Host of soap stars from Coronation Street, Emmerdale and EastEnders ‘face the axe in a huge cost-cutting drive amid falling ratings’
A host of soap stars from Coronation Street, Emmerdale and EastEnders are reportedly facing the axe.
The Sun claim it comes as part of a cost cutting drive amid falling ratings on the shows.
They claim that those on higher salaries around the £200,000-a-year mark could be cut to save cash.
A source told the publication: ‘There is about to be a bloodbath across Corrie, Emmerdale and EastEnders — and it won’t be pretty.
‘All the big three have all been told they need to cut their wage bills by up to 25 per cent. Now there is panic in the green rooms about who could be facing the chop.
All change: A host of soap stars from Coronation Street, Emmerdale and EastEnders are reportedly facing the axe
Difficult times: The Sun claim it comes as part of a cost cutting drive amid falling ratings on the shows
‘Some of the veterans are terrified they could be next — especially the older generation who are all earning well over £200,000.
‘The corridors are full of fear. It could be anyone who gets a script that tells them their time is up. Working in soaps has never been more perilous than it is now.’
The Sun claim that the likes of Corrie stars Bill Roache, 91, (Ken Barlow) Jack P Shepherd (David Platt), EastEnders stars Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchell) and Natalie Cassidy (Sonia Fowler) are earning the top amounts.
EastEnders star Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), Emmerdale’s Claire King (Kim Tate) and Eric Pollard were among other names they claim are on the biggest salaries.
ITV and the BBC have been contacted by MailOnline for comment.
Earlier this month Ofcom’s Media Nations report revealed that viewers are switching off traditional television at record rates, with even loyal over-65s ditching the format for an ‘all-you-can-eat broadcasting buffet’ on streaming rivals like Netflix and Disney+.
With more competition than ever from streamers, the proportion of Brits watching a programme on broadcast TV each week dropped from 83 per cent in 2021 to 79 per cent in 2022 – the sharpest decline since records began.
Fewer people than ever before are tuning into the main channels, with news bulletins and soap operas failing to attract the audiences they once did.
The Ofcom Media Nations 2023 said the average time spent watching broadcast television per person per day fell from two hours 59 minutes in 2021 to two hours 38 minutes the following year.
Decisions to make: They claim that those on higher salaries around the £200,000-a-year mark could be cut to save cash
Claims: A source told the publication: ‘There is about to be a bloodbath across Corrie, Emmerdale and EastEnders — and it won’t be pretty’ (Emmerdale cast pictured)
Icon: The Sun claim that the likes of Corrie stars Bill Roache, 91, (Ken Barlow) – pictured -, Jack P Shepherd (David Platt), EastEnders stars Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchell) and Natalie Cassidy (Sonia Fowler) are earning the top amounts
The number of shows with over four million TV viewers has more than halved over the past eight years since 2022, which reflects fewer people tuning in to watch early and late evening TV news bulletins as well as a steady decline in viewing figures for the three most popular soaps, Coronation Street, EastEnders and Emmerdale, Ofcom said.
Overall soap audiences are down 42 per cent since 2014.
‘Today’s viewers and listeners have an ‘all-you-can-eat’ buffet of broadcasting and online content to choose from and there’s more competition for our attention than ever,’ said Yih-Choung Teh, from Ofcom.
‘Our traditional broadcasters are seeing steep declines in viewing to their scheduled, live programmes, including among typically loyal older audiences, and soaps and news don’t have the mass-audience pulling power they once had.
‘But despite this, public service broadcasters are still unrivalled in bringing the nation together at important cultural and sporting moments, while their on-demand players are seeing positive growth as they digitalise their services to meet audience needs.
Older viewers seem to be diversifying their viewing habits, with the proportion subscribing to Disney+ up from 7 per cent to 12 per cent.
Part of Disney’s appeal to older viewers may be thanks to a spate of reboots of classic British entertainment, including comedy film The Full Monty.
Only Murders in the Building starring Steve Martin has also proven to be a hit with those aged over 64 – whose demographic watching Disney+ rose to 12 per cent last year, up from seven per cent in 2021.
This jump has helped Disney+ reach a goalpost of seven million subscribers, according to The Times, putting it on an even footing with Netflix and Amazon Prime, whose figures have remained flat.
Despite the sharp dip in traditional broadcast viewing, more still tune into BBC One and ITV1 than watch Netflix on a weekly basis, while ratings on BBC iPlayer and ITVX are up.
Public perception of the public service broadcasters is still positive, with 69 per cent saying they were satisfied with them. They still ‘bring the nation together’ at important moments, added Ofcom.
The research suggests just 48 programmes averaged more than four million TV viewers on streaming platforms in 2022, with ‘Netflix accounting for the vast majority’, the report said.
Ofcom’s research also suggests there is a significant decline in average broadcast TV viewing among the ‘core’ older audiences aged 65+, as they become more likely to take up streaming services.
The research suggests viewers recognise that PSB channels deliver ‘broadcast events that bring the nation together for a shared viewing experience’, with England’s quarter-final in the Fifa World Cup, the State Funeral of the Queen and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in the top three spots on the 2022 UK’s most-watched programmes.
Similarly, PSB’s video-on-demand services BBC iPlayer and ITVX continued to grow.
There also seems to be a decline in ‘mass audience’ programmes, which unite households and bridge the generation divide, with the number watched by audiences of four million and over now just half of what it was eight years ago.
The early and late evening news bulletins and soaps have all taken a hit. Overall soap audiences are down 42 per cent since 2014.
Long-time stars: Natalie Cassidy (pictured) has played the part of Sonia Fowler EastEnders since 1993
The research also found under 25s are spending nearly an hour on Tiktok every day.
The social media platform’s usage rate remained steady as the number of visitors expanded – attracting 45 per cent of people aged 15 and over, up from 36 per cent in 2021.
The biggest increase was from the 25-34 demographic, with 5 million viewers each week ahead of 4.2 million the previous year.
This age bracket was also found to spend 36 minutes each day scrolling watching short-form video content last less than ten minutes.
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