BBC needs to connect more with people from lower income backgrounds say Ofcom

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2022/10/18: General view of Broadcasting House, the BBC headquarters in Central London, as the iconic broadcaster celebrates the 100th anniversary since its foundation on 18th October 1922. (Photo by Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
The BBC is not engaging with people from lower income backgrounds. (Getty Images) (SOPA Images via Getty Images)

Ofcom has said that the BBC needs to do more to connect with people from lower income backgrounds.

The media watchdog's annual report on the corporation stated that people who are less well off are more likely to be dissatisfied with their portrayal on TV.

The report also said that poorer people are less engaged with the BBC's output and under-represented in the corporation's workforce.

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Ofcom stated that audiences from lower income backgrounds are “less likely to give a positive rating for statements such as the BBC ‘provides content made for UK audiences’ and ‘provides a broad mix of content’ compared to the UK average”.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2021/01/17: General view of the Broadcasting House, BBC headquarters in Central London. (Photo by Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
The BBC headquarters in London. (LightRocket via Getty Images) (SOPA Images via Getty Images)

The BBC has said it is developing content aimed at these audiences including lighter drama, crime drama and comedy drama. Ofcom also acknowledged that the BBC would be commissioning more sports documentaries and entertainment competitions aimed at this demographic.

With these findings, Ofcom announced that would begin a review into how the BBC services poorer people.

It also wants the broadcaster to set out its overall strategy for improving perceptions among disenfranchised audiences, including how it is acting on viewer and listener research.

The report also noted that the BBC's reach continues to decline, particularly with younger audiences though the use of iPlayer continues to grow.

Ofcom said that the BBC faces tough financial choices as its faces competition from global streaming services and rising production costs while the licence fee is being held at its current level until 2024.

BRAZIL - 2022/09/26: In this photo illustration, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Ofcom regulates media in the UK. (LightRocket via Getty Images) (SOPA Images via Getty Images)

Earlier this year, the BBC announced various cuts across its services including to local radio which will see less unique content made on a regional basis.

In response to the report, the BBC said: “Ofcom recognises our investment in distinctive UK content, how we bring audiences together for major national moments and the significance of our trusted, impartial news, which means we’re delivering on our remit and delivering value for audiences.

"While BBC is the most used media brand for low socio-economic groups, we know we have further to go both on and off screen so we are commissioning ever more varied content that reflects UK communities and we’ve set a new staff target, for 25% of staff to come from low socio-economic backgrounds to ensure we’re serving all audiences.”

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