Advanced Television

Channel 5 delivers best ever ABC1 ratings in 2018

January 2, 2019

By Sanjeev Bhavnani

Channel 5 delivered a record-breaking year for upmarket viewers in 2018, with ABC1 viewers comprising 44 per cent of its audience on average throughout the year, the highest annual percentage in the channel’s history.

Channel 5 culminated its strong year-round performance with ABC1s by delivering its best ever Christmas* ratings amongst this demographic, with a 6.2 per cent share of viewing across the portfolio. New drama Agatha & The Truth of Murder was the most popular programme over the Christmas period with 2.3 million viewers, making it Channel 5’s second highest rating non-factual programme of the year.

A raft of new shows successfully targeting upmarket viewers, including Michael Palin in North Korea, Inside the Tower of London and Secrets of the National Trust helped the Channel 5 family of channels to secure a 5.6 per cent share of viewing amongst ABC1 viewers in 2018 – matching its best ever ratings performance for the demographic.

Michael Palin in North Korea was Channel 5’s highest rating programme since 2016, when it launched in September to an audience of 3.3 million viewers and a 15 per cent share. It was the most popular programme on TV at the time it aired and won its 9pm time slot.

To match this ratings success, Channel 5’s continued creative evolution resulted in critical acclaim in 2018, with the channel winning its first ever BAFTA TV Award for Cruising with Jane McDonald in the ‘Best Features’ category and ‘Channel of the Year’ at Edinburgh TV Festival.

Following Cruising with Jane McDonald’s BAFTA win, the show returned for a fourth series in June and drew its highest ever episode of 2.4 million viewers and a 10.8 per cent share.

James Currell, President for Viacom’s UK operations, commented: “Continued investment in quality programming on Channel 5 is attracting more upmarket viewers to the channel, who are reappraising what they can expect from Channel 5. In 2019 we will no longer be broadcasting Big Brother, which will free up a significant percentage of our budget to plough into an even greater breadth of original programming to continue the creative evolution of Channel 5 under Viacom’s ownership.”

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