BBC's Scottish channel costs SIX TIMES more per viewer than BBC One

BBC's Scottish channel costs SIX TIMES more per viewer than BBC One

September 20, 2020

BBC’s new £44million Scottish channel costs SIX TIMES more per viewer than BBC One with just 18% of Scots tuning in after it launched last year

  • Newly-released figures show BBC Scotland costs 41p for each hour watched 
  • That figure compares unfavourably to BBC One which costs 7p per user
  • The numbers will be of concerning for new BBC director Steve Carson who has been in charge of the station since its launch. 

The BBC’s new Scottish channel is costing six times more per viewer than BBC One – with just 18 per cent of Scots tuning in after its launch last year.

Figures from the corporation’s annual report showed that BBC Scotland costs 41p for each hour watched, that compares unfavourably to BBC One which costs 7p per user.

Viewers for the newly launched channel spend an average of an hour and a half a week watching it and it only reaches 18 per cent of Scots, as reported by The Times.

In comparison BBC One viewers in Scotland spend an average of seven hours and 24 minutes watching it each week. 

The figures will be of concerning for new BBC director Steve Carson who has been in charge of the station since its launch.

The Nine news anchors Rebecca Curran and Martin Geissler on BBC Scotland

A spokesman told The Times: ‘We have successfully brought another new TV channel to Scotland, invested in our journalism with 80 new jobs, created 250 additional roles in advanced technology and continued to bring news, sport, arts, education and religious programming during a pandemic.

Cost by user per hour for each BBC channel

BBC One – 7p

BBC Two – 8p

BBC Four – 5p

CBBC – 20p

CBeebies – 3p

BBC News – 6p

BBC Parliament – 4p

BBC Scotland – 41p

‘Our impact on the creative sector in Scotland is also significant, working hand in hand with more than 70 independent companies and other bodies such as Screen Scotland to make more impactful programmes such as the award-winning drama, Guilt.’

The BBC also said it was unfair to compare costs of its Scottish channels with ones available to all the UK as the population is around 67 million compared to 5.5million in Scotland. 

It comes after the BBC has been slammed for reportedly paying Radio 4 host James Naughtie £175,000 a year after he appeared on air for just 23 hours.

The 69-year-old’s salary was released alongside other BBC presenters as part of an annual report which sparked backlash as the corporation cuts hundreds of jobs from its regional programmes.

But analysis by the Sun on Sunday showed that James Naughtie only worked for just over 23 hours which means his pay works out at £7,608 an hour or £126 a minute. 

Critics have pointed to the figure as proof the BBC is ‘out of touch’ as the corporation also continues to face backlash over changes to TV licensing for over-75s.

A source told the Sun: ‘It’s quite clear it’s been an old boy’s club at the top of the BBC. Naughtie has been a big name for years but I cannot see how the BBC can justify such an enormous salary for that amount of work.

‘He’s well respected and brilliant at what he does but that’s a huge sum and a kick in the teeth for those losing jobs. It shows how out of touch the BBC is.’

The figures will be of concerning for new BBC director Steve Carson (pictured) who has been in charge of the station

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen added: ‘This expenditure would be indefensible at the best of times but certainly not when they are charging over-75s for a licence fee.

‘I don’t know how BBC bosses can sleep at night.’

According to the Sun, Mr Naughtie presented two documentaries, an opera performance, interviews and a night of election coverage and also hosted 12 episodes of a book club series. 

A BBC spokesman said: ‘Jim is one of the most recognisable voices on radio but listing his on-air hours does not represent any of the behind the scenes work he is involved in, and this list is incomplete anyway and doesn’t include, for example, Jim’s work for the BBC World Service.’It comes as the BBC came under fire after published accounts showed staff pay had soared 3.5 per cent up to £1.5billion this year.

Meanwhile the corporation is pushing ahead with plans to strip a million over-75s of their free TV licences.

Accounts published earlier this week showed that Zoe Ball is now the BBC’s highest earner after pocketing a £1million pay rise – knocking Gary Lineker off the top spot.

Critics have blasted its decision to reward its staff with a total 3.5 per cent salary increase even after it announced plans to slim down its operations following the pandemic

The Match of the Day star, 59, is understood to have signed a new five-year contract – and a nearly 25 per cent pay cut from £1.75million down to £1.35million. 

Critics have blasted its decision to reward its staff with a total 3.5 per cent salary increase even after it announced plans to slim down its operations following the pandemic.

BBC director-general Tim Davie defended Ball’s huge pay rise after she shed nearly a million listeners in the first year in her new role, saying it was a ‘punchy’ market.

‘Zoe is absolutely a broadcaster at the top of her game. She’s delivering over eight million listeners,’ he boasted. ‘I think we’re getting incredible value.’

Asked about the likes of Lineker still earning more than £1million, Mr Davie said he would expect ‘people to come to the BBC at a significant discount to what they’d get in the open market’.

But he added: ‘We will invest in very limited situations in particular markets to ensure we have got the best talent.’

In July, the BBC announced a huge shake-up of regional TV news and local radio in England which will lead to 450 job cuts.

Changes will see one instead of two presenters fronting 6.30pm regional TV news bulletins as the corporation looks to make £25million in savings.

Inside Out, the regional current affairs magazine show made in 11 different regions, will be axed and replaced with a new investigative journalism programme from six hubs.

A ‘simplified schedule’ introduced on local radio during the pandemic, with single instead of double presenters and a reduction in the number of shows, will become permanent.

Other detractors have pointed to the BBC’s shocking push to strip 1.5 million pensioners of their free TV licences as the BBC seeks to capture younger audiences in its war with Netflix.

Figures from the BBC’s annual report show fewer households are buying TV licences and that audiences for its major channels have also fallen, suggesting many families are relying on streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

The Corporation said 25.9million licences were in force in 2019/20 – down 237,000 in a year.

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