Press Office

Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

Press Release

BBC reveals significant audience increases with new Live +7 figures for January and February's television programmes

The BBC has today published the first two months' figures for its new Live +7 data and has confirmed plans to publish audience appreciation information later this year.

These new measures will combine to provide the BBC with its most accurate assessment of programme value to date. As revealed by former Director, BBC Vision Jana Bennett last November, Live +7 measures the total audience consuming content across all platforms, including live, recordings, narrative repeats, BBC iPlayer and HD for seven days after transmission.

The system makes extensive use of BARB data and collates these ratings relating to a particular programme or episode alongside BBC iPlayer stats.

The results, to be published monthly, show that some of the BBC's most watched shows experience an increase of over four million viewers when measured over seven days. Crucially however, in the case of smaller shows, particularly on digital channels, the total audience for a show can increase by several hundred percent. These figures demonstrate that whilst overnight viewing figures are still extremely important, they increasingly tell only a part of the story.

Highlights from the first set of Live +7 figures published show the following programmes increased their audience as follows:

  • Come Fly With Me (BBC One 01.01.11) up 40% to 10.1m
  • Question Of Sport (BBC One 10.01.11) up 210% to 6.6m
  • Top Gear (BBC Two 30.01.11) up 97% to 10.6m
  • Madagascar (BBC Two 16.02.11) up 79% to 6.0m
  • Junior Doctors (BBC Three 22.02.11) up 190% to 3.5m
  • How To Live With Women (BBC Three 28.02.11) up 387% to 1.35m
  • The Brain – A Secret History (BBC Four 06.01.11) up 127% to 983,000
  • Romancing The Stone: The Golden Ages Of British Sculpture (BBC Four 09.02.11) up 198% to 502,000

David Bunker, Head of Audience Research, BBC Vision said: "The new Live +7 measure is very important to us as it helps us to see the total audience watching a show. Whilst these figures do not represent a replacement for the overnight information, it will be a very useful additional piece of data."

George Entwistle, Acting Director BBC Vision, added: "While audience volume is only one piece of the jigsaw that makes up how we determine the value of a programme it is important that we are able to measure its true size. Live +7 allows us to do just that."

The BBC has also confirmed that it will publish quality data from later this year though the start date and for this has yet to be confirmed.

George Entwistle added: "By combining quality metrics with the Live +7 data we will be able to form a pretty accurate picture of how a programme has been received by its audience."

Notes to Editors

What is Live+7?

Live+7 is a measurement of all viewing in the seven days following first broadcast. It is the BBC's response to how to measure TV viewing in the new media landscape. In the past, a programme was broadcast once, at a set time, and people either watched it there and then or not at all. The overnight audience figure the next day reflected the whole story.

Now audiences can watch a programme live as it is first broadcast, record or bookmark it to watch an hour, day or week later, watch a scheduled repeat on another channel, watch it on demand on the BBC iPlayer – or a combination of all these. The BBC has therefore combined its audience data collection sources to tackle the measurement problem this created.

How does it work?

Programmes watched through a TV set are measured by BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board). To their figures we add viewing on other platforms such as our own iPlayer. Adding these sources together we get a single figure for viewing of one programme over seven days.

About BARB

BARB started reporting UK television audiences in 1981, providing the industry-standard audience measurement service for television broadcasters and the advertising industry. It is a not-for-profit limited company owned by BBC, ITV, Channel 4, five, BSkyB and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.


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