A PRWeek/OnePoll survey shows that 51% of respondents believe the BBC's reputation has declined in the past 20 years, while 39% think it has gone downhill in the past two years.
A BBC spokesman responded by stating that independent research by Kantar Media found that audiences currently have the highest impression of the BBC since records began, with 78% 'glad the BBC exists'. He added that the comms team was 'pivotal' to securing these approval levels despite budget cuts as a result of the licence fee freeze.
PRWeek can also reveal that the BBC's PR budgets will shrink from £15.66m in 2011-12 to £12.67m in the current financial year. The BBC says it does not plan to employ any PR agencies during 2012-13. The figures have been released as part of PRWeek's 'state of the public sector' review.
As of 31 March 2012, there were 146 staff in the BBC's comms division, down from 181 during 2010-11, after a redundancy programme taken in response to the frozen licence fee settlement. At the same time, the print version of the BBC's in-house magazine Ariel was also closed.
BBC director of comms Paul Mylrea's annual remuneration is £162,000.
The BBC's annual marketing campaign spend - which includes PR - has dropped by £4.5m since 2007-08 (see below for a full breakdown of the figures).
Also read another 'state of the public sector' story: Department of Health comms jobs slashed
How BBC marketing campaign spending has changed