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SBD/December 10, 2012/Media
NHL Lockout, Day 86: RSNs Shift Programming To Fill Gaps; Canada TV/Radio Audience Down
Published December 10, 2012
LOSING EYES & EARS: The GLOBE & MAIL’s Simon Houpt reported an audience in Canada “the size of Edmonton has stopped watching TV at home on Saturday night.” BBM Canada data shows that viewership between 7:00-10:00pm ET is down year-over-year about 7.6%, which “represents a drop of roughly 800,000, to approximately 11.6 million viewers in an average minute.” The change in viewing habits is “felt most sharply by the CBC, which last year pulled in more than two million viewers on average” for its flagship edition of "Hockey Night In Canada" in October and November, making it “the only regularly scheduled Saturday broadcast to land in the top 20 of weekly programs.” Without any NHL games, the CBC has “aired old hockey matches for the past two months, which drew only about 10 per cent of its usual Saturday night audience; it is now airing holiday-themed programming in that time slot” (GLOBE & MAIL, 12/8). The GLOBE & MAIL’s Bruce Dowbiggin wrote the “sports-talk results for the fall Bureau of Broadcast Measurement rating period (males 25-54) have reflected the ennui of hockey fans who are fed up and can’t take more lockout talk.” CTV President of Sports & Exec VP/Programming Phil King wrote in an e-mail, “All sports radio including ours is down because of no NHL. Even those networks without NHL (play-by-play) are down because no one wants to listen to (contract) talk any more.” Dowbiggin wrote the ratings in Canadian NHL cities are “not cataclysmic.” Dowbiggin: “At least, not yet.” Making the situation “more disappointing for programmers, any declines come after a period of ratings success earlier this year for the NHL host broadcasters in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, among others.” Many had “record numbers last spring” (GLOBE & MAIL, 12/8).