Belfast Telegraph

TV news show decline being reversed: BBC

Sliding audience figures for flagship news programmes are being reversed, despite greater viewer choice on TV and online, research from the broadcasting watchdog indicated today.

The regulator Ofcom looked at viewing figures for the main weekday evening news programmes on BBC1, ITV, Channel 4 and Five between 2004 and 2009 — and found news shows are fighting back.

Ofcom found that over the period which saw increased viewer choice, figures showed the combined average audience across all the flagship public service broadcasting bulletins was 2.5m in 2009.

This was a drop of just 200,000 from the 2004 figure — and an increase of 100,000 from a low point in 2006.

Stewart Purvis, Ofcom partner for content and standards, presented the figures at a BBC event in London.

He said: “The death of TV news on linear channels turns out to be much exaggerated.

“In fact, these programmes remain the main source of news for most of the population.”

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