The Media in Figures: Public service broadcasting annual report 2013

THE number of people in the UK the public service broadcaster channels of BBC Two, ITV and Channel 4 ‘reaches’ has fallen over the five years between 2007 and last year – according to figures released on Thursday by broadcasting regulators, Ofcom.

With ‘reach’ defined as those viewing 15 consecutive minutes at least once during an average week, while all five of the public main service broadcasters (BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5), still command very large audiences, between 2007 and last year, BBC Two’s reach decreased from 58 per cent to 52 per cent, ITV’s from 70 per cent to 64 per cent and Channel 4’s from 59 per cent to 51 per cent.

PSB, says Ofcom, also includes the BBC digital channels and S4C.

Other figures – all UK wide – include the following:

* 85 per cent of viewers place high importance on the provision of trustworthy news, compared to 81 per cent last year. There has also been an increase in the proportion of viewers who think it important to show well-made, high-quality programmes, up from 78 per cent in 2011 to 82 per cent last year;

* More than three quarters (76 per cent) of viewers of PSB channels are satisfied with them, the same as a year ago;

*  BBC One’s weekly reach was 78 per cent in 2007 and in 2012 while Channel 5’s reach was 40 per cent in 2007 and 39 per cent in 2012;

* The combined viewing share of the five main PSB channels was 52 per cent in 2012, down from 64 per cent in 2007. However, this decline is offset by an increase in viewing to their digital portfolio channels, with combined viewing almost doubling from 12 per cent in 2007 to 21 per cent in 2012;

* The five main PSB channels and their portfolio of channels accounted for 73 per cent of all television viewing in 2012, a decrease from 74 per cent in 2011;

* Total spending on national, aka ‘network’, programming across the five main PSB channels and the BBC digital channels decreased by two per cent in real terms, between 2011 and 2011,to £2.9 billion last year;

* But spending on new commissioned programmes, ie first shown that year, on the five main PSB channels and the BBC digital channels increased marginally, by 0.3 per cent year-on-year, to £2.5 billion;

* Spend on new-commissioned sports programmes increased by 14 per cent year-on-year to £563 million, largely due to the London Olympics and Paralympics;

* Hours of new-commissioned programmes across all PSB channels increased by 187 hours, from 32,167 in 2011 to 32,354 in 2012. The rise was driven by the BBC, which increased hours of new commissions by 320 hours in the year;

* Audiences continue to value regional news bulletins, with 78 per cent of viewers (the same as 2011) saying it is important;

* Spend on new nations and regions programming commissioned by the BBC3 and Channel 3 (which includes ITV, STV, UTV and ITV Wales) combined declined in real terms by  four per cent, between 2011 and last year, to £266 million. Over a five-year period from 2007, it’s 30 per cent; and

* Between 2007 and 2012, hours of programmes produced for the nations and regions were down by 857 hours (or  seven per cent), from 11,859 hours to 11,002.

Source: Public Service Broadcasting, annual report 2013, published by Ofcom on August 8 2013: here.