As we enter the middle third of the season of Big Brother Canada 11, you have to wonder if the producers are pleased with how everything’s going, or if they’re second-guessing their decision to proceed without live feeds.
The main indicator of that would probably be the TV ratings. But in yet another unfortunate situation, the site that used to post weekly ratings for the top 30 shows on Canadian television, Numeris, stopped doing so last fall.
Most episodes of Season 10 placed near the bottom of last year’s weekly results. The highest was 17th place, and many shows didn’t crack the top 30 at all.
Either the series did better with their targeted demographic audiences, or these numbers were sufficient for the decision-makers, as the show was obviously renewed for this current season.
I’m sure the producers and the network still have access to viewer numbers but we have no detailed info on that anymore, at least that I’m aware of. Brioux.tv reported Big Brother Canada had an estimated 464,000 viewers for the Tuesday, March 20, episode. That would be about half the total of last year’s viewers for most episodes. Ouch.
However, viewer engagement on Twitter has gone into the dumper.
When they announced there’d be no feeds for Season 11, most of my Twitter mutuals said they wouldn’t bother watching. Granted, the vast majority of my Twitter mutuals are people who either watch or keep up with BB feeds, for both Canada or USA franchises.
But even the #BBCAN11 hashtag is usually a ghost town with little activity—and most of that activity is complaints.
The show’s engagement on Twitter has gotten so bad it’s almost comical.
On March 24, they posted a poll asking whose morning routine we wanted to see. Sponsored by Philips Sonicare. Talk about frivolous and dumb stunts, but whatever.
As of this writing, that tweet has 52 likes. I quote-retweeted that one with a comment pointing out the replies they’d gotten, which were nearly all negative, and mine currently has 174 likes.
There’s no world where the official show Twitter should get ratioed like that.
And that’s not an anomaly. On March 26, the show tweeted three pics of Kuzie and Santina opening a bottle of champagne together, with the caption “The power of teamwork.” That was odd in itself because the most recent Digital Daily we’d seen had Head of Household Kuzie planning to nominate Santina as her target for eviction.
I quote-retweeted that one as well, pointing out they were posting Day 1 move-in pics on Day 23. Again, as of this writing, the show’s tweet has 80 Likes and mine has 387.
These numbers are not good for the show’s official Twitter and if I were in charge, I’d be very concerned about that. But I’m not in charge.
The Digital Dailies are providing more content than most of us expected when the no feeds proclamation originally came down.
But most have been on a one-day delay, and we feedsters are used to watching things unfold live. Just as people like watching sports events live—whether logical or not—it’s just not the same knowing you’re watching something that’s already happened.
And the DDs have omitted a number of key conversations and confrontations, leaving us with only retells to piece together what really happened. And those retells are from the point(s) of view of whoever’s retelling them, so they may or may not be completely accurate.
Surprisingly, the DDs are giving us the Head of Household and veto winners before those episodes air, along with nomination and renom plans, so they aren’t trying to prevent those spoilers from getting out.
True, the spoilers aren’t getting much traction since there’s so little social engagement out here, but they are getting out.
And the show has made some peculiar decisions.
The first eviction cycle had the new Dead Last twist where the HOH comp loser would automatically go on the block, and the losers of the first veto comp went on slop. And they had a viewer vote for who should get immunity from being nominated or evicted that first week.
Dead Last and veto losers becoming Have-Nots were both fresh ideas that were good incentives against throwing comps.
But neither was in place the following week, and there was no safety vote. Then the viewer safety vote came back the week after that. Make it make sense.
Ultimately, Wendy’s rewards points are just another sponcon opportunity, because they can’t get enough of that on this show. But that points system was already in play in the house before we’d even heard about it.
And what are those points good for, you might ask? Well, the official word on the show’s site is “who knows what type of game-changing advantage the points can be cashed in for later in the season!” Maybe they don’t even know yet. Maybe they’ll decide later depending who’s in the lead.
Several competitions thus far have been heavily weighted in the men’s favor.
The scores for the Week 3 HOH comp, where they had to run up stairs and shoot balls into cups while sliding, for one hour, show a huge and very clear gender disparity. But that isn’t unusual in BB.
And it actually turned out okay this time since the early alliance of four bros imploded early, satisfying those of us who thought they were going to steamroll through the game.
Production may like their favorite jock boys getting all the wins and the limelight, but many of us do not.
And I was pleased to hear several of the hamsters say the Week 4 HOH comp was one that anyone could win, and a woman did.
Back to sponsored content: it’s always high with BB Canada but it’s out of control this season on both the air shows and the Digital Dailies. If they aren’t having HOH breakfast from Wendy’s, they’re making Hello Fresh for dinner. Sponsor products and logos are prominent in most rooms, and sponsors are mentioned for most twists and competitions.
But here’s a mystery: what happened to the surprise ninth sponsor? The pre-season press release boasted about nine sponsors being a new record for the show, and it listed the eight we see and hear about over and over, adding the ninth sponsor would be “revealed as an in-show surprise.”
That has yet to happen, and we’re getting pretty far into the season.
Maybe that mystery ninth sponsor backed out when they saw the flak the show and the other sponsors have been getting on social media. (I am writing this ahead of time so maybe by the time it’s published, there will have been a new room unlocked with Number Nine’s logo plastered all over it, or something.) If not, I’d sure like know who they are, and what happened to them.
We’re still in the dark about the UNSEEN GAME card that Santina found in one of the library’s blank books. Why tease that so far ahead of whatever it’s going to end up being? Nobody and I mean nobody is tuning into the show just to find the answer to that mystery.
All in all, from where I sit without benefit of knowing how the air shows are doing, I’d say the decision to cut feeds has been a resounding failure.
Diehard fans who said they wouldn’t be watching aren’t watching, and that includes a lot of former champions of the franchise as well as dozens of people who’d normally be live-tweeting the feeds 24/7, with every post landing in the hashtag and generating conversations.
The Digital Dailies, while offering up some info, are omitting much more. And at up to two and a half hours each, some of those video posts are a chore to sit through, knowing nothing very meaty will be on them.
And the social media buzz, at least on Twitter, ranges from tumbleweed silence to bashing the show and its sponsors, with very little positivity. Any of us could have told them this would happen without feeds, and it has.
You can get the links and information for how and where to watch Digital Dailies as well as the episodes that post the morning after they air at Hamsterwatch.com. I’m also keeping my usual Power Status section up to date there, along with tracking comp wins, nominations, advantages/punishments, and prize winnings.
Saturday 1st of April 2023
I've never really watched the feeds, as I found it extremely boring and hard to focus on, most of the time if anything good is happening, feeds are cut. I've followed updates from live feeds, but find the fan base - especially on facebook- to discuss the game in a personal context rather than a theoretical/game play context. I usually stay away from engaging online anyways because of this, and therefore haven't noticed any of this massive drop in engagement!
I think it's crazy they outright cut out the feeds rather than attempting to charge for it.
Saturday 1st of April 2023
I've watched every season of BBCan until now. I have no desire to watch if they aren't showing us live feeds. Isn't that the point of show? Big Brother? Someone's always watching you?
Friday 31st of March 2023
All they had to do was look at what happened when BBUK and BB Aus axed feeds - it was a disaster for fans, for ratings and for buzz. At least though producers there were somewhat honest about it being a cost issue rather than hiding behind mental health.