Radio-Canada failed in its special program Quebec Cinema

Radio-Canada's special program dedicated to Quebec cinema recorded starving ratings Sunday evening. It replaced Gala Québec Cinéma, which the public broadcaster shut down last year citing falling viewing rates. However, during its last telecast, the award ceremony still attracted twice the number of viewers. At a theater near youHosted by Karine Vanasse.

Offered at 8 p.m., a typically occupied time slot Everyone is talking about it at your nearest cinema Aimed at promoting Quebec films to be released in 2024. A number of interviews with key directors and actors of local cinema inform this one-hour special.

But in the end the audience was few and far between. That's according to preliminary data compiled by Numeris and published by the TV columnist Soleil Richard Therrien, At a theater near you It reached 188,000 by Sunday evening. It was undoubtedly one of the worst Sunday evening audiences ever recorded by Radio-Canada. After all, this is far less than the 468,000 viewers who watched the last broadcast of the Gala Quebec Cinema in June 2022 on Radio-Canada.

After being abandoned by the public broadcaster, Gala Quebec Cinema managed to rise from its ashes in December on Nouveau, which usually has a much smaller reach than Radio-Canada or DVA. However, last month's Jai Du Temple festival managed to draw 465,000 people in front of their televisions at the height of the evening, far more than the attention span. At a theater near you.

“Of course we always want more,” admits France Beaudoin, who produced the special. “The idea was to create early awareness of films and artisans. We've had so many messages from people telling us they can't wait to see this or that film… and we're proud of how it turned out. This does not seem to have been questioned. A number of factors come into play…” the producer said in writing.

Strong competition

France Beaudoin hopes that the show can at least meet its audience on the Tou.tv site. Radio-Canada's management said it was satisfied with the plan proposed by Karine Vanasse, who “carried out her mandate well,” and we underscored the difficulty.

We also remind you that the competition was strong from 8pm to 9pm on Sunday. 10th Anniversary Special the voice, on TVA, reached the one million viewer milestone, according to preliminary data. Aired afterward, the first interview with fallen rocker Eric LaPointe in four years exceeded 800,000 in viewership ratings.

We can still think that the audience At a theater near you Didn't live up to the broadcaster's expectations. Despite everything, Radio-Canada is committed to broadcasting another program dedicated to Quebec cinema next year. But it can get any time other than Sunday evening.

“We can confirm that another program focusing on current and future film productions will be added to Radio-Canada's schedule next year. It will also air in prime time, but is being considered to determine if it is appropriate to add it to a date that could maximize its audience,” said Radio-Canada director of public relations Mark Pichet.

Controversial decision

The public broadcaster caused an uproar last year by canceling the Gala Quebec Cinema. Many in the industry accused the state-owned company of straying from its cultural mandate. Radio-Canada later decided that a special program would be a better tool than a gala to promote local cinema.

Bad ratings received by At a theater near you Dominique Dugas, director general of Quebec Cinema, was quick to point out that Radio-Canada was wrong. A televised gala is the best formula to promote local films, and he still believes in this today. “The show that aired on Radio-Canada on Sunday was really good. As someone who cares about the influence of our cinema, I can only regret that there were so few. But it also shows that we were right to fight to save our Kala. A special event can never replace a gala,” he concludes.

Ironically, this year was better for Quebec cinema, which represented more than 10% of theater admissions in 2023, compared to 7% in 2022.

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