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Report: PSBs boost factual, sports and kids programme spend

UK regulator Ofcom has published its Public Service Broadcasting Annual Research Report for 2017. The report assesses the performance of the designated public service broadcasters – the BBC, ITV, STV, UTV, Channel 4, S4C and Channel 5.

While all BBC public service television channels are PSB channels, only the primary channels of each of the other PSBs have this status.

The report includes statistical information on how much these broadcasters are spending on new programmes, and the amount of programmes they are showing in different genres. It also looks at the extent to which audiences are watching these programmes, and how satisfied they are with them.

The report is based on data for the calendar year, 2016. Findings include:

  • Viewing to the five main PSB channels accounted for 51 per cent of all broadcast TV viewing, unchanged from the previous year;
  • The average individual in the UK watched three hours and 32 minutes of TV per day, a decline of four minutes in the last year;
  • The decline in TV viewing is more evident among younger people aged between 16-24, and children aged 4-15, who watched a third less TV than they did in 2010;
  • The PSB channels spent £2.6 billion (€2.94bn) on new programmes, and increased spending on factual, sports and children’s programmes. They reduced spending on comedy programmes, which is now at its lowest level in ten years;
  • UK audiences continue to watch and value PSBs, with 78 per cent of viewers saying they were satisfied or very satisfied with their programmes – up five percentage points. More than eight in ten (83 per cent) people aged over 4 watched any of the main five PSB channels in a typical week; and
  • Spending on original UK programmes for viewers in the nations and regions increased 2 per cent in real terms, reaching £276 million in 2016.

Ofcom has also published UK Audience Attitudes Towards Broadcast Media, which explores attitudes towards programme standards, advertising and regulation in 2016.

Findings include:

  • UK adults’ opinion of the quality of television programmes has remained unchanged since 2015, with more than half (54 per cent) feeling that the quality of programmes has stayed the same;
  • Three in ten (29 per cent) adults felt that programme quality had worsened – also unchanged since the previous year.
  • Levels of personal offence in response to programmes remain low, and unchanged since the previous year – at one fifth of adults.
  • Nine in ten adults were aware of the 9pm watershed – unchanged since last year.

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