BBC2 reach at launch in 64

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Richard F
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BBC2 reach at launch in 64

Post by Richard F »

So am I right that at launch BBC2 was only available in the London area - and of course only to those households which had installed a UHF aerial? I'm interested in knowing just how many people could have watched BBC2 by July of 1964, and what the average recorded viewing figures were, particularly for the notorious "Tuesday Term" strand of Open University style programmes. Was it true they routinely registered zero in the ratings?

JezR
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Re: BBC2 reach at launch in 64

Post by JezR »

In June 1964, TAM figures indicate that 7 per cent of the television audience in London had BBC 2, although the BBC maintained it was 9.9%. An additional 2% of sets were capable of receiving BBC2, but had no suitable aerial for it, which may account for the difference. An NOP poll indicated that only a quarter of those watched with any significant frequency.

Maybe not quite what you were looking for but gives the general impression.

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Tilt Araiza
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Re: BBC2 reach at launch in 64

Post by Tilt Araiza »

Here's a coverage map from the April 18th-24th edition of the Radio Times.

Image

TonyCurrie
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Re: BBC2 reach at launch in 64

Post by TonyCurrie »

So let's number crunch.

Since it would be physically impossible for a TV home to receive BBC-2 without also having ITV, we can assume that the number of homes in the London area equipped with television was 3,023,000. If 7% had BBC-2, that's 211,610 and a quarter of that is 52,902 (homes). If the figure of a quarter watched regularly, that would probably equate to the maximum audience for a programme. Low-rating programmes might be around the 5,000 mark.

Richard F
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Re: BBC2 reach at launch in 64

Post by Richard F »

Thanks all, much appreciated. So 5 to 10K would be a reasonable guestimate for the total number of viewers for those Tuesday Term programmes?

As an aside can you explain why it would be "physically impossible" to receive BBC2 without also having ITV - commercial TV wasn't transmitted on UHF in 1964 was it?

brigham
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Re: BBC2 reach at launch in 64

Post by brigham »

Richard F wrote:
As an aside can you explain why it would be "physically impossible" to receive BBC2 without also having ITV - commercial TV wasn't transmitted on UHF in 1964 was it?
I'm not sure of the relevance of ITV here, but no commercial apparatus was in existence which could only receive Band I (VHF) and Band IV (UHF), and therefore NOT receive Band III (ITA).
In other words, the only receivers which couldn't receive ITV also couldn't receive BBC 2.
However, a number of enthusiasts carried out a conversion featured in 'Practical Television' magazine, where a redundant Bush TV22 was modified to work at 625-lines UHF only. These sets could then receive BBC 2, but none of the normal BBC or ITA channels.

JezR
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Re: BBC2 reach at launch in 64

Post by JezR »

In case it isn't fully clear as to the importance, TAM only measured viewing in households that had sets capable of receiving Independent Television - although the single-channel set homes remaining by 1964 must have been fairly low.

The NOP survey was largely carried out to demonstrate that BBC2 was not promoting the sales of new sets. Indeed one of the other stats in it was that only 6% of people intended to buy a set for BBC2 in the following 12 months, which was roughly equivalent to the general set replacement rate at the time.

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stearn
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Re: BBC2 reach at launch in 64

Post by stearn »

Was buying actually much of a thing in the 60s? I thought the majority rented sets because of set and repair costs. I know my parents rented until the early 80s, although I am pretty sure both sets of grandparents had bought sets.

JezR
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Re: BBC2 reach at launch in 64

Post by JezR »

stearn wrote:Was buying actually much of a thing in the 60s? I thought the majority rented sets because of set and repair costs. I know my parents rented until the early 80s, although I am pretty sure both sets of grandparents had bought sets.
It may well have been get a new set rather than actually buy one. Would need to look back to the report which I don't have available where I am today.

Rental possibly peaked in the early colour days when the sets were both unreliable and expensive.

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Focus II
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Re: BBC2 reach at launch in 64

Post by Focus II »

JezR wrote: The NOP survey was largely carried out to demonstrate that BBC2 was not promoting the sales of new sets. Indeed one of the other stats in it was that only 6% of people intended to buy a set for BBC2 in the following 12 months, which was roughly equivalent to the general set replacement rate at the time.
Many new sets available from 1962-64 were "Convertible" models, requiring a new IF/signals panel and UHF tuner of course. A bit later fully dual standard sets were available which only needed a UHF tuner. I wonder how many in London and later in other areas were converted when BBC 2 opened?

Not that many it seems! I have a 1964 19" Regentone 194 model which would require a new upper signals panel and UHF tuner which was never done and a later fully dual std GEC portable without a UHF tuner ever being fitted.

In fact the Thorn group introduced single standard VHF 405-line only portables between 1967-69, such the lacking in popularity and interest in BBC 2 at the time.

http://www.forum.radios-tv.co.uk/viewto ... 0&start=25

https://www.radios-tv.co.uk/forum/black ... ted/#p9159

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