A BBC report stated that impartiality remains a complex challenge. However, the BBC must be more transparent to make it appealing to those who are less fortunate.

Annual report of the media watchdog on BBC, conducted since 2017, indicates that viewers ‘consistently rate BBC less favorably’ for impartiality. 

According to the 2020-2021 Report, Ofcom complaints have more than tripled in the past four years, going from 1,673 four-years ago to 5,429 now.

While the percentage of complaints relating to impartiality has held steady at 30 percent, Ofcom stated that there had been a series of ‘historical failures’ by the BBC in the last year.

Kevin Bakhurst is Ofcom’s director of broadcasting and online content. He stated that the BBC was still highly valued and had made a positive contribution to the outbreak.

“But its reputation has been damaged by historic failures in the last year, with viewers and listeners questioning its impartiality and others feeling excluded.

“The BBC should dare to stand out, and appeal to all viewers, listeners, and cultures. 

Ofcom’s annual report, conducted since 2017, shows that viewers ‘consistently rate BBC less favorably’ for impartiality. 

The announcement comes after BBC revealed plans for the ‘biggest & most significant push’ it will make to ensure fair, accurate, and objective content. This follows the release of the Serota Review, which examined governance and culture at BBC, and made several recommendations to improve editorial standards.  

To combat bias accusations, BBC director general Tim Davie hired an external team of experts in October.

They were said to have been analysing the BBC’s entire content looking for evidence of impartiality.   

The Telegraph reports that Mr Davie has already taken action to address the issue, placing controls on staff who share views on social networks and focusing on neutrality in news roles.     

External experts are set to be appointed by the BBC to ensure its content is impartial. Tim Davie, the BBC's Director Genera (pictured), has decided to handle accusations of bias

The BBC will appoint external experts to verify its impartiality. Tim Davie is the BBC’s Director Genera. (Image: Tim Davie) has been appointed to deal with allegations of bias

There are numbers. The BBC is a popular broadcaster and streaming services like itss have soared in popularity. But it has problems in Scotland, and other countries where the wealthier families tend to be less fortunate.

These are the key points from the Ofcom 2020-2021 report to the BBC.

  • 58% of UK citizens have a positive view of BBC
  • However, only 49% of respondents have a favorable view in Scotland. That’s the lowest number among all categories.
  • 64% of Londoners view the BBC positively, while only 33% of wealthy viewers have positive views. 
  • It is 53% for viewers with disabilities and viewers of poorer background. 
  • The BBC received 5,429 complaints this year, up from 1,673 four years ago.
  • 30% of complaints were related to bias or inimicality. This percentage has been steady since 2017. 
  • More children aged 11-16 use Netflix (77 per cent) than the BBC’s TV, radio and online services combined (74 per cent)
  • The BBC is used by just under an hour per day for people aged 16 to 34, compared with the two hours and 23 minutes spent on older viewers.
  • 90 per cent of adults use the BBC’s services each week, falling to 80 per cent among 15-24-year-olds
  • BBC’s iPlayer streaming service has seen usage surge by 28 per cent on the previous year 
  • The BBC spent £1.01bn on first-run, original TV content in 2020 – a figure which has seen a gradual decline since the £1.6bn spent in 2010
  • BBC’s total income has fallen by 4.5 per cent in real terms since 2017/18

According to Ofcom, the report stated that audiences have rated BBC’s accuracy and trust in its news production each year since 2017.

“However, however, our audience research shows that audiences continue to dislike the BBC’s perception of impartiality.

It admitted that some ratings were due to audience disliking of the broadcaster. However, the effect of last month’s changes will not likely be visible until next year’s annual report.  

It also recommended that the BBC better portray and represent people of poorer background and Scotland. 

Only 49 percent of Scots said that they had a positive view of BBC. This is the lowest percentage of respondents. 

This comes after the 2020-2021 report revealed that it had failed to reach its northern spending goal and allocated 6.5 percent to Scotland instead of the 8 percent required. 

Only 53% of disabled and 49% of people of poorer background had positive views of the BBC, compared to 53% of those with disabilities. 

It is loved more in London than it is among those from wealther families, with a 64% and 63% approval ratings respectively.  

The BBC is viewed favorably by 58 percent of UK residents.   

Ofcom stated: “The BBC should improve the representation of dissatisfied people and ensure that their workforce represents people from all backgrounds.

“These are crucial to the BBC’s long-term success.”

Ofcom stated that audiences are more likely to not be able to see the people they know on the screen.

Also, the regulator urged the broadcaster’s transparency ‘given the importance of its service to UK people’, in particular in how it communicates its decisions to them, with industry about proposed changes and its reporting. 

The BBC stated that although there have been some positive changes in the last few years, it still has a long way to go. It is crucial that it holds its own accountable and clearly outlines how it will execute its strategies, assess their success, and then report back on their effectiveness.  

BBC issued a statement saying: “We are glad Ofcom recognizes the BBC continues on its remit through its popularity, offering a broad range of programming and investing heavily in UK’s creative sector, providing trusted news.

“The BBC is considered impartial by more viewers than other broadcasters, and the BBC has outlined how they intend to improve that with a 10-point plan.

“We have also pledged to improve representation and reflection of communities through our ambitious Across the UK plans, providing audiences with brilliant original content and great value. 

BBC Three on TV’s relaunch is expected to be a key part of the BBC’s plans. This comes after Ofcom stipulated that 75 percent must contain original content from Britain. 

A watchdog hopes that the channel can reach younger viewers. 

It comes as the report showed that more children aged 11-16 use Netflix (77 per cent) than the BBC’s TV, radio and online services combined (74 per cent).

People aged 16 to 34 spend less than an hour watching the BBC every day, as compared to their 2 hours and 23 minutes.