2007 - 2021

Short Changing Scottish TV Viewers

For some people the BBC is irredeemable until independence. For others the BBC is irredeemable until broadcasting is devolved. Some have described the new channel as “a giant apology to the Yes movement”.

The new BBC Scotland channel has been slated from some quarters (too male, too stale, too many repeats, too timid in commissioning are some of the criticisms that have been made). But it’s also had a surprisingly positive response from others.

Many people are reserving judgement till they see how it rolls out but already there are some positive reviews.

But looking at the raw numbers, many people are just thinking it just doesn’t have the budget it requires.

By comparison S4C – the Welsh language channel gets £84 million.

Even if you combine BBC Alba, with its budget of £17/18 million (MG Alba Annual Report 2017/18) and the £32 million allocated to the new BBC Scotland channel that leaves a combined budget of only £50 million.

That seems to have a whopping £34 million disparity between Wales (population 3.1 million) and Scotland (population 5.23 million).

In 2015/16, the BBC raised about £320 million from Scottish licence fee payers but only spent 54.6 per cent of that revenue in Scotland. In contrast, Wales, had 95 per cent (£177.7m) of the £186.5m raised from licence fees spent in the country – though some of this is down to the demand for Welsh-language programmes. In Northern Ireland the figure was 74 per cent (£73.4m).

Of course there’s complexity – we need to pay-in for the wider UK coverage (even if it’s embarrassingly anglo-centric) and the issue of what “spend” in Scotland looks like is highly controversial.

Setting aside the ongoing Mentorn fiasco, and averting our gaze from the dreadful Mark Meechan situation for a moment, it still looks like Scotland is just massively short-changed.


Comments (4)

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  1. Roland Smith says:

    I liked the View from the Terrace that I watched by accident. For any Scottish Football supporter I think they would find it interesting as its not fixated on Rangers and Celtic.

  2. Kenny says:

    The new channel is in part designed to disguise how badly served we are by the BBC. There are simple, virtually cost-free changes they could make – embed FMQs from Wales and Scotland into Politics Live for the whole network, increase non-English representation on panels, work harder on putting non-English news on the network shows and providing non-English context when issues like education or health are discussed – but they don’t even make those efforts. Now Scotland’s news can be as honest and impartial as any indy supporter could hope, but it won’t matter. Scotland will already be ghettoised further, as the network shows will be absolved of any responsibility to cover Scotland at all.

  3. Wul says:

    I’m a bit confused here. We have a “new channel” called BBC Scotland. But we’ve always had a BBC Scotland, first based in Queen Margaret Drive, Glasgow, now at Pacific Quay.

    If we now have a new channel, what was nature of “BBC Scotland” before February ’19 ? Was it just BBC London’s northern office? Genuine question.

    And, question 2, what is the nature of STV? “Scottish Television”

  4. Squigglypen says:

    Be honest..it’s crap!

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