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GB News clocks 1m viewers for first time as nation rings in New Year

Challenger news channel GB News recorded a million viewers for the first time since it launched in June 2021 as the nation rang in the New Year earlier this week.

According to the latest BARB figures reported in the Press Gazette, 1,034,000 viewers tuned into the channel, which is broadcast from London while its commercial operations are based in Manchester, at 12.11am on New Year’s Day.

The channel’s New Year coverage was hosted by comedian Andrew Doyle, who usually presents GB News’ nightly Headlines newspaper review. Doyle took over the airwaves shortly before midnight to host a countdown and coverage of the London fireworks which lasted until just before 12.15am.

The BBC reports that its own coverage of the London fireworks show was watched by an average of 10.75m – around a 61% audience share – on BBC One, while Sky News reportedly had a peak average audience minute of 625,000 at midnight and a total reach of 1.2 million between 10pm and 1am.

The New Year figures do suggest that GB News may be gaining ground on its more established rivals following an inauspicious start to life in the rolling news sector, marked by high profile departures both voluntary and less so, advertiser boycotts, Ofcom investigations and uninspiring viewing figures.

Nonetheless, GB News still has some way to go to match the numbers of either the Beeb or Sky. Overall in November, the latest month for which full public BARB data is available, GB News had a total reach of 3.5m people with an average daily viewing time of 54 seconds.

In contrast, the BBC News Channel had a monthly reach of 10.9m and an average viewing time of one minute and 58 seconds, while at Sky News it was 8.2m and one minute and 22 seconds.

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