If you want to know the ratings or audience share of Hollyoaks (or any channel 4 programme) you can check out this site, Channel 4 Sales Website find the “Overnights” menu and have a nose around those pages. Bare in mind several things about ratings.
One: they are not 100% accurate, its based on a small number of participants and then generalised about the entire UK population. Assume for example in the sample group only a handful of the participants were classing themselves as gay (who would perhaps be expected to have a high interest in gay type TV). It’s essentially impossible to predict or “estimate” the true number of gay individuals in this and any other country, it would stand to reason therefore that it would also be difficult for networks to be certain they have a fair representative sample of gay participants in their groups. (The only way to gather mass data about the population is the government census, which has never asked questions about sexuality for reasons of reliability, i.e. being gay is often hidden, people have to “come out” before they might class themselves as gay. Its also been suggested the reason the question has been deemed pointless is because of “fear” of finding a higher number of something which would force rapid social change, assume the estimation of “1 in 10 people are gay or bisexual” changes to “1 in 7”, it would be difficult to maintain that gay people are a minority group. Creating rapid social change, which often involves levels of conflict).
Two: all too often people simply look to the actual number of viewers of a particular show before calling it a “success”, this is extremely poor statistical analysis.
It’s more important to also take note of the audience share. This is broadly classed as the total number of watchers viewing TV at that time. The point is best illustrated with a hypothetical example;
Assume 10,000 people in the UK are watching TV from 6pm until 7pm, split across three networks/channels, BBC1, ITV and Channel 4.
1,000 of those people are watching BBC1 (10%)
4,000 ITV (40%) and
5,000 watching Channel 4 (50%)
Channel 4 scores 50% of the entire audience, (which in reality would be outstanding, but naturally there are more than 3 channels/networks anyone could be watching at that time so a 50% audience share would be difficult to achieve)
The following night 100,000 are watching TV from 6pm until 7pm, split across three networks/channels, BBC1, ITV and Channel 4.
45,000 are watching BBC1 (45%)
50,000 are watching ITV (50%)
5,000 are watching Channel 4 (5%)
This time channel 4 only score 5% of the entire audience, although they still have the same number of watchers. Or written another way, 95,000 of people decided to watch something better than what was on Channel 4 that day. Unsurprisingly audience shares on a typical day don’t differ all that much from day to day generally, so the actual audience figures would be the best way to judge a show’s popularity.
But before anyone claims; “Look Hollyoaks had an extra million viewers last night because of John Paul’s and Craig Dean’s gay storyline!!” its important to gage if the audience share has shifted. If the share has dramatically increased along with viewing numbers then yes, the storyline has attracted others from different channels, if the share remains pretty much constant across all channels then it just means more people have switched on their TV that night.
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