While the overnight ratings for BBC First's shows are quite small, the consolidated national numbers indicate Foxtel’s newest channel is reaching fairly sizable audiences.
By that yardstick BBC First had four of the top 10 dramas on subscription TV, excluding soaps, in its first week.
The first episode of Peaky Blinders, a gangster family drama set in post-WW1 Birmingham starring Cillian Murphy and Sam Neill, had a consolidated national audience of 146,000.
The Politician’s Husband, the tale of the shifting balance of power in a political marriage, featuring David Tennant and Emily Watson, drew 145,000.
Episode one of The Muskeeers, the action/adventure/ romance inspired by Alexandre Dumas’ legendary characters, attracted 119,000 and the second episode had 94,000.
Those figures are rather more impressive than Fusion Strategy’s analysis which showed live viewing of the channel fell from a prime-time peak of 18,000 in the metro areas and 23,000 nationally on launch day Sunday August 3 to 6,000/8,000 on the following Thursday and 4,000/5,000 on Saturday.
“We’re thrilled with the engagement that BBC First has had with its audience in the short amount of time it has been on air,” said a BBC Worldwide Channels spokeswoman.
“We program our channel for Foxtel customers, who like to watch programmes at a time that suits them, so we will be looking at how the consolidated national figures play out over a period of time as the channel beds down and audiences get used to tuning into a new channel.
“Initial results from the first week are very encouraging. Looking at total audience, consolidated figures for the first week show BBC First had four of the top 10 dramas on STV excluding soaps.”