Nigel Farage presenting his first show on GB News
Credit: GB News
The average audience for GB News fell below that of the Horror Channel last week as the upstart station continues to battle declining viewer numbers in its early weeks.
The number of people watching Andrew Neil’s station have fallen by two thirds since its first week on air, from an average viewership of 42,529 to 14,900 last week, according to industry data.
This was a sixth of the BBC News Channel and less than 30pc of the total for Sky News.
However, the arrival of Nigel Farage’s evening programme on Monday has boosted figures, with an average of 96,300 viewers during the one-hour programme.
GB News, whose launch last month was beset by technical issues, was dragged into new controversy last week when presenter Guto Harri took the knee on air. The act, which led to viewers threatening a boycott, violated its editorial standards according to the network.
Average audiences fell to 13,300 on Wednesday last week, a day after the gesture, and a low of 11,700 on Saturday.
Last week, it had fewer viewers on average than the Horror Channel, Food Network and CBBC, according to figures from Barb, which collects audience data.
On Sunday, Mr Farage announced that he would host a weekday evening programme in a major boost for the fledgling channel.
Audience figures during his broadcast were close to those during GB News’ first week on air and meant the channel matched Sky News over the course of the evening.
The former Ukip leader tweeted on Tuesday:
I believe in @afneil. He is one of the most intelligent broadcasters we have seen in our lifetime and will make GB News a great success. pic.twitter.com/PyFOF7EmV1
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) July 20, 2021
Mr Harri was suspended last week after taking the knee in solidarity with England footballers, and subsequently resigned.
The director of programming, John McAndrew, also stepped down, while Mr Neil took an extended break shortly after the channel’s launch to "replenish his batteries".
The Spectator chairman has admitted that the channel has had a rocky start but said it was "early days".
The ratings figures only measure traditional television viewing. GB News has positioned itself as a multi-platform outlet, saying the reach on its app and online is important in addition to its broadcasts.
The channel has also recruited Mark Dolan from talkRADIO to present an evening show on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The press release announcing his appointment points out that his "videos on current affairs issues frequently went viral on social media".
Mark Dolan is joining GB News from this Friday