The World Cup qualifying matches last weekend made winners of Sky,
ITV and Channel 5 along with the England and Scotland teams, according
to viewing figures released this week.
Sky was the only broadcaster to show the England vs Italy match live
after refusing to bow to ITV’s demands to be allowed to share coverage
(see Marketing, October 9).
Sky gained its highest audience in its history, pulling in a network
audience of four million, an 18% share of all viewing. That excludes the
millions who watched the game in pubs.
ITV, which was forced to show the match ’as live’ at 10pm, directly
after Sky’s coverage, attracted 7.5 million viewers, a 47% share of all
Channel 5, which last week secured exclusive live coverage of Scotland’s
qualifying fixture against Latvia, attracted an audience of 2.3 million,
a 20% share of all viewing.
Russell Boyman, broadcast director at Mediapolis, said: ’ITV didn’t lose
that much by starting its coverage after Sky. It shows people are
willing to watch an event ’as live’ even if it isn’t really.’
Sky has decided not to press ahead with pay-per-view football. Chief
executive Sam Chisholm claims the time is not yet right.