Why young people prefer Planet Earth II to The X Factor

TV ratings reveal that more 16 to 34 year olds are watching a natural history documentary than a talent show. 

'Supertrees' in Singapore feature in the Cities episode of Planet Earth II, airing on Sunday 11 December 2016 at 8pm on BBC One. © Tom Hugh-Jones/BBC NHU
‘Supertrees’ in Singapore feature in the Cities episode of Planet Earth II, airing on Sunday 11 December 2016 at 8pm on BBC One. © Tom Hugh-Jones/BBC NHU

In the battle for Sunday night ratings, the first three episodes of BBC One’s Planet Earth II attracted more viewers aged 16 to 34 than ITV’s The X Factor, the BBC has confirmed.

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Planet Earth II had more than 12 million viewers compared to The X Factor’s 7 million. So why are young people choosing to watch nature over singing?

The X Factor is getting way too over the top,” 26-year-old Tao Clatworthy told BBC Wildlife. “Attenborough is a legend and I am loving the behind the scenes footage in Planet Earth II.”

The second episode of Planet Earth II, Mountains had the best ratings so far, with 1.8million young viewers compared to The X Factor’s 1.4 million young viewers for the same evening.

Mountains episode producer Justin Anderson said, “The young generation remember watching Planet Earth before and are ready to watch it again.

He explained that it brings back memories of watching it with their families.

“The social media side of things have really helped to keep the conversation going, while the stories in the show are very accessible – there is a lot of fun to be had,” he said.

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Cities, final episode of Planet Earth II, will air on Sunday 11 December at 8pm on BBC One.