This year, I only did linear TV from 7.40-10.35pm, all BBC One. There wasn't really anything of interest to watch otherwise.
That's still three hours of television, though. I think that's quite a lot. I can't remember the last time I watched three hours of live television in an evening. You're not expected to like everything BBC1 show just like you're not expected to like everything in the cinema. For what it's worth the only primetime shows I watched on BBC1 on Christmas Day were the two you didn't, Strictly and Doctor Who. So together we were served just fine.
Statistically the BARB sample is pretty much as accurate as you could be, and for Christmas Day ratings it's probably as accurate as it'll ever be - it's the low rating end of the scale where the errors are likely to occur.
Christmas Day ratings have fallen though quite dramatically in recent years, and although this is a trend over all I do think the fact nothing gets close to 10m in the overnights now is more of a reflection of viewers being bored of the same shows being served up every year than an indicator viewers are choosing non-linear TV options.
Given the broadcasters and, crucially, the advertisers rely on BARB figures, you can be sure that they are as accurate as they can possibly be. If they weren't accurate then the advertisers especially would be demanding a new system. Sky constantly talk about catch-up and on demand but they're quick to trumpet BARB figures when they're good.
As for the other issue, this may have some merit if Channel Four hadn't got three million viewers with Home Alone, which they showed in exactly the same slot last year. You can't say "It CAN'T be Christmas without Elf/The Snowman/Morecambe and Wise", as people do every year, and then complain when channels show the same things. And nobody remembers what was on last Christmas, they can't even remember what was on last week.
I don't know why people would be "bored" of Strictly on Christmas Day when they certainly haven't been bored of it every Saturday for the last four months when it's been pulling in its biggest ever audiences. Call The Midwife is another one. And there's only two episodes of Mrs Brown a year now. The Mrs Brown audience aren't "bored" of that, they're thrilled there's a new episode. And the figures for 'stEnders, Mrs Brown and Midwife all went up this year anyway. It's not as if they're all the same type of shows either, people can pick and choose what they want to see. They're the BBC's biggest shows so they all deserve their place on the biggest day of the year. I've said this before but I used to ask for The Beano Book every Christmas. It wasn't the same book every year. It's not the same episode of Doctor Who or Strictly.
One obvious reason for the decline in BBC1's audiences is the intense competition. We look back on 1993 as a high water mark when BBC1 got twenty million viewers all night, but what was the competition? ITV were notoriously rubbish that year, they just showed back-to-back films all night. And BBC2 and C4 officially got zero viewers during the night for their opera, ballet and religion. So for most people it was BBC1 or nothing.
Compare it to this year C4 was probably as populist as BBC1 and got three million viewers for several hours with Home Alone and Bake Off. ITV were much better. BBC2 got a million or so for Dad's Army. ITV2 got a million or so for Skyfall. Then there's all the other channels. So there's at least six million or so people who might otherwise have been watching BBC1 in the past. That's before you bring streaming into it.