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


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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