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The annual report covers April 2019- March 2020. During this period, over 90 percent of the UK population used the BBC each week.


Digital Services Transformed

  • BBC iPlayer ended the year on a record-breaking high, with 4.8 billion requests to stream programmes in 2019/20.  In the first seven weeks of lockdown iPlayer had one billion requests - over 60 percent higher than the same period last year.

  • Programmes are now available for at least 12 months and, for the first time, the growth of BBC iPlayer has largely made up for the most recent falls in linear TV viewing. BBC iPlayer now has 36 percent more hours of content.

  • There are now 3.6m active weekly accounts on BBC Sounds, at the end of its first full year. 

Unmissable Content

  •  Audiences came to the BBC in huge numbers this year, particularly during lockdown.

  • There were 55 million BBC iPlayer requests for Normal People from the end of April to early July. Of these there were 16.2 million requests in the first eight days alone, during lockdown, making it the biggest drama launch on BBC iPlayer ever.

  • Series five of drama Line Of Duty was unmissable, appointment-to-view television, with an audience of 13.2 million for the first episode.

  • The 18.5 million audience for the Gavin & Stacey 2019 Christmas special across all screens was the biggest scripted show of the decade.

Record-Breaking News at Home and Abroad

  •  A record breaking 81 million UK browsers came to BBC News in the week 16 March. Viewing figures for TV news hit their highest level since 2003.  

  • 87 percent of UK adults overall and 83 percent of young adults came to BBC News for coverage of the UK General Election.

  • Globally the BBC is now reaching 468m people, up 11 percent on last year. BBC World News TV Channel now reaches 112m per week globally, up 12.1 percent on last year. With the support of Government our ambition is to reach a billion people globally over the next decade, further building the reputation of the UK and the BBC.

Young Audience Records

  • Over 80 percent of children and young adults in the UK use the BBC on average each week.

  • UK 16-34s spent more media time at 7.30am with the BBC on average per week in 2019/20 than any other brand.

  • There were a record 27.1m CBeebies and CBBC requests in the first week of school closures (23-29 March).

  • The number of browsers coming to BBC Bitesize online was over five million in the first week of the summer term alone, three times the equivalent figure from the previous year.

Prioritising Diversity

  • This year June Sarpong was hired as Creative Diversity Director.

  • To represent the public better, the BBC set out a Creative Diversity Commitment to prioritise £100 million of the existing TV commissioning budget - and £12 million of the existing radio budget - over three years from 2021/22 towards diverse and inclusive content.

  • We set a new mandatory 20 percent off-air diverse talent target in all new network commissions from April 2021.

Over 50 Percent Outside London

  • The BBC continued to serve audiences across the UK, providing high-quality, distinctive and relevant content for licence fee payers across a range of cultures and communities.

  • Over half of network television production was in the nations and regions, with 50.7 percent from outside London and 20.8 percent from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

  • We also remain committed to locating at least 50 percent of our employees outside of London and some 52 percent are currently based outside of the M25.

Buoyant Commercial Subsidiaries

  • The BBC’s commercial subsidiaries - BBC Studios, Studioworks and Global News - together delivered dividends of £189m - growth of nine percent year-on-year.

  • BBC Studios achieved record numbers across sales, profit (EBITDA), content investment, content sales and its returns to the BBC were the highest ever at £276 million, putting the company in a position of financial strength in challenging times.

  • UKTV performed well in its first year of full ownership, BBC Studios was the most commissioned UK creator of content in 2019, and the business signed new long term content partnerships with Germany’s ZDF, HBO Max in the US and Russia’s Yandex.

Industry Leading Efficiency

  •  The BBC is now leaner and more efficient with around £199 million of annual savings delivered in 2019/20.

  • Since 2016/17 we have delivered £618 million of recurring annual savings, while licence fee income is 31 percent less than had the licence fee consistently risen with inflation.

  • An independent report, also published today, shows that 95 percent of controllable spend is on content, with less than five percent spent on the support services needed to run the BBC.

  • There has been a 32 percent reduction over five years in overhead spending since 2014/15 and the BBC has retained its industry-leading position for low overheads.


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