Televised Tragically Hip show an ‘unprecedented event:’ CBC

Whether it's home screenings or community viewing parties, much of Canada will be tuning in for iconic rock band's final bow

TORONTO – Few Canadian television events qualify as a momentous occasion for the nation, but Saturday’s Tragically Hip concert promises to be special.

It seems like much of the country will be tuned into CBC’s live broadcast of “The Tragically Hip: A National Celebration” from Kingston, Ont., when factoring in home screenings and community viewing parties.

Yet how many people will watch is anybody’s guess at this point.

“This is an unprecedented event for us,” said Jennifer Dettman, CBC’s executive director of unscripted content.

The sentiment is true on many levels, she adds.

The last stop on the Hip’s “Man Machine Poem” tour is widely expected to be their final performance, as lead singer Gord Downie is facing terminal brain cancer. After tickets to the tour sold out within minutes, fans launched a campaign urging the CBC to carry the band’s Kingston show as a live TV event.

Dettman wouldn’t speak to the contract negotiations that led to the Hip agreeing to the broadcast.

“CBC made both a competitive and financially responsible offer to acquire the broadcast rights, and we’re thrilled to be able to offer this national celebration to as many Canadians as possible,” she said.

The concert won’t just be on the main CBC network, it will also be broadcast through various other platforms such as CBC Radio One, the CBC website and its YouTube and Facebook channels.

With so many viewing options, that will make it tough to capture how many eyes and ears are focused on the Hip this Saturday.

That’s where ratings agency Numeris comes in. The Toronto-based company tracks viewership figures by using meters and viewing diaries prepared by a panel of Canadians representative of the population.

Their data shows that most huge audience draws are typically live programming, led by major sporting events.

The Super Bowl is the biggest TV event nearly every year — drawing about six million to eight million viewers in recent years — while a handful of other annual celebrations like the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes and Grammys are perennial favourites too.

The gold medal game of the men’s hockey tournament at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics is considered to be the most-watched broadcast ever in Canada. It drew 16.6 million viewers, according to data from Numeris, about double the number of people who tune into most Super Bowls.

Those kinds of numbers will be hard to beat, even for a rock band with as much Canadian clout as the Hip.

Numeris spokesman Tom Jenks wouldn’t guess how many viewers will tune into the CBC broadcast, but acknowledges it’ll probably be a pretty big number.

The agency said it will be counting every public screening — from restaurants to movie theatres to community viewing parties — and each person streaming the concert on their phone. Viewers who playback the show on their DVRs within seven days will also be included in the final numbers.

“Our system captures all viewing,” Jenks said.

Potentially driving those numbers higher is the decision make the Hip’s concert a one-time broadcast, with no encore presentation and no availability on on-demand platforms.

“Our goal was to bring the experience of this live concert to Canadians in that moment,” Dettman said.

“I’m sure the band will figure out what they will want to do with the concert afterwards.”

She said the goal is to give all Canadians the same “crescendo” feeling that will ripple through the arena in Kingston.

“Our goal is to bring the experience … to as many Canadians as we can,” she said.

“The idea that we’re all together experiencing this moment at the same time is really special.”

 

Follow @dfriend on Twitter.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich implements single-lane traffic stretch on Prospect Lake Road along Clavert Park. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Saanich makes one-way traffic permanent on segment of Prospect Lake Road

Prospect Lake Road to close near Calvert Park Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. for construction

Lacrosse player Patrick Dodds, 19, got his start playing for the Saanich Tigers in Braefoot Park and has now been drafted to the Calgary Roughnecks for the upcoming National Lacrosse League season. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Calgary Roughnecks draft young Saanich lacrosse star for coming NLL season

Going pro at 19 is ‘surreal,’ says Patrick Dodds

A 1900s writing box found in Greater Victoria contained ink, photos and a letter addressed to Clara McCaubry dated October 14, 1898. (Photo courtesy Suzanne Hervieux)
Mysterious 1900s writing box finds a home among Saanich Archives

Wooden chest owned by early Saanich resident Clara Isabelle McCaubry

Nicole Abbott and her 10-month-old daughter, Ophelia, shown here at the Metchosin Fire Hall for the Halloween events last year. Residents are invited to a drive-through version this year. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore fire halls take pandemic-safe approach to Halloween

One spooky lane among three drive-thru features by firefighters

For Owen Bains, having autism makes navigating the rules and social norms around COVID-19 challenging, says his mother. (Courtesy Nicole Zimmel)
Pandemic poses serious problems for children with autism, say Victoria parents

Parents of children with autism say COVID-19 is overwhelming and reducing social skills

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

Jordan Jay Ward, 20, is wanted Canada-wide for manslaughter. (Calgary police photo)
RCMP: Suspicious man seen in Parksville woods resembled manslaughter suspect

Hikers say he resembled Jordan Jay Ward, wanted Canada-wide

A police pursuit ended with an arrest in Williams Lake on Highway 97 Sunday afternoon. (Facebook video screenshot)
Video catches police pursuit that ends with man kicked, punched in Williams Lake

A video of the arrest is getting widely shared on social media

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read