CBC as a Lovemark


To me, CBC is not only a brand, it is in the class a Lovemark. I just love it so much. But like Coca Cola being a Lovemark, the people has power and influence to shape it (remember New Coke?) and won’t love it blindly.

So it is with a little concern that I read Gayle MacDonald’s report “CBC’s best season in five years? Expert says no“.

Although Barry Kiefl (the expert quoted in the article) has his own company now (thus may have an ax to grind), he was a director of research at CBC from 1983 to 2001 so I do put some weight on the concerns that he raised,

According to Kiefl’s CMRI, CBC audience share in prime time is a respectable 7.5 per cent from October through March – but still down slightly from the previous year (7.6 per cent, with Olympic viewership removed).

“It’s certainly not the highest level in recent years,” adds Kiefl, who says CBC prime-time-audience share was 10 per cent in 2001-2002, according to BBM Nielsen. (In this case, market share is defined as the percentage of the total audience watching television at a given time, aged two years and older.)

His read of BBM Nielsen data shows CBC’s overall audience level at its lowest in history, with a 5.3-per-cent audience share in 2006-2007 – down from 5.6 per cent the previous year.

To boot, Kiefl says things are in a sad state when only one CBC-TV series – Little Mosque – actually cracked the one-million-plus weekly viewers. The other programs cited as million-plus winners, he asserts, were only one-off specials, or, in the case of The Rick Mercer Report, hit the benchmark because CBC researchers added together multiple weekly airings (Mercer on Tuesday and Friday).

“I’m not saying they’re lying,” says Kiefl. “They’re just being overly selective [in their interpretation of the BBM Nielsen data].”

I would love to see some BBM Nielsen data (they are expensive to get unless you works for the networks or are in the media) and I would love to learn how to read and crunch those numbers so I can be more qualified to judge one way or another. But as a concerned lover of CBC, if Kiefl’s concern is anywhere near true, we still have lots of work to do.

June 6th update: As reported by the Inside the CBC blog site, “In a spirited email to staff, CBC Television executive Kirstine Layfield has taken a swing at recent media reports that CBC is overstating its ratings.


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