CBC, TSN both win and lose in ratings battle
So far, the Stanley Cup playoffs have provided material for one of those good-news, bad-news jokes as far as TSN and CBC are concerned.
The good news for CBC is that it's dominating the sports ratings thanks mainly to the Vancouver Canucks and to a lesser degree the Montreal Canadiens. The bad news, outside of the fact there probably won't be any Montreal Canadiens in the second round, is that ratings are down 7 per cent overall from last year's first round.
The good news for TSN is that ratings are up 19 per cent as of Monday, thanks mainly to the presence of the Calgary Flames. The reason for this is obvious, of course. TSN's ratings are up mainly because it has a Canadian playoff team for the first time and CBC's are down because instead of having three Canadian teams as it did last year, it has only two now.
There is some bad news for TSN, outside of the fact that it probably won't have a Canadian team in the next round. The fact is that the cable network is again coming up short in efforts to match CBC ratings.
While the Flames are producing some of the highest NHL ratings ever at TSN, they have yet to hit the million mark that's a given when Canadian teams are featured on CBC. In managing to land events like the Grey Cup and Canadian content in the Stanley Cup playoffs, TSN has argued that it can match CBC's ratings.
Thus far, it isn't.
There's bad news for viewers, too. TSN is continuing to go the cheap route and pick up U.S. broadcasts of NHL series, which really isn't what Canadian viewers should be getting. Speaking of cheap, CBC had planned to saved money by showing Games 3 and 4 of the Vancouver-St. Louis series in standard definition before a grocery chain offered to pay the bills for HD.
You have to wonder if the chain got a tax deduction, though it's not clear if the CBC is now a registered charity.
TV BY THE NUMBERS
Here are the latest sports ratings on English-language TV in Canada, as supplied by BBM Nielsen Media Research:
1. Canucks at Blues, Tuesday, CBC: 1,668,000
2. Canucks at Blues, Sunday, CBC: 1,625,000
3. Blues at Canucks, Friday, CBC: 1,323,000
4. Bruins at Canadiens, Monday, CBC: 1,248,000
5. Canadiens at Bruins, Saturday, CBC: 1,174,000
6. Blackhawks at Flames, Monday, TSN: 938,000
7. Flyers at Penguins, Friday, CBC: 784,000
8. Sharks at Ducks, Tuesday, CBC: 738,000
9. Flames at Blackhawks, Saturday, TSN: 727,000
10. Penguins at Flyers, Sunday, CBC: 722,000