BBC facts and stats
1 July 2015
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The NUJ is campaigning for a well-funded, well-managed BBC as it faces charter renewal and decisions are made on future funding and the licence fee. Here are some of the reasons why:
- The BBC licence fee costs £145.50 a year, or 40p per day, for four TV channels, 10 national radio stations, a network of local radio stations, an internationally-acclaimed website, BBC Parliament, the World Service, S4C, BBC Monitoring and five orchestras and choirs. The top packages from Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk cost more than £1,000 a year.
- The corporation is the largest single investor in TV news production; it spends approximately £680m a year on its radio services, with approximately £120m on radio news, across the UK. The commercial sector spends only about £27m on radio news.
- One in every 16 adults around the world uses BBC News.
- The broadcaster receives £3.7bn a year. Sky's annual income is nearly double that, but it produces a tiny proportion of original programming. The BBC accounts for 40-plus per cent of the total investment in UK original content. It is the most important commissioner of new content in the UK, spending about £1bn a year on non-news commissions.
- It spends 76 per cent of its licence fee income on TV content. This is more than any other broadcaster. As a subscription platform, Sky spends 34 per cent.
- According to the Barwise and Picard report for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, without BBC TV the investment in first-run UK content would be 25-50 per cent lower. Ofcom's research shows ITV 1's investment in content is directly linked to the investment made by the BBC in BBC One.
- Every £1 of licence fee spent by the network generates £2 of economic activity. In the period 2011/12, the BBC generated £8.3bn for the UK economy.
- The BBC is watched and listened to by 96 per cent of the UK population. Two-thirds of all UK adults tune in to its radio stations each week and half use BBC online each week. More than half of smartphone news users (51 per cent) regularly use the BBC News app, the highest reach in the world.
- BBC iPlayer was launched in 2007 and now receives more than 3bn programme catch-up requests a year.
- The BBC is free from shareholder pressure, advertiser influence and the chase for ratings.
- The licence fee is the single biggest investment in the arts and creative industries in this country. In 2013/14, the BBC injected £2.2bn into the creative industries.
- More than half (52 per cent) of the total BBC TV budget was spent in the nations and regions.
- The corporation, including BBC Worldwide, spends about £125m a year on music and is the biggest commissioner of new music in the world. From the Proms to Glastonbury, it promotes music for all ages and tastes around the globe and plays a huge role in nations' cultural lives.
- According to the Children's Media Foundation, the BBC is "the only player in town for commissioning content for kids".
- Radio, TV and online programmes are available in 28 languages other than English.
- In a recent international survey of 14 countries, BBC One was rated highest of 66 major TV channels.
- The World Service, which reaches 200m people, has a budget of £245m a year. Russia and China are now investing far more in their global channels than the BBC.
- According to The Soft Power 30 report, the World Service makes the UK the leader the world in soft power. “Soft power” is the term used to explain the use of positive attraction and persuasion to achieve global influence. The UK scored high on culture, digital, and global engagement.
- In its report this year, Future of News, the BBC said the failure of local newspapers to provide UK-wide coverage of local news meant "the BBC is the only news organisation committed to reporting the whole of the UK, community by community, region by region, nation by nation…"
- Data from PPL (2014), which licenses recorded music played in public or broadcast, showed 75 per cent of all tracks played across the full range of BBC radio stations were not broadcast on commercial radio.
- The broadcaster is Europe's biggest provider of media and creative skills training.