Commercial TV is poaching BBC Three's younger viewers

Catherine Smith
FAMILY GUY: The Quest For Stuff Los Angeles Premiere Party
Shows such as Family Guy have helped to steal away BBC Three's audience (Source: Getty)

BBC Three's transition to online only in February has been good news for its commercial TV rivals.

According to figures spanning March to May, the BBC's broadcast TV viewing dropped by eight per cent compared with the same period last year.

The decline is particularly evident among the BBC Three core audience of 16-34 year-olds; viewing among that demographic dropped by 18 per cent. IPlayer viewing remained flat across the same period, suggesting the broadcaster's BBC Three audience had not made the switch to watching it online.

Commercial TV channels that cater for BBC Three's hallowed age group have benefited since BBC Three's closure – ITV2 had a 27 per cent year-on-year increase in time spent watching its programmes from March to June. Love Island and Family Guy both provided boosts.

Meanwhile E4 also had a rise in the time spent by 16-34 year-olds watching – up four per cent.

Read more: Hipster beards are here to stay: Grooming salons triumph on high street

Figures were compiled by commercial TV marketing body Thinkbox, using the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board's (BARB) standard measurement for TV viewing – in home on a TV set, within seven days of the original broadcast.

The overall TV viewing of 16-34 year-olds dropped by an average of three minutes a day to two hours 20 minutes, and Thinkbox claimed this decline was felt by BBC channels.

Commercial TV viewing saw an increase of one minute a day to an average of one hour 49 minutes a day.

And despite the rise of Netflix and other streaming services, linear TV is still holding strong for the time being – on average, 86 per cent of TV viewing for the first half of this year was live.

Read more: ITV's takeover offer for EOne not nearly pig enough for investors

Broadcasters and media firms are taking different approaches to the changing face of TV though. While the BBC moved its younger channel BBC Three entirely online earlier this year, youth media brand Vice is launching a new 24-hour broadcast TV channel next month on Sky and its online streaming service Now TV.

Related articles