Ofcom survey: People most likely to turn to BBC during pandemic

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British audiences are most likely to turn to BBC services during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an Ofcom survey published today.

The survey said that 82% of the people survey were most likely to switch on to the BBC’s TV, radio and online services for the latest news, followed by other broadcasters (56%); official sources such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), NHS and the Government (52%); social media (49%); newspapers (43%); and family and friends (42%). Only 15% used closed messaging groups to get information, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

People are relying heavily on broadcast television to keep up-to-date with news about coronavirus. Average daily news viewing across all channels was up by 92% in March 2020 compared to March 2019. Both BBC News and Sky News have also seen their viewing more than double year-on-year. The Prime Minister’s Statement, which aired on 23 March, is the most-watched programme of 2020 so far; an average of 28 million viewers tuned in across the six channels it was shown on.[3]

Almost all online adults (99%) are getting news and information about coronavirus at least once a day, while one in four (24%) are doing so 20 or more times each day. But conversely, more than one in five (22%) said they are trying to avoid news about the pandemic.

The survey also found most people (55%) are ignoring false claims about coronavirus. Fifteen per cent are using fact-checking tips from the media, such as the BBC’s website, while a similar proportion (13%) are double-checking with friends and family. One in 14 people are forwarding on false or misleading information about the virus.

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