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BBC Fails To Reach Significant Minority, Despite Overall Satisfaction

by David Mercer | Dec 21, 2016

As a publicly funded institution with an internationally recognised brand, the BBC has always played a prominent role in media in the UK as well as in many other parts of the world. Opinion research on the BBC’s performance has tended to be funded by the organisation itself or other interested parties, so we decided to included a series of questions in our latest syndicated ConsumerMetrix survey, which are reported in our latest report, “Attitudes Towards BBC Services and Funding”. Neither the BBC or any other relevant players, including Ofcom, Sky or ITV, commissioned this research.

Our findings confirm the importance of the BBC for a majority of UK residents. To the question “Thinking about all the services the BBC provides, including television, online and radio, how would you rate the importance of the BBC to you personally?”, 71% responded “Very important”, “important” or “somewhat important”. This leaves 29%, a significant minority, who responded “neither”, “somewhat unimportant”, “unimportant” or “very unimportant”. The BBC is considered less important by under 34s and the less affluent than by other demographics.

The BBC does an excellent job of satisfying those 71% of people who think it’s important to them. 90% of them say they are satisfied overall with the services the BBC provides (including TV, radio and online), and only 4% are unsatisfied. Not surprisingly, perhaps, only a third of the remaining 29% are satisfied with the BBC.

We also investigated knowledge of the TV licence fee and attitudes towards it. Fewer than half of respondents could identify the correct price range of the TV licence fee. Two findings will be of particular concern to the BBC:

  • The average estimate for the cost of the fee is £124, 15% lower than the actual fee
  • When told the real fee, the average “fair amount” cited by those willing to pay is only £102, 30% below the current level.

TV licence fee

In conclusion, the BBC is doing a good job of meeting the expectations of its core audience, but is failing to meet the needs of a significant minority. It should be concerned that the licence fee is considered to be too high on average, and also that a majority of people would like to see an alternative to the licence fee model.

David Mercer

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