Ofcom has today published its Public Service Broadcasting Annual Report. PSB broadcasters are the BBC channels, ITV1, Channel 4, Five and S4C .
The report shows that spending on first-run, UK made programmes continues to fall.
Across the PSB channels spending on new UK programmes fell by 6% between 2008 and 2009.
Since 2005 there has been an overall decline of 16%.
Overall BBC spending on first-run TV programming fell by 9% on BBC1, 15% on BBC2 and by 17% on BBC digital channels between 2005 and 2009 – which constitutes an overall a drop of 13% from £1.42bn to £1.24bn.
Taken as a whole spending on new, first-run programming fell in real terms by 20% from £1.38bn in 2005 to £1.10bn 2009 for ITV1, Channel 4 and Five, yet as a proportion of their overall revenues spent on new programming this spending increased from 43% to 52% during the same period.
In addition, overall PSB spending on programmes specifically designed for audiences in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and in English regions suffered one of the biggest declines, down by a third between 2005 and 2009.
People are now watching more channels and TV than ever, but the result is that viewing of the five main PSB channels has fallen from 58% in 2005 to 55% in 2009 in multichannel homes. Yet, there is still a strong appreciation of the channels and their programmes, with nearly two thirds of people, 63% in 2009, saying the PSB channels deliver well-made, high quality programmes. This is up from 58% in 2006.
This could be partly explained by the way people watch TV programmes: since 2005 more people now have access to devices that provide more choice and control such as Personal Video Recorders (PVRs) and TV on demand. For example, in January 2010, 68.2 million TV programmes were requested by BBC iPlayer users; this had risen from 30.8 million in January 2009.
However, in relation to the delivery of programming specifically for audiences in the four different nations of the UK, peoples’ views have not become more positive over time. The research shows that only one third of people say that the PSB channels provide a good range of programmes about their nation/region, and this has not changed since 2007.
The full report can be found here