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Wednesday, 14 February, 2001, 17:36 GMT
BBC wins news battle
ITV's News at Ten
ITV's bulletin only has to go out at 10pm on three weekday nights
The BBC's Ten O'Clock News has taken more viewers than ITV's rival News At Ten for the first time since the two bulletins went head-to-head.

On Tuesday night, the BBC news programme attracted 400,000 more viewers than the ITN bulletin, according to unofficial figures.

The Ten O'Clock News drew an average of 5.4 million viewers, compared with ITN's five million.

The two shows have battled head-to-head since 22 January when ITV was forced to return the news to the old 10pm slot by the Independent Television Commission (ITC).

It is not the first time the BBC bulletin has beaten ITN in the ratings battle.

'Proud'

But the corporation's previous successes have come when News At Ten is broadcast half an hour later in the schedules - which it is permitted to do under an agreement struck between ITV and the ITC.

The ITV 10pm bulletin only has to be broadcast at that time on three weekday nights between Monday and Thursday.

A spokesman for BBC News said: "While we are confident and very proud of the quality of the Ten O'Clock news we recognise that audiences are highly influenced by schedules before hand.

"Ultimately more people are now watching the news which is a good thing, but we're obviously pleased when more of them come to BBC One."

Success

An ITV spokesman said: "There will clearly be the odd time when the BBC win at 10 o'clock but it will be only the odd day. We take pride in the fact that this is the first time it has happened."

The BBC's success came off the back of a strong showing in the peak time schedule on Tuesday night.

From 7.30pm onwards the BBC beat ITV in terms of audience figures, with a mixture of EastEnders, Holby City and Silent Witness.

EastEnders captured 13.3 million viewers and more than half of the available audience.

See also:

25 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Late News at Ten drops viewers
14 Nov 00 | UK
News At Ten rethink urged
23 Jan 01 | Entertainment
First blood to ITV in news battle
23 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Sky battles ITN for news contract
23 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Duel at Ten for news bulletins
10 Jan 01 | Entertainment
News At Ten returns to ITV
20 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Battle of the bulletins
18 Jan 01 | Entertainment
BBC wants 'broader' news
19 Nov 00 | UK Politics
BBC warned over 10pm news slot
03 Oct 00 | UK
BBC news move 'senseless'
24 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Ratings dip for News At Ten
24 Jan 01 | UK Politics
Mandelson resigns
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