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UK PSB spend falls but viewer appreciation grows

UK public service broadcasting (PSB) expenditure has fallen by 15% over the last four years, according to research by media regulator Ofcom. However, viewers appreciation of public broadcasting has actually grown over the same period, despite the advance of multichannel TV.

Ofcom found that the country’s five main PSBs spent £2.6bn (€3bn) on programmes in 2008, down from £3bn in 2004. Expenditure on chidren’s programming by the commercial PSBs (ITV, Channel 4 and Five) fell by 70% to £11m, while BBC spend on children’s programming fell by a fifth to £77m. Overall expenditure on news and current affairs fell from £289m to £250m.

However, in 2008 some 63% of viewers said they believed that PSB channels offered well-made, high-quality programmes, up four percentage points year-on-year, while 67% of viewers said that PSB news programmes were trustworthy, up from 62% in 2006.