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Monday, 24 December, 2001, 10:54 GMT
BBC claims news ratings victory
BBC news studio
Here is the news: One of the BBC's news studios
The BBC has claimed victory over ITN in this year's television news ratings battle.

The BBC's Ten O'Clock News averaged 5.1 million viewers per broadcast in 2001, figures from the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (Barb) showed.

A total of 4.4 million people watched ITV's News at Ten and the channel's late news slot.

The corporation said its flagship evening news programme had increased its audience share since the old Nine O'Clock News was abandoned for the 10pm timeslot.

Trevor McDonald
Trevor McDonald is the face of News at Ten

The BBC's head of television news, Roger Mosey, said the BBC had "proved wrong the sceptics" who had said it would weaken the news and lose audiences by moving its main bulletin to 10pm.

A spokesman for ITN acknowledged the BBC's greater audience share over the year - but said the annual figures did not reflect the relative standing of the two programmes.

ITN's programme often moved around the schedules, and did not always "genuinely" go head to head with the BBC, he said.

He pointed out that when the two clashed directly, ITN was capable of beating the BBC.

The BBC moved its programme to 10pm in October 2000 after ITN temporarily vacated the slot in March 1999.

ITN had to reinstate the News at Ten after television watchdog the Independent Television Commission found that the programme's 11pm replacement was attracting insufficient viewers.

The Barb figures showed a number of other major successes for BBC News.

BBC News 24 increased its audience by 30% on the previous year.

Breakfast, presented by Jeremy Bowen and Sophie Raworth, increased its audience by almost 10%.

The BBC was also shown to be providing the most popular daytime bulletins.

The Six O'Clock News remained the UK's most watched bulletin, pulling in an average of 5.9 million viewers compared with ITN's 5.1 million.

See also:

13 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
ITN accepts voluntary redundancies
15 Oct 01 | TV and Radio
BBC news move 'halts decline'
15 Oct 01 | TV and Radio
ITV and BBC still battling at 10pm
26 Sep 01 | TV and Radio
ITN keeps ITV news
20 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Battle of the bulletins
21 Sep 00 | UK
ITV News At Ten returns
13 Oct 00 | UK
End of the Nine
14 Feb 01 | Entertainment
BBC wins news battle
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