CBC and Global spar over ratings

The networks are duking it out over the 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. timeslot, with CBC claiming it regularly bests Global in prime time. Global says crafty number-crunching is at play.

The CBC may be enjoying improved ratings and market share, but a recent jab about outpacing Global Television in prime time isn’t sitting well with its rival.

CBC spokesman Jeff Keay in an Aug. 26 letter to the Ottawa Citizen trumpeted a market share that since 2004 has jumped from 6.7% to 9.4%, before adding: ‘Our virtually all-Canadian prime-time schedule now regularly outperforms Global TV’s American schedule.’

Asked to explain how they arrived at that conclusion, the pubcaster’s number crunchers insisted that, over the last three seasons, the CBC has ‘consistently’ snagged a 2+ prime-time share between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. that tops that of Global Television, according to BBM Canada data.

The CBC adds that, for 2009/10, it captured a prime-time share of total viewers at 9.3%, against Global’s 2+ prime-time share of 8.6%.

The CBC insists it bettered Global’s 2+ prime-time share in the previous two years as well.

Executives at Global Television concede CBC is correct, but was a bit selective in how it crunched BBM Canada data.

Global researchers insist the CBC selected an October to March prime-time window, not a traditional season of September to May, which includes ratings-rich premieres and finales for Global’s US series.

And Global points to the CBC’s success with total viewers in the 7 to 11 p.m. prime-time window coming mostly at 7 p.m., where its US game shows Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune do well with older viewers.

A more ‘true’ prime-time window from 8 to 11 p.m., insists Global, gives that broadcaster wins against the CBC in both the 2+ and 18-to-49 demos. And it’s in the latter 18-to-49 demo that Global, as usual, sees its core audience, and the advertisers’ focus.

‘Whether we run the data based on CBC’s altered season or the regular one, Global wins for both periods in this demographic,’ Global researchers concluded.