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ITV1 Ratings Plunge to Second-Lowest Ebb

News, 09 June 2005


Britain's largest commercial broadcast channel ITV1 came within a whisker of its all-time nadir in the week ending Sunday 5 June. With an averaged audience share of 19%, the channel brushed against its all-time nadir of 18.9% (in the final week of August last year).

The key factor in this ratings slump was ITV1's dire peaktime performance on Tuesday and Saturday evenings, handicapped by a cortège of dreck such as Celebrity Wrestling, Celebrity Love Island and Bad Girls - programme titles that tell their own story.

An ITV plc spokeswoman staunchly defended the channel's less than sparkling performance: "We won the week [against the BBC] across peak hours and successfully launched two new series, Ladette to Lady and Holiday Showdown. The all-time share fell as we transmitted some repeats in daytime due to the [schools] half-term holiday."

The channel's dire ratings performance will receive mixed reviews from the moneymen, whose eyes are trained on the company's share price. At midday Wednesday this stood at £1.1525, compared with £1.48 on day one of ITV's debut as a merged entity in February 2004.

There'll be groans from those who seek a sustained and steady increase in ITV stock over the long term; and grins from the opposite camp which hopes for a quick killing via a takeover bid - be it agreed or hostile.

A southerly drift in the ITV share price is good news for the latter as it could attract predators such as Sumner M Redstone, chairman/ceo of US media giant Viacom, whose interest in ITV "at the right price" is common knowledge.

Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff