IN THE week in which it was announced that the BBC licence fee was increasing by £3 a year to £150.50, it’s been revealed that the Winter Olympics have been attracting as few as 145,000 viewers during the night.
The figure was recorded early Thursday 15 February between 2am and 4am when the BBC was showing live coverage on BBC1.
The BBC are disputing the figure, saying the audience actually averaged 270,000 viewers between midnight and 4.30am.
A BBC source said: “This is on a par with viewing for Sochi [ the last Winter games in 2014], but if you look online, 559,000 were watching the same internet stream.”
The BBC reportedly paid around £140m for four Olympics — two summer, and two Winter Games, including Pyeongchang.
The Corporation wouldn’t confirm how much it paid for these particular games, but figures released last week about the Australian TV rights deal suggested the UK package could be as high as £30-40m for each games.
A BBC spokeswoman said: “We don’t comment on rights. It’s commercially sensitive.”
Meanwhile, UK Sport has invested more than £32m in the Winter games, doubling its previous total.
It predicted a total of between four and 10 GB medals.
The current total stands at four, including one gold.
Meanwhile, new research based on more than 2,000 UK adults has revealed “the country’s widespread disinterest” in the Winter Olympics.
It found almost two thirds of people could not name a single member of the Team GB 2018 Winter Olympics Squad; 16 per cent admitted the main reason they tune into the winter sports competition is to potentially see someone fall or crash at high speed; 41 per cent said the major reason they have no interest in the Winter Olympics is that the UK does not have the climate or terrains to host many of the sports; and a further 37 per cent found winter sports “prohibitively expensive, meaning they have little interest in skiing, snowboarding or ice-skating”.