Channel 5 reports biggest year for ABC1, highest family share | Ratings/Measurement | News | Rapid TV News
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The UK’s fifth largest broadcaster Channel 5 has delivered its highest festive fortnight ratings since 2005, growing its share of individuals viewing, ABC1 viewers and free-to-air portfolio more than any other terrestrial channel in 2021, according to BARB data.
Channel 5 News 26Sep2021
Building on what Channel 5 called its “exceptional” performance in 2020, share of viewing increased by 5% year-on-year, overall. The channel’s share of primetime viewing was said to be a key factor behind its success, increasing 11% year-on-year between 7 and 11pm, a higher margin than any other public service broadcaster.

2021 was also the channel’s strongest year since 2009, with a year-on-year increase amongst ABC1s 7%. Growth of share of both audiences rose by a higher margin than any other terrestrial broadcaster. Additionally, the free-to-air digital portfolio grew by 5%, making it the best year ever for the Channel 5 family of channels.

Drama was a key contributor to audience growth – The Drowning peaked at 5.1 million and a 22% share in February, while the second series of All Creature Great & Small hit a series high of 4.4 million / 21% in September. In the factual arena, Our Yorkshire Farm continued to be a hit, averaging 3.6 million / 16% across the series. Other top rating shows included Inside Chernobyl With Ben Fogle, The Disappearance of Shannon Mathews and Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild – all with over 2.5 million viewers.

The channel’s 19:00-20:00 timeslots had the highest ever year for share of viewing, up 14% and 13% respectively, year-on-year, in addition to success in peak, year-on-year. Key titles driving this included talent-led series Susan Calman’s Grand Days Out; Adrian Dunbar’s Costal Ireland; Gardening with Carol Klein and Sally Lindsay: Britain’s Poshest Sleep Over along with The Yorkshire Vet: Springtime on The Farm. Elsewhere in the schedule, the channel saw strong performances from royal and observational documentaries including Kensington Palace: Behind Closed Doors; Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly and Casualty 24/7.

Looking specifically at the Christmas period, Channel 5 reported its highest festive fortnight since 2005, claiming a 5.23% share. Christmas Eve was the channel’s highest day of the year overall, thanks to a festive special of All Creatures Great & Small which attracted 4.2 million viewers and a 21% share, making it the most popular programme on TV across the hour.

In the on-demand sector, Channel 5’s VOD platform My5 saw its best performance for the second consecutive year, with a 36% year-on-year uplift in streams and 31% year-on-year uplift in time spent viewing. The Drowning was My5’s best-ever performing title, echoing its success on the linear channel. My5 also saw a string of highly successful documentaries drive growth early in 2021. Inside Chernobyl with Ben Fogle is My5’s best performing documentary of all time, closely followed by The Disappearance of Shannon Mathews and Lost Boy: The Killing of James Bulger.

Examining the reasons for the strong performance, ViacomCBS Networks UK director of programmes Ben Frow said: “I’m pleased that 2021 was Channel 5’s best year ever, with success on the linear channel mirrored on My5. We’ve built on our factual successes and reached new viewers by continuing to elevate our drama slate, with stand-out shows like All Creatures Great & Small driving ratings success. It’s clear that a combination of drama, alongside talent-led factual programmes taking viewers to places they want to see, is proving to be a winning formula.”