Newsnight’s audience figures have fallen by 5 per cent since Ian Katz took over as editor last September, according to new research.
Broadcast reports that between 2 September 2013 and 30 April 2014 the BBC Two flagship programme had an average audience of 590,100, a 3.98 per cent share of the total TV audience. This compares with 623,300, a 4.05 per cent share, over the same period a year earlier
In the last four months of the period, however, the programme has averaged 605,400, down from 614,400 in the same period a year earlier, and has seen its audience share increase from 3.97 per cent to 4.1 per cent.
Broadcast also reported that Newsnight recorded its worst rating in more than a year last Thursday, 320,000 – with a 2.5 per cent share. But it should be noted that Newsnight always has a poor rating on Thursdays when it is up against Question Time on BBC One.
Last month, the BBC Trust noted in a report on news and current affairs that Newsnight’s audience has fallen by 30 per cent since 2009.
It cited the “competition from the wider array of TV channels and other media available nowadays”, but added: “we believe Newsnight continues to occupy an important place in the portfolio, with the purpose of adding something new and fresh to the daily news cycle.”
A BBC spokesperson said: "Over the last few months BBC Newsnight has seen a stabilisation in its audience figures and is routinely being watched by more than 700,000 people. Both February and March this year, for example, saw the first monthly year on year rise for more than two years. Since Ian Katz took over last year the programme has produced a string of much talked TV moments including Jeremy Paxman's encounter with Russell Brand, which has now been viewed over 10 million times on YouTube, and an interview with Harriet Harman where she talks exclusively about the Paedophile Information Exchange."
@pressgazette More significant point is that after yrs of decline Newsnight audience has bn stable in 2014 + up yr on yr 2 of last 3 months
— Ian Katz (@iankatz1000) May 14, 2014