Ofcom report shows general strength of UK news

July 11, 2007

There is more broadcast news available to UK viewers than ever before and it remains the most valued type of programming, according to findings from a new Ofcom report.

The UK communications regulator last week published the results of research into the future prospects for UK TV news. While the results showed strength, the future of news should not be taken for granted.

Among the clouds on the horizon was evidence suggesting that some sectors of UK society are increasingly disengaging from mainstream TV news.

Broadcasters recognize the importance of news within their overall output. Several highlight the value it adds to their channels’ brands, the report said. With personal video recorders increasingly used to watch programs on a time-shifted basis, news provides a valuable live element to schedules.

The research shows, however, a growing lack of involvement with TV news among the younger audience and some ethnic minorities. More of these viewers perceive bias and exaggeration in news reports than do other groups in the population. This raises the broader issue of trust and impartiality in news programming.

The research found:

  • 16- to 24-year-olds now watch less than 40 hours of TV news a year, compared with around 90 hours a year for the wider population;
  • Qualitative research elicited strong views of the UK media among minorities. Some black viewers, for example, fear that the media links them negatively to crime, while some Muslims feel that the media links them to extremism.

For more information, visit www.ofcom.org.uk.

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