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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 December, 2004, 18:07 GMT
BBC defends viewing figure fall
BBC Television Centre
Savings will be ploughed into BBC programmes and content
The BBC has defended a drop in viewing figures for BBC One and Two since January, saying it reflects the growth of multi-channels in UK homes.

BBC One's audience share fell 3.5% to 24.6%. BBC Two's fell by 8.9% to 8.9%.

"It's not really surprising that the figures are down because in today's TV environment, there is more choice out there," said a BBC spokeswoman.

Losing The Simpsons to Channel 4 had an impact she said but added: "It's not about getting the biggest audience."

She added: "It's also been a year when we have actively strengthened our prime-time coverage of arts and current affairs," she said.

Hard times

The corporation recently learned it would face cutbacks including the loss of 2,900 jobs.

The BBC's director general, Mark Thompson also pledged that BBC One would have fewer repeats and less copying of successful genres from other channels.

"We are at a moment where the BBC has to push harder for real distinctiveness, offering the public programmes of a kind of excellence, and a depth and range, they don't expect elsewhere," he told the BBC's Newsnight programme last week.

The BBC would survive in the digital world, he added, only if it invested more in areas such as journalism, drama, comedy, music, learning, and children's TV and radio.



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