Canadians Rate Yank Shows Most Appealing

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. has attacked a survey by the nation’s federal broadcasting regulatory body that shows CBC programs to be the “least appealing” in the entire country.

The Angus Reid poll, which canvassed 2,000 Canadian households, was conducted for the Canadian Radio-Television & Telecommunications Commission in November and asked viewers which network they considered the most appealing.

American public broadcaster PBS was rated most appealing, and CBC finished last. Ironically, PBS generally is not considered a huge ratings-grabber while CBC shows are often among the highest-rated.

PBS was considered “very appealing” by 45% of cable subscribers, compared with 16% for CBC English-language service. Canadian independent stations followed PBS with 25%, the U.S. network NBC came next with 23%, CTV and ABC (U.S.) each had 21%, and CBS (U.S.) had 20%. Even in French Canada, PBS was rated the most appealing with 33%, although French CBC ranked closely with other French-lingo channels.

CBC says the survey is flawed and invalid, and Barry Kiefl, CBC’s director of research, points out that all the respondents were in regions served by major cable operators, and only 250 were noncable subscribers.

According to Kiefl, CBC’s audience share in rural and remote areas is three times higher than in urban centers. And he says the poll results were based on one question relating to appeal.

The question of programming appeal was part of a survey to examine what Canadian consumers want in cable packages.

The survey did not include the American Fox network or TV Ontario. The survey is in preparation for a cable hearing that will review the cost and structure of cable services. Date for the hearing hasn’t been set.

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