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Ofcom: BBC risks losing younger viewers

Overall satisfaction with the BBC remains high

The BBC is generally serving viewers according to Ofcom’s annual report, though the broadcaster is “vulnerable to a rapidly changing media landscape.”

The assessment of the corporation’s performance found that overall satisfaction remains high but more should be done to connect with children and younger adults, warning that “it could lose a generation of potential licence-fee payers.”

Ofcom said it considers that the BBC has taken some steps to address the issues raised in last year’s report, including making changes to the BBC iPlayer, and experimenting with how it releases its content, to help to reach younger audiences.

“However, it is not clear to us, nor will it be to the public, how these initiatives all fit together to form a coherent plan to tackle the concerns that we raised, particularly when any positive effects of these initiatives will take time to feed through to audiences,” the report stated. “For example, in the case of the iPlayer, its move from primarily being a catch-up service to a streaming service has not yet come into effect, and we understand is subject to ongoing negotiation with rights-holders.”

Ofcom also published its review of BBC news and current affairs, concluding that the broadcaster remains the UK’s primary news source – but again, younger audiences are turning away from the BBC, “increasingly using social media and news ‘aggregator’ services.”

The full report can be read here.