Sunday night’s Euro 2020 final, in which Italy beat England on penalties, was the U.K.’s most-watched TV event in over 20 years with a peak viewing audience of 30.95 million viewers and an average audience of 29.85 million. The game was broadcast on both the BBC One and ITV, and the combined numbers are the highest since the broadcast of Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997, according to the BBC.
Peak viewership came late as the game ended in a tie after extra time, meaning the two teams would decide the outcome with penalties, a source of historical frustration for the English national team which came back to bite them once again. After converting their first two attempts and some impressive work from goalie Jordan Pickford, England failed to score from their final three shots, with Italian keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma – eventually named player of the tournament – saving two and another hitting the left post.
As this year’s tournament progressed, viewing numbers of England’s matches grew steadily. On Tuesday of last week, England vs Denmark drew 27.6 million viewers at its peak, making it the most-watched soccer match ever shown on one network in the U.K. It also bucked another England bugaboo of poor results from games broadcast on ITV. Ahead of that match, it was calculated that over the last 23 years England have only won five matches broadcast on ITV as opposed to 15 on the BBC.
Perhaps that’s one reason why the BBC so heavily dominated the audience breakdown, pulling in an astonishing 25 million of those viewers meaning ITV only managed roughly 20% audience share for the split broadcast.
Total U.K. viewership numbers for Sunday’s final are likely to rise as catchup numbers are accounted for. According to “Match of the Day” lead anchor and legendary English striker Gary Lineker, nearly 6 million watched on BBC’s iPlayer alone.
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) July 12, 2021
In Italy, the game was broadcast on Rai, which says throughout the match an average of 18 million people tuned in, representing a 73.7% market share. The broadcast peaked during penalties with just over 18.5 million viewers watching for a 78.7% audience share. By comparison, the 2006 World Cup final between Italy and France, which Italy eventually won, scored 23.9 million viewers and an 84.11% average share.
Discovery Plus has ordered “90 Day Fiancé UK,” a new local version of the popular reality series to be produced by BAFTA-winning label CPL Productions, a Red Arrow Studios company. 2020 was a huge year for the “90 Day” franchise in the U.K., pulling its best-ever ratings for a single episode of “Before the 90 Days,” making it the highest-rated episode of the year on TLC. In total, more than 3.1 million people watched some part of the franchise on TLC U.K. The entire “90 Day” franchise is now available on Discover Plus in the U.K., with “90 Day Fiancé UK” set to launch later this year.
U.K. distributor Drive has made several sales of ready-made factual content to channels in Asia. In total, more than 35 hours of content are headed to ViuTVsix and RTHK in Hong Kong, NHK and Discovery in Japan, and CCTV China. ViuTVsix picked up six titles: “Auschwitz Untold: In Colour,” “The Spy who Stole the Atom Bomb,” “Building Star Trek,” two seasons of “History of Britain,” “Volatile Earth” and “Cash in the Spare Room,” with fellow Hong Kong broadcaster RTHK scooping “10 Mistakes that Sunk the Titanic,” “Reef Rescue” and “Should we Bomb Auschwitz.” Both “Reef Rescue” and “10 Mistakes that Suck the Titanic” were also picked up by NHK Japan, with Discovery Japan acquiring “Trains that Changed the World.” And finally, China’s Hubu Media Group picked up “First Contact: Lost Tribe of the Amazon” and “Australian on Fire: Climate Emergency” for CCTV.
Banijay Rights has sold International Emmy-nominated Israeli dramedy series “Fifty” to Arte in France and Germany. Created by novelist and screenwriter Yael Hedaya (“In Treatment”), the series was first commissioned by Yes TV and is produced by Endemol Shine Israel. Daphna Levine, co-creator of “Eurphoria,” directs the Hebrew-language series, which tells the story of widowed screenwriter Alona Nachmias, pushing 50 and struggling to raise three children between 11 and 22 years old. With only one year left in her 40s, Alona sets two goals for herself before turning 50: signing a development deal for a comedy series and have sex. “Fifty” will premiere on arte.tv on July 16.