13.3m audience 'reach' for BBC leaders' debate

An average audience of 8.1 million viewers tuned in to see the final party leaders’ debate on the BBC last night, overnight viewing figures showed today.

The third of the 90-minute shows had an average BBC 1 audience of 7.5 million viewers. The average audience across BBC 1, the News Channel and the HD broadcast of the debate on BBC was 8.1m.

According to the BBC the debate’s ‘reach’, those tuning in for at least three minutes, was 13.3m across BBC 1, HD and the BBC News Channel.

Sky News, which also broadcast the debate live, attracted an average audience of 329,000 – overnight viewing figures suggest.

According to the BBC, overall viewing across all BBC channels and Sky News peaked at 9.4m between 9pm and 9.15pm.

The BBC Live Coverage online video stream of the debate attracted over 350,000 plays which is stronger than the traffic for both previous debates. And the BBC said that the Live Campaign Coverage page on the BBC News website attracted around 850,000 UK page views yesterday.

Director of BBC News Helen Boaden said: “We are delighted by these figures, which demonstrate a real appetite for serious political debate presented with class and confidence.”

The first debate on ITV1 a fortnight ago drew an average 9.4 million people, with a combined audience of around four million watching Sky’s coverage last week.

Last night’s debate was up against Coronation Street on ITV1 with 6.7 million and Five’s screening of the Uefa Europa League clash between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid on 3.4 million.

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