ITV break tactic dents BBC ratings

ITV claims its shake-up of programme “junctions” – the breaks between the end of one programme and the start of the next – has been a major factor in the channel’s strong performance against BBC1’s new schedule.

Last week, ITV achieved a 38.6 per cent average peak share, two share points above its performance for the year to date.

BBC1’s peak share fell from 30 per cent in the first week of its new schedule to 28.4 per cent last week. Its 10pm news lost almost a million viewers and over four share points in its second week, with an average audience of 4.3 million viewers.

John Hardie, ITV marketing director, says the strong performance has been helped by axing ad breaks at the end of programmes, and going straight into the next programme. This has occurred with the break between Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? and The Frank Skinner Show at 10pm, helping it to beat BBC1’s 10pm news.

Extra ad breaks introduced after a change in rules by the Independent Television Commission have enabled ITV to do more promotions for other programmes.

Hardie says: “We have just started doing this, and it seems to be paying big dividends as it is not something the BBC can easily deal with. It gives us another competitive advantage.”

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