BBC, Google, Apple, Amazon Drop in Annual U.K. Brand Ranking

But the BBC iPlayer, which allows viewers to catch up on TV shows on demand, tops the list of businesses with the biggest positive buzz in Britain.

The BBC, Google, Apple and are among big media and Internet brands whose reputation in Britain was dragged down by negative buzz this year, according to annual brand ranking data from YouGov's BrandIndex.

But the BBC iPlayer, the public broadcaster's digital TV catch-up service, topped the U.K. list of brands with the biggest positive buzz in 2012, according to the Guardian. It hit a score of 30, a figure reached when calculating the percentage balance of people saying that they have heard good things versus people reporting having heard bad things.

The BBC suffered from the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal this fall and a report by its flagship TV news magazine that wrongly implicated a former politician in another abuse case.

"While the BBC umbrella brand is definitely being hit and is at the lowest levels ever seen, there has been no knock-on effect for products like the iPlayer and its web site," which ranks 8th on the list, said BrandIndex director Sarah Murphy.

Google, which ranked fourth last year with a score of 26.7, dropped out of the top 10 as its score fell by 15 points, while Amazon fell from the top spot in 2011 to the third rank this year, according to the list.

Apple's reputation also took a hit amid criticism of its new mapping software, mixed reviews for the iPhone 5 and legal battles with rival Samsung, which took the 9th rank on the list. Apple dropped out of the top 10 after reaching the sixth spot last year, with its score falling from 24.6 to 15 points. But its iPad came in sixth thanks to positive buzz for tablets.

The Guardian said the YouGov researchers cited public anger in the U.K. amid a recent debate over measures by the likes of Google, Amazon and Starbucks to avoid taxes as a key factor hurting the scores of those companies.

Murphy said: "Amazon had a score of 32.1 last year, so a fall of eight points [to 24.1] is a statistically significant drop for them."

In the case of Google, its brand buzz was also negative amid a change in privacy policies that have sparked a European probe.

The research firm asked 2,000 people every day if they had heard anything positive or negative about a slew of brands.

Twitter: @georgszalai