U.K. survey takes switch to BBC

ITV top choice for Brit tellies

LONDON — A new U.K. television survey comes as bad news for the BBC, good news for cable and satellite, and shows a big leap in the number of British kids who have their own sets.

The Independent Television Commission’s annual report into the Brit public’s TV habits, preferences and opinions places the ITV network as the most popular channel.

Asked what channel they would choose if they could only have one, 41% of the viewers surveyed said ITV, up 1% on the previous year (1998) and roughly in keeping with the web’s actual ratings. BBC flagship channel BBC1, however, dropped 5% to 30%.

Channel choices

Those preference points went for the most part to cable and satellite channels, cumulatively up 4% to 16%, respectively, as a viewer’s No. 1 choice.

Cable and sat penetration, according to the more than 1,200 people who participated in the report, was also up — leading the ITC to conclude that 41% of British homes are now multichannel.

But the big surprise was that 53% of children have their own TV in the bedroom, up substantially from 46%.

The ITC said most of the figures in its survey are an accurate representation of what is actually happening in the U.K. market. One anomaly, however, was that viewers rated news very highly in popularity. This is in contrast to news viewership, which is in decline.

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