CTV, Global premieres soar, thanks to PPM

The new ratings technology inflates return of House, Grey's Anatomy and Survivor - while CSI and Heroes take a dive.


CTV and Global are tickled over BBM Canada’s new Portable People Meters (PPM), which escalated their fall debuts to new highs as fresh and returning fare rolled out last week.

CTV prevailed with the most prime-time wins during premiere week – Sept. 21-27 – though Global made serious gains on Monday and Tuesday, led by the high-flying two-hour debut of House, with an eye-popping 4.2 million viewers on Sept. 21. The episode, which followed the titular doctor’s stay at a psychiatric hospital, is the best premiere of the season thus far and miles ahead of its 2.8 million debut last year. (All numbers 2+.)

Equally impressive was Grey’s Anatomy, which surpassed CSI: Miami as CTV’s new ratings darling, with 3.2 million viewers for its two-hour premiere on Thursday – up from 2.3 million last season. The episode saw the demise of one of its main characters, George O’Malley, played by T.R. Knight.

The mobile PPMs are said to provide a more accurate picture of ratings than the old-fashioned set-top boxes. ‘The way that people viewed television didn’t change on Aug. 31 just because we changed the system. The reality of how it has been consumed hasn’t changed, the measurement has changed,’ says BBM Canada president and CEO Jim MacLeod.

MacLeod says that ratings are up ‘across the board’ because of the new system.

Other shows that saw a jump in viewership last week were CTV’s CSI: Miami with 3 million, Criminal Minds with 2.9 million, CSI: NY with 2.6 million, and homegrown drama Flashpoint with a series-high 1.8 million viewers, while Global’s Survivor rose from 2.2 to 2.8 million for its latest edition in Samoa.

Another factor that contributes to the higher ratings is larger sampling in many markets. In Vancouver, for example, BBM now tracks viewership in 672 households, up from 500.

‘Anytime that the measurement system reflects the real world better, everyone does better with the results,’ says MacLeod.

In other ratings, Global’s new US pickups fared well up against familiar shows last week, with NCIS spinoff NCIS: Los Angeles nabbing 1.7 million viewers on Tuesday at 9 p.m. opposite CTV’s The Mentalist (1.4 million). It was followed by new CBS drama The Good Wife with 1.3 million, placing just behind its competitor, CTV’s Law and Order: SVU with 1.4 million viewers.

On Wednesday, the second episode of Global’s Glee lost some viewers to CTV perennial favorite Criminal Minds, slipping to 1.2 million versus the 1.7 million who watched its premiere the previous week.

But not all the shows benefited from PPM. On Global, the return of Heroes managed only 597,000 viewers on Monday against 1.3 million last year, though it aired out of simulcast. Perhaps more surprising is the decline in eyeballs for CTV’s CSI, which aired out-of-simulcast to 2.5 million viewers on Thursday at 8 p.m. The number is down from 3.1 million for its premiere last year.

CTV and Global are getting competition from CBC this week, as the pubcaster bows fall fare including The Rick Mercer Report, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, The Tudors and Dragon’s Den.

From Playback Daily