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Ofcom PSB report released

Small Screen: Big Debate research suggests that public service broadcasters need to work harder to remain relevant, but continue to offer a valuable sense of 'societal glue' for younger audiences

Ofcom public service broadcasting reportA new Ofcom public service broadcasting (PSB) report, released today, suggests that PSB continues to be the ‘societal glue’ for younger generations of viewers and still has a role to play. However, the general influence and relevance of public service broadcasters (PSBs) continues to diminish in the face of more targeted experiential offerings from streaming services.

The Small Screen: Big Debate research is designed to stimulate a national conversation involving viewers, the broadcasting industry, parliament, and regulators about how the benefits of PSB might be assured for the future.

The research gained feedback from viewers and listeners from across the UK as to their use of PSB content, its role and relevance in their lives, and how that might change in the future.

The findings suggest that there continues to be a role for PSBs “despite their day-to-day influence and relevance declining among younger audiences (aged 16-24)”, who are attracted to streaming services such as Netflix because they “easily serve up relevant, personalised content with the talkability factor, supported by strong social media marketing”. 

Even younger audiences are “typically keen to retain PSB, valuing the sense of ‘societal glue’ they bring, along with high-quality British content and news”. Finally, all except the most engaged audiences feel that PSBs “need to work harder to provide relevant programming and make it as easy as possible to access across the generations”.

Ofcom has also published a quantiative report and the data tables focusing on the perceived personal and societal benefits of PSB as part of its ongoing research and fieldwork took place before the Covid-19 UK lockdown.