Election deadlock boosts news channels

BBC1, BBC News Channel and Sky News experience ratings boost.

The unprecedented political drama of the post-election hiatus on Friday, 7 May, was reflected in TV ratings, with viewers turning to BBC1, BBC News Channel and Sky News to follow events, the Guardian reports.

All three networks enjoyed a big ratings boost on Friday. BBC1 had an all-individuals audience share of 27.5 per cent, up nearly a third on its average for the day over the past three months.

BBC News Channel had a 3.6 per cent share, more than quadruple its Friday average over the past three months and close to Channel Five's 4.2 per cent for the day. Sky News more than tripled its share to 1.9 per cent.

BBC1 and ITV1 pulled regular daytime shows to stay with live coverage of the fast-moving political story until mid-afternoon, after Conservative leader David Cameron's speech offering the Liberal Democrats a deal to help him form the next government.

An average of just under 4 million viewers were watching BBC1 and ITV1 in the half hour from 2.30pm when Cameron made his speech: a 45.5 per cent share of the available audience. BBC1 averaged 3.033 million (35.5 per cent) during this half hour, while ITV1 attracted 937,000 (11 per cent).

An hour earlier, as Labour's Gordon Brown spoke of how he wwould remain prime minister for the time being, a similar audience of just under 4 million was watching BBC1 and ITV1 - a 47.6 per cent share. Between 1.30pm and 2pm, BBC1 averaged 3.079 million (36.7 per cent), while ITV1 got 909,000 (10.9 per cent).

BBC1 dropped an Escape to the Country repeat to stay with live election coverage until 3.45pm. BBC News Channel benefited as viewers keen to keep watching switched over from BBC1 at that point. The BBC rolling news network averaged 722,000 (6.1 per cent) over the two hours from 4pm - the most watched multichannel programme of the day. Sky News averaged 321,000 viewers during this two hour period from 4pm.

ITV1 pulled Loose Women and 60-Minute Makeover to stay with live election coverage until 3pm. However, as with election night the day before, ITV1 lost out as viewers turned to the BBC to follow political developments. ITV1 had a 15.5 per cent all-individuals share on Friday, down nearly 11 per cent compared to the network's average for the day over the past three months.

The ratings boost for BBC News Channel and Sky News continued over the weekend, as the networks continued to provide live coverage of the ongoing talks between the Conseratives and the Lib Dems.

BBC News Channel had a 2.3 per cent all-individuals share on Saturday, more than double its three months average for the day. Sunday's 1.9 per cent share for the network represented a 73 per cent boost to the three month figure. Sky News had a 1 per cent all-individuals share on Saturday and Sunday, double its normal weekend figure over the past three months.