GB News failed to attract any viewers during some of its broadcasts this week, according to figures compiled by ratings agency Barb.
The dismal figures, first reported by The Guardian, follow an on-air stunt by presenter Guto Harri, who was filmed taking the knee live on air last Tuesday in an act of solidarity with the England football team who had suffered racist abuse.
Viewers took to social media to accuse the right-leaning network of contradicting its purported values, leading to a boycott against the perceived embrace of ‘woke’ beliefs, despite attempts by fellow presenters to downplay the significance of the act.
A Wednesday afternoon segment hosted by business editor Liam Halligan and Labour MP Gloria De Piero failed to attract any measurable audience, according to Barb. By contrast, BBC News drew 62,000 viewers and Sky News attracted 50,000.
The boycott spells double trouble for the station, which is still reeling from a high-profile bust-up between channel chairman Andrew Neil and advertisers unhappy at being associated with what had been billed as a British Fox News.
GB News has been steadily bleeding viewers since its launch on June 13, with its weekly reach collapsing from 2.6 million at launch to just 1.8 million the following week, and then again to 1.3 million for the week of June 28. Sky News, meanwhile, reached a steady 4.5 million viewers throughout this period.
GB News has refused to confirm whether Harri would be leaving the station, stating: “On Tuesday a contributing presenter took the knee live on-air and this was an unacceptable breach of our standards ... We let both sides of the argument down by oversimplifying a very complex issue.”
Amid the chaos and confusion, Neil has also left with no definite return date. Insisting that he would return before the autumn, Neil said: “I’ll be back before the summer is out brimming with ideas for the channel and my own show.”