That’s the eye-catching conclusion of an annual health check on the BBC’s output and operations by its regulator Ofcom, which published 57 pages of findings on Thursday.
Ofcom said the BBC is facing the prospect of a “lost generation” of viewers and “may not be sustainable in its current form” if young audiences continue to flock to online rivals.
A senior BBC source, however, voiced frustration with “sensationalist, headline-grabbing” framing of the Ofcom report and said it does not reflect the British broadcaster’s recent progress.
Among its key findings on young audiences, Ofcom said:
- For the first time, less than half (49%) of people aged 16-24 watched the BBC’s TV channels in an average week.
- Netflix reaches almost two-thirds of 15-24 year olds each week and YouTube 42%. BBC iPlayer reaches just 26% of this age group, a drop of 28% on 2017.
- People aged 16-34 spent 72 minutes with the BBC in 2018, compared with 76 minutes the year before – a 5% decline.