Channel 4’s coverage of England’s four-Test series against India, which spelled defeat for England, reached nine million viewers across all matches, the Daily Mail has reported.
After a 16-year absence, Channel 4 struck a last minute deal to show the England cricket team’s Test tour, having last aired Test cricket in 2005.
The 2021 series averaged around 543,000 viewers per day, despite three of the four matches starting at 4am in the UK. The Mail also added that the broadcaster was ‘impressed’ with engagement with BAME audiences, with the 22 per cent average share up 549 per cent on the slot average.
Furthermore, Channel 4 disclosed that the opening match drew in 5.8 million viewers and over one million of those viewers were under the age of 35. Four of the five days’ play peaked at more than one million viewers, averaging more than 500,000 throughout the whole match, whilst day three reached 1.7 million viewers.
The All 4 streaming service’s live highlights and content also garnered two million views, with the digital platform recording its biggest ever week.
“The numbers coming to the cricket on All 4 and Channel 4 have been remarkable,” commented Ian Katz, Channel 4’s Chief Content Officer, after the first Test match.
“The growing audiences we saw through the Test – and in particular the strong shares of children and 16-34s viewing – were a reminder of the broad appeal Test cricket has when it is available on free to air television.
“Hopefully the thrilling action from India will engage a new generation of children with the game – and ease the lockdown.”
According to reports, the free-to-air network will be ‘in the market for future Test rights’, following on from the success of this edition’s coverage.