Ofcom’s annual report on the BBC

25 November 2021

This is Ofcom’s fourth annual report on the BBC, covering April 2020 to March 2021. This year, the report also looks back to assess how the BBC has performed since the beginning of the Charter period in 2017.

We are responsible for holding the BBC to account on behalf of audiences by providing fair, robust and independent regulation. Our responsibilities cover three key areas: overseeing the BBC’s performance in delivering its Mission and Public Purposes; protecting fair and effective competition; and securing content standards in BBC programming.

Each year we must publish an annual report setting out how we have carried out our role, and assessing the BBC’s compliance with the Operating Licence and other regulatory requirements as set out in the BBC Charter and Framework Agreement. We are also required to report at least annually on the BBC’s performance against measures we set alongside the Operating Licence. Underlying data and evidence that supports our assessment is included in the accompanying interactive performance report.

As we approach the mid-point of the Charter period (running from 2017 to 2027), this year, we also set out our assessment of how the BBC is fulfilling the Mission and Public Purposes and summarise the key themes we have identified across all our areas of responsibility since we took on regulation of the BBC. This feeds into our ongoing review to consider whether our regulation of the BBC remains fit for purpose in holding the BBC to account for viewers and listeners.

Read the full report

Ofcom's fourth annual report on the BBC (PDF, 5.9 MB)

Pedwerydd adroddiad blynyddol Ofcom ar y BBC (PDF, 5.9 MB)

Annex 1: Compliance with regulatory requirements (PDF, 1.2 MB)

The BBC's overall performance

Dashboard showing key findings for the BBC's overall performance across the Charter period. On average, 58% of adults in the UK have a positive impression of the BBC. AB households and audiences in London are more likely to have a positive impression of the BBC whereas DE households and audiences in Scotland are less likely to have a positive impression of the BBC. Total BBC network TV spend has decreased from 94.1% in 2017 to 91.6% in 2020. Weekly reach across all BBC services (for those aged 15+) decreased from 92% in 2017/18 to 87% in 2020/21. Total BBC minutes consumed on average per day by all adults, decreased from 2 hours and 41 minutes in 2017 to 2 hours and 23 minutes in 2020. Within this pattern, minutes of live BBC TV on a TV set and BBC radio decreased every year between 2017-2020, whereas minutes of BBC iPlayer consumed on average per day increased every year 2017-2020. Total BBC minutes consumed on average per day by people aged 16-34, has decreased from 1 hour and 16 minutes in 2017 to 1 hour and 1 minute in 2020.

Understanding audience perceptions of the BBC during Covid-19

We carried out research to understand audience perceptions of the BBC during this period and how it was seen to have delivered its mission to inform, educate and entertain.

BBC Covid-19 research 2021 – summary report (PDF, 326.6 KB)

Previous reports