It's been one of the most talked about scheduling clashes of the past few years, and now we know who's won... sort of.
You see, in the 20-minutes last night when the BBC's new star search, The Voice UK, overlapped with ITV's Britain's Got Talent, there was a clear winner – The Voice. Between 8pm and 8:20pm the BBC show attracted a whopping 8.9m viewers, whereas only 6.6 million were watching the opening exchanges of BGT on ITV1. OK, so The Voice is the winner and Danny Cohen and company should celebrate, right?
Well, yes, I'm sure the BBC will be very pleased with this result – and the average audience for the whole show. But unfortunately for them, that average audience of 8.4 million (37.6 per cent share) viewers on BBC1 between 7pm and 8:20pm on Saturday night wasn't greater than BGT's overall audience.
In fact, the opening episode of Britain's Got Talent attracted 9.3 million viewers to ITV1 between 8pm and 9:20pm – 900,000 more than watched The Voice. This number rises again to 9.87 million (41.1 per cent share) when ITV1+1 is included in the mix. Although the BGT launch show was down slightly from last year's opener (9.9m/ 10.4m with +1), it still became ITV1's highest rating non-soap transmission in 2012.
So, ITV won the ratings battle then? Well, in a way they did. Essentially, what we have here is an opportunity for both sides to claim victory – and that's pretty much what they'll do.
And what have we learned from all this? Well, scheduling clashes of this nature aren't great for the punters. Inevitably, some viewers were forced into missing the end of The Voice to see the start of BGT. The ITV1 audience grew significantly from 8pm onwards.
But we've also learned that no matter how much many people moan about them constantly being on the telly – talent shows are still very much big business in Britain. With a new kid on the block in the shape of The Voice starting so well, and BGT back with big numbers, it looks like the star search bubble isn't about to burst any time soon.