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Ride to ratings

Discovery Canada rolled the dice when it chose to throw its weight behind a promotion for Canada's Worst Driver, and the payoff was huge. The 9 x 1-hour series, a format pick-up from Mentorn in the uk produced by Proper Television in Toronto, more than doubled ratings for the slot in the 25 to 54 demo, year-over-year. The first episode attracted 312,000 viewers 2-plus, and attracted the highest-ever rating for the 'Discovery Presents' Sunday 8 p.m. timeslot.
January 1, 2006

Discovery Canada rolled the dice when it chose to throw its weight behind a promotion for Canada’s Worst Driver, and the payoff was huge. The 9 x 1-hour series, a format pick-up from Mentorn in the UK produced by Proper Television in Toronto, more than doubled ratings for the slot in the 25 to 54 demo, year-over-year. The first episode attracted 312,000 viewers 2-plus, and attracted the highest-ever rating for the ‘Discovery Presents’ Sunday 8 p.m. timeslot.

The promotion lasted four weeks and included outdoor, print, radio and TV spots – as well as stunts that had Toronto taxis wrapped in vinyl decals to make them look as though they had been in accidents. Discovery also unleashed a small fleet of tow trucks that pulled wrecked cars decked out in Worst Driver branding around the downtown core. Interestingly, Discovery did all the creative work in-house, taking advantage of expertise they gained from a Shark Week promo three years ago, for which they stuck shark fins on cabs and covered them in branding.

Sally Basmajian, Discovery Canada VP of sales and marketing, says she was particularly pleased with the numbers as they represented one of the few times results from the team’s efforts have been measurable. Much of Discovery Canada’s programming is aided by promo spill from south of the border, but the Worst Driver franchise has not hit the air in the us as of yet.

The first series will repeat in Canada, and has been renewed for a second season. In the meantime, Proper has just finished shooting on Canada’s Worst Handyman, which goes to air in March. bc

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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