Television

BBC Trust sets strategic priorities for UK pubcaster

MUMBAI: The BBC Trust has published final remits to guide the BBC in meeting each of the six public purposes laid down in the Charter.

In a letter from the BBC Trust Chairman to BBC DG Mark Thompson, Sir Michael Lyons said, "As we discussed on several occasions… the BBC faces a complex set of demands. It is therefore important for the Trust to set clear priorities and realistic expectations informed by our research."

The six public purposes, which the BBC is required to promote through all its output, are:

- Sustaining citizenship and civil society 

- Promoting education and learning 

- Stimulating creativity and cultural excellence 

- Representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities 

- Bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK 

- Emerging communications 

Earlier this year, after consulting widely on draft priorities in each of these areas, the Trust highlighted "innovation and distinctiveness" as the single biggest issue for all audiences and published research showing there was demand for more new programmes and fresh ideas from BBC television. This remains the Trust's top priority and, to ensure a proper understanding of what people want in response, they commissioned some in-depth analysis, a summary of which is also published today.

Lyons said, "What we have learned is that audiences do not want a radical change of direction from the BBC: there is support for programming in every genre, and they value the familiar BBC classics that no one else offers. It seems that, although there is more choice of channels across UK television as a whole, people nonetheless perceive there to be less choice of programmes and they are keen to see the BBC give greater prominence to the range of its high quality work. That said, this is not just about perception. People do expect the BBC to avoid well-trodden paths, and they are clear that their expectations of the BBC are different from other broadcasters."

Among several priorities singled out by different audience groups as important and not necessarily in need of improved BBC performance, the Trust also highlighted news and current affairs, formal education for children, and serving audiences in the devolved nations and those in areas further away from the South-East, as top priorities for the BBC.

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