ITV Racing happy with ITV4 debut

An ITV Racing insider said programme officials were "really encouraged" following Saturday's first live broadcast on ITV4.

ITV Racing microphones at the ready

The programme, which covered racing from Sandown and Wincanton, aired between 1.30pm and 4pm and attracted an average audience of 325,000, peaking at 419,000.

The first programme of a new era for terrestrial coverage of racing was shown on the main ITV channel on New Year's Day.

Ed Chamberlin led the broadcast from the winner's enclosure at Cheltenham, with the average viewing figure 676,000. Figures peaked at 831,000.

An ITV Racing insider said the significant fall in viewers was "to be expected", and described the numbers as "healthy and very encouraging for the first Saturday afternoon broadcast on ITV4".

Saturday also saw the first airing of The Opening Show, which was broadcast live from Sandown at 10am.

The hour-long magazine show's fundamental brief is to set the scene for each afternoon of racing.

The Opening Show, which has replaced Channel 4's long-running magazine show, The Morning Line, attracted an average of 125,000 viewers across the programme.

Presenter Oli Bell said: "As a skeleton for what we want to do moving forward, I think as a starting point I am very happy with it."

Racing coverage has now been moved from ITV to ITV4, from where it will remain until the Cheltenham Festival in March.

The sport returned to ITV after a 32-year absence once Channel 4's tenure as the sole terrestrial broadcaster for racing ended on December 27.

Read More at Sporting Life

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