Round Up: Digital power



Despite the doom and gloom surrounding the demise of various niche digital channels such as the Carlton Food Network, and youth channel BBC3 officially given a zero audience rating last month during one of its news bulletins, reports out today show that digital is not dead.
Indeed, the Independent tells us that Easter was a bumper week for satellite and cable channels when they overtook terrestrial broadcasters BBC1 and ITV1 in the ratings war for the first time.
Non-terrestrial channels grabbed an audience share of 26.1%, while BBC1 took 23.9% and ITV1 came a close third with 23.8% of Easter viewers over the same period.
Arsenal and Manchester United took the top spot in the digital audience chart when their match was broadcast live on Sky Sports and watched by almost 3.5m viewers. A source at Sky, says The Sun, was said to be 'absolutely delighted with the figures'.
The BBC's digital channels failed to register any show in the top 10.
The Daily Mail thinks the BBC should watch out - according to some media pundits, the ever-increasing popularity of digital channels could lead to calls for the case surrounding the licence fee to be examined.
ITV1, which commanded the highest TV ad rates, says that the results of the Broadcasters Audience Research Board's report are misleading.
Head of communications Nicola Howson argues: 'This was just for one week. For the rest of the year to date the viewing share for ITV1 and BBC1 is much higher than multi-channel [digital]. You are talking about 200 channels on multi-channel with each of those having a tiny share - but when added together they may at some points overtake the share of one channel like ITV1.'
The BBC, as ever, stood firm. Praising the results, a spokesman said: 'We're not surprised by the figures because our own digital channels have contributed to them.'
The BBC's digital channels, although funded by the licence payer, are currently only accessible to less than half the population.