2008 audience share falls 2.2%

MADRID — Mediaset’s Telecinco ruled Spanish TV in 2008 for the fifth straight year, taking an 18.1% audience share.

But its crown slipped slightly — with its share falling from 2007’s 20.3% — hit by the competish from upstart webs and digital terrestrial TV.

Telecinco’s core audience — urbanites, aged 16-59 — is scrambling to buy widescreen TVs, giving them access to a bouquet of 20-plus DTT channels free-of-charge.

Audience share for DTT more than doubled to 15.6%.

Pubcaster channel TVE-1, one of Telecinco’s main rivals, was insulated from the pull of DTT, with its ratings edging down only slightly, from 17.2% to 16.9%. The channel skews toward the 64-plus demo, which likes to watch TV — an average of five hours, 17 minutes daily — but isn’t so keen on the digital channels.

The share for commercial channel Antena 3 dropped 1.4% to 16%.

Boosted by the Euro 2008 soccer tournament and Spanish league games respectively, new analog networks Cuatro and La Sexta raised share from 7.7% to 8.6%, and 4% to 5.5%, respectively.

Telecinco is also losing its lock on primetime fiction. “CSI” was one victim. Aired Monday nights on Telecinco, but competing with TVE-1’s celeb reality contest “Look Who’s Dancing” and A3’s racy high-school drama “Physics or Chemistry,” “CSI’s” top-rating episode last year attracted 5.3 million eyeballs, 0.9 million down on 2007.

“For the first year, both TVE and Antena 3 lined up strong competition for ‘CSI,’ and it showed,” said Javier Lopez, analysis manager, Barlovento Comunicacion.

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