Record iPlayer performance but BBC warns of more cost reduction | Ratings/Measurement | News | Rapid TV News
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In a twelve-month period that ended at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak, the BBC is claiming in its annual report to have had a strong year for content but accepts that it must keep reforming to be trusted, relevant and indispensable in the digital age and continue with its decade-long cost-cutting programme.
BBC 25Oct2018

The report covers the period April 2019–March 2020 during which it says over 90% of the UK population used the BBC each week. The corporation asserted that during the year it had made ‘significant’ efficiencies and had boosted commercial profits to help fund quality programmes for the Licence Fee payer.

What was beyond doubt was the massive uptick in usage of the iPlayer during the lockdown. BBC iPlayer ended the year on a record-breaking high, with 4.8 billion requests to stream programmes in 2019/20 and in the first seven weeks of lockdown, iPlayer had a billion requests, over 60% higher than the same period last year. With programmes are now available for at least 12 months and 36% more hours of content, the report added that for the first time, the growth of BBC iPlayer had largely made up for most recent falls in linear TV viewing.

During the year, the BBC remained a leader for impartial news coverage, with 51% of news consumers naming the BBC as the source they are most likely to turn to. This was up from 44% in 2018/19 and, stressed the BBC, ‘far ahead’ of the next nearest provider.

Yet noting the adverse effect of the Covid-19 crisis, the BBC noted that it had endured huge pressures on television production and finances in general. “Going into the coronavirus crisis the BBC already had 31% less to spend on UK public services than if the licence fee had risen with inflation since 2010,” explained BBC Chairman David Clementi. “Now the severe impact of Covid-19 means that we have to save an extra £125 million - on top of additional significant savings - in a tougher than ever marketplace.

Newly appointed BBC Director General Tim Davie added: “This annual report is a good base from which to create a modern, highly efficient BBC that truly reflects Britain. There are challenges ahead. We need to keep reforming with urgency so that we are trusted, relevant and indispensable in the digital age. “Our guiding principle is that we are a BBC for all - a universal public service to serve and represent everyone in every part of the UK. Our focus must be on making sure we deliver outstanding and unique value to all audiences - those who pay for us and are in effect our customers - in return for their licence fee.