Time for a rethink about connecting with book-loving consumers?

The assumption that consumers would stay away in droves from a high-falutin' literary awards show was clobbered when a record number of book lovers watched the Gillers on CTV this week.

Maybe it was tapping Justin Trudeau to host this year’s Giller Prize awards for best Canadian books that did the trick. Maybe not. But the fact is, anyone who assumed such fare was a guaranteed yawner had to be surprised when CTV’s primetime coverage of the 2006 gala set a net record for a literary show. In all, more than 1.3 million Canadians watched some part of the Nov. 7 record broadcast, which will re-broadcast on CTV on Nov. 11 (4 p.m. ET).

With a viewer peak of 515,000, the show drew an AMA of 351,000 (BBM Nielsen Media Research). These numbers more than tripled last year’s cumulative broadcast on CTV and talktv, and they were way up from CBC’s 2004 telecast of the event, which drew only 133,000 viewers. Additionally, for the first time, a televised Canadian awards program was presented on broadband, streaming online on CTV.ca.