Shoalts Dissects Rogers Hockey Ratings

By TSM

the big problem is that one-quarter of the way through the NHL’s regular season, Rogers is running around 9 per cent behind the 20-per-cent increase in television viewers it promised advertisers, who were also told there was a commensurate increase in advertising rates. This has the company lagging behind its projections for the revenue needed to make this venture break even at the very least after landing the NHL’s national Canadian broadcast rights for $5.2-billion over 12 years.

Not sure how I missed this article last week, but David Shoalts went to town on the current (8 weeks) state of Rogers NHL package. It’s a really good read for those interested in the world or ratings and advertising.

It’s also a really unique insight into what’s going on inside Rogers:

At least four senior executives at the top of the sales department left in 2014 as a result of the restructuring, and Tomik himself departed at the end of November, giving way to Al Dark, another CBC veteran. Turnover is common in the media sales field, but those familiar with the company say Tomik’s departure was curious since he left so early in the first season of the NHL contract and a year ahead of what was thought to be a three-year mandate. Many of the changes Tomik implemented caused friction between him and the executives affected by them.

Shoalts has a follow up story in the Thursday Globe and Mail:

Understanding the regional blackouts appears to be the No. 1 problem for Canadian television viewers in the first year of the NHL’s national broadcast rights coming under the control of Rogers Communications Inc.

Personally, I don’t think that’s the problem at all. I think the issue is that the number of die hard hockey fans who simply want to watch any game is actually much smaller than people think. The vast majority of fans watch their team, usually their home team and that’s about it. It’s one thing to watch a game of the week plus your team, it’s another to watch games all the time.

I find it interesting that the morning sportsnet numbers are up over TSN, according to Shoalts. I wonder if that’s the carryover from whatever channel was on when you shut it off the night before. In other words, if the tv was on sportsnet when you turned the tv off (following a hockey game) you aren’t changing the channel in the morning when you turn it on and find sports on.

It’s going to be a long time before the Rogers deal can be properly evaluated. Articles like these are fun to read though.

In my opinion by the way, I think Mike Johnson is quietly becoming a good presence in the play by play booth. He’s not overly chatty and provides good insight from my perspective. I prefer listening to him in the booth than in the studio. Thoughts?

I’m a big Bob Elliott fan as you know, but I am puzzled by his most recent story.

The story doesn’t have the natural flow as the typical Elliott story does it and it’s hard to grasp what exactly he is saying.

For example:

Williams said Monday that he had been contacted by someone from Rogers Communications.

The name of the Rogers employee who got the presidential ball rolling down hill and into the public relations gutter remains unknown.

However, Edward Rogers, son of the late Ted Rogers, did call White Sox president Jerry Reinsdorf to ask about hiring Williams during the World Series. He called Williams too.

Then comes this several lines later:

Under new Rogers boss Guy Laurence, both Edward Rogers and his sister Melinda have been removed from the day-to-day operations of Rogers Communications even though they are major share holders in the company.

There’s no real connection or correlation to the points.

Then kind of out of nowhere he throws this into the mix:

Rogers Communications has 28,000 employees working at TV and radio stations, more than 50 magazines, Canada’s largest cable TV service provider, digital cable service, broadband Internet, telecom, wireless, home monitoring and other branches.

Ummmmm… okay so…

“We know that neither free agents Colby Rasmus nor Melky Cabrera were the first Rogers employees to get the ball rolling … both being ex-employees.”

I don’t get it… the story is just plain odd.

It’s obvious that Elliott is a Beeston fan (rightfully so) and that he’s not liking the way Beeston’s being treated by Corporate Canada. I think there are easier ways to accomplish that then the article in the Sun which is really quite odd.

TSM

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CRTC has to go
CRTC has to go
December 11, 2014 3:19 am

The main problem I see is with the failure to realize how the internet has changed how people watch sports. I am poor but would happily pony up the fee for yearly streaming, or pay one off for hi quality streams when I had no other options, but they black out local games like it’s still 1980!!!! Why do broadcasters refuse to adapt to how the internet is not now, nor will ever be subject to conform to legal niceties as the are constructed along INVISIBLE FAKE lines drawn around the geographical booty of the descendants of European conquerers (white male sociopaths and psychopaths mainly, Great men my a$$)

What I refuse to do is pay over and over to have the same content delivered to different formats or OS platforms, that is just a money grabbing scam driven by GREED. It’s all one wire now. Rogers, you can count on other people being too lazy to remove their ignorance, but they have the money to pay for redundancy and EXTRA advertising, I don’t. So I’ll get my hockey fix any way I can as cheaply as possible.

Poor anarchic economically marginalized sports fans like me will continue streaming crappy flash streams from Europe until the CRTC is abolished and Rogers finally pays for robbing Canadians blind for YEARS!

Go HTML5!

Kevin
Kevin
December 11, 2014 6:55 am

Very simple. If you get involved with Rogers, you know there is going to be a problem. And you aren’t going to get what you want as a resolution. I won’t give Rogers any information. I just don’t trust them. I have had a cell with them in the past and it was a nightmare. NHL.com provided good service. I know they hit me in the summer. It went over to Rogers and I don’t even know who to call. But I can’t log in. And I can’t bring myself to go through the headached of actually changing the log in and password because I have to deal with Rogers. And if you think most people don’t feel that way, you would be mistaken.

Terry
Terry
December 11, 2014 7:44 am

I had the US-based NHL package for 3 years and really enjoyed it (at $119.00 per year). I am also a Rogers customer for now so I have been watching games free on the internet (only my team though, Chicago, as I don’t have time nor much interest in other games). However, I don’t think I will fork out the $129.00 that Rogers is requiring for the ‘half season’s pass’. A money grab is all it is. Are there any stats available as to how successful their pay package is working so far? Two other things. One, it is a pain to log in as you usually have to do it twice, at least I do, once early on and a second time when the video feed starts. Weird. Another annoyance is that you can only listen to one announcer. Previously, you could listen to either team’s play by play guy, but now it is usually just the home guy. Nit picking a bit I know, but the service is not up to scratch just yet.

mickey b
mickey b
December 11, 2014 7:49 am

Take this with a grain of salt if you like as I know- who am I and anybody can just make up anything they like and post it- but I have heard (from the mouth of a 3rd degree separation- I know, I know- again don’t believe me at all if you like) that a very high ranking person, who was very much involved in the nhl deal for rogers, that if they had to do it all over again, they wouldn’t in a million years (anywhere near the price they paid). they did not forecast anywhere near the amount of stress it was going to cause the company financially and otherwise. Various other reasons too but I think it is safe to say that there’s a whole lot of discrepancy going on in the boardroom to say the least.

Brad
Brad
December 11, 2014 8:55 am

They effed around with HNIC … they tried to make it “cool” … I really do like George … but I can’t stand him talking about hockey … his skinny jeans distract me and everytime he interviews a dude … it looks like he is scootching in for a kiss … give me hockey players talking about hockey … Don Cherry and then more Don Cherry

Jacob
Jacob
December 11, 2014 8:59 am

@CRTC has to go: You know that the NHL blacks out games, not Rogers/Bell/CRTC. Also, take one look at any of the Annual Reports of the big vertically integrated telecomm companies (i.e. Rogers & Bell) and you will see why they push cable. It’s a huge revenue stream for them, bigger than internet and ad revenue. Yes, it sucks for you living oversees, but honestly, Rogers doesn’t care about you because you can’t buy their cable, internet or wireless product.

Herry
Herry
December 11, 2014 9:54 am

I had hockey. Thanks to rogers, I don’t have hockey anymore ! What a effed up country eh, Canada’s national pastime taken away by a useless, pathetic POS greedy corporation !!! Everyday, I hate this country twice as much as the day before !! What a joke !

CRTC has to go
CRTC has to go
December 11, 2014 10:33 am

@jacob, your reply is fair but you missed my point and made incorrect inferences about where i live, I live in Canada and can’t afford cable AND internet AND a cellphone ($250 for the same basic things, half my rent) now. If the NHL insists on blackouts then Rogers was dumb not to address that in the contract, and the NHL is stuck in the past, same result. I will stream games from europe and NOT pay for Rogers or NHL’s services or watch their extra ads, cable or internet streaming, or phone; I will pay for pure speed and dl and ul capacity (what is wrongly called bandwidth – bandwidth is the range of frequencies a dl or ul channel is using collectively and relates to amount of content one may acquire or share ideally, but also is determined by maximal node capacities or bottlenecks involving competing demand for that same “pipe”: Abuse of the understandable meaning of these terms leads to general and exploitable ignorance,

Cable is a dinosaur – why should it determine (except for live sport ) when the producer is technically constrained to release that product when those limitations don’t exist anymore. It’s just convenient for them in ways which given how the Internet works make it easy and better for me to go around their copyrights, even when i would rather pay for what I want and can afford, but is not a product they see fit to sell. They are loosing my money and sending me to European streams simply because they’re afraid I MIGHT NOT go spend $300 for a ticket (not going to happen) or to spend $100 in a bar, but you could get $5 per local game i want to watch in hi-def streaming from NHL.com (just put the same commercials of the black-out networks). I learned to get around copyright protection the day I bought a Sony MGM Radiohead CD and was blocked from transferring it legally to my legally purchased Sony MP3. I have not bothered with legalities since, because it is greed applied to inexcusable ignorance that drives our content markets. Make it easier for me to pay for what I can get for free that you won’t even let me buy now at all, and maybe the revenues will go up. Otherwise, my tiny violin will keep playing, but blacked-out near any Roger’s building, Greedy Idiots living in the 80’s. Kaboom, there goes the CRTC, now I can get a CDN skype number and never buy a DUMBphone again. Email, Cellphones, Cable TV – technology snakeoil for the attached and inefficient.

Davish MacBall
Davish MacBall
December 11, 2014 10:38 am

Won’t do business with Rogers. They abuse customers too much. Did it to me and several others I know. Never giving them a nickel. Ever. Plus streamed games are junk. Poor resolution, delayed, choppy. And who cares if it’s on a phone or tablet. I watch games live on tv and won’t be watching on a phone. And I don’t care how many Oilers games you show on the west coast, nobody’s them, or the Flames the Jets, etc. Just like not too many back east will watch them either. But I do hope, I really really hope that Rogers loses billions, and then I hope eat all their own people in a big old messy blame-fest. Cause I really hate Rogers. Everything about them. They must think they can screw people with impunity and we won’t have real long memories.

Michael
Michael
December 11, 2014 10:58 am

I do not have cable. I divorced Rogers a few years ago because I didn’t like paying $150 / month to get the sports stations I wanted plus another 200 stations I will never watch. I watch the Saturday night Leaf games OTA in HD for free. All I want to do now is pay $150 for the year for an online NHL package so I can watch mid-week Leaf games without having to stream them or go to a bar. There are many people like me out there that are frustrated.

Also I am sick to death of the broadcasters that do the games now consistently. Jim Hughson couldn’t be more annoying. I’d love to get Bob Cole at least once a month?! Just someone that calls the game. Regardless of your preference of announcers, at least change it up every once in a while?!

John
John
December 11, 2014 11:06 am

Been using hockeystreams.com for the second year in a row, and I’ll continue to use it.
Glad that any and all money I spend to watch full HD streams of any hockey game I want doesn’t go to Rogers at all.
They over paid for the NHL and they have already destroyed the coverage. People will be even more outraged in 4 years when Rogers finally gets rid of HNIC.

Claire A Fye
Claire A Fye
December 11, 2014 11:12 am

@ CRTC has to go Well I hope you can afford your meds.

Frederick
Frederick
December 11, 2014 12:01 pm

I watch hockey on both the English and French channels. The biggest problem I have with Rogers Hockey Night in Canada is listening to George Stroumboulopoulos try to talk hockey with the hockey experts. He is a tremendous TV personality but in my opinion looks like a fish out of water when discussing hockey details with his hockey experts. His views and comments come across as pre scripted which only leads the viewer to believe he has very little knowledge about the game. As a comparison , take a look at TVA whose hosts and experts are excellent.I much preferred George Stroumboulopoulos when he discussed current events, politics and general interest stories where I thought he was excellent.

Steve Clark
December 11, 2014 12:16 pm

I do think that it is way too early to talk about the impact of the Rogers deal overall, but I have no doubt that there is a tremendous amount of stress in the corporate sales office. One of the issues I think is the lack of a title sponsor for most of the nights, though they admit they did not want one for Hockey Night in Canada. With hockey you associate probably Coffee/Beer, and neither Tim Horton’s nor, from what I know, any beer company are a title sponsor, though they have bought ad time on the show.

The one thing I do not get is the fact that there is more and more hockey games available for the viewers and people are still bitching. Is it the fact their favourite team is not on? Were they expecting every game involving their team to be on? Are they having a hard time finding the games? I don’t know, but if you give people something for free, or very little, they are somewhow going to want more.

If I were to predict the future, I would expect Rogers to vastly streamline their product both on and off air. I can see them using 3 main channels, with a lot of doubleheaders rather than having people try and navigate 7 different channels, or whatever it is. Rogers needs to create on air stars in the way TSN did with Darren Dreger, Bob McKenzie and James Duthie. Even the newer guys seem to have decent recognition. Rogers should identify their potential stars, both in studio and game crew, and give them more exposure. 38 analysts/hosts/play by play is a lot to create any sort of star power.

The example of Mike Johnson is a good one- solid, articulate, appeals to younger/older hockey fans, name recognition as a former Leaf

Steve Clark
December 11, 2014 12:21 pm

@CRTC.. so in other words, you steal whatever you can and taking your bandwith and going home because you don’t like the big bad cableman who has the gall to charge you for product/services

Mark
Mark
December 11, 2014 1:26 pm

I think Rogers have began the process of destroying something that has been attributed to the Canadian identity. I miss the days when HNIC played their iconic music (realizing this was not rogers fault) gave Don the keys and and let him vent his Patriotic views. I can’t take George seriously amongst the guys that actually know the game and anyone who plays hockey knows skinny jeans do not fit a hockey butt and don’t belong in the studio. Their production set like a upscale bar that serves martinis when all a guy wants is a beer.

JIM
JIM
December 11, 2014 1:41 pm

The revamp of HNIC is the leading reason I dont watch anymore. Sorry but George should stick to talk shows and replace him with somebody who has had a career in hockey.

Daniel
Daniel
December 11, 2014 1:52 pm

The constant pushing of hockey in your face plus the way they associate it with over the top Canadiana has always turned me off watching hockey, to be honest. I only really pay attention to the Jays and Raptors, at this point. But for hockey fans sake, I hope Rogers does a decent job since they’re stuck with it for a while.

Jim Greenlaw
December 11, 2014 2:20 pm

I am an Oiler fan and do watch them play. How ever I do like the weekend broadcasts since you are playing games on more channels. Able to watch American games more.

Too Much
Too Much
December 11, 2014 7:53 pm

TSM, do you not read the articles written by the guy who has carried this website for months and months and months (Mike in Boston)??? He referenced this article in his column last Saturday. This is my belated shout-out to MIB because I never comment but I always make his column a must read.
Regardless, Rogers badly miscalculated on the appetite for hockey in this country. We like our hockey but we love our own teams more. More hockey available doesn’t mean more people will watch or that those who watch will watch more.

Chris
Chris
December 12, 2014 2:00 am

There are some good and bad things with the Rogers package. I like having a ton of choice to watch games. You really don’t even need to purchase the Centre Ice package if you get all of the SNet channels and FX as they seem to have games on all the time. The quality (visually) of each broadcast is top notch. You can tell they have a couple extra cameras that perhaps TSN didn’t use during their tenure that adds to the experience (I personally love the slow-mo camera’s sharpness when looking back on certain plays). Overall, the play-by-play isn’t too bad with the exception of Paul Romanuk and sometimes Dave Randorf (ironically, both ex-TSN guys).

That being said, I can’t watch the pre-game shows, intermission panels, hometown hockey, etc… Kypreos and MacLean seem to think that since the new deal was announced, they have become more important. I for one am not a fan of two guys constantly trying to yell over each other. Millard is very vanilla, but appears as if he thinks he knows it all. Kind of an arrogant presence. Damian Cox is well, Damian Cox. He is not meant to be on any form of broadcast media.

It is a shame because Freidman is really good, and I’d like to watch him work. I just can’t stand the majority of those around him. Strombo is also really talented, he is just in the wrong place.

Jacob
Jacob
December 12, 2014 10:34 am

@Chris: Kypreos and MacLean aren’t bad when they are separated, but when they work together they always seem to one-up and yell over each other. Its the weirdest phenomenon.

Alex
Alex
December 12, 2014 4:43 pm

If you thought Reid & Shannon was bad for the roundtable last week, this week: Reid and Sid.

COME BACK BRUNT!!!!!

Jim from Abroad
Jim from Abroad
December 13, 2014 5:03 pm

@ Jacob. I used to listen a lot to podcasts of Hockey Central at Noon during evening drives here. The shouting was good, it kept me awake at the wheel and both always seemed to have some fun. Overall the analysts on the radio seem to be more relaxed and entertaining on the radio. The TV-stuff is too pre cooked at times it seems.

Dr. Winston O'Boogie
Dr. Winston O'Boogie
December 14, 2014 8:08 am

Did anyone catch the last roundtable?

Both Bob and Sid repeatedly called out Ken for his silly comments, references and penchant for derailing the show.

I wonder if they’ve had enough of Ken’s tangents. I sure have.

yaz
yaz
December 14, 2014 2:04 pm

Strombo caved in and finally put on a tie last night on HNIC so at least he looks like is part of the HNIC team now. Nadir Mohammed signed the NHL deal then took a 17 million dollar parachute into retirement leaving Guy Laurence to clean up his mess.

If I read the above correctly ‘Rogers is running around 9 per cent behind the 20-per-cent increase in television viewers it promised advertisers’ : meaning hockey viewership is up 11 percent over last year and not the 20 percent increase Rogers promised advertisers then I wouldn’t call the Rogers venture a failure – they’ve increased viewership 10 percent. Will have to pay advertisers with some give-back on ads and charge less going forward.

Over a 12 year deal the biggest problem they have, as discussed here – is people cancelling their cable packages all together because its cable subscriptions not advertising revenue that the 5.2 Billion rights deal was based on.

Alex
Alex
December 14, 2014 2:41 pm

You know it’s bad when the jeuvenille Sid calls you out.

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