Ratings Review: BARB Week Ending 16th September 2007 

26 September 2007 tbs.pm/67

The latest publically released viewing figures from BARB reveal some interesting facts. The first one to catch my eye, was this…

Sky Three is watched by more people than Sky One!

It’s true. Check the Weekly Reach figures, which shows how many people tuned into the channel for at least 3 continuous minutes. Sky One was watched by over 6.4 million people. Sky Three was watched by over 7.7 million people.

This little factoid should be setting off alarm bells at BSkyB headquarters in Isleworth. It should be saying to them, do the deal with Virgin Media and get Sky One back on Cable. The only other alternative is to make Sky One a Freeview channel replacing Sky Three. That is not likely to happen, given the fact that they do not own FTA rights for all their programmes, only some of them.

If you look at the top rating digital channels, that’s excluding the big 5 terrestrials, the most popular digital channel is ITV2, with a 2.4 share / 32.9 weekly reach. That is a huge set of numbers. If you look at ITV2’s top 10 rated programmes, you’ll see The X Factor and The Xtra Factor hold 5 of the top 10 slots, but all of the top 10 programmes score better than half a million viewers. That is a pretty rare sight, and one worth noting.

Coming in behind ITV2 is Sky Sports 1, with a 1.9 / 13.1. Whilst Sky Sports 1 is only 0.5 behind ITV2 in share, it’s 19 percent plus behind on weekly reach. Behind them are BBC3 with a 1.3 / 27.2, ITV4 with a 1.3 /20.2 and ITV3 with a 1.3 / 14.8. ITV4 was helped by Rugby World Cup coverage which has brought more people to the channel thana ever before, whilst BBC3 was helped in no small measure by some stellar numbers for Eastenders repeats and Heroes.

Once you get outside the Top 5, it gets a little close but also more interesting. CBeebies comes in next with 1.2 / 10.3, followed by E4 with 1.1 / 19.6, and then, BBC News 24, with a 1.0 / 16.8. Now, these numbers for BBC News 24, should really scare BSkyB. Because, not only does it beat Sky News by quite a margin (0.7 / 11.4), but with a weekyl reach of over 7.9 million viewers…

BBC News 24 was watched by more people than Sky One.

If that doesn’t make Sky want to improve Sky One, then I don’t know what it will take.

Rounding out the top 10, Sky Sports 3 with a 0.9 / 7.9, helped by Live Twenty20 World Cup Cricket, and finally, Sky One just sneaks in to the top 10 with a 0.8 / 13.6. Whilst ITV2’s top 10 all rated above half a million viewers, not one of Sky One’s top 10 programmes managed to score half a million viewers. Looking at these ratings, I just have to say this…

If I were in charge of Sky One right now, I would be seriously worried about my job, and would be seriously considering just what can be done to turn Sky One around.

Having been just a couple of years ago, the most watched digital channel, and now, struggling to remain in the top 10 most watched digital channels, Sky One has gone from being must see TV, to an also-ran channel. That, truly, is a scary thought.

My regular weekly check of the worst performers of the week, reveals some of the usual suspects in the lower levels of the ratings league, where if relegation was a worry, then these guys would have been biting nails to the bone! As it happens, just the usual dose of humiliation via the ratings numbers.

In no particular order, as they’re all pretty bad anyway…

Sky Travel Shop – 49,000

The Business Channel – 52,000

Hollywood TV – 85,000

Life One – 83,000

MusFlash – 55,000

MUTV – 66,000

Overseas Property TV – 78,000

Rockworld TV – 84,000

Simply TV – 5,000

The Baby Channel – 43,000

XLeague.TV – 77,000

Every single one of these channels should look at their ratings and feel ashamed. These are not the channelsof the premier league that I talked about earlier. No,these channels are some 12-15 leagues below that level, equivalent to one of the local amateur leagues, and as for Simply TV, I cannot honestly remember a channel ever scoring that low, except when a channel was closing down or going into receivership that week. Simply TV is still on the air, though how, I’m not sure.

If Sky One’s performance of the past couple of years has been disappointing, then Simply TV’s performance in it’s entire life, has been a complete disaster. And this week’s performance is simply, the lowest of an incredibly low bunch. If Simply TV are to make any kind of ratings, they will have to put together something a hell of lot better than what is being aired currently.

The weekly Hall Of Shame is one thing I look forward to reporting, but I too realise that there are people’s livelihoods at stake when channels are in trouble and shutting down. The reason I report these figures, is not, as I sometimes say, for the ritual humiliation, but as a way of saying to these channels, whatever you’re doing, it ain’t good enough yet, do better. It’s an easy thing to say, but a difficult thing to do.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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Ian Beaumont Contact More by me