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Telecinco tops Spanish TV charts

Private web beats pubcaster for the first time

MADRID — For the first time since TV launched in 1956, a private TV station — the Mediaset-owned web Telecinco — was the most-watched TV channel over a whole year in Spain, taking a 22.1% audience share for 2004.

TVE-1, pubcaster RTVE’s general-entertainment channel, occupied the top market share slot for the past 48 years.

In 2004, it posted its worst market share ever: 21.4%, losing 2% market share compared with 2003. RTVE’s cultural web, La 2, dipped to 6.9% from 7.2%, according to audience research firm Corporacion Multimedia.

RTVE’s ratings slide was expected. Appointed by Spain’s socialist government following its March 2004 election victory, new RTVE director general Carmen Caffarel has insisted that market share is not everything. She has also complained that her predecessor spent most of last year’s production budget.

The DeAPlaneta-controlled Antena 3 made the biggest recovery of any Spanish broadcaster, upping share from 19.5% to 20.8%.

Spain’s regional Forta pubcasters took an average 17.7%, down from 18.2% in 2003.

According to Corporacion Multimedia analysts, Telecinco leadership played off a strong all-round time-slot performance, plus a stronger attraction for demos — women and 45+ — once the preserve of TVE-1 y Forta.

A3 built on local dramas hits — especially neighbours comedy “Aqui no hay quien viva” — and aggressive primetime movie programming.

Free-to-air webs continued to lose market share in Spain, dropping one percentage point to 88.8%. Sogecable’s DTH platform Digital Plus took 3.5%, local TV channels 3% and Spain’s consolidating cable TV ops 1.8%.