at 6. All of the news programming is in HD as I watch tv over-the-air. Global is on 15.1, CTV is on 12.1, CBC is not on ch 6 but rather 21.1(wish they were elsewhere, they interfere with CBS on 22.1) and City TV is not on channel 62 but rather 49.1 All in HD and free with the best HD picture to be found anywhere !

  8. Pingback: City won’t renew Only in Montreal (and won’t say why) | Fagstein

  9. Chloe Fortin

    When I clic on “this story, which appears in Friday’s Gazette” the link does not bring me to the article. Could you give me the direct link please?

    1. Fagstein Post author

      When I clic on “this story, which appears in Friday’s Gazette” the link does not bring me to the article.

      The article expires after a certain amount of time. Afterward, it’s no longer on the website and has to be found through libraries or databases like


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