Commercial TV loses share of viewers in UK

All three commercial terrestrial channels have suffered a fall in

their share of overall viewing year on year, as well as experiencing a

fall in their share of the prized 16- to 34-year-old audience group.

The Trends in Television report, compiled by the IPA, reveals that in

the four months to April this year, ITV had a 28.9 per cent share of all

individuals, compared with 30.3 per cent in the first quarter of last

year. Channel 4's 9.6 per cent share was down on the previous year's

first quarter share of 10.5 per cent. Channel 5 was down slightly on the

previous year, with a 5.4 per cent share of viewing, compared with 5.6

per cent in 2000.

Despite its pledge earlier this year that it wanted to increase its

audience share of 16- to 34-year-olds, ITV suffered a slight downturn

this year, with 26.6 per cent of all 16- to 34-year-olds, compared with

27.3 per cent in the final quarter of last year.

The three main channels have suffered cannibalisation from the cable,

satellite and digital TV market. This sector substantially increased its

overall share of viewing from 15.4 per cent in the first quarter of last

year to 18.1 per cent in the same period of this year. This rise also

translated into an increase in this sector's share of 16- to 34-year-old

and ABC1 audiences.

Paul Parashar, the broadcast director of New PHD, said: 'The audiences

for multichannel homes are still disproportionately young. ITV's whole

campaign to address declining audiences in digital homes isn't working

at the moment. Although we know ITV will be on Sky Digital soon, it

can't be soon enough. The danger in the long term is the more audiences

these commercial channels lose, the more difficult it is to get them


ITV has more than delivered, however, on its target to keep a 6.4 per

cent lead over BBC1 during peaktime. During the first quarter of 2001

ITV had a 10 per cent lead, lower than the previous quarter's lead of

10.6 per cent.

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