At peak 87% of the TV audience in Wales were watching BBC’s coverage of the Wales v Ireland match
Wales’ Grand Slam winning game against Ireland on Saturday was watched by more than one million viewers in Wales alone.
Head of digital and marketing for BBC Cymru Wales, Richard Thomas, said those watching the game broadcast across the BBC network, represented at peak a 87% (at 4:30pm) share of the total television watching audience in Wales – and 82% on average during the game.
The peak figure of 1.028 million (885,000 on average) doesn’t capture hundreds of thousands of other viewers watching the game in pubs and sporting clubs across Wales.
It also doesn’t take account of the audience that tuned in to watch Welsh language coverage through S4C – and of course the 74,000 spectators who watched the game live at the Principality Stadium.
For coverage across the UK for the BBC the game attracted an average audience of 4.4 million and a peak of 5.5 million – representing an audience share of 36% and 43% respectively.
Despite having less than 5% of the total UK population, the viewers from Wales represented nearly a quarter of the total audience.
Addressing a meeting of Cardiff Breakfast Club, BBC Wales’ head of digital and marketing Richard Thomas, said: “The stats for Saturday were absolutely amazing. To have 82% of the people in Wales watching television on Saturday afternoon viewing the game is incredible.
“That might get you thinking what the other 18% were watching, but a 82% average share is equivalent to the audiences for the London 2012 Olympics opening and closing ceremonies.
“So that is the sort of scale that Saturday was all about.”
According to figures from BARB (Broadcasters Audience Research Board) at anyone time around 1% of the UK television audience is on the electronic guide to see what programmes are on.
Mr Thomas said: “Wales [rugby] on Saturday in some respects is a good comparator to where we want to be in terms of BBC Wales as well.”You have got a small nation that is highly successful on the rugby pitch and is now number one in Europe and number two in the world.”We have a mantra in Wales about being a creative nation and we want to be part of Europe’s most creative nation.”
BBC Wales will start the relocation into its £120m new headquarters at the Central Square development in the centre of Cardiff from October.
The relocation, from its current headquarters in Llandaff, is expected to be completed by next spring and will be home to some 1,200 staff.
Cardiff Breakfast Club is sponsored by the Western Mail, Blake Morgan, Lloyds Banking Group, Effective Communication and Stills Branding.