NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WRITERS’ STRIKE – REALLY: There’s not a lot to report from the picket lines in Hollywood and New York, so I thought I’d share with you a couple of press releases that arrived in my in-box yesterday, as examples of the persistence of hope, if not in human beings, then in corporations.
The first one came through with the subject line “Global Television Continues Stellar Performance Throughout Fall Season,” and celebrated the success of the normally runner-up Canadian network against its rival, CTV, across key demographic groups in the Top 10. Global boasted that it had half out of the top 10 shows in the supposedly key 18-49-year-old market in Toronto and Vancouver, and 6 out of the ten in Calgary.
On an e-mail circular that arrived not long after, CTV included a list that contradicted Global’s claims more than slightly, printing as an addendum a list of the “Top Ranked Regularly Scheduled Programs, 2007 Fall Season” that saw only two Global shows in the top 10 – House, at number one, and Survivor: China at number six. The list, however, is a general total, without demographic breakdowns, which is where these crowing over ratings becomes positively Jesuitical.
CTV gave its e-mail celebration of this season’s numbers the title “CTV Ratings Release – CTV Gains Nationally and in Key Markets,” and opted to look at the top 20, but in a more limited formula. The network had 12 of the top 20 shows nationally in the 18-49 demographic, they claimed, and half of the top 20 in the Toronto/Hamilton market. Calgary wasn’t mentioned, though they published statistics claiming 9 of the top 20 in the narrower 25-54 demographic in Vancouver, and just 6 shows ranking in the even more focused 18-34 demographic.
Global claimed the crown in the homegrown original series and entertainment new magazine categories with Are You Smarter Than A Canadian 5th Grader and ET Canada in the 18-49 demographic, and trumped the imminent midseason arrivals of shows such as Celebrity Apprentice, Survivor and Big Brother, the latter having been returned to the regular season by CBS to fill gaps left by the WGA strike. (Ha! – I lied!) CTV, for its part, crowed about having the number one national newscast and the only Canadian show (Corner Gas) to appear in the top 20.
Both networks derived their numbers from the same set of BBM Nielsen Media Research statistics, and it seems they were both ready to mine the figures to produce a happy ending both ways. CTV can claim that it rules primetime with sheer numbers of shows ranked, while Global can tell advertisers that it owns – just barely – the demographic considered key spenders in the country’s top three markets. None of which will matter come February, when the lack of new programming from the American networks forces CTV to break out episodes of The Trouble With Tracy (ask your father), while Global revives Train 48. (Ha – lied again!)