The BBC is looking to overhaul its output and “refresh” some of its biggest shows with the aim of attracting younger viewers.
Director general Tony Hall said in the BBC’s annual plan for 2019/20 that it needed to take “more creative risks” as younger audiences increasingly turn to streaming services over the public service broadcaster.
“It seems only a few short years ago that the BBC and ITV were thought of as the titans of British media,” Hall said. “But all of us in the UK’s traditional media solar system are getting smaller and smaller in the Apple, Amazon and Netflix universe.”
In order to adapt, Hall outlined that the BBC would in the future “refresh our content across all genres and all platforms to appeal to younger audiences”.
This will include “reinvigorating” popular shows like EastEnders, The One Show, MasterChef, Holby and Casualty in order to appeal to younger audiences, and increasing the prominence and investment in “young-skewing programmes”.
The BBC has already introduced a dedicated youth-focussed slot on BBC1 at 10.35pm, and a special BBC3 strip on BBC iPlayer showcasing the online channel’s top shows.
Hall said that the BBC urgently needs “new ways to adapt to the changing needs of our audiences”, citing research suggesting that 16-34 year olds now spend half their viewing time watching non-broadcast content, and as much time per week watching Netflix shows as they do BBC output.
In response to video and music streaming giants like Netflix and Spotify, the BBC will also focus “on the growth of BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds,” and will in the future look to “commission more programmes with iPlayer specifically in mind”.