Organisers of the Barclaycard Mercury Prize have responded to claims that Channel 4’s awards show coverage saw disappointing figures compared to BBC programming in previous years.
The BBC’s entertainment correspondent Colin Peterson tweeted about the TV viewing figures for the event yesterday saying, “"Mercury Prize viewing figures: 2011: when live on BBC2 - 680,100. 2012: when on the next night on Channel 4 - 196,300."
Only the decision announcement from last Thursday's ceremony, won by Alt-J, was shown as it happened on both Channel 4 and 4Music.
Live performances from all nominees, including Plan B, Lianne La Havas and Alt-J, were shown on the channel late on Friday night.
While not disputing Peterson’s reported figures for the Friday night programming, a spokesperson for the Mercury Prize has told Music Week that viewing figures for the live winner announcement on Channel 4 on Thursday night actually hit 975,000.
"We are very pleased that it has been possible to develop a whole season of Barclaycard Mercury Prize programming on Channel 4 in 2012, including extended coverage of the Awards Show,” said the Mercury Prize rep.
"As well as continuing to have a 30 minute live programme broadcast on the night of the event, which aired on 4Music this year - there was also a simulcast of the winner announcement on Channel 4, which attracted 975,000 viewers.
“All of the live performances were then shown in full the following night on Channel 4, as part of a 75 minute programme. This show is also being repeated tonight (Wednesday) on Channel 4.
"The 2012 Barclaycard Mercury Prize season of shows started with a dedicated 30 minute special on Channel 4 on the night of the shortlist announcement in September. This was followed by a further series of 'Albums of the Year Live' programmes featuring live performances from the shortlisted artists, which were broadcast on Channel 4 throughout October. All of these shows were also made available for viewers through the 4OD service."