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Monday, 19 February, 2001, 17:57 GMT
First month laurels to ITV
ITV's News at Ten
ITV's bulletin only has to go out at 10pm on three weekday nights
ITV's relaunched News at Ten has won the first month's ratings war with the BBC's Ten O'Clock News, according to unofficial figures.

ITV reached an average audience of 6.1 million compared with 4.9 million for the BBC on the nights both bulletins went out at 10pm, according to the unofficial ratings for the first month.

The two bulletins came closer together for the overall Monday to Friday nightly figures. ITV had an average of 5.2 million while the BBC had 4.9 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).

ITV 'pleased'

Despite early figures indicating a slight lead for ITV, a BBC spokesman said more accurate figures could show a different story when they were compiled.

"We will be judged on the quality of the service and we will be judged over the long term," he said.

An ITV spokesman said: "We are really pleased that ITV news is performing so strongly.

"This is a long term game but it is great that viewers have warmly welcomed the return of Sir Trevor McDonald and the News at Ten."

On 13 February the BBC's Ten O'Clock News took more viewers than ITV's rival News At Ten for the first time since the two bulletins went head-to-head.

Successes

The BBC bulletin attracted 400,000 more viewers than ITN's, again according to unofficial figures.

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

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

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.

See also:

14 Feb 01 | Entertainment
BBC wins news battle
25 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Late News at Ten drops viewers
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
18 Jan 01 | Entertainment
BBC wants 'broader' news
20 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Battle of the bulletins
19 Nov 00 | UK Politics
BBC warned over 10pm news slot
03 Oct 00 | UK
BBC news move 'senseless'
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