Belfast Telegraph

Talent show rivals both claim win

ITV and the BBC both claimed victory in TV's battle of the Saturday night talent shows.

New show The Voice was up against ITV's big hitting Britain's Got Talent with the shows overlapping for a crucial 20 minutes.

Viewing figures showed that BGT pulled in a peak audience of 12.2m (including the channel's +1 strand), representing a 49% share of the viewing. The Voice's peak was 2.4m fewer at 9.8m.

However, the BBC said The Voice beat BGT when the two shows overlapped, with its show averaging 8.96m against BGT's 6.56m in the 20 minutes after 8pm.

ITV said the average viewing figures for BGT was 9.9m, or a 41% audience share (including the +1 channel), while The Voice opened with an 8.4m average.

The BBC claimed this figure was over 3m better than the opening episodes of Strictly Come Dancing, BGT and The X Factor, all of which have become Saturday night favourites.

The corporation admitted many Voice viewers switched across to watch BGT when the singing contest finished, but said the 9.3m audience average for BGT was down from its 2011 opener.

Meanwhile, in a counter claim, ITV said the launch of BGT was the best-rated show of 2012, excluding soaps.

The scheduling of both shows was controversial in the run-up to Saturday night's clash, with the BBC accusing its rival of trying to sabotage their launch.

Relations were already strained following the loss of Alesha Dixon from the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing to join the BGT panel alongside Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and David Walliams.

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