Letter: Festival for pagans and viewers

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The Independent Online
From Ms Vicki Piper

Sir: I was very surprised to read Meg Carter's seasonal article, "The TV's on but no one's home" (19 December), which appeared to be a remarkably uncritical report of a recent survey carried out by the advertising agency JWT. There is no evidence to suggest that "attention levels are at an all-time low" at Christmas - the crux of the report. TV viewing on Christmas Day is still by far the most popular activity with the British population.

The heaviest overall viewing day in the year remains 25 December and is, of course, overwhelmingly successful for BBC Television, with people tuning in for more than five hours and with many of our programmes achieving their highest audiences of the year.

Appreciation Index scores (the qualitative measure) for our Christmas Day programmes are usually very high and well above the genre average, providing a clear indication that our viewers are anything but "bored" and "passive".

As research from several other advertising agencies has shown, high AI scores usually reflect a high attention level.

Yours faithfully,

Vicki Piper

Head of Television Research


BBC Broadcasting Research

London, W12

22 December