World Cup proving not to be yawn for viewers

World Cup proving not to be yawn for viewers

Italy: not pulling the crowds in UK

The World Cup has defied the sceptics by attracting healthy TV audiences across Europe, despite the unsocial hours of broadcast, according to research from Carat.

The agency's World Cup monitor saw England's first outing in the tournament against Sweden watched by 11.8m viewers  across England - 23% of the population - and a similar percentage tuned in across Sweden.

In 1998 England's first game lured  just 21% of the population.

But interest for non-England games is not as high as in 1998, with the "at home" audience for Italy's first game, broadcast during Monday lunchtime, just eight per cent, compared to 18% who watched Italy's first outing in 1998.

Throughout Europe, interest is not as high as in the UK, with France and Spain managing the best scores for their team's opening games, at 20% of the population.

In Germany just 17.1% tuned in to watch their home team thrash Saudi Arabia 8-0.

Steve Hobbs, broadcast director at Carat, said revenues have been affected by the time difference. During June ITV revenues are expected to be just 5% higher than in 1998, at £137m.

"The daytime scheduling of matches means that broadcasters cannot command the same levels of revenue", he said.

The breaks of all England matches are now full however.

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