FEWER than half of people in Scotland have a favourable impression of the BBC, a new report by Ofcom has revealed. 

Remaining relevant to the whole of its UK audience had been identified as a 'long-standing' issue that the broadcaster 'must address'. 

Around three in five adults (58%) have a favourable impression of the BBC, with audiences in London more likely to be satisfied. 

However, disabled audiences (53%), people in Scotland (49%) and those from less-well-off backgrounds (53%) are less satisfied.

The BBC is under close scrutiny on how it can deliver to wider audiences and Ofcom has published a report today looking at that progress over the last four years as we approach the mid-point of the BBC’s Charter.

HeraldScotland: BBC Television Centre in Wood Lane, London, where an intruder burst into the BBC radio and television newsroom in sending journalists, including newsreader Anna Ford, scurrying for cover. According to one witness the intruder threw a small table through a

The report also revealed the BBC failed to spend the required percentage of its production budget in Scotland.

As part of its operating licence, the BBC is required to spend 8% of its total expenditure on BBC Network programming in the UK in Scotland. This is about in line with population figures.

However, in 2020-2021 the corporation “failed to comply” with this requirement, instead spending just 6.5% of its expenditure north of the Border.

The BBC also failed to comply with two further aspects of its operating licence in relation to spending in the nations and regions.

Firstly, it is required to spend at least 50% of its expenditure on BBC Network programming in the UK outwith the M25 - the ring road around London. It missed this target by 2.1 percentage points.

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In a wider review, Ofcom will be making recommendations to the Government in spring 2022 on the future for BBC regulation and will consult on proposals to update the BBC’s Operating Licence for the digital age, with a new licence to be in place by April 2023.

As part of its operating licence, the BBC is required to spend 8% of its total expenditure on BBC Network programming in the UK in Scotland. This is about in line with population figures.

However, in 2020-2021 the corporation “failed to comply” with this requirement, instead spending just 6.5% of its expenditure north of the Border.

The BBC also failed to comply with two further aspects of its operating licence in relation to spending in the nations and regions.

Firstly, it is required to spend at least 50% of its expenditure on BBC Network programming in the UK outwith the M25 - the ring road around London. It missed this target by 2.1 percentage points.

Ofcom announced on Thursday that BBC Three will be returning as TV Channel for the first time in six years, with the re-launch being one part of how the BBC says it intends to deliver for all audiences, which is critical for its future sustainability.

The decision coincides with today's report assessing how well the BBC has served UK audiences so far during the Charter period.

Almost nine in 10 adults (87%) consume BBC content each week, the report shows and 77 % of users rated BBC News highly for providing Covid-19 news.

However, Ofcom's review also identifies several long-standing themes that they say the BBC must address.

Improving audience perceptions of BBC impartiality is key with audiences consistently rating it less favourably for impartiality, with 55% giving it a high score.

And, in spring 2022, Ofcom will publish updated research on how audience perceptions of BBC impartiality are influenced.

HeraldScotland:

Figures show that younger people aged 16-34 spend much less time with the BBC each day – just over an hour compared with 2 hours 23 minutes for the average adult.

More children aged 11-16 use Netflix (77%) than the BBC’s TV, radio and online services combined (74%).

Although Ofcom noted that the BBC is making changes to better connect with less-satisfied and younger audiences, they stressed it is 'critical' for its long-term success that it puts these into action and ensures its workforce is more representative of people from different backgrounds.

The BBC’s spending on first-run, original TV content has been in long-term decline – from £1.6bn in 2010 to £1.01bn in 2020 – and exacerbated by the pandemic.

Spending on first-run programmes in at-risk genres like comedy and music has declined faster compared to spending on all other genres.

But Ofcom found that the BBC’s support is still crucial to the UK’s creative sector, with forty-four per cent of total spending by UK public service broadcasters on commissions from external production companies coming from the BBC.

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Kevin Bakhurst, Ofcom's Group Director, Broadcasting and Online Content, said: "The BBC remains highly valued by the public and made a clear, positive contribution during the pandemic.

"But the last year has also seen its reputation hit by historical failings, with some viewers and listeners doubting its impartiality, and others feeling excluded.

"The BBC must dare to be different, extending its appeal to viewers and listeners of all backgrounds, classes, cultures, ages or locations. That includes producing bold UK content, which is why we’re setting new rules around the relaunch of BBC Three."