[The story below appeared in WARC News on May 28. In the first paragraph, now amended, we stated that UK commercial TV impacts had undergone "a period of prolonged decline". Industry marketing body Thinkbox has drawn this error to our attention which we are pleased to correct, with apologies both to Thinkbox and our readers.] 

"WARC News was entirely wrong to claim recently that TV in the UK has experienced ‘a period of prolonged decline'. TV viewing and advertising are both flourishing.

The latest BARB figures show that commercial impacts are growing. April impacts were up 13.5% on April last year; a 20% rise for April over the last five years. This follows an historic performance last year, when impacts reached an all time high with growth of 11% since 2003.

Commercial broadcast TV viewing has enjoyed its best start to a year since 1993, with viewers watching an average of 11 minutes more commercial TV a day than the same period 15 years ago. Broadcast viewing overall has been extremely stable since 1993, fluctuating by a matter of minutes. BARB's figures don't include online TV, mobile TV, or out-of-home broadcast TV viewing. Its figures represent the minimum amount of TV being watched."


LONDON: UK TV commercial impacts registered a 13.5% year-on-year increase in April – excluding TV viewing online, on the move or out of home. And in terms of viewing figures, the four months to April 30 are the best for fifteen years.

The data, provided by BARB (Broadcasters Audience Research Board), reflect a 20% rise in the number of April commercial impacts over the last five years. The growth also coincides with an overall increase in broadcast TV viewing – both commercial and BBC.

In the period monitored, the UK watched an average of eleven minutes more commercial TV daily than in the same period 15 years ago.

All key audience sectors for advertisers enjoyed major increases in commercial impacts in April. ABC1 impacts are up 16.2% on last April, 16-24s rose 12% and 16-34s are up 12.3%. The figures belie claims that young people don't watch TV.

Britons watched an average of 2.35 hours of commercial TV daily in April, the highest figure on record for that month in five years. 

Moreover, April's total broadcast viewing (including BBC) enjoyed a 10% increase to 3.75 hours a day. And the BARB data excludes additional platforms for watching TV such as the internet or mobile phones. Nor does it take into account increasing levels of out-of home broadcast viewing.

Comments Tess Alps, ceo of TV marketing body Thinkbox: "These numbers prove the growth in commercial broadcast TV viewing, but we also can show the numbers proving that TV is more effective than ever, that it is being viewed incrementally via new platforms and that it is the major driver of online activity.

"The numbers tell a powerful story for the growing medium of TV."

Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff , 28 May 2008