‘The X Factor’ got off to a shaky start last night (2 September), with overnight viewing figures revealing that it was the show’s least-watched launch in 13 years.
New data reveals that a total of 6.2 million people tuned in to watch the first batch of this year’s hopefuls in the first auditions show of the new series.
While more than six million is, admittedly, still a lot of people (it’s not far off the average number of people watching Channel 4’s ‘Great British Bake Off’ launch earlier this week, for example), there’s no getting round the fact this means ‘X Factor’ has lost 600,000 viewers in the past year.
It’s also the second-lowest ratings ever recorded for an ‘X Factor’ launch, with only the very first series in 2004 clocking in lower on 5.25 million.
At its peak, seven million people were tuned in, down around half a million on last year.
Earlier this week, music mogul and executive producer Simon Cowell said that he was keen to turn the show’s low ratings around by making a few tweaks to the format, including axing some of the live shows.
However, he later conceded that ‘X Factor’ couldn’t compete with reality TV rivals ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ in the ratings, claiming: “I’ve learnt to keep my mouth shut about that.
“We can’t compete with their overall audience because they’re much older. What’s important for us is to keep the young audience interested in the show.’”
This year, ‘X Factor’ got a headstart on ‘Strictly’, kicking off a week before the BBC dance show’s launch, which airs on Saturday (9 September).
‘The X Factor’ continues tonight (3 September) at 8pm on ITV.