New data from Britain’s BARB (Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board) show that troubled terrestrial channel ITV1 has been overtaken by multi-channel television in the much-coveted 16 to 34-years male demographic.

Over the first two months of the year, ITV1 recorded 34.2% of advertising impacts among young men compared with 36.1% for multi-channel TV. This contrasts with respective shares of 37% and 31.3% for the demographic last year.

Needless to say, multi-channel giant BSkyB was jubilant: “In key demographics,” declared chief operating officer Richard Freudenstein, “multi-channel is rivalling the terrestrial channels as a platform for delivering volume audiences to advertisers.”

However, others are not so sure. Paul Parashar, director of screen trading at media buyer PHD, argued that the new BARB panel, introduced in January, has not yet settled down. “Our genuine view is that the panel is not big enough to have a lot of confidence in it,” he said, “so we are not planning to change weights of advertising or change channel allocations.”

The figures coincide with research from the Independent Television Commission showing that 50% of Britons have access to multi-channel offerings for the first time.

The ITC study brought yet more bad news for ITV1: only 30% of TV viewers regard the channel as their favourite, down 11% from 2000. Among terrestrial channels, BBC1 is also on 30%, then BBC2 (8%), Channel 4 (6%) and Channel 5 (3%). BSkyB’s flagship digital channel Sky One was favoured by 4% of respondents, up from 2% the previous year.

Data sourced from: Media Week (UK);; additional content by WARC staff