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X Factor grabs ratings crown from Strictly Come Dancing

Published 10/11/2015

The X Factor pulled in a combined average audience of 8.94 million on October 4
The X Factor pulled in a combined average audience of 8.94 million on October 4

The X Factor won its first proper head-to-head ratings clash with Strictly Come Dancing, according to new figures.

The ITV talent contest pulled in a combined average audience of 8.94 million viewers on Sunday October 4, beating the 8.63 million who tuned in for Strictly Come Dancing.

Initial overnight ratings had given Strictly a lead of around 700,000.

The revised figures, published by Barb, are based on the total number of people who watched the programmes in the 28 days after broadcast.

They also include those who watched The X Factor on ITV+1 and ITV HD - channels that are excluded from the main overnight numbers.

The two programmes had clashed previously on Saturday September 5 - but this was for the launch show of Strictly Come Dancing, which aired several weeks before the start of the main series.

On that occasion, figures showed the BBC triumphed with 10.05 million viewers, while ITV's X Factor claimed 9.13 million.

The data suggests millions of people are not bothering to watch The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing at the time of their transmission, preferring instead to record the shows and catch up later.

Overnight ratings for the October 4 edition of Strictly Come Dancing were 7.83 million. The revised figure from Barb is 8.63 million: a jump of 800,000.

The X Factor's overnight rating of 7.12 million soars by almost two million to 8.94 million when additional viewers are added, however.

Almost a quarter (24%) of that number watched the show on ITV's +1 and HD channels.

The number of people watching Strictly Come Dancing on the BBC iPlayer is not known, and it could be that this figure, if added to Strictly's existing total, would push the programme back in front of its rival.

The two shows have a tradition of being pitted against each other in the autumn TV schedules.

X Factor boss Simon Cowell has defended the show's recent performance in the ratings, saying it would be "pointless" to take it off air.

Speaking to the Press Association this week while being honoured at the Music Industry Trusts Award in London, he said: "You never take a show off that's getting 10 million viewers. It would be pointless.

"You've got to understand, the way we watch TV now is so different. We had 6.5 million a week ago - rounded up, it's nearly 10 million.

"That's how many people watch the show every week."

The BBC recently announced that the next series of its own TV talent show The Voice will be the last, after the corporation refused to get into a bidding war to keep it.

Mark Linsey, acting director of BBC Television, said The Voice had been "poached" by another broadcaster.

He said: "The BBC is incredibly proud of The Voice, but the fifth series which starts in January will be our last.

"We always said we wouldn't get into a bidding war or pay inflated prices to keep the show, and it's testament to how the BBC has built the programme up - and established it into a mainstay of the Saturday night schedule - that another broadcaster has poached it."

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