Fall TV Season Update with CBC

December 3, 2019
Shannon Schafer

As we enter the home stretch of the Fall TV Season, we thought it would be interesting to get an update from the Executive leadership of the respective Canadian Broadcast Partners.

We sat down with Jason Perring, Head of Sales for CBC Western Canada, to get his thoughts on how the Fall TV season is going for CBC:

How is the Fall Season going for your network so far?
So far we have seen mixed audience results to our CBC programming, some surprises, and some, not so much. Radio-Canada continues to knock it out of the park. Of course we wish all stations would wildly exceed expectations…but we are excited with the new leadership team, and in particular, the recent addition of Barb Williams as the Executive VP of English Services.

Program audience surprises?
Dragons Den continues to perform and exceed estimates – It is an oldie but still remains fresh for many viewers!

Program audience disappointments?
I personally had expected more audience excitement to surround the return of Battle of the Blades…but 10 years is a long time to be off the air. Also seems that the Great Canadian Baking Show has generated less interest than I would have expected – not sure if the host change had an impact or if folks are tiring of baking shows in prime time.

Which new and returning shows are doing best?
Again, Dragons Den, and also Frankie Drake Mysteries, Murdoch Mysteries, Heartland, Anne With An E, and Coronation are all sure bets!

What’s the biggest change in the TV industry that you’ve seen in the last 3 years?
Streaming and its growth of services. Initially it was thought streaming would provide a more consumer friendly interface and also be used as a way to reduce a families cable costs. I expect that once you add up all the services that families will soon consider as “must haves”, they will easily exceed what they previously would have spent via cable and movie rentals, etc. It turns out that more than saving money, people want convenience and entertainment – and will pay for it. Plus many are looking to escape the day to day more than ever with each increasing negative News cycle – Distraction is valued more than ever and I believe News less so.

What do you think the biggest change will be 3 years from now?
Value vs scarcity. As audiences fragment more and more, the demand for spots increase. With increased demand comes scarcity and the market tells each of us that there is an explicit and acceptable increase in value. While we all agree our product (ad inventory) is becoming more scarce, the unknown is at what point will the value no longer keep pace? That is the elephant in the room.

How has PVR usage impacted you as a broadcaster?
I was just reviewing some recent research and one of CBC’s strengths is as a higher indexed “live viewed” broadcaster. Anyway, for the most part it does not come up and is not a factor in our discussions with clients.

What is your own personal favorite TV show on your own network?
The National – It is nice to have the curation of the important events to Canadians collated and presented as the National does. The varying means of presenting news stories of the day keeps it fresh and interesting.

Do you have a favorite TV show on another network?
I am not allowed – seriously though, I am subject to what my 16 year old daughter (and wife) is into…so yes, I did watch the last full season of The Bachelor (lord help me!)

CBC has identified “relentless automation” as a business goal, can you update us on the progress made to date in this area, and what we can expect in the near future?
I would have to say the most change has been in our traffic department and with the recent introduction of a standardized electronic traffic instruction protocol, over 80%-90% of the commercial load is now automated. That means we can spend more time focused on quality control vs rudimentary trafficking. I look forward to advances in our ability to increase ad inventory in our GEM product and Podcast streams that does not impart a negative interaction with viewers and also to further automate the processes from purchase, to ad delivery, to invoicing, etc..

Thanks very much Jason, we appreciate your time.