Radio-Canada fails with its special program on Quebec cinema

Radio-Canada’s special program dedicated to Quebec cinema recorded very low audience ratings on Sunday night. It replaced the Gala Québec Cinéma, which the public broadcaster canceled last year due to falling ratings. However, during its last broadcast, the awards ceremony still attracted more than twice as many viewers as the special. At a cinema near youpresented by Karine Vanasse.

Presented at 8 p.m., in the time slot usually occupied by Everyone is talking about it, in a movie theater near you. aimed at promoting Quebec films that will be released in 2024. Several interviews with directors and key actors in local cinema provided this one-hour special program.

But in the end there were few spectators. According to preliminary data collected by the firm Numeris and published by the television columnist of sun Richard Therrien, At a cinema near you On Sunday afternoon it barely reached 188,000 people. This is without a doubt one of the worst audiences recorded on a Sunday night by Radio-Canada. And, above all, it is much less than the 468,000 viewers who watched the Gala Québec Cinéma during its last broadcast on Radio-Canada, in June 2022, a much less auspicious time of year for television than January.

After being abandoned by the public broadcaster, the Gala Québec Cinéma was able to rise from the ashes in December on Noovo, a channel that typically has a much smaller reach than Radio-Canada or TVA. However, the ceremony hosted by Jay Du Temple last month managed to attract 465,000 people in front of their televisions at the height of the evening, which is still far greater than the attention garnered. At a cinema near you.

“Of course we always want more,” admitted France Beaudoin, who produced this special show. “The idea was to publicize the films and the artisans in advance. We really got a lot of messages from people telling us they couldn’t wait to see this or that movie… We’re proud of how it turned out. This does not seem to be what is in question at all. There are so many factors that come into play…” the producer added in writing.

Strong competition

France Beaudoin hopes that the program can at least reach its audience on the platform. The management of Radio-Canada declared themselves satisfied with the program directed by Karine Vanasse, which “fulfilled her mandate very well,” we took the trouble to point out.

We also remind you that the competition was strong on Sunday night between 8 and 9 p.m. The 10th anniversary special. Voice, on TVA, reached the million viewer mark, according to preliminary data. Broadcast shortly after, the first interview in four years with fallen rocker Éric Lapointe surpassed 800,000 ratings.

That said, we can still think that the audiences of At a cinema near you It did not live up to the station’s expectations. Despite everything, Radio-Canada is committed to broadcasting another program next year dedicated to Quebec cinema. But this could occupy a different time slot than Sunday night.

“We can confirm that another program focusing on current and future film productions will be included in Radio-Canada’s programming next year. It will also be broadcast in prime time, but it is being studied whether it would be appropriate to include it on a date that will maximize its audience,” said Radio-Canada public relations director Marc Pichette.

Controversial decision

The public broadcaster sparked outrage by canceling the Gala Québec Cinéma last year. Many in the industry had accused the state-owned company of straying from its cultural mandate. Radio-Canada then considered that a special program would be a better tool than a gala to promote local cinema.

The poor ratings received by At a cinema near you made the general director of Québec Cinéma, Dominique Dugas, say that Radio-Canada was wrong. A televised gala continues to be the best formula to promote local cinema, and today he is even more convinced of it. “The program broadcast on Sunday by Radio-Canada was very good. As someone who cares about the influence of our cinema, I can only be saddened by the fact that there were few people there. But it also shows that we did well to fight to save our gala. A special show can never replace a gala,” he concludes.

Paradoxically, the year that has just passed has been particularly good for Quebec cinema, which represented more than 10% of theatrical admissions in 2023, compared to 7% in 2022. At the box office, it was the most lucrative year since 2017.

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