Older viewers are anxious about the BBC’s push into online television.
A consultation of more than 10,000 viewers by the BBC Trust revealed that many older people in the UK fear they could be left behind because of what they regard as the BBC’s “prioritisation of online content over traditional broadcasting.”
“As a group who use the internet less, some feel excluded and others feel they are unfairly paying for services they do not benefit from,” the report notes.
The BBC’s drive to make more online content was partly prompted by the decision to move BBC3 online, with one of the first online only programmes – snooker drama The Rack Pack – premiering this weekend.
But the BBC has also indicated that the BBC News Channel could one day become streamed over the internet.
Last week James Harding, the head of BBC News, launched a root and branch review of its operations, in a bid to save millions of pounds that could potentially lead to the end of BBC News as a channel.
“Technology is transforming the news,” he told staff. “Audience expectations are changing, too. And the funding settlement for the BBC requires both cuts and the reallocation of spending.”
Moves like these could also alienate people who live in rural areas where broadband spectrum is more scarce according to the Trust’s survey, which sought to gauge the view of licence fee payers of the BBC executive’s strategies in the ongoing charter renewal process.
A BBC spokesperson said: “We are committed to providing services for all audiences, regardless of their situation. Whilst digital services provide unique creative opportunities and new ways to access content, we believe it’s possible to find a balance that ensures all audiences can benefit. For example, when BBC Three becomes a digital service its long form content will still be available on BBC One and Two. We also have a major role in helping all audiences make the transition to new technology as we did with Digital TV, and we expect this to continue in the future.”