97% of the UK public consume 18 hours a week of some sort of BBC output
This is quite a staggering statistic outlined at an event in Sunderland this week.
Some might argue that if you’re forced to eat their food by law, the figure will be higher than one might expect but few would subject themselves to 18 hours of something they don’t want or enjoy.
It also appears that many are reading, watching, listening or engaging with content without realising it came from the BBC at all.
Does this eye-watering statistic demonstrate the enormous value the licence fee offers – or does it highlight an over expansionism into areas they shouldn’t be in?
The debate at the impressive National Glass Centre called Tomorrow’s BBC, was attended by members of The BBC Trust led by Rona Fairhead and some BBC Execs, namely Tim Davie. The various links are here
They asked for views on how the BBC was doing. They got it in spades and was, perhaps, their liveliest debate so far.
A powerful theme emerged that the BBC needed to think more about the North. You can’t pitch your waggon in Salford and believe it’s job done!
Graeme Thompson, Dean of the University of Sunderland and a veteran of NE media himself pointed out the bizarre production issues of the hit TV series; Boy Meets Girl. Set in Newcastle, yet it was filmed almost entirely in Manchester. This news surprised the execs on the panel.
It may have done well in the ratings but it didn’t pass muster with those who couldn’t recognise the streets, restaurants and locations they were asked to believe in. In fact, so little was spent in the region that the programme has failed to meet the very basic criteria for entry into the NE RTS awards.
The message was loud and clear.
More money, more thought, more production and more considered ideas about the impact the BBC has in areas like the North East is essential. The area has talent; What it lacks is the investment and a real commitment to producing here.
On a personal note, I’m rather sick of ‘The North’ being shown as an old fashioned stereotyped location when the reverse is much more accurate. The North East, in particular, has some of the world’s leading businesses that succeed because it has access to an incredible workforce with bags of creative talent.
The BBC has a duty to show the region as it is today, not what it was yesterday.
One thing this 97% / 18hours stat suggests is that while the BBC can be accused of getting things wrong at times, they also get an awful lot right.
I still maintain that the licence fee is the best bargain in Britain and told them so, but I also know that my view is not universal. That is why you should make sure you attend one of these so called roadshows and make sure they hear your opinion.
If this amazing stat is right – and they confirmed it – there is a lot at stake.