BBC Scotland news bulletin attracts 200 viewers
BBC Scotland’s news programmes are losing viewers at an alarming rate with only 200 people watching The Seven on one day this month.
The 15-minute news programme on the dedicated BBC Scotland channel slumped to this new low on Sunday 7 January.
On Wednesday 10 January, its hour-long programme, The nIne, embracing UK and World news reached only 1,700 viewers — about 0.1% of those watching television at the time.
The BBC, which has complained that budget cuts have forced it to make cuts, created up to 80 journalism jobs for the news programme., More than 750,000 people tuned in for its launch in 2019.
Interest has dwindled so severely that The Nine’s peak this month was 8,200 viewers on Monday, 8 January.
The BBC spends £35 million on the channel which is the highest of budget for Scotland-only services provided by the corporation. It has the lowest reach and the shortest average watching time.
The flagship news programme on BBC One, Reporting Scotland, which often repeats, or “puts a kilt on” stories reported on the UK news programme, attracted an average of a quarter of viewers last year, compared with STV’s News at Six which was watched by about a third of viewers. STV has dominated the ratings for the past five years.
One commentator said Scotland BBC “may be paying too much attention to the SNP’s political ambitions and too little to their licence payers’ interests.”
The BBC insisted the channel was in good shape. A spokesman said: “Against a background of declining audiences for all linear channels in recent years, the BBC in Scotland continues to provide market-leading services.
“The BBC Scotland channel continues to reach more viewers than any other digital channel in Scotland — its weekly reach in 2023 was 13.5% or 701,000.
“The channel was launched as a multi-platform service, and we have seen considerable growth in iPlayer viewing of BBC Scotland content.
“It has risen from 1.6 million weekly requests to 2.4 million, a growth rate of 45% year on year. During 2023, Reporting Scotland’s bulletins had a weekly TV reach of 1,575,000 — which is ahead of other commercial news providers in the country.
“The Nine had a weekly reach of 106,000 between January and November 2023 and its journalism extends beyond the nightly show into other parts of our news output.
“Consumption of BBC news on digital platforms by Scottish audiences continues to grow. BBC Scotland news online has 5.6 million unique visitors each week, a year on year rise of 18%.”