National numbers tell different story

Sandy Brown reports that CTV has only one program in the national top 10 ('Tried-and-true shows the ratings winners,' Jan. 29). CTV, CBC and some specialty channels are the only true national networks in Canada. The national Nielsen ratings show that...

Sandy Brown reports that CTV has only one program in the national top 10 (‘Tried-and-true shows the ratings winners,’ Jan. 29). CTV, CBC and some specialty channels are the only true national networks in Canada. The national Nielsen ratings show that CTV holds nine of the 10 top national programs.

But clearly, the national view is only a part of the TV market picture. The industry often uses Toronto ratings as a basis for comparison that allows the inclusion of shows broadcast by Global, CHUM and Rogers. But even an analysis of the Nielsen Toronto ratings tells us that programs like The West Wing, Law & Order and Who Wants to be a Millionaire are regularly above the top 10 line.

When it comes to TV ratings, the numbers depend on how you average, what demographic you use, what weeks are included, what geography is covered, and how many episodes are counted. Good journalism requires a thorough check of the math behind the numbers – especially numbers made available by a source outside of Nielsen Media Research.

Rick Lewchuk

Vice-President,

Program Planning & Promotions

CTV Television

Toronto, Ont.

The ratings referred to in ‘Tried-and-true shows the ratings winners’ (Jan 29), which attributed nine of the top 10 shows to Global, were Nielsen Media Research numbers for adults 18-49, Toronto/Hamilton DMA (post-Olympics to Dec. 17).

For any anxiety caused to CTV and/or Nielsen Media Research over the use of these ratings without full context stated, humblest apologies.