Reputation Survey: The BBC - A mixed reception for Auntie Beeb

While the BBC is widely held to be more trustworthy than other news media, most of the public believe the broadcaster's reputation has declined in the past 20 years.

OnePoll: the public's view of the BBC
OnePoll: the public's view of the BBC

Though trusted more than other media, the reputation of the BBC has taken a nosedive in recent years, the latest PRWeek/OnePoll survey has found.

The public poll revealed that 51 per cent thought the BBC's reputation had declined in the past 20 years, while 39 per cent thought it had gone downhill in the past two years.

Despite recent mass relocation to Manchester to improve nationwide coverage, uncertainty about the broadcaster remained strongest in the North East. Here, more believed it reflected modern Britain than did not, a trend reversed in the rest of the country, including the North West.

The figures come in the wake of criticism over coverage of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

A minority felt this would do long-term harm to the brand. Older generations were more critical - 38 per cent aged over 55 years believed it had done damage compared with 25 per cent aged 18 to 24.

Some 75 per cent of respondents felt BBC stars were overpaid - up six per cent from two years ago. This is despite efforts to publicise the cutting of its annual talent bill following media criticism over the issue.

However, the BBC was streets ahead in comparison with other media brands. The organisation was named as the most responsible, accurate and trustworthy.

Forty per cent of respondents said TV was their primary source of news, followed by 16 per cent for newspapers' websites and the same figure for other online sources.

Survey of 2,000 members of the public conducted by global research agency OnePoll.

Also read: BBC's comms budget cut amid licence fee freeze


Scott Wilson, UK CEO, Cohn & Wolfe

Is Auntie Beeb losing her mojo or is this great British institution as popular and trusted as ever?

What makes this survey fascinating is that there's something in it for defenders and detractors alike.

The defenders will point to the enduring popularity of the Beeb as the most trusted media brand with the best reputation and most accurate in its reporting.

The detractors, however, will also draw comfort from the survey, citing the Jubilee as merely a totem of a wider decline in the BBC's reputation. They will also point to the 57 per cent advocating the abandonment of the licence fee.

More puzzling is the UK public's view on what single event has caused most damage to the BBC's reputation in recent times. The Jubilee coverage or concerns over excessive pay for stars? Not at all: 22 per cent of viewers claimed it was Sachsgate that caused more damage to the Beeb than any other issue. Really?

85% of respondents said they did not care that the BBC is soon to change its director-general

52% said they did not trust the BBC to be impartial and objective

40% said that television was their primary source of news

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