Oh CBC, you’ve joined the big leagues in the braggy ratings media release department with your latest missive: “CBC’s Powerhouse Primetime Schedule Consistently Attracts Audiences of Over One Million.”
Consistently? Really? Because the release doesn’t actually say that. It says you used inconsistent metrics to manufacture a point. Show me the episode ratings for all the shows you mention, or forfeit the right to use that word.
X Company and Ascension’s debuts (their high points) are compared to Schitt’s Creek‘s average (averaging is a good way to disguise a 50% drop in ratings to well below a million). Murdoch Mysteries? Genuinely gets over a million consistently. The Book of Negroes? Also did. Mercer hovers around there.
I still love what you’re doing lately — you’re making some good shows, and getting some good ratings — but come on, CBC. You make me nostalgic for the days when CTV and Global would send out duelling releases bragging about how they each won the night depending on which arcane way they sliced the ratings pie. “Won its timeslot with viewers aged 17.5 to 21.75!” (It’s possible that’s not really a direct quote.) Or when Bell challenged me saying Motive’s ratings sagged after a timeslot move by giving me a season average, and I showed them the episode by episode breakdown to show the definite sag.
Another recent howler was when Rogers dismissed Numeris’ data as meaningless when media latched on to the lower NHL ratings, and followed that up with, of course, the usual braggy media releases about their US series acquisitions. Numeris is the company that provides ratings to all the networks. You either accept them as statistically meaningful, more or less, or you don’t, but you don’t get to pick the numbers you like and discard the ones you don’t.
It’s ok to celebrate success. It’s terrific, in fact. But numbers and words have meaning, and audiences have brains. Don’t abuse them.