Small Screen: Big Debate – a five-year review of Public Service Broadcasting (2014-18)

This document reviews how public service broadcasting (PSB) has delivered for UK audiences over a five-year period (2014-2018).

The Communications Act 2003 sets out the purposes of PSB and the television services responsible for their delivery. These services are: the BBC television services, ITV and STV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and S4C. The Act also requires Ofcom to review the PSB channels’ performance, at least every five years. We also look at the contribution other broadcasters, audio and on-demand services have made to the PSB objectives.

This document and the accompanying interactive data report are intended to help inform our wider programme of work on the future of PSB – Small Screen: Big Debate.

Small Screen: Big Debate – a five-year review of Public Service Broadcasting (2014-18) (PDF, 3.2 MB)

Sgrin Fach: Trafodaeth Fawr – adolygiad pum mlynedd o ddarlledu yn y Deyrnas Unedig (PDF, 3.3 MB)

Annex 1: Statutory framework (PDF, 120.5 KB)

Annex 2: Methodology (PDF, 288.9 KB)

Our key findings are:

  • Audiences continue to highly value the purposes of PSB, including trustworthy news and programmes that show different aspects of UK life and culture.
  • And although audiences still have generally positive views of the PSB channels, viewing, especially among younger people, continues to decline. Online and on-demand services like the BBC iPlayer and All4 have not to date fully made up for the loss of live broadcast viewing.
  • The PSB channels have generally fulfilled the PSB remit. Investment by the PSB channels has also played an important role in supporting the UK’s creative economy, including an increasingly vibrant production sector across the nations and regions.
  • However, maintaining the current level and range of programmes is a challenge for the PSB channels. At the same time, other providers such as Sky and Netflix are offering both a large volume and wide range of high-quality content to UK audiences.
  • The extended choice in content and growing investment in original UK programming is generally positive both for audiences and for the sector as a whole. However, there are some significant differences in the mix of genres offered by different providers as well as the availability of this content to all audiences in the UK.

Interactive data report

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