- The survey of 1268 participants by Swansea University and Cardiff University indicates that the BBC is the UK’s number one news provider of choice, followed by the Guardian.
- Despite the steady migration towards digital, there are no signs that younger audiences are shunning legacy brands. The survey found that social media accounts for only 5.5% of choices – around one-sixth of the number choosing the BBC.
- Sky’s position as a second-choice broadcaster reflects its growth away from previously dominant associations with “football, films and American dramas”.
- More generally during the COVID-19 crisis, viewing figures for television news have been boosted, in part due to the televised daily news conferences’ central role in aiding the UK public’s understanding of the crisis.
What it means:
This period of global uncertainty has cemented the BBC’s position as the go-to-default for accessing reliable news and guidance.
The BBC is consistently cited by Ofcom as the UK’s most consumed news source. These new findings diverge from Ofcom’s research by indicating that the corporation remains popular with the under-24s demographic. It is important to note that the results of the survey have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal and should be taken as indicative.
Boris risk upsetting the old guard
The popularity and strength that the BBC has maintained throughout the crisis has led to many Conservative MPs and BBC executives to criticise the suggestion made by PM, Boris Johnson, to scrap the TV license fee and turn the BBC into a Netflix-style subscription service. Though plans are in place to go ahead the PM has not ruled out a reversal on the decision.
There are however some in support of reforming the BBC and calling for all TV viewers to vote on whether the TV license fee should be abolished.