Total viewing of commercial TV is on the up, driven by significant
audience gains by BSkyB, according to analysis of TV audiences
throughout the first quarter of the year.
Official BARB viewing figures claim that commercial TV viewing grew by 1
per cent in the first three months of this year, despite audience losses
experienced by ITV and Channel 4.
The number of ABC1 adults tuning in to TV programmes grew by 5 per cent
year on year, while audience levels among 16- to 34-year-olds held
The increases came on the back of a 30 per cent growth in cable and
satellite audiences in the first quarter. Premiership football on Sky
Sports played a significant part in driving audiences, alongside movie
premieres and average audiences of over 1.2 million for Sky One’s X-
ITV’s share of viewing among all adults, however, was down from 69.3 per
cent to 67.9 per cent so far this year. Channel 4’s share dipped by
around 1 per cent to 19.1 per cent. Cable and satellite’s share of the
adult audience rose from 7.5 per cent to 9.7 per cent.
Simon Cox, the broadcast director of CIA Medianetwork, said the findings
could mean that advertisers tied to large commitments with ITV and
Channel 4 are missing the immediate benefits of the cable and satellite
‘With the possible exception of GMTV, I think that cable and satellite
will be the only sectors this year where commercial viewing growth
outstrips advertising revenue growth,’ Cox said.
Total TV ad revenue for the first quarter of the year was up by around 5
per cent. Channel 4’s revenue rose by around 13 per cent according to TV
buyers, while cable and satellite’s revenue was up by around 15 per
cent. ITV was up by 2 per cent, although within London, Carlton’s
revenue is said to have dipped by 1.5 per cent compared with a rise of
more than 13 per cent for LWT.