Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Rivals claim victory in ratings war

Sir Tom Jones from The Voice

Both the BBC and ITV were left able to claim victory in the Saturday night ratings battle after millions tuned in to watch The Voice and Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.

The Geordie duo got an average audience of 7.3 million - compared to 6.4 million for The Voice.

But The Voice recorded the highest peak audience - 8.8 million compared to 8.2 million for its ITV rival, but that came after the other show had finished.

The BBC1 talent contest, which stars coaches Jessie J, Tom Jones, Will.i.am and Danny O'Donoghue faces a bigger challenge next week when it will clash with the first episode of ITV rival Britain's Got Talent.

The BBC has moved the start time of its show from 7pm to 6.45pm on Saturday April 13 but it will still overlap with the first BGT which will run from 7pm to 8.35pm.

A BBC insider said: "ITV's move is disappointing because it's not in the best interests of viewers. BGT has started at 8pm for the last three years which enabled viewers to watch both shows - it's a shame they can't this year."

An ITV insider said the scheduling allowed the show to be watched by young fans and was a regular slot for some of its biggest entertainment shows.

The competition puts more pressure on The Voice to succeed after last year's series experienced a spectacular drop in viewers after its early stages - with the semi-final drawing just half the audience it managed at its peak.

An 11-date tour, featuring performances by the its eight finalists, was cancelled following poor ticket sales.

More than seven million viewers tuned in to see Leanne Mitchell win the first series - almost five million fewer viewers than the final of BGT.

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