Poor timing and a lack of star power likely contributed to a slump in ratings and an underwhelming bump in streaming results for artists profiled on the telecast.
There were some memorable performances and mostly favourable press, but the bottom line is audience ratings sank and none of the winners excepting Drake and The Weeknd popped wheelies on the chart.
According to CTV, the 90-minute program had an average audience reach of 1.2 million viewers, down from 1.4 in 2016 and 1.6 in 2015. The numbers exclude social media and Juno TV streaming platform metrics--but it’s the eyeballs watching TV sets that pay the freight on this annual extravaganza celebrating and honouring the best in Canadian music.
The most significant and possibly most damaging blow was the decision to move the telecast back and go live at 6:30 pm eastern time in Canada’s largest market. Peak viewing Sundays generally runs 7-11 pm.
The outcome was further hindered by the absence of star power--specifically The Weeknd, Drake, and Justin Bieber - and co-hosts that offered little beyond marquee value. It was a cool show, but the artists performing lacked the kind of drawing power necessary to make the show a ratings-buster coast-to-coast.
Of course, what happened here this year is not unique. Wavering popularity is part of a general malaise afflicting award show ratings in North America and the UK.
Some argue these shows are suffering from format fatigue, others suggest real-time feeds on social media offer audiences an expedient alternative to grinding through commercials and unwanted banter, and there’s the fact that highlights, performances and memorable speeches will invariably be available online within minutes or hours of the show's closing credits.
There’s also something about the format itself. These shows rely too heavily on hosts, and there’s also the weak link in assembling a line-up of talent that makes sense to an ambiguous target audience at home.
Fortunately, the show will likely take place at 5 pm Vancouver time next year (as it did in 2009) and air at 8 pm in Toronto; so, it’s just a small matter of finding a host that has everyone talking for the right reason and a package of talent that can please boomers, their offspring and the iGen.
A tall order, for sure.
Here are the acts that showed movement on the Top 200 Billboard Canadian Albums chart with the consumption gains:
Shawn Mendes: Illuminate - 46-33 +23%
Bryan Adams: Icon - 49-36 +20%
Bryan Adams: So Far So Good - 95-69 +28%
Alessia Cara: Know-It-All - 62-51 +32%
Leonard Cohen: You Want It Darker - re-entry #100 +101%
Leonard Cohen: More Best Of 115-103 +12%
The Strumbellas: Hope - re-entry #101 +75%
The Tragically Hip: Yer Favourites - 91-86 +10%
Bubbling Under the top 200:
Ruth B: The Intro +23%
July Talk: Touch +38%