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The >, or How To Relaunch a Network Without Really Trying

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When CanWest MediaWorks’ Global Televison Network decided to announce a network rebranding last night on its local news programs, the revamp should have been more radical than what it was.  In addition to Global’s new logo (the…uh, “greater than” sign on your left – seriously, the logo is supposed to represent how much greater Global will be due to the relaunch), Global is moving its daily national news program Global National to 5:30PM.  Local news will allegedly be helped by airing in the 6:00-7:00PM block.  The graphics will be new, Global’s commercial voiceover artist of choice will change, and everything will look more angular by February 6, 2006.

I’m not thrilled.  Frankly, this might be a more meaningless revamp than Lions Gate becoming Lionsgate.

Let’s start with that sideways-checkmark-and-Helvetica-font arrangement that will debut during Super Bowl XL.  While less ugly to me now than I immediately found it, the new logo is redundant.  Global has its crescent logo which has been in use since 1997.  The crescent is visually appealing.  It’s simple, fits a variety of graphics packages, and is instantly iconic.  The new logo looks like a throwback to late-1970s visual design.  It’s still red, black and white as per Global tradition, but is a sideways checkmark the best Global could do?  This is the worst North American network logo since that stylized N NBC used in the 1970s.  I’d hate to think Global paid a million dollars for something I could do through GIMP in five minutes.

I also don’t understand how following a national broadcast with a local broadcast is any better than what Global’s doing now.  Except for those living in the Maritimes, Global National will air before the local news.  In the Maritimes, Global National will air after local news at 6:30PM.  Personally, the move seems arbitrary.  In Toronto, for instance, Global starts its hourly newscast at 5:30PM.  The local newscast advertises itself as “FIRST at 5:30.”  It’s a logical ninety-minute news block: an hour of local news, then Kevin Newman.  Switching the order keeps Global’s Toronto newscast in line with its competitors by starting the local news at 6:00PM, but it threatens to ruin Global National.  Will people follow Global National to the earlier time?

The idea of a 5:30PM national newscast sounds asinine.  There’s no need to move Global National considering Global is the only network in Canada to have an American-style national newscast.  Why couldn’t Global just get an across-the-board clearance from its regions to air Global National at 6:30PM?  What Global’s doing could work, but the strategy could backfire on the network just as easily.  There’s no doubt Global National is a good newscast, but moving its timeslot is no way to reward the show for continued improvement.

Global’s new attitude looks a lot like the old attitude, but with more schizophrenia.  I guess Canadians will have to wait until February 6 to see if the network can successfully reinvent itself.  I don’t understand why a relaunch is necessary, but perhaps Global has a few aces in the hole.  At this early juncture, it better have.

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About Cameron Archer


    Isn’t rebranding indicative of financial/ratings problems? I thought they were making a killing. Although the CBC has marauded some of their newscasters in the last year

    And the french CBC’s newscast had been moved earlier and the public outcry was so nasty that they had to ship it back to 6pm. Wasn’t Global watching?

  • Cameron A.

    The person who made the decision to rebrand came from Rainbow Media. That company’s known for its arbitrary rebrandings – IFC doesn’t mean “Independent Film Channel” anymore, after all.

  • Brent McKee

    Here’s an idea for Global if they really want to “rebrand” themselves – spend some money on some GOOD Canadian made programming. Was “Traders” the last good domestic program that Global had or just the last one I bothered to watch? They’ve skated too long with co-productions like “Andromeda” and “Mutant X” (and by the way why is “Andromeda” on Mystery – can anyone tell me that?) and other cheap stuff while CTV has been doing some quality stuff (although they’re getting a bit flabby themselves in that area). It’s not like Canwest doesn’t have other places to lay off some of the costs of Global productions – two networks in New Zealand, one in Australia and one in the Republic of Ireland plus their cable stations in Canada are all available. But moving the news to a time when in my part of the country it will be up against the US network news shows, and coming up with a “spiffy” new logo isn’t going to do it.

    In all seriousness, I sometimes wonder of the big people at Canwest Global make their progamming decisions in such a way that expensive Canadian productions will get low ratings and they can stick with cheap stuff “because no one watches Canadian programming.” Seems like the national news is about to meet that fate.

  • Cameron A.

    Andromeda‘s on Mystery for the same reason Out of Bounds is on Global. It fills schedules and is Canadian. There’s no great mystery to why Global does things the way it does.

    The last decent shows I’ve seen come from Global are Global National, Global Sunday and Global Late Night. Global’s really trying to become a good news organization. The entertainment division, though? I don’t see why anyone would watch Zoe Busiek: Wild Card of their own free will.

  • Brent McKee

    Zoe Busiek: Wild Card was another one ofthose co-production things, made along with Lifetime in the US. When Lifetime pulled the plug, so did Global. Remember this was a “Canadian” show set in that most Canadian of locations, Las Vegas.

    I know why Andromeda is on Mystery – it was Cancon needed so they cold get that miserable excuse for a channel on the list of “must carry” channels for digital cable, bu it’s the sort of trick I’ve come to expect from Canwest.