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I wish it could be Christmas every day

18 February 2015

Joe Lewis, Project Director at BARB

Although a time for opening presents, sharing time with family and arguing over a game of Risk (land grab for Oceania crucial!), the Christmas period continues to be for relaxing and enjoying our favourite programmes.

Indeed, Christmas Day saw over 40 million people in the UK settle in front of the box to watch broadcast TV. For the second year running, Mrs Brown’s Boys topped the charts with 7.6 million people watching on the 25th and a further 2.1 million catching it within a week. Whilst waiting for the turkey to overcook, well over 1 million of us watched Queen Elsa “Let it Go” in Frozen on Sky Movies Premiere. Remarkably, this made it the second most popular channel in that timeslot behind BBC1. Of course our own Queen also had her moment with over 8 million viewers tuning in across BBC1 and ITV to watch the traditional Christmas speech.

For those too caught up in the day’s revelries, there is always the opportunity to catch up with festive programmes through PVR or catch-up services. Not surprisingly, 7 day timeshift for Christmas Day is the highest for any day in the year, with over 18% of the consolidated ratings not watched live.

You might think that interest in Christmas Day television would diminish as we enter the New Year, especially with a new season of dramas and serials attracting our attention. For the most part you would be right; however from the 1st to the 22nd of January a staggering 6.9 million people have continued to watch Christmas Day TV either via catch-up or recorded through their PVRs.

Since July 2013 BARB has been making it possible to track 28 day catch-up viewing within the disaggregated respondent level datasets. This has allowed those within the industry to quantify additional viewing in the 4 weeks after broadcast. Now BARB will be publishing this 28 day data online, in addition to the 7 day consolidated data available. You can find these here, for the top 10 programmes for all channels, in the Viewing data section of our website.

28 day christmas chart

So, using BARB, you can now assess how audiences accumulate for your favourite shows and how much viewing exists outside of the current consolidated window – and just how much we still want the bells to ring out for Christmas.

christmas total chart