War boosts news channel audiences

An analysis of media coverage has shown television and radio news audiences more than doubling during the opening days of the war in Iraq.

The research conducted by GfK Media found that Sky News’s daily audience increased by 2.5 times in the first days of the war while BBC Five Live showed the biggest increase on radio.

An analysis of viewing during the five week days from Wednesday 12 March to Tuesday 18 March showed that an average of 4.1 million adults a day watched Sky News. This compared with 10.2 million Sky News viewers for the five week days prior to the war.

Researchers also found that time spent watching the channel during the same period went from 33 minutes to 76 minutes.

On BBC Radio Five Live, the average daily audience increased from 3.1 million listeners to 6.2 million listeners during the conflict.

The demand for news was also reflected in a doubling of the European subcription base for Al-Jazeera during the first week of the war.

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