Britain's Commercial Channel 4 Outpulls BBC2

02 January 2005

Britain's five national analogue TV channels - bar one - had a hard time of it in 2005, with audiences deserting in droves to digital rivals. The sole exception to this trend is Channel 4, a curious and archetypally British hybrid: state-owned but advertising-funded.

Of the main analogue channels, C4 alone resisted the decline in viewing, maintaining an averaged daily audience share of 9.7% and topping BBC2, its nearest rival, which managed 9.4%. It is the first time in a decade it has done so.

All the other steam-driven channels lost viewers, cannibalized both by their digital equivalents (available on the Freeview platform) and by satellite and cable rivals. BBC1 and BBC2 both reported a fall of 6%, ITV1 dropped 5% and Channel Five mislaid 2%.

C4, however, remained in all-conquering mode. Not only did it hold its own across the board, among the key 16-34 age group it upped its audience share by 4% - soaring in peak time to 8%. It also secured a higher share of upmarket (ABC1) audiences during the year than BBC2.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff