The BBC has published its 2019/20 annual report with a record 4.8 billion requests to stream programmes on BBC iPlayer in 2019/20.

The  report covers April 2019- March 2020.  During this period, over 90% of the UK population used the BBC each week making it the most used media organisation in the UK with 41 million people per day on average using it last year.  The 90% of the UK population using the BBC each week rose to 94% in March this year during the coronavirus outbreak.

51% of news consumers named the BBC as the source they are most likely to turn to. This is up from 44% in 2018/19.

The financial year came to an end just as the Covid-19 crisis hit “this ushered in a period of exceptional challenge for everyone – including the BBC.”

The BBC admitted though that cost cutting is not moving fast enough. Headcount has increased from 19,231-19,572 and senior leader numbers have gone up from 250-253.

BBC Chairman, David Clementi, said:  “This Annual Report tells the story of a BBC that remains of huge value at home and abroad, but is not without considerable challenges.  Going into the coronavirus crisis the BBC already had 31% less to spend on UK public services, than if the licence fee had risen with inflation since 2010.  Now the severe impact of Covid-19 means that we have to save an extra £125m – on top of additional significant savings – in a tougher than ever marketplace.   In this context, the BBC must redouble its efforts to serve all audiences, while maximising commercial revenues and supporting the creative industries’ recovery across the UK.”

BBC Director General, Tim Davie, said: “This annual report is a good base from which to create a modern, highly efficient BBC that truly reflects Britain.  There are challenges ahead. We need to keep reforming with urgency so that we are trusted, relevant and indispensable in the digital age.”

“Our guiding principle is that we are a BBC for all – a universal public service to serve and represent everyone in every part of the UK. Our focus must be on making sure we deliver outstanding and unique value to all audiences – those who pay for us and are in effect our customers – in return for their licence fee.  That means we must renew our commitment to impartiality; focus on unique, high impact content; extract more from online; and, build our commercial income. That is now our focus and challenge going forward. We should take nothing for granted.”


Jon Creamer

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