Advanced Television

Survey: 1 in 20 young adults watch BBC live

January 24, 2022

By Colin Mann

Only one in 20 of those aged 18-30 said that they watched any BBC television channels live every day, compared with close to half of the over-65s, according to a YouGov survey for the Sunday Times.

The survey found that more than a third of under-30s said they “never” watched any BBC programming live, compared with only 8 per cent of the oldest age group.

While 24 per cent believed that the BBC should still be funded through the licence fee, 17 per cent argued for a subscription model. The most popular option, supported by 35 per cent, was advertising on its TV and radio stations, although this would prove very unpopular with the BBC’s commercial rivals such as ITV as they would be competing for the same revenue. Some 11 per cent did not express a preference.

The survey found that catch-up service iPlayer skews to an older audience. Only a quarter of the under-30s use the service once a week or more compared with almost a third of those aged over 65.

Julian Knight MP, chairman of the UK House of Commons Digital, Media, Culture And Sport Committee, warned that the BBC needed to wake up to what he described as a “demographic time bomb” noting that the average age of a Radio 5 Live listener was his age, 50 “They have excellent children’s broadcasting — CBeebies is world class — but then drift off, and there’s a huge drop in the audience for linear broadcasting. Bargain Hunt does not appeal to 16 to 25-year-olds, does it?”

A BBC source highlighted that BBC One had eight out of ten of the top titles for young adults during the survey period, noting that the BBC is the most used media brand for 16-34s in the UK, reaching 80 per cent each week, and more young people were watching BBC iPlayer than ever before.

The Tourist and The Apprentice were each streamed 1 million times by viewers under 35 last week,” the source added.

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