Multichannel TV Makes UK Audience Inroads

23 November 2005

TV audience fragmentation and media diversification continue apace in the UK as the BBC, the nation's publicly funded broadcaster, can attest.

Latest figures from the British Audience Research Bureau show the publicly-funded broadcaster's audience share fell to 35.2%, between January 1 and November 14 this year, down year-on year from 36.8%.

Terrestrial channels BBC1 and BBC2 recorded the steepest decline of 6%, closely followed by ITV1, flagship channel of the UK's largest commercial broadcaster whose audience share fell by 5.7% for the period.

The BBC's digital channels, however, recorded a rise in ratings - although not enough to offset the losses.

Comments a spokesman: "BBC1 and BBC2 have held up incredibly well in such a competitive environment ... What is most important is that the BBC's portfolio of services and channels work as a whole to reach everybody - through radio, TV, online and interactive."

The UK's other publicly owned (but commercially funded) TV company Channel 4 has retained its audience share of 9.9%, so far this year, while commercial channel Five's ratings fell slightly from 6.6% to 6.5%.

Digital services such as ITV2, Sky One, BBC3 and E4 continue to grow, grabbing 29.5% of the audience, compared with 26% in the same period last year.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff