Jana Bennett: Overnights no longer enough

Catch-up viewers must be included says BBC Vision boss

LONDON -- They have traditionally been the be-all and end-all of television ratings, but BBC director of Vision Jana Bennett says the once-hallowed "overnights" are now virtually meaningless, given the importance of adding on catch-up viewing.

Writing in the Guardian newspaper, Bennett said that overnight ratings could not be considered in isolation, given that as much as an additional 40% of audience numbers could come from catch-up viewing on such platforms as the BBC iPlayer.

The BBC's catch-up platform logged a record 115 million program download requests in December.

"These new ways of watching can add anything up to 40% to viewing figures," said Bennett, citing the Christmas episode of "Doctor Who," which was watched by 2.6 million on PVR and 1.4 million on iPlayer.

"So as viewing habits continue to evolve, we are balancing the snapshot ratings gives us with a longer-term picture of a program's popularity to help us truly understand how audiences value us."

Bennett's article comes as the BBC flagship channel recorded its lowest Christmas Day ratings in 15 years, based on figures that included its catch-up and iPlayer performance.
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