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Tuesday, 1 January, 2002, 14:39 GMT
BBC celebrates ratings 'success'
Eastenders is BBC One's top rated programme
Eastenders is BBC One's top rated programme
BBC bosses are celebrating after unofficial figures show more people watched BBC One than ITV1 during 2001.

Early figures from the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (Barb) show BBC One edging ahead in all hours, the first time ever this has happened.

Barb ratings show BBC One with an audience share of 26.8% compared to 26.7% for ITV1.

But ITV1 has said it retains a "healthy lead" over BBC One in prime-time viewing periods.

Within prime time, ITV1 still has a very healthy lead over BBC One

ITV spokesman
Lorraine Heggessey, controller of BBC One said: "What a way to celebrate the New Year! It's fantastic to see that public service broadcasting can be so strong in the competitive multi channel world.

"The creative community has worked hard to deliver a wonderful range of programmes that have delighted audiences of all ages.

"We have got more work to do, but it's great to see the strategy that we agreed 18 months ago beginning to work so effectively."

But an ITV spokesman said the figures counted both day and night time viewing and not the "crucial" prime-time slots.

He said: "These figures are not the figures which most broadcasters perceive to be the really crucial area which is prime time.

"Within prime time, ITV1 still has a very healthy lead over BBC One."

Des Lynam's The Premiership was a ratings flop
Des Lynam's The Premiership was a ratings flop
ITV1 has had a difficult 2001, with criticism of its programmes along with a slump in advertising revenue.

In December, Carlton Communications reported a sharp decline in profits due to falling ad sales and heavy investment in its loss-making ITV Digital joint venture.

Carlton chairman Michael Green said then that a 13% decline in advertising revenues had made it a "difficult" year for the company.

ITV1 bosses suffered an embarrassing climb down over their handling of The Premiership.

The Saturday football-highlights show was a failure at its 1900GMT time-slot, with figures of four million, and the decision was taken to move it to 2230.

The BBC also claimed victory over ITN in this year's television news ratings battle.

Pop group Hear'Say were formed after Popstars
Pop group Hear'Say were formed after Popstars
The BBC's Ten O'Clock News averaged 5.1 million viewers per broadcast in 2001, figures from Barb showed.

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

Reality TV show Survivor also under performed, but the channel can look at some successes in 2001 including Popstars and Pop Idol.

See also:

24 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
BBC claims news ratings victory
12 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
Blind Date makes strong return
23 Oct 01 | TV and Radio
ITV's failed football gamble
27 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
Digital difficulties ahead for TV
29 Nov 00 | Business
Granada sales jump
28 Nov 01 | Business
Digital woes cost Granada jobs
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