One country, two television solitudes. While in Quebec, the top 10 most-watched shows each week is entirely made up of Quebec productions, in English Canada it includes almost exclusively American titles.
While we have just highlighted July 1, this observation confirms that in terms of listening habits, the beautiful province diverges strongly from the ROC (Rest of Canada).
Weekly data from Numéris reveals that during the 2020-2021 calendar, only one Canadian program regularly appeared in the top tier: the CTV Evening News. With an average of around 1,600,000 viewers, the newscast (broadcast Monday to Friday at 6 p.m.) saves the day for the Canadian offering.
Fiction series from the United States largely dominate the ranking. The Good Doctor appears at number 1 with 2,500,000 followers. Follow titles like 9-1-1, Grey’s Anatomy, Lone Star, Station 19, New Amsterdam, NCIS and This is Us, which can attract 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 viewers. The top 10 includes only one reality show: The Masked Singerincluding the Quebec adaptation (Masked singers) will be presented on TVA this fall.
A few Canadian productions make their presence felt a little further up the rankings, such as Maple Leafs hockey games (around 1,200,000) and Murdoch Mysteries, the veteran CBC crime drama that usually retains its million regulars. And this winter Big Brother Canada was consistently in the top 20. But that’s it.
2/30 in Quebec
In Quebec, only two foreign titles regularly carved out a place in the weekly top 30 of the most popular programs last winter: the good doctor (French version of The Good Doctor) and Talent to spare (America’s Got Talent), both broadcast on TVA.
The rest of the ranking was made up of local productions like District 31, Les beaux malaises 2.0, Star Académie, Direct from the universe and All the life.
To give up
The voracious appetite of English Canadians for the American offer does not date from Sunday, underlines the director of the School of media at UQAM, Pierre Barrette.
“It’s been like that for several years. The most popular channel in the country, CTV, broadcasts American content almost through and through. It’s a bit like TVA presenting 70% of foreign series at prime time. »
The absence of a language barrier, combined with the imbalance of budgets, explains — in part — why the English-speaking provinces prefer American television.
The Masked Singer
The attitude of ROC broadcasters also fuels this strong trend. “It looks like they resigned, comments Pierre Barrette. Against the big American guns, they put on documentaries, shows that didn’t cost a lot… It’s as if they thought it was lost in advance. »
Even more unsubscribers to the “ Rest of Canada »
Canada is also divided over the churn phenomenon. On the English side, one in five viewers left their pay television service. In French-speaking Quebec, we are talking about one viewer in seven.
This is what emerges from a study by the Media Technology Monitor (OTM), published on June 24.
Moreover, 23% of Anglophones who currently subscribe to traditional cable say they are “very” or “somewhat likely” to cancel their subscription and join the group of “cord cutters” (cord cutters). Among Quebec viewers, we are talking about a proportion of 16%.
The “cord cutters” are usually active on the internet, young and educated. Another interesting detail: 71% of them subscribe to two or more video-on-demand services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.
These figures do not surprise Pierre Barrette, director of the School of Media at UQAM.
The platforms of streaming offering much more content in English than in French, they are more likely to interest the ROC.
But beware, the language barrier is not the only reason behind this gap. It would be simplistic to think otherwise.
“Quebec television has managed to retain its audience by presenting quality programs,” says Pierre Barrette. She has developed programming that is not modeled on the American spirit. It has its own flavor that people spontaneously identify with. »
Top 5 Shows most watched in English Canada
- 7,028,000 viewers
2. Oprah With Meghan and Harry
- 3,076,000 viewers
3. The Good Doctor
- 2,120,000 viewers
4. The Oscars
- 2,119,000 viewers
- 1,871,000 viewers
Source: Numéris confirmed data, all 2+, from July 1, 2020 to June 20, 2021, compiled by deepblue can