Media Monday Edmonton: Global Edmonton’s Tim Spelliscy on local news ratings

Last week the first ever BBM PPM (Portable People Meter) ratings for television in Edmonton were released. Known as the Fall 2011 survey, the ratings cover the time period beginning September 12, 2011 and ending December 18, 2011. The ratings are further broken down into three demographic categories: 18+, 18-49, and 25-54. The top show in Edmonton? Big Bang Theory, on CTV Edmonton, with an average of 117,000 viewers per minute during each broadcast. In the 18+ demographic, Global Edmonton scored 5 of the top 10 shows, followed by CTV Edmonton with 4, and CBC Edmonton with 1.

That’s interesting, but what I really care about is local news, stuff that is produced here in Edmonton. Here are the numbers for local news for the 18+ demographic:

18+

Here are the numbers for local news for the 18-49 demographic:

18-49

Here are the numbers for local news for the 25-54 demographic:

25-54

All of that data comes from: BBM Canada PPM, Edmonton EMA, Sep 12-Dec18/11; min 3 airings. AMA means average minute audience, the average number of viewers per minute during the broadcast.

What I find particularly interesting is that in the 18+ demographic, the six o’clock news for both Global and CTV do quite well at #3 and #10 respectively, but if you look at the 18-49 demographic they drop considerably, to #26 and #44. That suggests to me that seniors make up a big chunk of the audience for the local six o’clock news. Not an encouraging sign if that’s your business.

Still, as far as as news is concerned it was a strong result for Global Edmonton, and their news release says as much:

Edmontonians have made it perfectly clear: their number one choice for news is Global Edmonton. According to BBM PPM (Portable People Meter) Fall 2011 survey, all of Global Edmonton’s newscasts continue to win their timeslots – morning, noon and night in total audience and in all key demographics including A18-49 and A25-54. Edmonton was recently added to the BBM’s electronic PPM system, providing a much better estimate of viewing habits.

tim spelliscyGiven that Global did so well in the first survey, I wanted to hear what Tim Spelliscy, Global’s Regional Director for News in Alberta, thought of the results. He agreed to answer my questions via email.

  1. Why is the BBM PPM survey important to Global Edmonton?

This is the first extensive survey using new (PPM) technology, so we know it’s a more accurate reflection of actual viewing rather than someone trying to recall what they watched and filling out a survey by hand. It reflects viewing patterns that we felt were happening, so it confirmed what our own research had been telling us about audience support.

  1. What’s the impact of being #1 in news?

Edmonton is a strong news market with excellent production provided by several local stations, so to come out as the top news station by such a wide margin is very flattering. We are grateful for this kind of support, and it’s fantastic for all of our sponsors and community partners to know that they are associated with a very strong local news brand. I think the confirmation that we are number one will bring new viewers to our news programs. They want to see what they’ve been missing.

  1. The News Hour is the 3rd most watched program in the 18+ demographic, but it falls to 26th when you narrow the demographics to 18-49. Does that concern you?

We’re still the top news program in 18-49, and the numbers are close with a lot of other shows, but it does give us an area we can work on. We can always do a better job attracting younger viewers.

  1. What’s on the horizon for Global Edmonton? How are you going to remain #1?

We’ve got to keep doing the small things right to remain number one. We have to focus on story selection and story treatment and we need to be on top of breaking news and ensure we are covering the stories that viewers really care about. That seems simple to do, but it’s not. I think there are lots of areas where we can improve the news programs we produce, but there won’t be any major overhauls – just some tweaking. We also need to continue to be the local news leader in our use of technology. We’ve done well with an early conversion to HD and we have the only television news helicopter in our city. We have some good ideas about what changes and improvements we can make next – stay tuned!

  1. Which of the other top Global shows is your favorite?

It’s Glee for sure. We try to watch it every week or I set my SHAW PVR and watch Glee on the weekend. Good characters and good music. It’s light, funny and an “escape”!

Thanks to Tim for answering my questions!

I look forward to the next survey results.

CTV Edmonton launches Inner Tube blog

On Friday afternoon, just hours before the start of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, CTV Edmonton launched a new blog called Inner Tube. I’m not sure if the timing was just a coincidence or if CTV Edmonton purposefully wanted to “soft launch” the blog, but either way, this “online experiment of sorts” is something that’s worth paying attention to.

First, the key points:

  • Inner Tube is a group blog. Entries will be written by a variety of people at CTV Edmonton, including Carrie Doll and Josh Classen.
  • This is an Edmonton project, not something that came from Toronto.
  • Posts are edited for clarity, comments are moderated.
  • From the about blurb: “You’ll read stories about the inner workings of the news process, how we develop our stories, or just casual observations about what makes north central Alberta so special.”

I called Stewart Shaw, web guru at CTV Edmonton, to learn more about the site that he has been working to launch for the last six months or so. My first question was why it took so long! Stewart very democratically explained that many people just aren’t as comfortable with technology as the rest of us, and that convincing all of the necessary people took time (as it would have in any typical corporate environment). He was pleased with how things progressed.

Stewart told me that CTV Edmonton sees this as an extension of what they’ve been doing for more than 50 years. The station has always felt that it was part of the community, and the blog is just a modern way of ensuring that remains true. And while the CTV Edmonton account on Twitter has been quite successful, and most stories on the news website offer the ability to leave comments, neither offers the same kind of connection that the blog can (though Carrie Doll, Josh Classen, and other personalities regularly interact with other Twitter users). Stewart said that the Save Local TV open house last year opened some eyes – it was the first time in a long time that CTV Edmonton had invited the public to the station, and they were overwhelmed by the response. The idea with Inner Tube is to open up a little, to provide a glimpse behind the curtain from the people that make CTV Edmonton tick.

Local media blogs are not new, of course. The Edmonton Journal, iNews880, and Edmonton Sun have had blogs on their websites for a long time, with varying levels of success. The difference is that CTV Edmonton has created a group blog that everyone will contribute to, rather than individual blogs for each employee or personality. The idea is that it’ll be a little easier to keep fresh, and also to build a following with. I think the jury’s still out on which approach is more successful, but I like that CTV Edmonton is experimenting with something different.

Inner Tube is off to a good start, with roughly half a dozen posts already up on the blog. It’ll be interesting to see how it evolves – I hope it opens the door to even more online activity from the local media. Congrats to Stewart and everyone else at CTV Edmonton for launching Inner Tube, and good luck!