Monday, May 28, 2018

Tough(er) Guys

For the first time, the minutes of the BBC Board meeting in February show a certain flexing of muscles.

We learn that the Board had an awayday in February and asked for budget re-prioritisation - "a more rapid refocus across the BBC’s portfolio" -  for the year ahead. Presumably sometime we will learn the winners and losers.

Here's the minute on winning back a 16-34 audience: "The performance of the BBC’s services among audiences had been solid in the last quarter of the year. In December, pan-BBC reach had been steady for all adults and 16-34s, with BBC TV’s share of the broadcast TV market up among 16-34 year olds. In addition, time spent with iPlayer had reached record levels helped by box-sets and extra Christmas content. However, new services in the market had reached similar levels of consumption among young audiences, with Netflix and Spotify rivalling BBC TV and BBC Radio for 16-24s."

(In radio, James Purnell has set a target of stopping a decline in reach to 15-44 year-olds, first reported in August last year at 56.2%.  For the last quarter of 2017, it was down to 55%. Mr Purnell has not yet posted on more recent quarters.)

We learn that a number of internal cases where HMRC are chasing BBC presenters for back tax are due for adjudication 'in the Spring'; the budget for the re-furbishment of the EastEnders set keeps bouncing back; there's a redacted bit on how BBC Radio services might be delivered in the future; and, at the time of the meeting, there were still wrangles with Ofcom over diversity, representation and portrayal, targets and future radio delivery.  The italics in this note are mine: "The Board agreed for the BBC to argue in principle for a hybrid future that would include FM, DAB and online, and avoid further DAB expansion costs. "

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