ITV Closes on BBC in UK Ratings War

19 May 2003

Beleaguered British terrestrial broadcaster ITV is closing the TV ratings gap on the publicly-funded BBC.

According to new figures from the Independent Television Commission, the sixteen licensees (fourteen owned by Carlton Communications or Granada) that make up the commercial giant’s flagship channel ITV1 posted a combined audience share of 25.9% in the twelve months to the end of March. This is higher than the 24.3% it registered across 2002 – welcome news for the station after a dismal performance last year.

The BBC’s flagship BBC1 also rose, but by a far smaller margin, creeping from 26.4% across 2002 to 26.7% in the twelve months to March. The channel’s terrestrial stablemate BBC2 dipped from 11.5% to 11.3%.

Of the other terrestrial stations, Channel 4 slipped from 9.8% to 9.6%, while Five edged up from 6.3% to 6.4%.

In the multichannel sector, Murdoch-owned Sky One slipped slightly from 1.9% to 1.8%, while Channel 4 offshoot E4 stayed flat at 0.8%.

Full ratings data can be found on the ITC website.

Data sourced from: Independent Television Commission; additional content by WARC staff