Olympics 2012: BBC3 Beats ITV1 in All-Day Ratings for the First Time

London Olympics Logo NEW - P 2012

London Olympics Logo NEW - P 2012

The digital network, boosted by its Summer Games coverage, outdrew the commercial broadcaster, which recorded its worst single-day performance.

LONDON - U.K. digital public broadcast network BBC3 on Sunday for the first time ever outperformed commercial broadcaster ITV1 in terms of all-day viewer share thanks to the Olympics.

Thanks to the Summer Games, BBC1 had an all-day share of 42.7 percent, and BBC3, which also features much Olympics coverage, reached 5.2 percent between 6am on Sunday and 2am on Monday, according to ratings data. That edged out commercial broadcaster ITV1's 4.8 percent, or 5 percent when including viewership for ITV1+1, a channel that broadcasts ITV1 programming with a one-hour time shift.

That meant the worst ever single day ratings performance for ITV1, according to the Guardian. The paper said it was ITV1's lowest daily audience share since the start of the current Barb ratings methodology in 2002 and in the broadcaster's 57-year history given that its audience share used to be higher before that.

The network had scheduled mostly drama reruns on Sunday as management has acknowledged it won't be able to compete with the BBC Olympics coverage. An ITV spokeswoman declined to comment on the ratings.

BBC3 typically offers youth-skewing factual programs, comedy, evergreen series Eastenders and acquired shows.

ITV1's viewing share for the entire first day of London 2012 Summer Games competitions already came close to being eclipsed by BBC3. Since then, some days have also seen only a narrow ratings difference.

As reported
, the BBC drew a record audience Sunday night with its Olympics coverage as 20 million tuned in to watch Usain Bolt take the gold medal in the 100 meter sprint.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai