Monday 14 June 2021 11:58 am

GB News launch tops ratings despite technical glitches

GB News raked in bumper viewer numbers for its eagerly-awaited launch last night, eclipsing its news rivals despite a string of technical glitches.

The channel, which went live last night with a special welcome programme, pulled in average viewing figures of 164,400 between 7pm and 11pm, equivalent to a 1.1 per cent share.

This beat BBC News, which recorded 133,000 viewers, and was almost triple the 57,000 people who tuned into Sky News, according to data from ratings organisation BARB.

The figures will come as a major boost to GB News, which has promised to shake up the British TV news market.

Introducing the new channel, former BBC veteran Andrew Neil said it would “not be an echo chamber for the metropolitan mindset”, adding that it was “proud to be British”.

The GB News launch was beset with technical difficulties

The launch featured interviews with a string of GB News’ presenters, including former Sky News anchors Kirsty Gallagher and Colin Brazier, former Sun executive editor Dan Wootton and Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry.

The strong ratings came despite a host of technical glitches, with viewers complaining about poor sound and lighting quality.

Several guests, including Nigel Farage and Sir Alan Sugar, were also cut off briefly in the middle of interviews.

GB News has also become embroiled in a row with rival broadcasters over access to political footage.

Lawyers for the channel have written to Ofcom, the culture secretary and the competition watchdog to complain that a deal with news agency Reuters to supply footage of parliament and political events has fallen through.

GB News has accused the BBC, ITV and Sky News, which cover the events under a so-called pool system, of “shutting out” their new competitor, the Telegraph reported.