‎BBC TV Must Boost Appeal for Young, Ethnic Minority Audiences‎, Review Finds

The BBC's headquarters
The BBC's headquarters
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The BBC needs to improve its TV appeal to younger as well as black, Asian and minority ethnic audiences, according to the U.K. broadcaster's own governing body in a report announced Thursday.

Last November, the BBC Trust launched a review of BBC One, Two, Three and Four, the first time its four main terrestrial U.K. channels have been assessed together, taking in a public consultation and extensive audience research.

The concluding results showed that BBC Television was performing "very strongly in terms of its quality value for money, and its effectiveness in delivering the BBC's public purposes," with 81 percent of people watching each week amid a huge growth in choices of channels and ongoing BBC budgetary pressures.

But the review outlined three main challenges, which included its focus on younger and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) viewers. "The reach of all public service broadcasters has fallen in the past 10 years. However, BBC Television's reach has fallen most among younger audiences and BAME viewers," the report claimed.

Another issue outlined in the review as needing to be addressed was the individuality of the BBC's offer. "Some viewers do not find BBC One sufficiently distinctive in some important ways," it said, adding that the channel could continue to serve its loyal audiences well "while taking more creative risks in programming and scheduling choices."

The final challenge highlighted in the report looked at maximizing the efficiency of spending through collaboration. "The BBC faces a growing challenge in serving all viewers when their needs are diverging and when its budgets are flat or shrinking," the report found. "The Trust believes that greater collaboration between channels and other parts of the BBC would help maximize the value of BBC spending."

The BBC Trust, which operates independent of BBC management and external bodies, was set up in 2007 with the stated intention of working for the benefit of U.K. television license-fee payers. In April of this year, a BBC Trust report found that the BBC's news output, while "trusted and highly regarded by audiences," was sometimes found to be "distant."

Earlier this month, double Olympic gold medalist Sebastian Coe, who played a significant role in delivering London's 2012 Olympic Games, emerged as a favorite to become chairman of the BBC Trust, replacing Chris Patten, who was recently appointed chair of a committee advising Pope Francis on media strategy.

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