A former broadcaster has launched a fierce attack on Scottish television, claiming that, together, both BBC Scotland and STV have reduced their programming spend by 30 per cent during the last five years.
On his Scottish Review website, Kenneth Roy today begins a multi-part history of Scottish TV – Chapter One: Scotland's Broadcasting Malaise – by unveiling a stream of statistics and bemoaning a lack of reporting or comment about then.
He writes: “During 2004, BBC Scotland and STV had between them spent £72 million on bread-and-butter television programmes – the English-language programmes made for viewers in Scotland, excluding the showier material intended for network consumption. But in 2005, the budget for this core programming suddenly dropped to £65 million – an unexplained fall of 10% in one year.
“After smaller reductions in expenditure in the following two years, there was another precipitous drop in the first full year of the SNP administration, 2008, when BBC Scotland and STV's combined spend on English-language television for Scottish viewers fell from £61 million to £49 million – a decline of 20 per cent in a single year. Last year, it nosed marginally upwards to £50 million.
“In summary – the spend on these programmes by our two national broadcasters has fallen by 30 per cent in five years.”
He continues: “This fact, no doubt shocking to many, is little known and I have never seen it commented upon. Indeed it would probably not have come to light at all had it not been for an obscure [broadcasting regulator] Ofcom analysis of Scottish broadcasting where the incriminating figures are buried among the small print. It has been brought to Scottish Review's attention by a broadcasting insider who wishes to remain anonymous – for the usual reasons of self-protection. Not that there is much protection in the first place, given these devastating stats.”
Part two is published tomorrow.