Rogers Blames Declining NHL Viewership on Ratings Company


Rogers Communications is blaming ratings company Numeris for the decline in viewership of NHL games over the past year.

Numeris, the company that provides Canadian broadcast ratings, reported a significant decrease in viewers for last weekend’s NHL all-star game. In 2012, when the all-star game was only broadcast on the CBC, there were a total of 2.454 million viewers. Last weekend, the all-star game drew an audience of 1.479 million viewers, which is almost a drop of one million viewers.

A rival executive said that it is “utter nonsense” for Rogers to blame the decline in viewership on Numeris. However, president of Sportsnet and the NHL Scott Moore is concerned about how Numeris gathers these ratings.

“We have been in discussions with Numeris for some time about the reporting of both regional and national sports viewing. As you probably know, several sports properties seem to be down, which is contrary to what we are seeing south of the border. [The] CFL was down substantially this year as well. We are concerned about both the multiplatform reporting and the regional and sports representation on the Numeris panels.”

Moore’s statements were criticized by Bell Media, who said that there is nothing wrong with the way Numeris collects its data. CTV president Phil King said:

“We think that’s a laughable comment. How do we explain all-time records at the world junior [which was shown on Bell Media’s TSN]?

Everyone knows [the Numeris numbers] are a statistically valid sample. It’s the currency everyone uses in the world. It’s funny, I didn’t hear them complaining about the Blue Jays [owned by Rogers], who had one of their best TV ratings [in 2014].”

The reasons for Bell’s harsh comments might be because the Canadian carrier recently lost the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, in addition to losing their NHL rights to Rogers.

Moore was prompted to question Numeris about how they collect their data because the NHL all-star ratings were not the only numbers on the decline. The numbers for the regular-season games are also on the decline. As an example, the Eastern games on Saturday nights earlier in the season had an average of 1.696 million viewers this year. This number is down six percent from 1.803 million viewers last year when CBC was the only broadcaster of Saturday night games.

President and chief executive of Numeris Jim MacLeod said:

“We are balanced by geography, age, sex and household size. So you would think that for major sports that would fall out across the population. The important thing is to keep the panels in balance so that they match the population characteristics. We have a very careful system to do that. So far we haven’t found anything [unusual] but we’re continuing to watch it.”

MacLeod has looked into Moore’s concerns but has not discovered anything unusual with the ratings yet.

[via The Globe and Mail]