Official: nobody watches BBC3 news



BBC3 suffered the embarrassment of seeing its news bulletin register zero viewers at the height of the war in Iraq - a time of huge demand for news programmes.

As the popularity of news channels and terrestrial bulletins rocketed, the audience for The News Show on March 28 sunk so low that the Barb ratings system registered it as a zero.

On three other days since March 26 - including last Tuesday - The News Show has been watched by just 1,000 viewers.

In the first few days after BBC3 launched on February 10, The News Show attracted audiences as high as 91,000 viewers.

"We are realistic. We don't expect people to turn to The News Show during the war. They are going to watch rolling news channels," a BBC3 spokeswoman said.

"The News Show has had good figures. We are trying something new with news on the channel and we're the only multichannel entertainment service with a news show," she added.

"We hope viewing figures will pick up once things get back to normal."

The poor ratings performance of The News Show during the second Gulf war will be a blow to BBC3 controller Stuart Murphy, who promised it would try and bring a new approach to TV news to make it appeal to the 16-34 audience.

Mr Murphy was forced to introduce more news, current affairs and factual programming into the BBC3 schedule after culture secretary Tessa Jowell threw out the initial proposal because it did not have a strong enough public service remit.