Reputation Survey: BBC - Beeb told to cut losses

The ongoing issues faced by the BBC including presenter salaries, scandals involving high-profile stars such as Jonathan Ross, and its funding structure have all taken their toll.

Worryingly for the beleaguered BBC, 50 per cent of the 3,000 respondents to PRWeek/One Poll's latest reputation survey said the licence fee should be abolished. And 66 per cent said they were more negative about the broadcaster now than they were two years ago.

In terms of stories that have damaged the broadcaster the most, 60 per cent of respondents blamed the news of departing star Jonathan Ross' income.

According to our poll, the BBC should wield the axe on its publishing department first and foremost to make cuts.

In total, 47 per cent of respondents said the broadcaster should cut its magazines department, home of titles such as Radio Times, Top Gear and Lonely Planet.

A further 42 per cent said digital radio output should be reduced and 24 per cent said other radio stations should be scaled down. Just 17 per cent supported cuts to the BBC's online offering. In fact, 25 per cent of respondents wanted the broadcaster to increase spending in this area.

There has been speculation in the blogosphere that the BBC's self-induced review, which proposes canning digital station 6 Music, the Asian Network and parts of its online offering, has been carefully managed to provoke a response.

'Some may say the BBC has played its hand brilliantly by making cuts in high profile areas, meaning the Government may have to step in and bridge the gap in funding,' notes Andy Barr, MD of 10Yetis.

The public seems very clear where the BBC can save money. In total, 70 per cent of respondents believe the broadcaster overpays its presenters.

How I see it

Matt Bourn, MD, Braben

While only one poll, these results indicate the damage that has been inflicted on the BBC in the past two years, with negative stories about Jonathan Ross' income, staff expenses and 'Sachsgate'.

It begs the question: is the BBC losing the communications battle it perpetually fights against commercial media? Two in three customers being more negative about your brand would cause massive concerns in any business. So, how can this be dealt with? Last week, the BBC Strategy announcement drew almost hysterical attention to BBC 6 Music and, to a far lesser extent, BBC Asian Network, while the cuts to its website have been ignored.

But the strategy debate of most concern is salaries, expenses and costs.

I do not envy the BBC's management team, but its agenda must fully recognise those areas in which licence fee-payers wish to see cuts and those where they want increased activity and spending.

 

Survey of 3,000 members of the public conducted by global research agency OnePoll

- Has the BBC's reputation improved or declined over the past two years?

Improved: 10%

Declined: 51%

Stayed the same: 39%

- Given its income, do you believe that the quality of programming at the BBC is:

Poor: 18%

Excellent: 21%

Average: 61%

Overpaid stars

69% think the BBC overpays its presenters

Spending

68% think that the BBC spends too much money reputation

60% think the story about Jonathan Ross' income hurt the BBC's reputation the most impartiality?

50% do not trust the BBC to be impartial and objective

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