The BBC has published a report entitled ‘The economic return to the UK of the BBC’s global footprint’.
The research report was carried out by Terrington and Company and Research Now to assess the indirect economic return to the UK from the BBC’s international operations, BBC World Service, BBC Worldwide, BBC Global News Ltd, by surveying international business leaders in three key territories: USA, India and Australia.
The key findings of the research are:
* Cultural factors such as language, creativity and values contribute to the UK’s attractiveness as a source of overseas trade and investment.
* Almost two-thirds of the sample said the BBC was the main way they found out about the UK.
* People who consume BBC services more frequently have more favourable perceptions of the UK. People who consume BBC services less frequently have less favourable perceptions of the UK. For example, around half of business leaders who consume the BBC on a monthly basis or less scored the UK 8-10 out of 10 as a good place to do business, but this figure rises to three quarters amongst daily BBC consumers.
* A similar pattern is seen with the propensity to do business with the UK. The more business leaders know and consume the BBC, the more likely they are to trade with the UK. 66 per cent of people who consume the BBC on a monthly basis or less say that they are currently or very likely to do business with the UK over the next 12 months. Amongst those who consume the BBC on a daily basis, this figure is 84 per cent.
The study goes on to indicate causality in the relationship. Over half (56 per cent) of respondents agree that the BBC plays a direct role in influencing their business decisions in favour of the UK (compared to only 12 per cent who disagree).
James Heath, the BBC’s Director of Policy, said: “This report shows the enormous value of the BBC brand around the world. These research findings confirm the powerful role that institutions like the BBC play in enhancing Britain’s global reputation and show how this can deliver an economic return to the UK.”
He added: “It is particularly encouraging that the BBC World Service has a strong position amongst audiences in some of the fastest-developing economies in Africa, Asia and Latin America. As their GDP rises, their trade with the rest of the world is also expected to grow. The UK is well placed to benefit from this trend, in part due to the role of institutions such as the BBC in shaping perceptions of the UK and enhancing its international reputation.”