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BBC in crisis as 300,000 ditch licence fee amid warnings that ‘£285m’ blackhole looming | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV


In recent times, experts have warned that the BBC faces big financial challenges that would affect its future. With many within the UK turning their backs on the licence fee, and younger audiences flocking to streaming sites like Netflix, many argue that the general public service broadcaster must change tack whether it is to ensure its survival. 

Just how bad has it got for the BBC?

Last 12 months, 300,000 people stopped paying the licence fee within the UK – meaning a substantial 24.9million are left still paying the £159 charge.

During the last 4 years, nevertheless, around a million people decided to stop paying.

Viewing figures don’t paint a very promising picture either – the BBC’s 2021/22 Annual Report showed that the quantity of individuals tuning in to the BBC One channel fell by two percent.

The report also showed how younger audiences, who the BBC need to convert into future licence fee payers, are being won over by platforms comparable to Disney Plus and Netflix.

Last 12 months, the share of seven to 12 12 months olds who used the BBC Children’s and Education content across TV/iPlayer or online fell by 10 percent from 56 to 46 percent.

The report also said: “Our performance is trending down, especially amongst 7-12s, amidst the main target of worldwide media firms on under-16s.

“Some pre-pandemic trends have re-emerged – overall broadcast TV viewing, for instance, is well down on each last 12 months and pre-Covid times.”

It added, nevertheless, that the BBC is the “only UK provider to contend with YouTube and Netflix amongst under 16s and 16-34s.”

Amongst ethnic minorities, the image is similarly bleak.

The proportion of over-16s in these groups who tune in to the BBC fell by 4 percent.

While 75 percent of white viewers over 16 watch the general public broadcaster, this figure stands at a far lower 57 percent for ethnic minorities.

The BBC now faces a fresh wave of problems after Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries announced in January that the licence fee will probably be frozen for the following two years after which completely abolished in 2027.

READ MORE: Andrew Neil turns BBC off – ‘I can see why so few folks watch it!’

“Our estimate is – and simply to set this clearly for everybody – by the 12 months end 2027, the licence fee income will probably be about £4.2billion based on our assumptions around inflation, obviously guessing games around inflation are obviously difficult. We all know this settlement … gives a £285m gap at the tip of the period.”

In consequence, the BBC was forced into job cuts.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the BBC News channel and BBC World News will sack presenters as a part of a raft of 70 job cuts.

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