2020: an unusual and extraordinary year

In a year that saw the world thrown into a crisis we could never have imagined, and more people home than ever before, ITV was committed to keeping the nation's spirits lifted. From entertainment for the whole family, informative news, to inspiring programmes to keeping viewers' minds and hearts occupied - ITV provided escapism and trusted information during this important time. 

With total TV viewing in 2020 to broadcast channels growing by 6%, a first year of growth since 2011, ITV was the most watched channel for young viewers (16-34s) in both all time and prime time.

16-34s ITV was the most watched channel by younger viewers

6% Total TV viewing in 2020 to broadcast channels grew by 6%

84% Live viewing remains at 84% of all broadcast viewing

Total TV viewing

Live viewing still claims the lion share of all broadcast viewing at 84% - a percentage shared in 2019. In a decade, ITV saw it's third biggest Share of Viewing (SOV), with 16.7% this year across all UK broadcasting. On average, each viewer watched 3 hours and 12 minutes a day of broadcaster TV in 2020. This was up by 9 minutes year-on-year and flat compared to 2018.

* Broadcast viewing is to linear channels, via a TV set, within 7 days of the original transmission – recorded or VOD.
** This excludes Games Consoles and DVDs and is likely to be viewing to SVOD and some archive BVOD.

A surge of young viewers

ITV Channel performance

ITV was the most watched channel for 16-34s in both all time and prime time. This was the third year in a row for all time and eighth year in a row for prime time. ITV’s prime time 16-34 audience was 12% greater than BBC One’s.

Over a quarter of people watching broadcast television are tuned into an ITV channel in the evening, with ITV Family’s prime time SOV at 25.4% for 2020.

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Digital performance

ITV2 was the most watched digital channel for 16-34s for the fourth year in a row. The channel was the fourth biggest channel overall for 16-34s and 16-24s, only behind ITV, BBC One and Channel 4.

ITV3 was the most watched digital channel in 2020 for both all individuals and ABC1 Adults. The channel saw a 14% increase year-on-year for ABC1 Adults. It had 43 programmes with an audience of over 1 million viewers, compared to 19 in 2019.

ITV4 saw its male audience increase by 6%. It was the sixth biggest digital channel for Men in 2020. The channel had 44 programmes with over half a million viewers, compared to 32 in 2019.

ITV Hub performance

A strong programming schedule ensured an excellent performance for ITV Hub. Des pulled in the Hub’s biggest drama audience ever, with 1.6m viewers across 7 days and 2.4m across 28 days. Including Des, there were a total of six dramas with over 1 million viewers on Hub in 2020; Quiz, White House Farm, Liar, Honour and Flesh and Blood.

The winter edition of Love Island was the second biggest programme on Hub, watched by an average of 1.7m viewers across 28 days. This was over 40% of its total audience. Gordon, Gino and Fred: Road Trip had 1.2m Hub viewers across 28 days, which was 17% of its total audience. 

What were viewers watching?


ITV holds 4 of the top 5 new dramas on TV in 2020, with Des, Quiz, White House Farm and Van Der Valk. Des saw a record-breaking performance in September, attracting 12.3m viewers across 28 days and including repeat transmissions. This makes it ITV’s biggest new drama on record and the biggest drama on TV since Bodyguard. It is also the biggest series on record for the Hub with an average of 2.4m viewers tuning onto the Hub. 



In its 60th year, Coronation Street managed to increase its audience year on year and comfortably retain its title as the UK’s number one soap.  Across 2020, Corrie achieved an average audience of 6.7 million with a 33% share. This was Coronation Street’s highest audience since 28th January 2019. There were a total of 117 programmes on ITV in 2020 which broke the 7 million audience barrier, and 53% of them were episodes of Coronation Street.

Emmerdale remains the number two soap for a third consecutive year, beating EastEnders again in 2020.  Across the year, Emmerdale delivered an average audience of 5.8 million with a 31% share.

Coronation Street Minisheet.jpg

(Royal Mail marked the 60th anniversary of Coronation Street with special stamps)


I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here

Most episodes averaged 11.2m TV viewers with a 43% share. This makes it I'm A Celebrity's second biggest series ever (only behind 2018) and biggest series on TV in 2020! This was I'm A Celebrity's second biggest audience ever, only beaten by the 2004 finale which saw Kerry Katona crowned Queen of the jungle.

Beat the Chasers 

Episodes averaged 6.5m viewers (25% share) making it the biggest new entertainment series since the launch of BGT in 2007. It was up +70% for volume (+2.6m) on the equivalent week last year.

The Masked Singer

Series was the second biggest new entertainment series since the launch of BGT in 2007, with an average of 6.3m.

Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway

Had its second biggest series ever with 8.5m viewers and a 41% share. In terms of share it was its best performing series ever. For 16-34s it averaged 1.6m viewers with a 56% share. 

In For A Penny

The second series averaged 4.6m viewers with a 23% share, which was up on series 1 by +1.3m viewers and +2 share points. All episodes outperformed episodes in series 1 and the launch attracted its biggest audience ever with 5.7m viewers.

Educating viewers with factual entertainment

Four of ITV’s factual titles in 2020 delivered over 5.5m viewers, with two of these factual titles averaging over 6m viewers.

Gordon, Gino and Fred: Road Trip

Series 2 averaged 6.6m viewers. It was ITV’s biggest peak-time factual since Diana, Our Mother in 2017. It was also the most watched factual series across all channels in H1 2020. The series averaged 1.3m 16-34’s on a TV set, ITV's biggest factual title for 16-34 volume in 2020. Gordon, Gino & Fred: Desperately Seeking Santa averaged 6.1m viewers. It was ITV’s second biggest peak-time factual title for Individuals and 16-34s volume in 2020. 

Long Lost Family: Born Without a Trace 

The show averaged 5.6m TV set viewers (5.7m including non-TV viewing) across the two-part series. The second episode on Tuesday 2nd June pulled in 5.7m viewers, the biggest TV set audience for a Long Lost Family programme since 2014 and the eighth biggest audience ever for the programme.

Anne: The Princess Royal at 70 series drew in 4.9m viewers (5m including non-TV) and a 23.9% share. It is ITV’s 2nd biggest volume for a royal documentary in the last 2 years, second only to The Queen’s Green Planet in 2018. 

The Real ‘Des’: The Dennis Nilsen Story

The show secured 4.7m viewers, rising to 4.8m including non-TV viewing. It saw the highest volume for a crime documentary on ITV since James Bulger: A Mother’s Story in February 2018.

Bradley Walsh & Son: Breaking Dad

Series 2 averaged 5.6m viewers and a 27.1% share. It is ITV's biggest volume for a factual title in the weekday 8pm slot since the first series of Breaking Dad in January 2019 (excludes election debates and PM Statements). 

Welcome to HMP Belmarsh

The two-part series delivered 4.2m viewers (4.3m when including non-TV viewing). 1m TV set viewers were 16-34’s, meaning 25% of its adult TV set audience were 16-34’s. It is ITV’s third-biggest peak-time factual title for 16-34 volume in 2020 and is ITV's biggest crime documentary for 16-34 volume since February 2018.

When daytime became the new nightime


Good Morning Britain 

The breakfast show continued to grow in 2020, as it has done every year since launch. The show averaged 763k viewers and was up +13% in volume vs. 2019 - the highest annual volume the show has seen. GMB had its biggest consolidated week ever in week 13 (the first week of initial lockdown), with 1.0m viewers. The week reached 7.8m individuals.


Averaged almost 1.1m viewers and a 20.2% share in 2020, up +22% for volume and +1.8 share points vs. 2019. All months from March onwards saw volume uplift, and April onwards saw share of viewing grow year-on-year. Lorraine had its biggest week ever in week 13, with 1.5m viewers, and reached 6.0m individuals.

This Morning

The show averaged almost 1.2m viewers and a 21.1% share, which was up +3.4 share points and up +45% in volume vs. 2019 full year performance. 2020 performance saw This Morning bring in the biggest yearly volume to the show on record, and the highest share of viewing since 2007. In week 14, towards the start of the lockdown, This Morning achieved its biggest week since 2004. It had an average of 1.6m viewers and reached 8.45m individuals across the week.

Loose Women

The show delivered 1.0m viewers in 2020, up by 18% vs. 2019.

More daytime on the rise

It was a great year for ITV quiz shows with The Chase, Tipping Point and Tenable all having their best years ever for audience volume. The Chase averaged 3.8m viewers and a 29.3% share across the year, an increase of 0.4m viewers year-on-year. The Chase has grown its audience every year since 2015. In 2020 the programme also broke the 5.0m viewer mark for the first time on November 19th and would do so a further two times in 2020.

Tipping Point averaged 2.5m viewers and a 26.1% share in 2020. The programme had its highest ever audience on 28th April with 3.4m viewers.

Tenable drew 1.2m viewers in 2020, an improvement on 2019 of 0.2m viewers and 0.5 share points.

Martin & Roman’s Sunday Best averaged 383k viewers and a 6.4% share across the period, bringing the series average to 223k and a 4.3% share.

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Keeping the nation informed with trusted news

ITV News

Overall had a strong year across all three national weekday bulletins, seeing year-on-year increases for volume and share*. ITV Lunchtime News averaged 1m viewers and a 13.0% share, up year-on year by +0.2m. ITV Evening News averaged 3.6m viewers and a 21.5%, up year-on year by +0.4m TV set viewers (+14%) and +1.1 share points. News at Ten averaged 2m viewers and a 12.5% share, up +0.2m TV set viewers.

With 1.1m viewers on Wednesday 15th April 2020, Robert Peston had its best performing episode for volume ever.

Coronavirus: Britain in Lockdown attracted 3.7m viewers on Thursday 26th March, Tonight’s biggest audience since March 2018, which covered the Beast from the East.


4th July coverage of ITV Racing from Epsom had the largest audience for an episode of horse racing outside of the Grand National so far on ITV. The edition averaged a fantastic 1.2m viewers with a 11.5% share.

International Rugby (France v Wales) on Saturday 24th October achieved 1m viewers, ITV4’s highest audience since the an episode of Tour de France Highlights in 2018.


Source: Techedge/BARB, Jan-Dec 2020, based on consolidated data

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