BBC Trust service review of BBC One, Two, Three and Four
- In general terms IBT highly commends the BBC’s performance of its television services: each of the four channels is distinctively different from the others it in its tone and content and has its own personality and they collectively engage audiences across a range of genres.
- IBT will focus this submission on delivery of the global purpose, Bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK. This is because IBT’s expertise lies in the provision of international content which informs us about the wider world.
- IBT research has found that the when the global purpose is delivered through News and Current Affairs there is a tendency to focus on negative stories of disaster or misfortune which presents an imbalanced view of the wider world therefore we encourage the BBC to consider ways to ensure that this purpose is delivered across a wide range of different genres.
- Our research demonstrates that many viewers who do not watch news and current affairs output are nevertheless interested in international stories in other genres, for example drama, factual entertainment and documentaries.
IBT believes that BBC One and Two especially have an important role to play in helping UK citizens to make sense of the world and to learn about the lives of people in other countries.
- It is IBT’s view that since the BBC Trust Review of BBC One, Two and Four in 2009/2010, the BBC’s current affairs strategy has been very successful. IBT believes that international current affairs content on both BBC One and BBC Two has improved significantly since 2009.
- Since 2010 IBT has been delighted to see the success of some innovative factual strands on BBC Two, such as the Toughest Place to be a … series and Welcome to…(Lagos etc). We applaud BBC Two commissioners and producers for this output because it exactly addresses the concern we had in 2010 when we last submitted to the Trust on these channels.
- With reference to drama which tells us about the wider world we would encourage the BBC Executive and Trust to consider whether there may be missed opportunities here to deliver engaging content about the world outside the UK to a sector of the audience which may not watch news and current affairs. We commend those dramas which have been set in foreign locations but would like to see more of such programming.
- Despite recommendations from the BBC Trust following the Review of BBC One in 2009/10 that the channel should be more risk-taking, IBT does not believe that BBC One has become significantly more risk taking and innovation.
- Factual entertainment – we would like to see BBC One take more risks and pioneer international factual formats of their own. BBC Two and BBC Three have grown a number of innovative formats which make connections for British viewers with what is happening in other countries and we would like to see BBC One adopt such strategies for its own audiences with engaging, peak time formatted factual entertainment.
- As stated in our 2010 submission, IBT would still like to see the BBC One licence amended so that instead of the current wording, under the purpose remit ‘Bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK’, which reads BBC One should play its part in contributing to this purpose the licence should instead read BBC One should make an important contribution to this purpose. If this change were made we believe it would help focus commissioners’ minds more on the global purpose and BBC One’s role in delivering it, not just in news and current affairs programming.