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    • 1 Post By lettice

    A dying habit: why the average BBC1 viewer is 61

    This is a discussion on A dying habit: why the average BBC1 viewer is 61 within the Entertainment forums, part of the Community channel category; https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-r...1-viewer-is-61 Broadcasters may be desperate for younger audiences but older telly-watchers dominate – the average ITV fan is 60, 55 ...

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      A dying habit: why the average BBC1 viewer is 61

      https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-r...1-viewer-is-61
      Broadcasters may be desperate for younger audiences but older telly-watchers dominate – the average ITV fan is 60, 55 if they prefer Channel 4. How worried should programme-makers be?

      If you are 61 and taking a break from watching something on BBC1 to read this, you can congratulate yourself on being entirely average. That is, the average age of a BBC1 viewer, according to the latest estimates published by the BBC Trust (in its death throes – the arms-length regulator will be replaced by hands-free Ofcom next week). On BBC2, it is 62. In 2014, the Trust reported that average ages were 59 and 60 respectively. It’s not that young people aren’t watching BBC content. The report also reveals that last year the broadcaster reached 91% of 16 to 34-year-olds in one way or other. But with the proportion of those young people watching BBC TV dropping now to 66%, greying audiences are causing yet more demographic consternation in broadcasting headquarters.

      According to recent research by Enders Analysis, ITV’s average viewer is now 60; Channel 5’s is 58 and Channel 4’s is 55. Even at E4, birthplace of such yoof-targeting shows as Made in Chelsea and Hollyoaks, the average age is 42.

      The reason, of course, is simple: the internet, where the statistical trends are upended. Online, 59% of young people use the BBC’s services each week, compared with 52% of all adults. But as the report states: “Online take-up does not yet compensate for falling broadcast reach”. Moreover, they are watching less; over-55s spend 25 hours a week with the BBC; 16 to 34-year-olds just 11 hours. That gap has always existed, but it’s growing.

      “This is a problem felt by all broadcasters,” says Robin Parker, features editor at Broadcast magazine. A big test for the BBC, he adds, will be the first sign of any shift in audience figures after the move of BBC Three to an online-only model. As YouTube and Facebook divert younger eyes, “I think the BBC will always have an issue of how it presents material in a way that’s not trying to be too cool but not seen as stuffy.”

      What we don’t know is exactly how many of the same young people are watching TV elsewhere. Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime make big claims but are not obliged to issue audited viewing figures. “There is a lot of overclaiming at the moment,” says Margo Swadley, a former BBC executive and now the managing director of UK TV and video measurement at Kantar Media. “It’s impossible to do like-for-like comparisons.” Why does it even matter that the ages of viewers are shifting? “Because it has an impact on the whole ecosystem,” Swadley replies. “The motivator for talent is a good audience.”

      In one of her last speeches as chair of the BBC Trust earlier this month, Rona Fairhead told the Oxford Media Convention that the BBC needed to better serve young people. Referring to another popular titan that failed to keep pace with digital change, she said that the BBC needed to “avoid its own Kodak moment”. As the instamatic channels continue to adjust to the new digital era, it’s a warning that could apply beyond Broadcasting House.


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      Re: A dying habit: why the average BBC1 viewer is 61

      I know I keep banging on and on and on about this but if the broadcasters want people to view their efforts then they must put decent programming on. We are assialed by endless repeats and American "comedy" (now there's a misnomer if ever there was one.) Even our home bred comedy is years old and whilst it was good it doesn't stand the test of time and who the hell wants to watch Dad's Army for the hundreth time. Same with documentaries. American with loud "dramatic" music playing all the way through the program and repeated for the umteenth time. Sorry I have better things to do than waste my time and money watching that junk. I'm 66 by the way.

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      Re: A dying habit: why the average BBC1 viewer is 61

      Don't worry pete.i. Personally I think that this really does emphasise just how badly the BBC are letting down the viewing public today.

      Something that I think is long over due is the TV License fee. It's time for it to be replaced. It should have been phased out years ago but they keep clinging on to it.

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      Re: A dying habit: why the average BBC1 viewer is 61

      Quote Originally Posted by Scubbie View Post
      Don't worry pete.i. Personally I think that this really does emphasise just how badly the BBC are letting down the viewing public today.

      Something that I think is long over due is the TV License fee. It's time for it to be replaced. It should have been phased out years ago but they keep clinging on to it.
      Agree, they should be refunding all us pay tv customers.
      I'm happy to pay sky for tv and its great value but to pay the license fee for all that wastage and greed is a joke. That includes the C4 licensee fee contrib.
      On the Beeb I mostly only watch game shows really like eggheads, pointless, uni challenge and only connect.
      Their cookery programmes are all just poor reality shows now and once years ago were some of the best.
      Rarely watch the Beeb news coverage, only for the big events to compare. But then having Sky news, bloomberg, cnn, fox, nhk SSN etc why would you!
      I do record east-enders each day, have hardly ever missed an episode, but its got pretty plotless lately and such boring characters.
      Never listen to any Beeb radio, if any radio it is all talksport for me.
      Beeb does seem to be endless repeats a lot of the time and I cannot remember the last time I watched a film on the Beeb. But then film 4, sony movies, tcm and horror do me wonders.
      The drama on the Beeb has either been poor sound quality or has not been of a high drama quality, not that there is much that appeals lately.
      Sky's own channels and many other non terrestrial UK/US channels are well ahead for UK and US drama. Also netflix and amazon prime are doing a good job there.
      I do think the drama on itv though is a good watch and do frequent that channel for that and plenty of films and classic series on itv2/3/4. I love midsomer/morse and its ilk.
      Rarely watch c4 or c5.

      Looks like Beeb Three going online has failed, good riddance to that.
      jrfer likes this.

     

     

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