IPA hits out at ITV over poor audience figures

ITV is failing to meet the challenge thrown down by the cable and satellite channels, which are increasingly encroaching on its audience share, according to the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s latest viewing trends report.

ITV is failing to meet the challenge thrown down by the cable and

satellite channels, which are increasingly encroaching on its audience

share, according to the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s

latest viewing trends report.



According to the IPA’s figures, ITV’s share of all TV viewing has

fallen from around 40 per cent in 1993 to 35 per cent by the end of

1996. The IPA pointed out that the viewing shares of other terrestrial

channels - BBC1, BBC2 and Channel 4 - have remained virtually static.

Lynne Robinson, the IPA’s research director, said:



’Satellite and cable appear to be taking most of their share of viewing

from ITV.’



The slide is exacerbating inflation in the TV airtime market, according

to media buyers. While ITV’s revenue is expected to be up by around 4

per cent across the first quarter of 1997, audiences have slipped

dramatically. For the 16- to 34-year-old audience, ITV was down 16 per

cent, GMTV down 4 per cent, Channel 4 down 7 per cent, but satellite up

12 per cent.



For ABC1 men, ITV fell by more than 13 per cent, compared with

increases of 17.5 per cent for GMTV, 2 per cent for Channel 4 and 15.5

per cent for satellite. Satellite’s performance was stronger among

children, recording a 46 per cent increase in audiences, compared with

a 15 per cent decline for ITV, a 17 per cent fall for GMTV and a 9 per

cent fall for Channel 4.



Bill Barker, the broadcast director of J. Walter Thompson, said that

the audience slide meant ITV’s cost inflation so far this year was

already ’very disappointing’.



Martin Bowley, the managing director of Carlton UK Sales, said: ’ITV’s

peaktime audiences are holding up, and our revenue is growing.’



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