What are the viewing levels for non-fiction channels in Canada?
- It’s a good question to ask during Toronto’s Hot Docs Forum.
- Or maybe not, as the Montreal Canadiens take a 1-0 series lead over the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
- Whatever! This week: Canada’s Non-fiction Channel Ranker, and several Takeaways.
- US multi-channel affiliates dominate the non-fiction niche.
- Though in their wisdom, Canada’s CRTC regulator limits US ownership of affiliates to 20%, and also enforces CanCon minimums to benefit local producers.
- This twin mandate has sustained Canada’s non-fiction production sector.
- The policy is the envy of say, Australia, where a comparable population has been ill-served by its politicians, and doesn’t deliver a similar steady volume of commissions for Aussie local producers, or create local equity plays in channels.
Canada’s Non-fiction Channel Ranker
Average Total Day, August 2013 – March 2014
|Nat Geo Channel||17.907||3|
|Nat Geo Wild||3.778||7|
And some other English-language channels for good measure:
|CBC News Network||16.463|
Canadians who view factual channels basically watch what’s working in the US.
There are several notable exceptions:
- Canada’s Worst Driver has been Discovery Canada’s #1 show for several seasons, averaging nearly 350,000 viewers (A25-54).
- Driver crossed the line ahead of Gold Rush, Klondike and other hits that flow up the pipeline from Discovery’s HQ in Silver Spring MD.
- History’s #2 after the scripted series Vikings was The Curse of Oak Island (300,000), well ahead of #3 Pawn Stars (238,000). Oak Island is a treasure-hunter series located in Nova Scotia.
- The local Aftermath series came in as H2’s #3 ranked show (19,779).
Mugshots: Canada’s Worst Drivers
Discovery Canada comes in as a near dead-heat with History Canada:
- Discovery lags far behind History in the US.
- The good news is that Cancon accounts for a big part of the variance.
We’ll cover Canada’s French-language channels soon.
- Blue Ant Media‘s Oasis channel is a pure Wildlife play that is profitably although narrowly distributed on a pay tier.
- Oasis out-ranks well-established non-fiction channels when it is offered ‘apples-to-apples’ as a free sampler.
- There’s a lesson here for the many channel brands that have abandoned Natural History for the me-too middle-ground of talent-driven Reality.
- Blue Ant, BTW is the Smithsonian Channel‘s Canadian partner.
NEW!…………………….SWEET SPOTS 2014………………………….NEW!
Production and Acquisition Cost Benchmarks for U.S. Factual Networks
- What do 30+ US channels pay for programs?
- For docs? And reality?
- For Signature, Standard and ‘Bargain-basement?
- Is our commissioning team paying more or less than the competition?
- Do preferred producers earn a premium?
- Does my pitch fall in the budget sweet spot for my target network?
- Which programs are being promoted at the 2014 Upfronts?
We interview dozens of executives and producers to create a unique source of proprietary information about network budgets for commissions and copro’s.