Older generations enjoy support BBC but call for new tricks on funding
Britains older TV viewers back the BBC but calls are growing among the over 50s for greater creativity over its funding.
With Government reviewing the BBC Charter a poll of over 10,000 people has found that the over 50s are strong supporters of the national broadcaster but are split about the future of the licence fee.
The poll carried out by Populus for the leisure and financial services company found 43% supporting the licence fee, with 27% wanting the licence replaced in its entirely and 20% thinking the fee should only partially cover the costs.
However, more worryingly for the BBC support for the licence fee drops significantly among 50 to 59-year-olds with only a third (34%) backing its continuation.
Among those wanting an alternative funding model the strong favourite was for the BBC to allow commercial sponsorship of programmes with 63% backing the proposals.
Much less popular were: raising revenue through advertising (29%), introducing a monthly subscription charge (22%) and turning the BBC into a pay-per-view service (8%).
Supporters of the licence fee overwhelmingly wanted any rises pegged to inflation (60%) or frozen (30%) with just 2% agreeing it should increase by more than inflation. Another 8% wanted to see the licence fee cut.
On the plus side for the BBC the over-50s value the quality of its news coverage (76%) and agree that it offers services that other commercial providers do not (56%).
They are also largely content with the kinds of programmes on offer with 53% disagreeing with the statement that the BBC does not cater to my age group and only 15% agreeing. The vast majority (88%) like the fact there is no advertising like on other channels, but 58% want fewer repeats.
Saga’s director of communications, Paul Green said: “The BBC can be satisfied that the over-50s are among its strongest champions and value its programming.
“But there is a growing sense - especially among those in their 50s - that the organisation has to look wider than the licence fee for funding.
“Saga’s members applaud the absence of adverts on the BBC but the appeal of commercial sponsorship of programmes to help recover costs is rising. Those approaching retirement age are seeking innovative alternatives to the licence such as commercial sponsorship or possibly advertising between programmes.
“The BBC’s leaders need to open their minds to new sources of cash.”