BBC network spend in Scotland down, says annual report

THE percentage of money spent by the BBC on its programmes broadcast across its UK-wide network was down in Scotland last year, compared to the previous year.

Says the BBC’s annual report, the 2011 figure of nine per cent fell to 7.6 per cent last year.

The BBC says it is committed “that, by 2016, 50 per cent of network TV programming spend will be from outside London and 17 per cent from the nations [of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland].

While the nations’ figure was 16.3 per cent in 2011, it was 15.7 per cent last year, with Wales down from 6.8 per cent to 5.3 per cent and Northern Ireland up from 1.3 per cent to two per cent.

Says a BBC media release, describing a “strong” year for BBC Scotland: “Reporting Scotland remains the most watched daily news programme in Scotland, and Radio Scotland maintained its reach to around a million listeners each week.

“It has been a year of outstanding factual and drama programmes made by BBC Scotland both for Scottish audiences and audiences across the UK, from Operation Iceberg to Shetland, which attracted over 12 million viewers across its two parts.

“Mrs Brown’s Boys continued to prove a hit with audiences, reaching over ten million people at Christmas and attracting high audience appreciation scores.

“BBC production in Scotland received a boost when primetime drama Waterloo Road – now in its eighth series – relocated to Greenock, and an important technological step was made when BBC One Scotland moved to HD.”

But according to the report by the BBC’s governing body, the BBC Trust – which acts on behalf of the TV licence fee payer – when audiences were asked last year in an annual survey about the extent the BBC was ‘representative’, in Scotland, only 48 per cent agreed, versus 50 per cent in Northern Ireland, 52 per cent in Wales and 58 per cent in England.

Said the Trust: “This year, we split the representation question in the survey, asking people about whether they felt represented in a) news, and b) drama and entertainment. Scores for both were around the same, and similar to the previous, single question in 2011. Both were below average, with only about half considering they were represented by either genre; both measures were lower in Scotland and Northern Ireland. This remains a priority for the Trust.”