The BBC is becoming a victim of its own success, as the growing popularity of its iPlayer and other digital services cannibalizes viewership of its terrestrial channels.
Viewership for BBC One fell 2% in the year to January 2010, with BBC 2 viewers down 1%, but the number of people using the firm’s on-demand iPlayer service grew from 30.8 million to 68.2 million, according to figures from Ofcom.
The UK regulator said growth in the subscription TV market and increased set-top box usage was hurting all public sector broadcasters (PSBs) in the country.
In addition to the falls at the BBC, ITV1 has seen a 9% drop in its weekly reach, and Channel 4 an 11% decrease, Ofcom reports.
In contrast, the BBC's two digital channels, Three and Four, increased their weekly reach, by 11% and 6% respectively.
“People are now watching more channels and TV than ever, but the result is that viewing of the five main PSB channels has fallen from 58% in 2005 to 55% in 2009 in multichannel homes,” Ofcom said.