Kids Get News from Facebook Says Survey of the Obvious World of UK TV

By Gary Cutlack on at

Communications regulator Ofcom has put together a lengthy report into how our public service broadcasters -- BBC, ITV, STV, UTV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and S4C -- are doing in the digital age, now we all watch TV using only our peripheral vision while staring at something more interesting about someone's cat that's happening on our telephones.

The report offers a mixed scene of today's TV landscape. The not-shocking parts show that the kids of today don't spend their evenings glued to the 9/10 o'clock news like they used to back when there was literally no other choice for anything to do of an evening, with the viewing of TV news by 16-34 year olds falling by 29 per cent since 2008. The nation would rather check the web sites of the public broadcasters or, more likely, use Twitter, Facebook, Google and YouTube for their window into the real world.

As for drama programming, Ofcom says overall spend in real terms has fallen since 2008 despite the barnstorming global successes of the likes of Sherlock and Doctor Who, with spending on the big "first-run UK drama" events falling from £484m in 2008 to £278m in 2014. This obviously means there's less Poirot to enjoy too, with output of drama falling from 627 hours in 2008 to 371 hours in 2014.

Things are even more bleak in the children's TV sector, where the BBC is the only one that really bothers at all. ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 spend a tiny £3m on TV production for kids in 2014, with the BBC accounting for 97 per cent of all children's programming spend.

Despite these downward trends, Ofcom says the PSBs are "performing well" for viewers these days, seeing as we get Top Gear and Doctor Who on endless repeat so are kept largely sedated and happy. [Ofcom via The Register]