The star-studded annual charity event's average of 8.06m (32.7%) between 7.30pm and 10pm represents its least popular broadcast since 2006.
However, the show - which raised a record-breaking £26.8m and featured performances from Girls Aloud and One Direction - still topped the night above ITV's soaps.
I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here was close to matching Children in Need in the 9pm hour, pulling in a figure of 7.36m (28.8%) which is its best against the telethon in recent years. The reality show added 470k on timeshift, while ITV2 spinoff I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here Now interested 594k (3%).
BBC Two's David Attenborough retrospective, which appealed to 2.17m (8.5%), may also have dented this year's Children in Need.
Pudsey fever boosted The One Show to 5.02m (23.1%) at 7pm and Children in Need averaged 3.05m (35.9%) between 10.35pm and 2am. Some 3.7m (17.8%), meanwhile, switched over to BBC Two while BBC One aired its News at Ten bulletin.
With Channel 4 affected most by the weight of competition, the concluding part of Derren Brown's 'Fear and Faith' mustered 599k (2.3%) from 9pm (+1: 231k), although Alan Carr fared better with 1m (5.2%) at 10pm (+1: 225k).
The Mentalist anchored Channel 5's schedule with 1.14m (4.5%) in the 9pm hour and 119k on +1.
BBC One controlled primetime with 30%, comfortably trumping ITV1's 22% (+1: 0.9%). BBC Two strolled into third place with 9.6%, way ahead of Channel 4's 3.1% (+1: 0.6%) and Channel 5's 3% (+1: 0.2%).
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional