The BBC Trust has published results of a public consultation, with the majority of respondents showing support for the BBC’s plans for its future. There was strong support for the curated digital educational platform, the Ideas Service, and for a dedicated online children’s platform iPlay. However, respondents greatly value the existing services they receive and expressed concern that the financial impact of introducing new initiatives might mean losing valued BBC services and programming.
The BBC launched its ‘British, Bold, Creative’ proposals in September 2015 and the Trust committed to asking the public for their views on the plans which outline new services and initiatives the BBC wants to bring audiences over the next ten years.
“Over 50,000 people have responded to our two consultations and they have been clear that their future BBC must deliver the services and programmes they value, while continuing to innovate and do more to reflect the whole UK population,” said Rona Fairhead BBC Trust chairman. “These findings will inform our discussions with Government and ensure the views of Licence Fee payers are heard in the Charter debate.”
Respondents want the BBC to continue to appeal to the entire UK population with services and content that are accessible, interesting and relevant to all people regardless of age, location or internet access. This reinforces views the Trust heard in its first consultation where 53 per cent of the 40, 000 respondents felt the BBC should provide something for everyone with only 14 per cent saying the BBC should become a market failure model.
Greater personalisation elicited a mixed reaction with some respondents saying they would value a bespoke service while others expressed concerns that a tailoring of services would put an end to accidental discovery and diminish the shared experience of audiences.
Respondents were in strongly in favour of ending the iPlayer ‘loophole’’ which allows people to watch BBC content without having to pay for a licence fee.
Respondents welcomed the recognition that the BBC needs to cater for specific needs in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and in the English regions. However, there was also concern about the risk of creating separate services at the expense of the BBC’s pan-UK services. Better representation of the whole UK was welcomed across both news and creative content, but respondents generally felt that this content should be made available to all audiences across the UK.
BBC Executive will use this information as they develop more detailed proposals. This was the second and final phase of the Charter Review consultation conducted by the Trust, and the report will be shared with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The Trust’s second phase consultation document can be read below.