BBC Posts Strong Q4 in UK TV Report; ITV Edges Up

20 February 2003

The latest Trends in Television report from Britain’s Institute of Practitioners in Advertising shows a strong performance by the British Broadcasting Corporation and an improvement for ailing network ITV in the fourth quarter of 2002.

The publicly funded corporation’s flagship channel BBC1 posted a 26.6% audience share, up from 25.7% in Q3, while BBC2 climbed from 11.3% to 11.6%. This left the commercial and non-terrestrial sector with a 61.8% slice, its smallest of any quarter last year.

The biggest ad-funded channel, ITV1, reversed its long-running downturn slightly, rising from 23.6% in Q3 to 23.9%. Channel 4 fell from 10.4% to 9.5%, while Five dipped from 6.3% to 6.2%. The non-terrestrial sector’s total share slipped from 22.6% to 22.2%.

Year-on-year comparisons are tricky as the report uses data from BARB (Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board), which controversially replaced its panel at the start of last year. Compared with the Q4 2001 figures drawn from the old panel, BBC1 was down 1.2%, BBC2 up 0.4%, ITV1 down 1.3%, Channel 4 down 0.1%, Five up 0.4% and non-terrestrial broadcasters up 1.8%.

The survey also found that:

• Britons watched an average of 3.8 hours of television a day in the fourth quarter, up from 3.36 in Q3 and 3.75 in Q4 2001.

• The non-terrestrial sector gained a 29.3% slice of the advertiser-friendly 16–34 demographic in Q4, higher than both ITV1 (21.6%) and BBC1 (22%).

• Channel 4 also attracts a younger crowd, gaining an 11.4% share of 16–34-year-olds compared with 9.3% in the 35–54 bracket and 9.5% among over-55s.

Data sourced from: IPA Online; additional content by WARC staff