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
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.’