Younger viewers show increased affection for public service broadcasting | Media Analysis | Business
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Despite the popularity of online streaming services among the UK’s younger generations, the lockdown seems to have heightened their affection and support for public-service broadcasters (PSBs) and free-to-view TV in the country according to research from DTT provider Freeview.
PSB Freeview 8June2020
Freeview’s research comprised 1000 interviews conducted by Aurora Market Research for via an online survey and focused on exploring consumer perceptions of trust and value toward television, content and information providers, in the context of the pandemic.

The results suggest that lockdown has led to a reappraisal of public service broadcasting from the likes of with young people placing high value on the four public service broadcasters — that is the BBC, ITV, C4 and Channel 5 — for content that informs and entertains. Indeed, people generally perceived television content from the PSBs as more important than streaming services including Netflix and Amazon Prime. Specifically, 75% of all viewers rated the BBC portfolio of channels as important at a time of crisis (the highest scored), followed by ITV (63%), C4 (51%) and then Netflix (40%).

Among younger audiences, almost two-thirds said that they value content from the PSBs more now than before the onset of Covid-19 and three-quarters of 16-34s said that the PSBs played an important role in bringing together the nation in times of crisis. For 16-34s however, streaming services were regarded as most important at a time of crisis, but only just. Netflix and the BBC, which reacted to the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown in the UK by setting up the largest education offering in its history, were level pegging (68% and 66%, respectively) and the demographic also noted that PSBs (BBC, ITV, C4) made up three out of the top four most important TV providers. The research also suggested that PSB and SVODs were complementary services, playing different roles for younger viewers.

When Freeview asked people to think about the importance of free TV for society before the Covid-19 crisis hit, virtually all (91%) of respondents rated it very/quite important (88% of 16-34s). Those who thought it is very important has risen from 52% to 64% following the pandemic.

When Freeview asked people to think about the importance of free TV for society before the Covid-19 crisis hit, virtually all (91%) of respondents rated it very/quite important (88% of 16-34s). Those who think it is very important has risen from 52% to 64% following the pandemic. Fourth-fifths of all viewers, and 76 of the 16-34s, agreed that the PSBs keep them informed about what’s going on in the UK (76% of 16-34s).

Looking at the trends revealed from the research, the idea that somehow British young adults are lost to streamers clearly did not stack up and instead the unequivocal verdict from the study was that young people valued PSBs just as much as older viewers do said Owen Jenkinson, marketing director of Freeview.

“Lockdown has brought out just how much they care,” he observed. “While of course they have long appreciated many of the shows offered by PSBs - from Love Island, to Killing Eve, to Bake Off – it seems the experience of lockdown and the need to be informed about their future has given younger viewers the opportunity to appreciate more what the PSBs offer.They want to feel part of a bigger, national effort. To watch the live briefings, to see the fundraising efforts, and the national clap-for-carers. It has also given them the time, where they may previously have been out, they are now in, looking for entertainment on the box. And it has given them the opportunity to spend more time with family members and the chance to watch together, to watch entertainment and drama as well as news.”