The BBC has hit back at reports that it has lost 12% of its 25 to 34 year-old viewers in the last three years, by claiming that it has “the highest share of young viewers.”
Citing BARB viewing data, the Independent newspaper reported that the BBC had suffered more than any other UK broadcaster from a wider drop-off in viewers in this age group between 2010 and 2013, in the face competition from the likes of YouTube.
“The BBC is committed to all audiences and while across our portfolio we have the highest share of young viewers – and iPlayer is the UK’s leading on-demand service – we are working hard to ensure we keep innovating in this area,” said the BBC in a statement.
It also highlighted that in April, BBC iPlayer requests over all platforms – including tablets and mobiles which BARB does not measure – hit 268 million, with nearly 40% of those requests coming from the 25-34 age group.
The Independent reported that the average decline in viewers aged 25-34 among UK broadcasters was 7%. However, declines in the 16 to 24 age category were even more pronounced. Channel 4 reportedly lost 19% of this youth viewership between 2010 and 2013, compared to Sky with 18% and the BBC with 17%.
Earlier this year, the BBC confirmed plans that it will close youth-skewing digital channel BBC Three in autumn 2015, moving some of the channel’s content to the iPlayer instead.