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Tuesday, 18 June, 2002, 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK
BBC News 24 overtakes Sky News
Gavin Esler and Carrie Gracie
Gavin Esler and Carrie Gracie frequently present on News 24
BBC News 24 has overtaken taken Sky News as the most-watched news channel in multi-channel homes, according to the latest research.

During April and May 2002, a total of 3.8 million viewers tuned in to the BBC news channel each week, as opposed to 3.7 million for Sky News, the British Audience Research Bureau (BARB) survey revealed.

The average monthly "reach" for BBC News 24 was 7.4 million in April and 7.7 million in May, with Sky News averaging 7.2 million in April and 7.3 million in May.

Roger Mosey, Head of BBC Television News, described the figures as a "massive endorsement" for the channel.

"No other channel can match the quality, range and depth of our output and viewers are turning to News 24 in increasing numbers," he said.

These figures represent viewers to digital satellite, digital terrestrial and cable and do not include viewers who watch News 24 output on BBC One or BBC Two.

The BBC's own research has also indicated that in recent months viewers have seen BBC News 24 as the best of the continuous news channels for news and current affairs, rather than Sky News.

Switch

But another survey, reported by the Media Guardian website on Tuesday, has cast doubt on the government's plan for getting UK viewers to change to digital TV.

The survey of attitudes towards digital TV, carried out by Mediaedge:CIA, suggests that nearly one in three people would never switch to digital TV.

The study found that 29% of respondents said they would "never" switch from analogue - a rise from the company's last surevy in October, when 21% of respondents said they would not switch.

Consumer confidence in upgraded television sets appears to have been dented by the collapse of ITV Digital.

And the study found the proportion of respondents planning to adopt digital TV in the next year had fallen from 13% last autumn - when the future of ITV Digital seemed secure - to 9% now.

David Fletcher, the head of MediaLab at Mediaedge:CIA UK, told Media Guardian: "The multichannel digital pay TV market appears to be reaching saturation point.

"There's an increasing shift in popular opinion that 'old fashioned TV' is actually good quality and value for money."

"People's initial intrigue in the promises of the new medium is turning to lethargy," he added.

The survey was carried out in April, when ITV Digital was in a state of collapse.

See also:

12 Jun 02 | Business
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16 May 02 | Business
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