GB News garnered a record number of viewers for its highly anticipated launch last night, eclipsing rivals despite a series of technical issues.
The channel, which aired last night with a special welcome show, recorded an average of 164,400 viewers between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m., or 1.1% of the market share.
That beat BBC News, which registered 133,000 viewers, and was almost triple the 57,000 people who logged on to Sky News, according to data from the BARB rating agency.
These figures will give a boost to GB News, which has promised to shake up the UK television news market.
Introducing the new channel, former BBC veteran Andrew Neil said it would “not be an echo chamber for the metropolitan state of mind”, adding that he was “proud to be British”.
The launch included interviews with a series of GB News presenters, including former Sky News presenters Kirsty Gallagher and Colin Brazier, former Sun editor Dan Wootton and apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry.
The good ratings came despite a slew of technical issues, with viewers complaining about poor sound and lighting quality.
Several guests, including Nigel Farage and Sir Alan Sugar, were also briefly cut off in the middle of interviews.
GB News has also fallen out with rival broadcasters to gain access to political footage.
Lawyers for the channel wrote to Ofcom, the Culture Secretary and the competition watchdog complaining about a failed deal with Reuters news agency to provide footage of the parliament and political events.
GB News accused the BBC, ITV and Sky News, which cover the events under a so-called pool system, of “ruling out” their new competitor, the Telegraph reported.