Increase in event viewing

During the regular 1992-93 tv season, fall to spring, French Quebecers made slight changes in their viewing habits compared with previous seasons.During the fall, though average weekly hours were stable, French Quebecers decreased the amount of time spent watching French local...

During the regular 1992-93 tv season, fall to spring, French Quebecers made slight changes in their viewing habits compared with previous seasons.

During the fall, though average weekly hours were stable, French Quebecers decreased the amount of time spent watching French local networks.

Last spring, for the most part, event programming generated increased viewership: Scoop II and Shehaweh on Radio-Canada and Au Nom du Pere et du Fils on tva were the top three shows.

And these three series were each sponsored by advertisers, and these advertisers acted as ‘media partners’ in setting up media and promomotional campaigns to solicit increased viewership and contest participation.

Does this mean that the network with the largest portfolio of specials will win the ratings battle in Quebec?

This question is not so easy to answer.

R-C should win

But based on this theory, and everything that we have heard or seen so far from the networks, it looks like Radio-Canada should win the sweeps during the tuning hours that count most and among the target favored by advertisers: adults 25-54 and adults 18-49.

Radio-Canada was particularly efficient during the sweep periods last season: their programming department did a marvelous job in generating maximum viewership. Outside sweeps, numbers were not as strong.

For 1993-94, Radio-Canada seems to have ‘renewed’ its line-up with additions in humor, teleromans and variety.

Among the new shows, La petite vie, a sitcom with local comics Ding et Dong, should do well for them; though we feel that this kind of humor is now surpassed by the sort on Taquinons la planete, also on Radio-Canada.

Blanche

Blanche, also known as Les Filles de Caleb II, should be the blockbuster of the season. It is ‘event programming’ of strong quality with all the Quebecois ingredients in it.

The first impression of the tva schedule is one of no big surprises. The bulk of the offering will be teleromans in the beginning of the week, with movies on Fridays and weekends.

tva lost some ground in primetime last fall and the new program schedule should help them stabilize their setback, though there are no indicators that increases in viewership will occur.

La Montagne du Hollandais, now called Les Holden, could never repeat the performances of Entre Chien Et Loup. Jeopardy, a strong ‘early prime’ vehicle, will not return.

Lack of focus

The programming of tva seems to suffer from a lack of focus: its performance, mostly during primetime, against advertisers’ prime targets, did not achieve par last year. tva seems to be destabilized, mostly by Quatre-Saisons, in the 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. time slot.

The new teleromans, Genevieve and Ent’ Cadieux, written respectively by Andre Dubois and Guy Fournier, should help tva rebuild its early prime period.

Television Quatre-Saisons is back on its feet after a relatively successful ’92-93 programming season. Under new management, new shows were able to achieve respectable performances in the market.

tqs proposes the most stable programming schedules for media buyers: it achieved even better numbers outside the sweep periods.

tqs has a strong 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. block and should be able to achieve just as well next year with La Guerre des Clans and local star Sonia Benezra acting as a solid anchor for them.

New management has decided to invest in the 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. time-frame to increase viewing hours, by pushing movies back one hour from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m, to 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The submitted concepts of these new shows should enable tqs to do better in the 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. block. Croque-Monsieur (and its sister, Croque-Madame), an adaptation of Frou-Frou on French tv, should position tqs as a stronger contender in the 18-49 demographic. Pauline Martin, a local tv personality and comedian, will host the show.

The strongest challenge of tqs will be to increase or at least to try to maintain their numbers for movies.

Competition from all sources (video clubs, pay tv, tva, etc.) should be strong. But in 1989-90 and 1990-91, movies were scheduled between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. and tqs did well at that time.

Overall, an exciting new season. Radio-Canada should keep its lead over the competition and will try hard to increase it, mostly in primetime.

tva is still the definite leader before 5 p.m. and will have to fight hard in the ‘valuable’ demographics to offset tqs’ efforts to expand leadership outside the 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. time-frame.

We wish all buyers and advertisers an efficient tv buying period in Quebec.

Jacques Dorion is president of Montreal-based media buying firm Strategem.