Vancouver Day 13: A little panic boosts ratings
The audience wasn't as big as Sunday's hockey game agains the Americans, but Tuesday's Canada- Germany game still topped the Olympic ratings for the CTV-Rogers consortium.
Maybe having the entire nation in a state of panic helped.
The game, won 8-2 by Canada, was watched by an average of 7.4 million viewers, according to BBM Canada overnight ratings. The audience peaked at 9.1 million. Not long after the hockey guys left the ice, an average of 2.8 million watched Joannie Rochette's emotional skate, That audience peaked at 7.5 million during her program. The prime-time audience averaged just over 6 million viewers, the second highest of the Games.
That will surely be beaten by Wednesday's audiences.
ACCESSIBILITY ISSUES: The many great features of the CTV Olympics website have been well-documented, but not everybody is impressed.
Toronto writer Joe Clark charges that both the CTV and VANOC sites are not accessible to the disabled, even though they claim to be. Clark says that the two sites ``are almost impossible to use for some people with physical disabilities and hard to use and understand by blind or deaf people."
Clark's complaint is that the sites' layout and features don't take the disabled into account, even though VANOC boss John Furlong promised they would. While inaccessible websites aren't covered under Canadian law, Clark says a blind Australian man won a human rights case against the Sydney Olympics website in 2002.
``I just don't think they took this into consideration," says Clark, who does consulting on web accessibility. ``Much of this could have been addressed without a lot of expense."
Clark points out among the deficiencies is the fact that those who cannnot use a mouse have great difficulty moving around the site. For the visually impaired, there's no captioning on videos or descriptions.
Both VANOC and CTV deny his claims.
The CTV-Rogers consortium says that in attempts to make the site accessible to the blind, key components such as statistics and biographies comply with international regulations. VANOC told Clark that the organization strived to make the site accessible.
Clark disagrees. He writes that CTV admits it didn't make the entire site accessible and that VANOC, ``did not strive far enough."
As good and as extensive as the consortium's coverage has been, the disabled aren't the only ones who feel left out. A reader in Hanover, Ont. wrote to say that he can't watch because there's no CTV affiliate in his area. CTV has a pretty wide reach, but it apparently doesn't reach everyone.
THE GOOD: The CBC is on the sidelines for these Olympics, but it's still making an impression. A CBC report on the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili on Tuesday's national news stands as the most comprehensive report on the tragedy. It raised a lot of questions that haven't been addressed before. ... Both CTV and NBC played the Joannie Rochette story perfectly on Tuesday, basically letting the story tell itself without trying to prime the emotional pumps. ... Great point by Pierre McGuire Tuesday on whether or not Canada coach Mike Babcock should have let struggling Rick Nash take a penalty shot. McGuire's point was that with Canada well ahead, Nash could have used a boost in confidence. ... Good catch by McGuire on the missed Canadian goal, too. ... NBC's Jimmy Roberts on and Scott Moir's singing of ``O Canada" during their medal ceremony: ``When people stand on top of the podium and lose it to the national anthem, it's a great moment." ... Most fascinating story of the day came from analyst Beckie Scott, who described a punch-up in a cross-country ski relay. Fighting in skiing? Who knew? ... NBC's Bob Costas after the gaffe that cost speed skater Sven Kramer a gold medal in the men's 10,000 metres: ``If they have a federal witness program in the Netherlands that coach who screwed up, Gerard Kemkers, may soon be applying." ... Rod Smith's call on Clara Hughes' Olympic swan song was as good as it gets. ... Morning co-host Jay Onrait deserves a gold medal for putting up with the orgy of cross-promotion and foolishness that goes on around him every day. After a reporter polled a half-dozen people in a disco Wednesday and reported breathlessly that ``most people are happy with Canada's (hockey) win over Germany," Onrait listed the morning lineup and dead-panned to co-host Beverly Thomson, ``If this isn't quality morning programming, Bev, I don't know what is."
THE BAD: Sportsnet hockey analyst Nick Kypreos mangles the language from time to time so Tuesday's Canada-Germany pre-game show performance was no surprise. After talking about Canada's need to go to the net, he offered this: ``This is still what Canada lacks a lot of inconsistencies in their game." No translation was available. .... Fellow analyst Pierre McGuire can tell you more about what's going on in game than most of his ilk, but man, is that guy long-winded. After Germany scored its first goal Tuesday night, McGuire told viewers three times that Canada had a ``disjointed" line on the ice, twice that Sidney Crosby was using somebody else's stick and twice that Crosby lost the man he was supposed to cover -- all in the space of 34 seconds. (Yes, I timed it.) ... Great coverage on the men's cross-country relay, today, but not perfect. With the Swedes holding a small lead on the last lap, CTV cut to an interview with Canadian Ivan Babikov. When we got back to the race, the Swede suddenly had a big lead. How it happened was a mystery.