BBC2 loses viewers as BBC1 and ITV fight for audience share

The BBC has delivered an own goal with its scheduling war against ITV, with the first night of its new-look BBC1 schedule affecting audience figures for BBC2.

The BBC has delivered an own goal with its scheduling war against ITV, with the first night of its new-look BBC1 schedule affecting audience figures for BBC2.

BARB data reveals that from 7pm to 10.30pm, the BBC clocked up 32.7 per cent share of viewing, compared with an average of 27.9 per cent. It broadcast a new series of One Foot in the Grave at 9pm, followed by The Royle Family.

While ITV pulled in a 38 per cent share of viewers between 7pm and 10.30pm, compared with an average of 36.5 per cent for this year, BBC2 audiences suffered. Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends at 9pm pulled in just 4.7 per cent of viewers, compared with an average yearly viewing share for BBC2 during weekdays at that time of 10.4 per cent.

To deter viewers from switching over to the BBC's 10pm news, ITV ditched the ad break between Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and The Frank Skinner Show.

Chris Locke, the joint managing director of MediaVest, said: 'Greg Dyke has one aim and that is to kill ITV if he can. Even if it impacts on BBC2, he's not that bothered about how he manages to do it.'

Simon Bolus, the head of research at Zenith Media, said: 'Advertisers can take heart that ITV maintained healthy audiences.'

The new 10pm BBC News clocked up a 29 per cent share of viewers on Monday night.