BBC1 audience share falls below 30% for the first time

BBC1’s share of viewers tumbled below 30 per cent for the first time as commercial channels ate into its audience, according to consolidated figures for 1998 from BARB.

BBC1’s share of viewers tumbled below 30 per cent for the first

time as commercial channels ate into its audience, according to

consolidated figures for 1998 from BARB.



The figures show that combined BBC1 and BBC2 viewing share fell by 1.6

percentage points against the commercial channels, down to 40.9 per cent

of the audience.



ITV’s audience share was also down, from 32.9 per cent to 31.7. However,

ITV just about met its target of 38 per cent of all individuals during

the peak hours of 7pm to 10.30pm. Final figures show that ITV had a 37.9

per cent share during this time period.



Agencies have welcomed ITV’s achievement in nudging its guaranteed

target, set by the ITV Network Centre chief executive, Richard Eyre, at

the beginning of last year.



But TV buyers acknowledge that the figures were boosted by the channel’s

World Cup coverage in the summer. Reversing the downward trend to

achieve the 1999 target of 39 per cent is expected to prove more of a

challenge.



Channel 5 and the increasingly popular cable and satellite channels won

share at the expense of BBC and ITV. Channel 5’s share was up from 2.3

per cent to 4.3 per cent, while cable and satellite channels saw total

viewing rise by one percentage point.



Jim Marshall, the chief executive of MediaVest and the Institute of

Practitioners in Advertising’s spokesman on television, said: ’The

really good news for advertisers is commercial channels are increasing

their share against the BBC.’



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