- ITN has lost nearly twenty per cent of its viewers since dropping its flagship programme, News at Ten, according to figures just released by the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board.
ITV was down two million viewers by the second week of its revamped line up, comprising a main 6:30pm and an additional 11pm news bulletin. The figures confirm fears that the decision to allow ITV to dump News at Ten has marginalised television news.
BARB data shows that the average combined audiences for the two bulletins in the first week after News at Ten was 10.4 million, dropping to 9.2 million by the second week.
In January, the 5:30pm evening news and News at Ten together attracted an average audience of 11 million.
An ITN spokesman said that the ratings for its new bulletins showed they had established themselves as highly popular with viewers, adding that the main 6:30pm show was attracting 500,000 more viewers than News at Ten did.
Chris Smith, secretary of state for culture, media and sport, who along with Tony Blair opposed the decision to move News at Ten, said last week that he would raise with the Independent Television Commission concerns about the quality of the programmes that had replaced News at Ten.