ITV1 has borne the brunt of the decline in commercial TV ratings
under the new Barb panel, according to unofficial overnight figures.
This has prompted fears of rapid inflation in the price of TV
advertising airtime, which would further discourage already reluctant
"The incomplete figures suggest that in every single case ITV is
performing worse than any other station," David Fletcher, the director
of mediaedge:CIA's research division, Medialab, said.
"And this will speed up the change from TV deals being benchmarked
against an ITV price. Buyers have been bracing themselves for the storm
but these figures are worse than expected," he added.
The unofficial 15-minute average data from the first two weeks of 2002
show that although adult audiences are down 13.5 per cent across all
commercial TV, ITV1 is down by more than 25 per cent.
The difference for ABC1 audiences is even more profound with total ABC1
adult commercial TV audiences declining by 14.7 per cent but ITV1
experiencing a fall of 26 per cent.
In contrast, Channel 5 has experienced an increase of almost 11 per cent
in its ABC1 audiences.
Channel 4 has not emerged unscathed with the Barb data showing a 38 per
cent year-on-year decline for 16- to 34-year-olds, compared with a fall
of 21.5 per cent across all commercial TV. The data suggests that
viewing on satellite and cable is stable with adult impacts up 8 per
Andy Zonfrillo, a managing partner at MindShare, said the figures come
with a "health warning". "The data is based on an incomplete panel and
we are still waiting for individual break data. At this stage it looks
like the new panel will be reporting considerably lower than the old
one, although we'll review this over the next few weeks."
Caroline McDevitt, the chief executive at Barb, was unavailable for