TV set viewing: Euro 2020

21 June 2021

Welcome to a new edition of What People Watch, a series exploring different aspects of how UK audiences are watching television now. This time we look at some of the early viewing data from the delayed Euro 2020 international football tournament. But first, our regular update on the latest weekly trends.

TV set viewing to BARB-reported channels

The advent of warmer weather over the last few weeks has been one of the factors impacting viewing levels, with consolidated 7-day viewing to BARB reported channels at 149 minutes per day on average for week 23 2021 (week-commencing June 7th). This was below the levels of both 2019 and 2020 for the respective weeks. Unidentified viewing has also dipped from the levels it was achieving earlier in the year, down to 61 mins per day. BARB has looked at how weather affects TV viewing in a previous What People Watch article.

The live and same-day figures for week 24 indicate that we should expect to see an increase next week once consolidated viewing is added. At present, live and same-day viewing for the week was 155 mins a day, already higher than the consolidated viewing of week 23 and up 16 mins daily on a like-for-like basis. One factor in this increase could be the additional viewing added from Euro 2020, with matches taking place every day in this week. 

Euro 2020 viewing

With the delayed Euro 2020 international football tournament underway, TV viewers have been tuning into the matches in large numbers. Live and same-day viewing TV set viewing to live coverage of Friday’s England v Scotland match averaged over 13.1m viewers. This includes all pre- and post-game coverage, and was the highest non-coronavirus programme of 2021 so far, based on live and same-day viewing. The peak minute for average audience was towards the end of the match, at over 19.8m Individuals 4+, a 78.8% share. Overall reach for the match was over 23.2m people, based on those who watched at least 3 minutes on a live and same-day basis. 

Fixtures for all teams have been contributing to the reach of the tournament. Following kick-off on Friday June 11th, all 24 teams had played their first game by the following Tuesday. Looking at the incremental reach for each of these matches, we can see how the numbers tuning in have grown through each of the 12 opening fixtures.

Over 13.6m viewers in the UK watched live coverage of the opening match (Turkey v Italy) on a TV-set, more than 20% of Individuals 4+. The chart above then shows the incremental reach of each subsequent fixture, up to the France v Germany match which marked the end of the first round of group games. This is not the reach of each individual match, but the number of people added who had not watched 3 minutes of any previous game. Match 2, Wales v Switzerland, added 3.0m viewers who had not watched any of the Italy game, then Denmark v Finland added a further 2.8m and so on.

There is a spike provided by England’s opening fixture, with 4.3m viewers choosing this match for their debut watching the tournament – the greatest addition of any fixture after the opener. Although the incremental amount generally lessens as the tournament continues, the Scotland and Spain games stand out by adding 1.2m and 2.0m respectively. Across the first 12 matches of the tournament, 32.9m Individuals 4+ watched at least 3 minutes of live coverage of at least one game, over 54% of the population. By the end of the second round of group games on Saturday June 19th, this had extended further, to over 40m people (66.5%).

With Wales in group A, and therefore seeing their fixtures take place early in the schedule, we also already have the live and same-day viewing results for all three of their games. Looking at regional viewing, their June 12th opener against Switzerland achieved an average audience of almost 279k in Wales, 67% of the Welsh TV audience watching at the time. The win against Turkey 4 days later was slightly lower in share, but delivered over 380k average audience. For the final game, where Wales secured passage to the knockout stages despite a defeat to Italy, the TV audience in Wales was over 480k viewers – a 60% share of the audience.

With qualification to the last-16 being decided in the coming days and then the knockout stages, we can expect high viewing figures to continue.

What People Watch will return with further insights into current viewing behaviour.

Jeremy Martin, Insights Manager, BARB

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