Strike will affect Canadian viewing habits



TORONTO -- More than half of Canadian TV viewers polled said they will watch less TV if a prolonged U.S. writers strike leads to chronic reruns of popular primetime shows, domestic ad buyer M2 Universal reported Tuesday.

Toronto-based M2 Universal asked 1,000 Canadians between Dec. 8-10 whether the Hollywood disruption will have an impact on their TV viewing habits.

M2 Universal reported that 53% of those polled said the strike would "negatively impact" on their TV viewing habits.

Another 40% of respondents said they would watch the same amount of TV. And 57% of women polled said they were likely to watch less TV during the standoff.

The poll results are critical to Canadian broadcasters because they are poised to issue make-goods if ratings for U.S. primetime series suffer in repeats as the WGA strike drags on into the new year.

M2 Universal said any bleeding in Canadian viewership would be most pronounced in the 25-34 and 50-64 demos.

If, as anticipated, the American networks increasingly run repeats beginning in January and February, Canadian over-the-air broadcasters like CTV, Global Television and E! Canada tied inextricably to U.S. primetime schedules will do the same.

Preparing for a prolonged writers strike, Canadian advertisers have drawn up contingency plans that include redeploying ad dollars into either popular U.S. reality series such as "Survivor" and "American Idol," homegrown Canadian shows or alternative digital platforms.