01 January 1999

The BBC has soared into number two slot behind Yahoo! as the UK’s most popular Internet service. According to a study by Fletcher Research, the BBC is doing ‘terrifically well’ in the multimedia market, to which it is a relatively recent entrant. Using a standard American technique to gauge audience ‘reach’, the Fletcher study reveals that 61% of UK web-users had visited the Yahoo! Internet directory site within the preceding fortnight, 42% had logged onto BBC Online, and 30% to Lycos - another directory site. Significantly, the study also established that Internet-users have cut-back on TV viewing, although the BBC denied that Online’s success had cannibalised its own TV audience. ‘People are using its as a complementary medium for TV viewing’, said a BBC spokesperson. ‘If there is nothing on that they particularly want to watch, they go to the Internet.’ The findings put the BBC well ahead of any other UK-owned site. Predictably, the Top Ten list is dominated by British versions of US-owned sites such as Yahoo!, Lycos, Excite UK, Alta Vista, Infoseek and Microsoft Network. The only other British site to make the list (at number eight) is UK Plus, jointly owned by the Daily Mail and Infoseek.