Talk show helps TQS draw 18-49

Montreal: Television Quatre Saisons has come up with a winner - a nightly variety/talk show hosted by a former MusiquePlus dee jay.According to tqs programming director Luc Harvey, the show, hosted by thirtysomething Sonia Benezra, acts as a magnet for the...

Montreal: Television Quatre Saisons has come up with a winner – a nightly variety/talk show hosted by a former MusiquePlus dee jay.

According to tqs programming director Luc Harvey, the show, hosted by thirtysomething Sonia Benezra, acts as a magnet for the youth-oriented audience the six-year-old network has targetted.

Harvey says Sonia Benezra, which runs from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., has helped tqs, owned by cfcf, win a leading share of viewers aged 18-49 in the early fringe period, from 5-7 p.m.

32% share

During the 5-7 p.m. period, for the extended Montreal region, tqs has a 32% share among tuned French-language viewers 18-49.

Harvey says cftm-tv, the Tele-Metropole station, has a 28% share, and cbft, the Radio-Canada station, has a 17% share.

Benezra, who is the only female to host a primetime variety show on Quebec tv, personifies a growing cross-section of younger people who work and study in the Montreal Metropolitan Area, according to Harvey.

‘We hope to attract a young, dynamic, very urban audience, a reflection of a modern Quebec in North America,’ he says.

Slanted towards show business, Benezra’s show is broadcast live from the tqs studios.

Guests range from Montreal-based poet/singer Leonard Cohen to singer Mitsou, while the Benezra studio band, fronted by Helene Dallaire, is the only musical outfit on Quebec tv headed by a female orchestra leader.

Younger viewers

The Benezra show draws younger viewers – 55% of the audience is made of up of those aged 18-49 and is skewed 60% toward women.

Another 18% of the program’s viewers are between the age of two and 17.

One of the program’s most appealing features is a live interview segment conducted with a visiting star.

Recently, Benezra interviewed French pop teen idol Patrick Bruel from his dressing room at La Colisee in Quebec City.

‘Try to be close’

‘We’re trying to be as close as we can to people,’ says Harvey, adding the programming goals of cfjp-tv, the tqs flagship station in Montreal, resembles the upbeat, local programming skew of Toronto’s Citytv.

According to Francois Laganiere, tqs vice-president marketing and sales, the network’s programming strategy avoids costly head-to-head competition with the other French tv networks by offering an alternative to teleromans and public affairs.

Instead, tqs dishes up movies, news and sports.

tqs will broadcast 26 games of the Nordiques, the Quebec City nhl team, and a nightly hour of sports programming at 11 p.m.

Quebec’s top-rated game show, La Guerre des Clans, the French version of the u.s. show Family Feud, draws between 750,000 and one million viewers nightly.

Seen at 6 p.m., a majority of the show’s viewers fall within tqs’ 18-49 target group.

Harvey says in mid-November, La Guerre des Clans had a one-million network average.

He says the audience profile included 269,000 women and 207,000 men in the 18-to-49 target group, with close to 60% of the audience made up of women.

Under 17s

The show’s 12- to 17-year-old numbers were pegged at 71,000, while children aged two to 11 numbered 102,000.

The 18- to 49-year-olds appear to be paying dividends for tqs and parent company cfcf.

Last month, cfcf reported a year-end profit of $2.7 million, a healthy improvement over the $23.6-million loss chalked up last year.

In line with tqs’ lean and mean outlook, Laganiere says national advertisers which buy a core group of viewers aged 18-49 and 25-54 can avoid ‘the waste’ associated with buying competing programs with higher ratings ‘but [with] a lot of people outside the core group.’